September 11, 2024 – December 20, 2024

80 Washington Square E,
New York, NY

Hanh Thi Pham, Self Portrait/Hairy/Pipe, 1985

Hanh Thi Pham, Self Portrait/Hairy/Pipe, 1985

Legacies: Asian American Art Movements in New York City (1969-2001) is an expansive survey of rarely-seen artwork and archival material by artists that constitute and exceed “Asian American,” a label denoting a cultural and national identity invented in 1968. Utilizing an interdisciplinary and research-driven praxis, Legacies uncovers how artists of Asian descent have historically negotiated identity in America as a set of situated practices and institutional structures amidst transnational diasporas, racial phantasms, and political imaginaries.

Presenting over 90 artists and collectives, Legacies is the first exhibition exclusively focused on artists of Asian descent in New York City.

Legacies features works – paintings, drawings, sculpture, and new media, among other mediums – that serve to complicate the idea of defining “Asian American art” as singular and static through the lens of art history, cultural studies, and sociology. Recognizing that “identity-based” categories of art are bound to the dominant racial ideology and political narrative of a nation, the exhibition instead focuses on a multiplicity of subjectivities, political horizons, and artistic expressions to interrogate life in America.

In addition to aesthetic concerns such as figuration, abstraction and materiality, the exhibition tracks how these artists addressed migration, displacement, racism, cultural autonomy, Western imperialism, societal violence, and representations of sexuality and gender through the decades.

Legacies also constellates three key artist collectives and organizations: Godzilla: Asian American Art Network; the Basement Workshop; and Asian American Arts Centre. All three organizations were artistic, social, and political hubs for diasporic Asian artists in New York that intersected with other marginalized communities.

Organized by Howie Chen, Curator at 80WSE, Jayne Cole Southard, PhD., CUNY, and Christina ong, PhD.

Gini Yu Pei Lee, Curatorial Assistant. Produced by Jon Huron, 80WSE.