Past Exhibitions


Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s

January 19th, 2017 - August 13, 2017




LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments

March 13-July 12, 2014


A Moment In Your Family History

Closes January 13, 2014


(de)Constructing Chinatown

July 26, 2012 – October 28, 2012


Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration

Dec. 10, 2010 – Dec. 18, 2011

Remembering Angel Island

June 16, 2010 – Dec. 18, 2012


Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection

October 24, 2009 – Nov. 7, 2010

Neighborhood Stories

Decemeber 18, 2009 - June 8, 2010


National Art Competition

June 20, 2009 - Sept. 27, 2009



Sunshine and Shadow: In Search of Jake Lee

Dec 1, 2007 – Oct 25, 2008


Chinese American Citizens Alliance

Nov 5, 2006 – Apr 8, 2007

Merging: The Art of Diana Shui-Iu Wong

Mar 18, 2006 – Oct 15, 2006


Impressions: Milton Quon’s Los Angeles

May 15, 2005 – Feb 26, 2006

A Portrait of My Mother by Sam Boi Lee

May 15, 2005 – Feb 26, 2006


John Kwok: Line and Color

Nov 13, 2004 – May 1, 2005

(Invisible): Angel Island by Cindy Suriyani

July 9, 2004 – May 1, 2005

Tyrus Wong: A Retrospective

Dec 18, 2003 – Oct 17, 2004


Off-site Exhibitions

Inspiring Lines: Chinese American Pioneers in the Commercial Arts

(This special exhibit is part of the Chinese American Museum’s Annual Lantern Festival)

Feb 23, 2002 – Apr 7, 2002
El Pueblo Gallery At El Pueblo Monument

Inspiring Lines: Chinese American Pioneers in the Commercial Arts

Dec 15, 2001 – Feb 17, 2002
LMAN Studio

The Chinese American Experience in the San Gabriel Valley

Dec 10, 1999 – Jan 10, 2000
Evergreen Art Gallery

From Hearth to Heaven: Chinatown Living

Feb 23, 1999 – Apr 4, 1999
El Pueblo Gallery

Portraits and Voices

June 1, 1998 – July 31, 1998
Monterey Park Public Library

Circles and Circuits II: Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art

Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art

Opens September 15, 2017

Circles and Circuits explores the art of the Chinese Caribbean diaspora from the early 20th century to the present day. By examining the contributions of artists of Chinese descent in Cuba, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and beyond, the exhibition reveals the hidden complexities of the transcultural art of the Caribbean. Presented in two parts: History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diasporaon view at the California African American Museum (CAAM) through February 25, 2018, and Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art on view at the Chinese American Museum (CAM) through March 11, 2018.


I.     History and Art of the Chinese Caribbean Diaspora
California African American Museum
600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles, CA 90037
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. and Sunday 11:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.
Admission is FREE.

CAAM Opening Reception I: September 19, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Curators’ Talk begins at 6:30 P.M.
RSVP by September 14:


II.     Contemporary Chinese Caribbean Art
Chinese American Museum
425 North Los Angeles Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 10:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
Admission is Free; suggested donation of $3.00, which supports the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument.

CAM Opening Reception II: September 20, 2017, 6:00 – 9:00 P.M.
Curators’ Talk begins at 6:30 P.M.
RSVP by September 14:


Circles and Circuits: Chinese Caribbean Art is part of Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a far-reaching and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art in dialogue with Los Angeles, taking place from September 2017 through January 2018 at more than 70 cultural institutions across Southern California. Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.

This exhibition is organized by the Chinese American Museum in partnership with the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University and the California African American Museum. Curated by Alexandra Chang, A/P/A Institute at NYU, and Steven Y. Wong, CAM, in coordination with Mar Hollingsworth, CAAM. Lead support for this exhibition and publication is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation. Major support provided by the Friends of the Chinese American Museum with additional support provided by Daisy Chow and Eugene Lam; the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles; and Doré Hall Wong.




Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s


Who is “Asian American”? How did we come into this shifting and expansive idea?

Contrary to popular perception, it is an identity defined out of protest. Starting in the 1960s, a group of young activists shaped “Asian America” through a long decade of fighting displacement, serving their communities, agitating for revolution, and analyzing the intersections of gender, race, and class. From Little Tokyo to Chinatown to Historic Filipinotown to the West Side, in solidarity with Latino, Black, feminist, and international struggles, Los Angeles saw the rise of vibrant artistic and political movements.

