Why Asia?: Essays on Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art

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9780814735794: Why Asia?: Essays on Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art

Why Asia?: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art is a ground-breaking investigation into two overlapping and rapidly emerging areas in contemporary art. Extricating them from their current confusion under a generic "Asian" label, Yang reveals the specificity of each. The book consists of lucid discussions on individual artists, exhibitions and theoretical issues. With over sixty illustrations it serves to introduce the current landscape of Asian and Asian American Art, with essays on art in China, Taiwan and North America, as well as individual essays on leading artists such as Rirkrit Tiravanija, Xu Bing and Michael Joo. Above all, Yang explores the challenges that contemporary Asian and Asian American art poses to artists, critics, curators and viewers alike. In particular, she reflects on the complexities of exhibition practice, the role of identity politics in arts, the unspoken assumptions of Western critics faced with Asian art, and the difficulties faced by artists working between cultures. This is a major critical contribution in an area where criticism conspicuously lags behind artistic practice.

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About the Author:

Alice Yang (1961-1997) was Curator at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton and former Assistant Curator at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. As a critic and curator, she wrote widely on contemporary art, with special attention to Asian and Asian American art.

Review:

"Alice Yang wrote with the kind of passionate intelligence that made many artists wish she had written about them. While her ostensible subject is th perilous journey toward recognition and understanding taken by Asian and Asian American artists, the issues she explores go far beyond any of the narrow definitions imposed on these individuals by mainstream culture. Yang understood from a deep place what was at stake; both the present and future of culture. Many of Yang's writings should be regarded as landmark contributions to the turbulent dialogue regarding culture and its constituents."

-John Yau,writer, critic, and curator

"Why Asia?: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art explores the fascinating terra incognita offered by both these cultural arenas with admirable objectivity and insight. In this collection of essays, reviews, and interviews, the late Alice Yang investigates not merely the specifics of Chinese, Korean, Thai, or Asian American production, but the complex issues that surround all varieties of identity politics in contemporary art, whether in the United States, Europe, or Asia. Making a clear argument for recognizing the important differences among different groups of Asian artists, she nevertheless sees the broader issues and problems connecting them. Written with verve and intelligence, Why Asia? answers the questions posed by its author with a sophisticated, enlightening, and stimulating analysis of the art, and artists, in question."

-Linda Nochlin,Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

". . .remarkably illuminating collection of reviews and critical writings on Asian and Asian American art . . ."

-Art Journal

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Editorial: NYU Press (1998)
ISBN 10: 0814735797 ISBN 13: 9780814735794
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