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Asian American Art Activism Relational Map.
Co-curators Yvonne Fang and Alexandra Chang
In collaboration with Jaishri Abichandani, Nancy Hom, Bob Hsiang, Arlan Huang, Gayle Isa, Larry Lee, Lynne Yamamoto, and Steven Wong. With the support of the Mori Art Museum for the exhibition MAM Research 009: Imagining Justice – Asian American Arts Movements.
Ongoing internet-based digital art historical project.
Courtesy of Virtual Asian American Art Museum.

Visualizing Asian American Art

While the number of exhibitions and writings on Asian American Art have grown in the past couple of decades, it remains that as a field across the U.S. in terms of regional discourse, documentation, and collections, it is still disconnected. Visualizing Asian American art has been difficult to do in terms of the breadth of the field, the players, the organizations, and the international reach and the inter-generational and transnational nature of practices, lives, archives, objects involved. Also, funding and support to build important foundational resources and infrastructures to tie these narratives have also been historically lacking.

The Asian American Art Activism Relational Map came from a hope to show the complex network of artists, organizations, exhibitions and other players who have been key in establishing Asian American art through their collaborations, projects, and work together across time, space, and ideas.

An Ongoing Project

The mapping project came to fruition through the collaboration of individuals who have been and continue to be important organizers, who have dedicated their lives to building networks of Asian American artists as curators, community leaders, scholars, and arts administrators. Several, including Jaishri Abichandani, Nancy Hom, Bob Hsiang, Arlan Huang, Gayle Isa, Larry Lee, Lynne Yamamoto, Steven Wong, and Todd Ayoung contributed their time, artwork, and archival materials to an exhibition curated by Alexandra Chang with Manabu Yahagi for the Mori Art Museum titled MAM Research 009: Imagining Justice: Asian American Arts Movements (June-Nov 2022). These individuals worked with us (Chang and Yvonne Fang) to provide the initial information for the network mapping that was incorporated into the map. That being said, while there is a great amount of information that was shared during this first phase of the map’s development, we have always known that the map was not comprehensive and that it would never be complete. But what we have tried to do is to visualize the complex interconnections and collaborative nature of Asian American art movements and ongoing landscape of Asian American art activism with the information provided through that exhibition. We continue to collect information, such as in collaboration with the exhibition Voice a Wild Dream: Moments in Asian American Art and Activism, 1968-2022 at Oxy Arts (Sept-Nov 2022) curated by Kris Kuramitsu.

We are also asking for the public (you) to help us add to this network visualization. We hope that you will help us grow not only the map, but also the narratives and future projects that this map will unearth. It is our hope that the map, as it grows, will also be used by individuals — students, scholars, researchers, artists, curators, and others — to think about what can be discovered through such a visualization, to recontextualize the map, to build and unearth narratives of their own. We invite you to fill out the linked form and embed the map into your projects and to share it with others. We invite you to contribute to growing the map and to document an important and ever-changing and ever-growing art history.

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Yvonne Fang is a designer, independent curator, and artist. She is passionate about merging technology and the humanities through interactive media. She holds a BA from Bowdoin College where she studied international relations, computer science, and art. Having worked in both NGO and business context, she is currently a guest curator and designer at the Virtual Asian American Art Museum.

Alexandra Chang Associate Professor of Practice with the Art History program at the Department of Arts, Culture and Media and Interim Associate Director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience and Associate Director of the American Studies Program at Rutgers University-Newark. She organizes the Decolonizing Curatorial and Museum Studies and Public Humanities Project (DCMP). She directs the Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange (GAX) and is Co-Founding Editor of Asian Diasporic Visual Cultures and the Americas (ADVA) (Brill, Leiden). She is the author of Envisioning Diaspora: Asian American Visual Arts Collectives (Timezone 8, 2018) and editor of Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art (Duke UP, 2018). She is the director of the Virtual Asian American Art Museum.