Roots: Asian American Movements in Los Angeles 1968-80s is the first exhibition to collect and present this history, arguing that the past helps give meaning to the present and future of our communities.  Please note that the Roots exhibit has been extended to August 13, 2017!

A zine featuring art, essays, photographs, and poetry was produced in conjunction with the exhibit. Download a copy of the zine here.


2017 National Art Competition Winners: Our Community, Our Future

Our Community, Our Future

Anne Liu, Upper Division Grand Prize Winner.  Together.

Our latest community gallery features the fourteen winners from the 2017 National Art Competition sponsored by the Chinese American Museum and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.  Titled “Our Communities, Our Future,” we challenged students from grades K-12 to define and show us their visions of community.

The Chinese and Chinese American Communities in the United States are always changing.
Their lives are filled with different journeys and hopes and dreams.
What does community mean to you, and what are your hopes for the future of your community?

With over a hundred submissions from all over the country, students explored the theme of community through a variety of mediums and approaches, addressing topics like inclusion, multiculturalism, service, unity, cultural heritage, the environment, cultural identity, community space, and their hopes for the future.

Community Gallery – Love and Peace: An Exhibition from the Chinese American Artists Association

Love and Peace: An Exhibition from the Chinese American Artists Association—A Community Gallery explores the artistic influence of Western and Eastern styles of art within Chinese communities around the world. Traditional methods of Chinese painting and calligraphy are on display along with works that are inspired by, incorporate and/or adopt Western techniques.

This exhibit is made possible by the Chinese American Artists Association, AC Arts, American Arts Research Institute, American Chinese Painting Institute, Preparatory Office of the American Global Arts Museum, Da Feng Hall (USA), LA Web Cultural Center, University of the West, and the Golden Maple Art Investment.

The Chinese American Artists Association (CAAA), along with AC Arts, America Arts Research Institute, and the America Chinese Painting Institute, was founded in 1999 in Los Angeles.  CAAA sponsors over 100 artists living in the United States and is supported by Masters Ting Shaokuang and Liu Dawei.  Since it was established, CAAA hosted over 10 Chinese American Famous Artists Exhibition and over 300 exhibits and activities based on the series “Same Root, Various Splendors,” “Love and Peace,” and “Embraced China.”

Ink Painting and Construction of Contemporary Chinese Art

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Ink Painting And Construction Of Contemporary Chinese Art

From Qiu Deshu’s inked paper collage to Cai Guangbin’s black and white photography inspired images, and Wang Dongling’s action calligraphy to Zou Cao’s fingerprint landscape painting, this group exhibition of twelve artists showcases the diversity and innovation in contemporary Chinese ink art. Audacious, refreshing, and dexterous, the artists demonstrate their effort in breaking through the boundaries of tradition. With their experiments in subject matter, material application and execution, and in introducing contemporary vocabulary such as mixed media, conceptual art, action painting and abstraction to ink art, these artists seek new possibilities to create a dialogue with contemporary art in other parts of the world. Ink Painting And Construction Of Contemporary Chinese Art will be on view from January 22 through March 29, 2015.

Special thanks to the Cai Family.

Featured Artists: Qiu Deshu, Wang Dongling, Li Huayi, Pan Gongkai, Lu Fusheng, Zhang Hong, Gan Yifei, Wang Tiande, Zheng Chongbin, Cai Guangbin, Lu Chuntao, Li Huai, and Zou Cao

Curated by: Kuiyi Shen, University of California, San Diego

Organized by: Danielle Shang, University of California, Los Angeles

Tales of the Distant Past: The Story of Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora (A Tribute from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals of Hong Kong)


Millions of Chinese have emigrated overseas since the 1850s. Although known more for its pivotal position as a port city, Hong Kong was also a gateway for the Chinese diaspora, facilitating the migration of Chinese to over 135 different countries worldwide.

Tales of the Distant Past: The Story of Hong Kong and the Chinese Diaspora (A Tribute from the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in Hong Kong) explores the factors leading to this mass migration through stories and art.   The exhibit also examines the role of both Hong Kong and the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals in supporting the needs of Chinese living in Hong Kong and abroad. Established in 1870, the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals is the longest standing and largest philanthropic organization in Hong Kong.



caption: Guangzhou Factories (1805-1806) Daniell William
Oil on canvas

LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments

Michael C Hsiung On the topic of how various sauces can make pizza better


LA Heat: Taste Changing Condiments, is an art exhibition exploring the impact of Sriracha and Tapatio in Los Angeles. The exhibit included a curated selection of artwork from artists of diverse backgrounds passionate and reflective about notions of identity, community, and foodways.

