Commentaries and Demarcations: Asian American Art

By Um, Nancy | Art Journal, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Commentaries and Demarcations: Asian American Art


Um, Nancy, Art Journal


Commentaries and Demarcations: Asian American Art Elaine H. Kim, Margo Machida, and Sharon Mizota. Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes: Conversations on Asian American Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. 233 pp., 24 color ills., 69 b/w. $50, $21.95 paper.

Much has happened since the authors of Fresh Talk/Daring Gazes: Conversations on Asian American Art first conceived of this volume in 1989, when there were only a few scattered resources on this topic. Since then, exhibitions of contemporary Asian American art have been organized by museums on both coasts, and writings by artists, critics, and art historians have added to the growing bibliography of exhibition catalogues, books, and essays under this rubric.1 So Fresh Talk bears witness to a period of shifting perspectives on an emerging field. In the preface, the artist, curator, and scholar of Asian American art Margo Machida frames her experience of this process by stating that the volume was initially intended as a reference book, which would list Asian American artists and document their work, thereby providing an established shape to this overlooked community. However, as the book progressed and the institutional context of the field was transformed, the original idea of an inclusive sourcebook gave way to a project that was more focused, interpretive, and dialogic. In many ways, the struggle with these different goals and the shifting context appear on the surface of the text through the various tones and strategies that are taken throughout the volume. While such a multiplicity of voices and goals could be seen as a weakness, it is in fact the strength of Fresh Talk.

Three different pieces constitute the front matter, the preface by Machida, a foreword by Lisa Lowe, who is known for her critical work on Asian American cultural studies, and an extensive historical introduction by Elaine Kim, an ethnic-studies scholar who has helped forge the fields of Asian American literature and women's studies. Together, these three parts serve to introduce and to frame the collaborative text and the images that follow from a multiplicity of perspectives. Machida sets up the history of the project as an extensive partnership that witnessed the rise and ebb of interest in Asian America and multiculturalism in the art world. Lowe then engages in a treatment of Asian modernity and the politics of migration, weaving in discussions of the artists and their work. In her article, which constitutes the centerpiece of the introductory material, Kim places the contemporary artists of Fresh Talk within the larger history of Asian American art and selected contemporary exhibitions. In an act of self-conscious canon formation, Kim links the multimedia works of these late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century artists to nineteenthcentury commercial photography in San Francisco's Chinatown and the art of the Japanese American internment.2 Thus, the essay serves to solidify community links and to establish the collective body of work in Fresh Talk within a wider historical context of Asian American visual production.

Although the tone of the introductory essays is chiefly celebratory, the authors do cite problems and issues that have dominated critical responses to Asian American art. For instance, Machida laments the perception that "artists of Asian background are all too often perceived as yet another minoritized group encasing themselves in an exclusionary cultural armor while also clamoring for mainstream recognition" (xii). Further, she adds that Asian American perspectives in art have been labeled as "parochial and selfmarginalizing," despite the fact that they hold more general, but often overlooked, relevance (xii). Lowe urges dialogue and collaboration between Asian and non-Asian artists and critics (xxii). Kim adds a whole host of problems, such as the common conflation of Asian and Asian American art, which allows for Asian American production to be dislocated and cast as foreign, and the habitual reduction of Asian American art to mere autobiography (33, 36).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Commentaries and Demarcations: Asian American Art
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.