Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York
by Ryan Wong
Serve the People: The Asian American Movement in New York charts a history of Asian American activism, organizing, and cultural production in the 1970s, the first exhibition to focus on New York as a center of this national phenomenon. Through posters, leaflets, newspapers, film, and music, Serve the People shows how Asian American identity was shaped by reclaimed histories, revolutionary politics, feminist awareness, third worldism, and community organizing. The culture created by young activists and artists in the movement embodied their ideals, speaking to the excitement and urgency of the time.
Curated by Ryan Wong.
This booklet functions as an introduction to the Asian American Movement in New York in the 1970s and 80s, an exhibition catalog for the show of the same name at Interference Archive, and as a poster-sized timeline of the history of the movement.
The catalog part contains an introduction by curator Ryan Wong, a glossary of key movement organizations, five anecdotes from interviews with movement activists and artists, and eleven images of movement culture (four posters, three publication covers, a mural, a political graphic, and two photographs). The back side of the brochure unfolds into a 20″x30″ timeline/poster which charts the history of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast.
This is an important document of a major social movement in the United States which has virtually unknown outside of the individuals and communities which participated in it.
full color offset printed booklet/timeline
7.5″ x 10″ as folded booklet, 30″ x 20″ as unfolded map
This title is included in “Holding Space: A Shortlist Exploring the Complexity of Asian American Identity”. Publications that address the complexities of the Asian American and Asian diasporic experience in the field of contemporary art are few and far between. As an organization based in the U.S. and serving a diasporic Asian community, we have experienced firsthand both the desire for knowledge in this space as well as the frustration due to its paucity. “Holding Space” is a shortlist composed of a selection of publications housed at our reading room that begins to redress this scarcity. This list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it represents the start of a continued commitment to fill this gap.