Sriracha and Tapatio hot sauces are two examples of the recent homegrown all-American condiments that have dramatically impacted American cuisine.  The rise in popularity of these condiments signifies an increase in Asian and Latino populations living in the US and especially in Los Angeles after the passing of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965.  In 1971, Mexican immigrant Jose-Luis Saavedra, Sr., started Tapatio Hot Sauce, a unique combination of red chili peppers, spices and a hint of garlic, in a warehouse in Maywood, California. David Tran, an immigrant from Vietnam of Chinese ancestry, started making Thai-inspired Sriracha sauce blended fromchili peppers, vinegar, garlic in small shop in Los Angeles Chinatown in 1983.  In large American cities everywhere, both Sriracha and Tapatio contend to rival Heinz Ketchup and French’s mustard as the all-American condiment for the Y-Generation, for these hot sauces have become interwoven into the American cultural fabric and thus becoming an ubiquitous condiment in American cuisine.

Participating artists in the exhibition were:

    • Edith Beaucage
    • Erik Benjamins
    • Audrey Chan
    • Ching Ching Cheng
    • The Chung!!
    • Chris Christion
    • Clayton Brothers
    • Eye One
    • Gajin Fujita
    • Daniel Gonzalez
    • Pato Hebert
    • Michael C. Hsiung
    • Phung Huynh
    • Tomo Isoyama
    • Nery Gabriel Lemus
  • Sandra Low
  • Trinh Mai
  • Patrick Martinez
  • Michael Massenburg
  • Kwanchai Moriya
  • Jose Ramirez
  • Yoshie Sakai
  • Jose Sarinana
  • Sand One
  • Shark Toof
  • Sket
  • Slick
  • Henry Taylor
  • Werc

Thank you to our sponsors and community partners:
Cal Humanities
Chinatown BID
Chinatown Community for Equitable Development
Culinary Historians of Southern California
El Pueblo Historical Monument
Friends of La Plaza
Mexicali Tacos and Co.
Smithsonian Institution–Smithsonian Latino Center and Asian Pacific American Center
Starry Kitchen
The Grids
Xoia Vietnamese Eats


Thank you to our supporters that contributed to our first crowd-sourcing campaign on IndieGoGo to support this exhibition.

Ghost Pepper   

  • Randy Clemens
  • O.C. Lee

Habanero pepper          

  • Eduardo Buenviaje
  • Suellen Cheng
  • Munson Kwok
  • Leslie Ito
  • Jean Miao
  • Phuong Tang & Jeff Liu
  • Patricia Wakida
  • Jean Wong
  • Rockett Wong
  • Simon D. Wu

Cayenne Pepper

  • Bessie Chin
  • Michael Duchemin
  • Sam Lee Gallery
  • Phung Huynh
  • Khue & Chris Jacobs
  • Pauline Wong Lemasson
  • Scott Ito & Nan Lee
  • Betty Liu
  • Sean Mizuno
  • Dora Quach
  • Kasumi Sakai
  • Diane M. L. Tan
  • Ehren Tool
  • Vera de Vera
  • Shinae Yoon
  • Donna Young

Serrano Pepper

  • Sum-Sum Chan
  • Adam Chapnick
  • Bessie Chin
  • Jennifer Cho
  • Mike Fong
  • Michael Ho
  • Noelle Ito
  • Lawrence Joe
  • Traci Kato-Kiriyama
  • Kimberly Kawasaki
  • Sojin Kim
  • Wendy Lin
  • Sandra Low
  • D.B. Quan
  • The Sampiano Family
  • Geneva Tien
  • Michael Velasquez & Naoko Watanabe
  • Ellen Wu
  • Christine Yee

Jalapeños Pepper

  • Edith Beaucage
  • Eric Bellomy
  • Massiel Bobadilla
  • Jeffrey Chavez
  • Jeffrey Chavez
  • Yu Pang Cheng
  • Lin Tang & John Duong
  • Steven Fujimoto
  • Nary La
  • Yiuwing Lam
  • John & Stefanie Lau
  • Lawrence Li
  • Taiji Miyagawa
  • Elizabeth Morin
  • Michael C. Oliveira
  • Jason Peri
  • Zhen Zhen Peri
  • Francisco Rivera
  • Riley Robbins
  • Tim Roddy
  • David Show
  • Sarah Stevenson
  • Andy Su
  • Kathy Tokudomi
  • San Tong
  • Carlos Valle
  • Clare Wagner
  • Randall Dean Warlick
  • Abbie Wanamaker
  • Kenneth Wong
  • Vivian Yan
  • Jinfang Yang

