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Matico Josephson

American multi-ethnic arts organization based in New York’s Chinatown. The Asian American Arts Centre (AAAC) and its predecessors, the Asian American Dance Theatre (1974–93) and the Asian Arts Institute (1981–8), emerged from the milieu of the Basement Workshop, the first working group of the Asian American Movement on the East Coast, whose mouthpiece was the journal Bridge (1970–81). After the closing of the Basement Workshop in 1987, the Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute were consolidated as the AAAC.

Directed by Eleanor S. Yung, the Dance Theatre was at the core of the organization’s activities from the 1970s through the early 1990s, performing traditional dances from several Asian cultures alongside modern and postmodern forms. In the early 1980s, the Asian Arts Institute began to hold exhibitions and collect slides of artists’ work and documentation of their activities, working primarily with artists involved in the downtown art scene. Early programs included open studio events for artists working in Chinatown and exhibitions of the work of Arlan Huang (...

Article

(Chinese Academy of Art)

Artists’ club formed in 1926 in San Francisco’s Chinatown. The club was composed of Guangdong immigrants in their late teens and early 20s. Its headquarters, which also served as a studio, teaching center, exhibition space and quite possibly a shared bedroom, was located in an upper room at 150 Wetmore Place, an alley on Chinatown’s western fringe. The exact membership is unknown—probably a dozen members at any given time—and its composition fluctuated greatly during its 15 or so years of existence. Its most famous members were Yun Gee, a co-founder and leader, and Eva Fong Chan (1897–1991), who was granted membership in the early 1930s and was the only woman known to belong. Unlike Fong, a former beauty queen who was a piano teacher married to a prominent Catholic businessman and privileged with an education, the young men were working-class and probably held the menial jobs reserved for most Chinese of their era, as servants, cooks, dishwashers and launderers....

Article

American artists’ collective and support network formed in New York in 1990 by Ken Chu, Bing Lee and cultural critic, curator, and artist Margo Machida. The artists hoped to develop a network of artists and to document and build a discourse on Asian American art. The group disbanded in 2001.

The original members of the group included Tomie Arai, Ken Chu, Karin Higa, Arlan Huang (b 1948), Byron Kim, Colin Lee (b 1953), Bing Lee, Janet Lin, Mei-Lin Liu, Margo Machida, Stephanie Mar, Yong Soon Min, Helen Oji, Eugenie Tsai, and Garson Yu. This small group of artists, arts administrators and critics began by gathering in members’ apartments, but membership quickly grew to over 200 strong, which made it necessary for Godzilla’s meetings to be held in alternative art spaces throughout the city including Artists Space, The Drawing Center, and Art in General. Artists who later joined Godzilla included Allan deSouza (...

Article

Miwako Tezuka

(b Okayama prefecture, Japan, Nov 18, 1885; d California, Oct 6, 1975).

Japanese-born American painter. Obata is known for his sumi ink paintings, watercolors and woodblock prints depicting California landscapes. After studying Nihonga (Japanese-style painting) at the Japan Fine Arts Academy in Tokyo, he moved to San Francisco in 1903 to pursue career in art, and soon began working as an illustrator for local publications for the Japanese American community. In 1921, when ethnic prejudice was still rampant, he co-founded the East West Art Society in San Francisco to foster multicultural communication through art. In 1928, he returned to Japan where he produced award-winning series of 35 woodblock prints of majestic landscapes of Yosemite, based on his extensive survey and sketches of the region in the previous year.

From 1932, Obata taught at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, but his career came to a halt with the outbreak of World War II, when he and his family were interned at Tanforan in San Bruno, CA, from ...

Article

Michelle Yun

[ Huei-Zu ]

(b Taipei, Taiwan, 1961; d New York, NY, Feb 8, 1997).

Taiwanese curator and art historian. Yang immigrated to the United States at age 15. She received a BA in Art History from Yale University in 1984 that included a six-month sabbatical to Jinan University in Guangzhou to study Chinese in 1982. Yang was exposed to art from a young age through her mother, Suhwa Chou Yang, who ran the Hunglin Art Gallery in Taipei in the 1970s. Upon graduation Yang held internships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art , both in New York, before accepting a position as Assistant Curator at the New Museum, New York, in 1988. Notable exhibitions she curated during her time at the New Museum include 1+1+1: Works by Alfredo Jaar (1992); Skin Deep (1993); and The Final Frontier (1993). She left the New Museum in 1993 to work as an independent curator and critic while studying to earn a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University. In early ...