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Asia Art Archive in America’s 2019 Leadership Camp: “Model Minority and Model Majorities”

May 10, 2019
AAA in A, '09-'21

43 Remsen St. Brooklyn, NY

Application Due Date: Midnight Friday, May 10, 2019 (applicants notified by Friday, May 24)
First Session: Sunday, June 9th, 2019: 5-8pm

“Model Minority and Model Majorities” was the theme of the third iteration of Asia Art Archive in America’s annual Leadership Camp. This four-part closed seminar addressed the complex subject of Asians in America, and the even more complex subject position of Asian-Americans, a term that encompasses diverse histories, languages, and ‘home’-country politics.

Organized and moderated by Christopher K. Ho and AAA-A’s Furen Dai, Leadership Camp combined seminar-type discussions of selected texts and presentations by participants in an intimate setting. The goal was to use participants’ lived experiences as anchor points to collectively and actively workshopped formats and frameworks for being Asian, in its multitude forms, in America.

Applications for Leadership Camp: “Model Minority and Model Majorities” were due on Friday, May 10. Applications should be sent to and include in one PDF file:

  • a CV
  • a narrative bio of 100-200 words
  • a short statement of interest, which can include your approach to the term “model minority” and, broadly, being Asian in America
  • an artwork or writing sample (if relevant)

Your statements would be incorporated into the planning of the four sessions, to be spread over 2019-2020. Selected participants were notified by Friday, May 24.

Prior to the first session on Sunday, June 9, 5-8pm at Asia Art Archive in America, 43 Remsen Street, Brooklyn NY 11201, participants received PDFs of the readings to be discussed by email.

Initial framing questions include:

  • If one definition of a leader is to be a model for others, then where does this leave Asians, the so-called model minority? Are there ways of harnessing the ‘model’ part of model minority to explore new forms of leadership, rather than affirm old myths of assimilation? If so, what are these?
  • American exceptionalism once was a beacon for liberal democracy, universal human rights, and equal opportunity. Today, the right erodes its values, and the left continues to question its legitimacy as well as efficacy. Are there positive values to American exceptionalism still, and if so, can—and should—these structure cultural institutions? Where do ethnic-specific museums fit in?
  • Over 60 percent of the world’s population resides in the continent of Asia. Are there best practices for being a global model majority and a US minority alike? Can the diversity of Asia help redefine “majority”, and engender new ways of being with, in, and a part of a majority, whether in the United States or elsewhere?
  • In the United States, being non-white implies being colored, and being colored historically means being black. Where do Asians fit in current discussions about being a POC, and are there responsible ways of exploring commonalities and building coalitions?
  • Have new ways of belonging, and different configurations of citizenship, accompanied new technologies that facilitate communication and travel? What does global, or multinational, citizenship look like, and what role does ethnicity play?

Christopher K. Ho (b. Hong Kong, 1974) is known for multi-component projects that are both materially specific and conceptually expansive. He is an artist, educator, curator, and critic based in New York and Hong Kong. He has exhibited at, among others, the Bronx Museum, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Para Site, Storm King, the Queens Museum, Cranbrook Art Museum, MASSMoCA, 179 Canal, and Socrates Sculpture Park. He participated in the Incheon Biennial, the Chinese Biennial Beijing, and the Busan Bienniale, and is currently at work on a project for Guangdong Times Museum. The New York Times, Artforum, LEAP, RanDian, Art in America, Modern Painters, Hyperallergic, and ArtReview have featured his work. He received his BFA and BS from Cornell University and his MPhil from Columbia University, and teaches in the MFA program at MICA.

Furen Dai is an artist and the Collection and Program Assistant at Asia Art Archive in America. Her practice has focused largely on the economy of culture industry, and how languages lose function, usage, and history. Dai’s hybrid art practice utilizes video, sound, sculpture, painting and collaboration. Her years as a professional translator and interest in linguistic studies have guided her artistic practice since 2015. She has exhibited work at the National Art Center, Tokyo; Athens Digital Arts Festival, Greece; International Video Art Festival Now&After, Moscow, Russia; and Edinburgh Artists’ Moving Image Festival, Scotland, amongst others. She is currently a resident of the International Studio & Curatorial Program.

Asia Art Archive in America (AAA in A) is an independently established and operated nonprofit and the first overseas mini hub of Asia Art Archive (AAA) in Hong Kong. AAA’s mission is to collect, preserve and make information on contemporary art from and of Asia easily accessible in order to facilitate understanding, research and writing in the field. AAA in A strives to be pro-active in instigating dialogue and critical thinking through a series of regular educational programs, and hopes to raise awareness of, and support for, the activities of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong.

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This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.