Bell Pepper       

  • Leigh Gleason
  • Howard Ho
  • Daniel Katz
  • Jen Ju
  • Sophie Lafferty
  • Jessica Lui
  • Jason Pulaski
  • Todd Rosenblatt
  • Charissa R Santos
  • Phonexay Singharatsavong
  • Annie Tang
  • Lisa Taylor
  • Deeba Zaman


  • Jeffrey Chin
  • Megan Mateo
  • Robert Mateo
  • Michelle Garcia-Ortiz
  • Shaheen Sayani
  • Jonathan Wong

We also want to thank those that donated anonymously and thank those who helped spread the word about the campaign to families, friends, and colleagues.


This project was made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit

Transpacific Ties: Bridging Hong Kong and Los Angeles Through Art

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Featuring over 40 artists with disabilities, Transpacific Ties: Bridging Hong Kong and Los Angeles through Art emphasized the talents of two groups of artists separated by the Pacific Ocean but united in their shared passion for art. The exhibition encouraged an ongoing dialogue about the Chinese diaspora; shared the stories, histories, and challenges that unite the community; and showcased the many ways in which the community cares for and empowers those with disabilities.

In partnership with the Hong Kong based Tung Wah Group of Hospitals (TWGHs) and the Southern California based Chinese Parents Association for the Disabled (CPAD), Transpacific Ties was the Chinese American Museum’s first transnational exhibition. The exhibition ran from Aug. 9 and to Dec. 14.

Sponsored by:



A Moment In Your Family History

photo for exhibition page

A Moment in Your Family History is part of a series of biennial art competitions hosted by the Chinese American Museum and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance.  The art competition began in 1995 to showcase the artistic talents of students.  It has now evolved into a platform encouraging students to explore their cultural heritage through the visual arts.   The theme of A Moment in Your Family History asked participants to discover a moment in their family history that helped shape who they are today.

The competition received hundreds of submissions.  On display are 14 winners from the competition.  These artworks not only demonstrate the participants’ artistic abilities; but also examine personal cultural heritage, family memories, immigration stories, and identity.

The biennial art competition is open to students from grade kindergarten to twelve. Entries are placed and judged in four divisions according to grade level: Division 1 (K-3); Division 2 (4-6); Division 3 (7-9); and Division 4 (10-12).

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance is a national, non-partisan, community active, cultural and social non-profit organization founded in 1895.  More information about the Alliance and their youth programs is available at

Community Gallery – The Streets Between Us: A Snapshot of Chinatown

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“The Streets Between Us” photography exhibit tells the story of community members’ daily lives in a rapidly changing Chinatown. Through the eyes of nine Chinatown Community for Equitable Development (CCED) community members and participants, the exhibit creatively documents the everyday experiences of long-time Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Thai residents and small business owners, of different ages and genders, and what they hope for Chinatown.

(de)Constructing Chinatown

(de)Constructing Chinatown was an artist showcase of Los Angeles Chinatown, revealing the geographical space in a state constant change, from the original home of Historic Chinatown, where Union Station now sits, to the current home of “New Chinatown,” along the Broadway Avenue corridor. The exhibition illustrated an alternative view in contrast to preconceived notions about Los Angeles Chinatown. This new perspective provides a real understanding and appreciation of Los Angeles Chinatown as an essential part of the City’s culturally diverse and ever-changing landscape.

Selection from the Michael Sakamoto series, “El Espiritu del Barrio Chino”

Breaking Ground: Chinese American Architects in Los Angeles, 1945-1980

(January 19, 2012 – June 3, 2012)

This exhibit showcased the achievements of four pioneering Chinese American architects whose contributions were critical to the development of Los Angeles’ urban and visual landscape between 1945 and 1980. The exhibit focused on the lives and work of Eugene Kinn Choy, Gilbert L. Leong, Helen Liu Fong, and Gin D. Wong, FAIA, four architects who played pivotal roles in the development of Mid-Century Modern and Googie Architecture movements, unique to California’s Post-War architectural renaissance. Breaking Ground was part of Pacific Standard Time. This unprecedented collaboration, initiated by The Getty Foundation, brought together more than sixty cultural institutions from across Southern California for six months to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene.

