The Heckscher Museum of Art’s latest offering features a vibrant and timely exhibition on contemporary Asian and Asian American art. Drawn from the multifaceted collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, the exhibit, titled Global Asias, examines the cosmopolitan, exuberant, and subtly subversive works of 15 artists of Asian heritage who are adept at crossing borders — not only physical ones, but also those in media, styles, genre, and materials. The show opened June 4 and runs through Sept. 18.
Global Asias invites viewers to think about Asia not in singular but plural terms — encouraging audiences to understand Asia as a site of meaning across the globe. The artists in Global Asias were born in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Argentina, and the United States. The exhibition provides an opportunity to move away from considering Asia as a geographical location and instead invites viewers to think broadly about how “Asia” has long served as an imaginative construct.
Featured artists include Kwang Young Chun, Hung Liu, Do Ho Suh, Jacob Hashimoto, Mariko Mori, Akio Takamor, Manabu Ikeda, Hiroki Morinoue, Barbara Takenaga, Jun Keneko, Takashi Murakami, Rirkrit Tirayanija, Dinh Q. Lê, Roger Shimomra and Patti Warashina.
The exhibition was curated by Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Penn State.
“The artists included in this exhibition open our eyes to what it is like to cross boundaries both real and cultural,” said collector Jordan Schnitzer, whose family has a longstanding history of championing Asian art and culture. “I hope each viewer is as moved as I am by this exhibition and is challenged and inspired by the art. The power of this exhibition will influence all of us for years to come.”
“Global Asias is brimming with fascinating work by internationally renowned artists. As the only East Coast venue for the exhibition, The Heckscher Museum has a unique opportunity to share this timely art with communities across Long Island and beyond,” added curator Karli Wurzelbacher.
Organized by the Palmer Museum of Art, the 45 works in Global Asias are presented through three themes: Exuberant Forms, Moving Stories, and Asias Reinvented. The artists include New York based artists Jacob Hashimoto and Barbara Takenaga.
Exuberant Forms features works that reshape and challenge conventional views of abstract art by exploring new materials, techniques, and metaphors. Kwang Young Chun (b. 1944) exploits the texture of handmade papers in his somber monochromes, while Jacob Hashimoto (b. 1973) mimics the effect of collage in his tour-de-force prints. Jun Kaneko (b. 1942) “flattens” traditional raku ware into explosive two-dimensionality. Hiroki Morinoue (b. 1947) and Barbara Takenaga (b. 1949) create intricate geometric patterns to evoke natural formations.
Moving Stories brings together powerful works that reflect on the experiences of migration, both within Asia and beyond. Dinh Q. Lê (b.1968) appropriates and masks iconic images of the Vietnam War. Hung Liu (1948-2021) finds inspiration in historical photographs, reinterpreting the genre of portraiture through the lens of displaced and voluntary immigrants. Roger Shimomura (b. 1939) borrows the visual language of Japanese woodblock prints and Pop art to render the lives of Japanese Americans incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) and Rirkrit Tiravanjia (b. 1961) map their own diasporic trajectories, literally and metaphorically.
Asias Reinvented highlights two- and three-dimensional works that transform styles and motifs of traditional Asian art to engage, probe, and critique contemporary popular culture and politics. The Pop- and manga-inflected fantasies of Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) and Mariko Mori (b. 1967) are rooted in both the artisanal heritages and the consumerist trends of Japan. Akio Takamori (1950–2017) and Patti Warashina (b. 1940) turn seemingly innocent motifs into uncanny portrayals of life, love, and death. Manabu Ikeda (b. 1973) evokes Hokusai’s famous waves to create a surreal scene of planetary apocalypse.
Following The Heckscher Museum of Art, this national touring show will travel to Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana, Oct. 13, 2022 through Jan. 15, 2023; and USC Pacific Asia Art Museum, Pasadena, California, March 10 through June 25, 2023. A catalog accompanies the exhibition and includes 73 color images, and a collector’s statement published by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
The Heckscher Museum of Art, 2 Prime Avenue, Huntington presents Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation through Sept. 18. Viewing hours are Thursday to Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-380-3230 or visit wwww.heckscher.org.