Choy Residence Exterior, Backyard Patio. © J. Paul Getty Trust. Used with permission. Julius Shulman Photography Archive, Research Library at the Getty Research Institute (2004.R.10)



Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration

Dreams Deferred

Dec. 10, 2010 – December 18, 2011

The Chinese American Museum (CAM) and El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument is proud to present Dreams Deferred: Artists Respond to Immigration Reform opening on December 10, 2010. This exhibition will showcase local artists exploring the tensions, repercussions, hopes, and dreams of immigrant communities in the face of new immigration legislation, through a broad spectrum of art including street art, graffiti art, sculptures, painting and multimedia installations.

U.S. immigration laws have long reflected a lasting legacy of racial exclusion starting with the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, the first legislation to restrict immigration based on race and ethnicity. This legacy of immigration legislation targeting immigrant communities has since reemerged in the recent decades with California’s Proposition 187,and Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070, as attempts at inhibiting the livelihoods of undocumented immigrants.

Dreams Deferred continues the current national dialogue about immigration, kicked-off by the recent opening of CAM’s Remembering Angel Island, an exhibition commemorating the 100th year anniversary of the opening of the West Coast’s first immigration station. Both exhibitions will serve to shed light on the parallels of past and current immigration policies and reform, and how Los Angeles’ diverse immigrant communities collectively share not only their immigrant histories, but also many of the challenges facing new immigrant communities today.

Artists participating in this exhibit include:
Augustine Kofie
Eriberto Oriol
Ernesto Yerena Montejano
K. Lovich
Jesus Barraza of Dignidad Rebelde
Joel “” Garcia
John Carlos De Luna
Oscar Magallanes
Patrick Martinez
Sand One
Shark Toof
Shepard Fairey
O.G. Slick

Chinese American Citizens Alliance | Grand Lodge
Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles
Friends of the Chinese American Museum

Asian Pacific American Legal Center
Mid-City Arts
Self Help Graphics
The UCLA Labor Center

Remembering Angel Island

Image Courtesy of U.S. National Archives & Records Administration, College Park, MD.

June 16, 2010 – Dec. 18, 2011

Remembering Angel Island exhibition commemorates the 100th year anniversary of the opening of Angel Island Immigration Station through its history, legacy, and unforgettable stories. Constructed in 1910 in the heart of San Francisco Bay, Angel Island Immigration Station processed more than one million immigrants from over 80 countries—including 175,000 Chinese—during its 30 years of operations before burning down in 1940.

Though often nicknamed “The Ellis Island of the West,” the mission of Angel Island served an entirely different purpose than its East Coast counterpart, particularly for Chinese immigrants. The passage of the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act subjected many Chinese to intense interrogation and detention on Angel Island that lasted weeks, months, and sometimes even years. The ordeal of this experience left an indelible mark in the lives of Chinese immigrants that forever changed the course of America’s history.

Remembering Angel Island provides a bracing look into the hope and heartache of this seminal chapter of America’s immigrant history through historic photographs, a reproduction of a poem carved on the barracks of Angel Island, coaching papers, artifacts, and a multi-media station featuring a mock interrogation and personal stories of those who endured or were profoundly affected by the Angel Island experience.
Read about the exhibit as featured in the Los Angeles Times.

Click here for a PDF of the story: Page 1 | Page 2

Click here for the exhibit press release [pdf]

Special Thanks to our Angel Island Exhibit Donors: (List as of May 7, 2010)

Benefactor Level ($1,000 and above)
Annie Jeng
Buck Gee
Byron Lee
CACA Grand Lodge
CACA Greater San Gabriel Valley
Chung King Properties
Joseph & Flora Ko
Laura Lai
Ronald L. & Lisa L. Moy
Tim & Annie Siu
Dolores Wong
James Bok Wong & Mrs. Betty KC Yeow
Victor Wong
Wei Wong, Esq.

Sponsor Level (up to $500)
Israel & Nadine Soo Hoo Levy
James J & Christiane A Cook
Linda Wah
Nowland C. Hong
The Central City Optimist Club of Los Angeles California
Tim & Cecilia Yu
In memory of Silun Ho and Kamping Chan

Advocate Level (up to $250)
Al & Bibiana Y. Soo-Hoo
Albert & Marjorie Lew
Allison C. Mah
Debra Wong
Dorothy Tamashiro
Edwin Kwoh
Eugene & Susan Moy
Ging Loy & Kam Chun Gin
Greg & Debbie Soo-Hoo
Jean Quan
Joe Quan
Louis E & Lavinia L Kwok
Pauline Wong, Ph.D.
Perry & Alice Lew
Randolph & Karolynne A. Gee
Raymond & Elsie S. Chan

Supporter Level (up to $100)
Charles Wong
Peter & Linda Yao
Donna Young
Gene W. & Nancy Choy
John & Ginger Fong
Sharon Chow
May Jang
Doré Hall Wong
Dennis Soo-Hoo
Desmond Lew
Jean Bruce Poole
Saykin Foo, CPA
Peter & Lucy Soo-Hoo, Jr.
Angi Ma Wong
Michael Fong
Jan Lin
Ed Lew
Diane Tan
Gene & Alma Chin
M. Michael & Lisa A. Deaderick
Dr. Wayne Flicker & Janice Lew
A.Y. & C.Q. Chow
Dean & Nellie Jew
Pearl Lee
Patricia Q. & Debra Eng
David A. & Linda L. Dow
Stephen & Nancy Pang
Bob Gin
Ava Lee
Frankie F. Yan
Jimmy M. & Dale A. Gin
Samuel Joe
Peter J. Wong and Patricia Kinaga
Howard Chin
Randy & Vickie Hom
Roy & Daisy Chan
Agnes Fung
Emily C. Mayeda
Janice Ng
Cynthia Woo
Wei C. Wong, Esq.
Heather Lee-Yoshioka
Richard Ferrante

Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection

Hollywood Chinese

October 24, 2009 – Nov. 7, 2010

Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection is a groundbreaking exhibition of movie memorabilia collected during the ten-year research for Arthur Dong’s documentary on the Chinese in American feature films, “Hollywood Chinese.” From the filmmaker’s archive of over 1,000 items, a selection of posters, lobby cards, stills, scripts, press material, and other artifacts dating from 1916 to present-day offer vivid graphic examples of how the Chinese have been imagined in the movies during the last century. The show also documents the work of Chinese and Chinese American film artists through the decades who have triumphed as well as struggled with an industry often ignorant of race. Filmmaker Arthur Dong is the Guest Curator for this exhibit.

In addition to iconic depictions evidenced by material from films such as “The Good Earth,” “The Vengeance of Fu Manchu,” “Charlie Chan in Honolulu,” and “Flower Drum Song,” highlights of the exhibition include the surviving archive of pioneer Chinese American filmmaker James B. Leong, who produced the 1921 film, “Lotus Blossom,” in Los Angeles, and rare production photos from the recently discovered 1916 film, “The Curse of Quon Gwon,” the earliest known feature film directed by an Asian American, San Francisco native Marion Wong. Other themes include a look at how cinema exploited the Chinatown mystique, films reflecting anti-Communists attitudes, and a selection of lobby cards from Mexico. On special display will be the first Oscar ® won by a Chinese American, the eminent cinematographer, James Wong Howe, for his work on “The Rose Tattoo (1955)” The statuette is on loan courtesy of the James Wong Howe Estate.

Major funding for “Hollywood Chinese: The Arthur Dong Collection” has been provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Click here for the Press Release (PDF).

Neighborhood Stories

December 18, 2009 – June 8, 2010

This photographic exhibition introduced visitors to the beginnings of Los Angeles’ changing Chinese American communities, from the city’s original Chinatown, New Chinatown, China City, and Market Chinatown. This exhibit provided a glimpse at how the Chinese American community began to make Los Angeles home.

National Art Competition

Contest winner

June 20, 2009 – Sept. 27, 2009

In 2007 and 2009, students in grades K-12 from across the country participated in a national art competition, hosted by the Chinese American Museum (CAM) and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA), based on the themes of “Growing Up Chinese American” and “Democracy and Diversity,” respectively. The winning entries and honorable mentions from both competitions are now on public display for the first time in this spirited new art exhibition titled National Art Competition. Featuring over fifty colorful artworks spanning two gallery floors, the dual-themed exhibit will reflect an intersection of art, culture, politics and diversity as seen through the eyes of America’s youth.

Press Release (PDF)

Asian Roots/American Reality: Photographs by Corky Lee

Nov. 16, 2008 – May 31, 2009

Widely known as the most prolific photographer documenting the Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) experience, Corky Lee has played both witness and participant in chronicling the evolution and expansion of the APIA community through his photography.  In his first major retrospective and only West Coast venue, 88 compelling photographs spanning 30 years of Lee’s career was featured in this historic exhibition.

Sunshine and Shadow: In Search of Jake Lee

Jake Lee (1915 -1991), Garage Sale

December 1, 2007 – April 13, 2008

Jake Lee (1915 -1991) was a major figure in 20th-century California art, whose legacy remains a subject of growing interest in the Chinese American community. Lee was a master watercolorist who produced an extensive body of work as both a fine artist and a commercial artist. He was also a beloved teacher whose students continue to be inspired by his instruction and his example.

Lee’s first-ever solo museum exhibition brings together watercolor paintings, sketches, photographs and other personal ephemera representing the artist’s life and work. Sunshine and Shadow features many artworks that have never been seen by the public, as well as stories gathered from art collectors and close friends of the artist himself. This in-depth look at Lee’s oeuvre showcases the artist’s signature use of color, his distinctive play of light against shadow, and his uncanny ability to find beauty in even the most mundane subjects. Among the urban and idyllic landscapes and seascapes comprising the exhibit are the covers Lee painted for the Automobile Club of Southern California’s member magazine, Westways, from the 1950s to 1970s.

Lee’s impressive work places him among the most important Asian American artists of his generation. Late in his career, Lee began to use his art to express some of the tension he felt as a person of two cultures, which is why Lee’s work resonates with Chinese American audiences and continues to find new appreciation among viewers of all ages and backgrounds.

The exhibition Sunshine and Shadow: In Search of Jake Lee will be on display from Friday, November 30, 2007 through Sunday, April 13, 2008. A fully illustrated exhibition catalog is available at the Museum Gift Shop.

This exhibition and catalog were produced by the Chinese American Museum in cooperation with the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Growing Up Chinese American: Childhood Toys and Memories

November 5, 2006- April 8, 2007

Our childhood toys and experiences can deeply influence how we remember the past, understand our place in the world in the present, and lead grown up lives in the future. Growing Up Chinese American: Childhood Toys and Memories is an exhibit that explores this relationship by presenting children’s toys from the Chinese American Museum permanent collection, as well as personal stories of their owners.

By exploring facets of everyday life for children of Chinese descent coming of age in a rapidly changing 20th century America, Growing Up Chinese American presents a complex picture of how childhood can shape our grown up lives in subtle but meaningful ways. The toys and stories featured in the exhibit also suggest by their multiple and varied frames of reference that a broad spectrum of Chinese American childhood experiences exists, and it is from this rich diversity which Chinese American history and Chinese American futures stem.

This exhibition was made possible in part through the generous support of Union Bank of California and Megatoys.

Celebrate! Chinese Holidays Through the Eyes of Children

Stephanie Yu, “The Family’s New year’s Eve”, Wedgeworth Elementary School Art, Age 8

November 5, 2006- April 8, 2007

The Chinese American Museum and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance (CACA), a pioneering national civil rights organization, present Celebrate! Chinese Holidays Through the Eyes of Children—an exhibit of original artworks about Chinese festivals and celebrations made by school children across the United States. Ten years after the CACA’s original 1995 National Art Competition, these vibrant winning images are brought together again in Celebrate! to signal the exciting return of this nation-wide art contest in 2007, a joint project between CAM and the CACA.

Chinese American Citizens Alliance

The official Fez of Los Angeles Lodge, the second Lodge to be established in the Alliance in the 1930s.

November 5, 2006- April 8, 2007

The Chinese American Citizens Alliance is a national organization whose purpose has been for more than a century to advocate for the rights and promote the well being of the Chinese American community. A group of young men, born in America of Chinese ancestry, formed the Alliance in San Francisco, California in 1895 to fight discriminatory laws fueled by wide spread anti-Chinese sentiment in the late 19th Century.

Since its inception, the Alliance has generated a broad range of political, social and cultural activities based on its abiding commitment to the Chinese American community. Youth programs focusing on civic duty, community awareness, and cultural pride have been a large part of the Alliance’s repertoire of community-wide activities. On display in this exhibition were objects ranging from artifacts to historic collateral materials provided by the various Alliance Lodges located throughout the Unites States.

Merging: The Art of Diana Shui-Iu Wong

March 18, 2006 – October 15, 2006

This exhibit narrates Chinese immigration to the United States with an emphasis on community settlement in Los Angeles. The display is outlined into four distinct time periods. Each period is defined by an important immigration law and event, accompanied by a brief description and a short personal story about a local Chinese American and their experiences in that particular historical period.

Impressions: Milton Quon’s Los Angeles

Milton Quon, Trainyard, Los Angeles, 1983, watercolor on paper, courtesy of the artist. 11 3/8″ x 14 3/8″

May 15, 2005 – February 26, 2006

This retrospective exhibition on Milton Quan showcased the broad range of the artist’s practice from fine art to commercial work, much of which is on public display for the first time.

Milton Quon is a native of Los Angeles, born in 1913. He is the eldest of eight children and the only son of the Ng Quan Ying family. After graduating from the Chouinard Art Institute (now the California Institute of the Arts), Quon began his professional career with Walt Disney Studios in 1939, helping animate the films Fantasia and Dumbo. He returned to Disney after the war, joining the Publicity/Promotions Department, doing promotional art on projects and films, including Make Mine Music and Song of the South. Following his tenure at Disney, Quon built a long and successful career as a commercial artist, first as an art director for the ad agency BBD&O, and later at the packaging firm Sealright Co., Inc. Quon also shared his creative talent as an instructor at Los Angeles Trade Tech College.

From whimsical cherubs in Disney’s Fantasia to bold advertising posters, Quon’s commercial work will be presented alongside the artist’s rich collection of fine art works. Quon’s plein-air watercolors chronicle everyday life against the backdrop of Los Angeles’s diverse scenery in a changing natural and urban landscape, from a pre-Dodger’s Stadium Chavez Ravine Grocery store and New Chinatown Gateway to the Santa Monica Beach Pier. With rich, intuitive colors and expressive lines, Quon captures in watercolor the vibrant energy of our sun-kissed beaches, the dreary structures of industrial refineries and the crowded train yards converging at the heart of Los Angeles.

As a tireless artist, fishing enthusiast and avid traveler, Quon is always armed with a sketchbook, pens and watercolors, recording subjects of local interest as well as his travels across the country and abroad. Finally, the exhibit will also feature Quon’s imaginative personal Christmas cards which blend conventional Christmas imagery with traditional Chinese painting style and elements.

A Portrait of My Mother by Sam Boi Lee

Sam Boi Lee, Mother’s Pillbox, 2003, lightjet print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper. 20″ x 24″

May 15, 2005 – February 26, 2006

As a cultural history museum, CAM values work by local emerging artists who address the broad scope of our mission in provocative and exploratory ways. Sam Boi Lee’s poignant photographic series about his mother, Binh Tu Phan, operates like a photo-essay told through eloquent images of his mother’s world, from everyday objects that are imbued with his mother’s nurturing strength to his own expressions of loss and love.

As much more than just delicate remembrances, these photographs are as sentimental and ethereal as they are grounded in the realities of his mother’s everyday life —from the fleeting and mundane to moments of great anguish, love, uncertainty, frustration, and enlightenment.

Lee’s A Portrait of My Mother provides museum visitors with glimpses at the connections between the history lessons we teach at CAM and the individual stories that come to shape that history. In the wake of the Fall of Saigon in 1975, Lee’s immediate family strategically split up and fled Vietnam to all parts of the globe. As the son of a P.O.W. and the youngest of nine children, Lee was only six years old when he embarked on this emigration. After multiple migrations, the family finally reunited in Los Angeles ten years later.

By pairing this gripping American story, as told in the museum’s permanent exhibit about immigration, Journeys, alongside Lee’s body of photographs in A Portrait of My Mother, we invite visitors to consider the ways in which ordinary people make history everyday, how we remember our history, and how history shapes our present and our future.

John Kwok: Line and Color

Untitled, Guoache on paper board, 30″ x 40″, 1970s

November 13, 2004 – May 1, 2005

This exhibition featured artwork by local artist John Kwok (1920-1983), an important figure in Los Angeles’ art scene and the Chinese American community since the 1940s. As a member of the National Watercolor Society, California Watercolor Society and American Watercolor Society, his art was a fixture in regional and national shows from 1947 to 1982.

Kwok’s artistic achievements and the large body of work that he leaves behind represent his commitment to making art and his contribution to Chinese American history. Among the fifty works featured in this exhibition are six award-winning pieces, as well as works from Kwok’s personal collection that were on public display for the first time.

(Invisible): Angel Island by Cindy Suriyani

Installation by Cindy Suryiani

July 9, 2004 – May 1, 2005

Created by Los Angeles-based artist Cindy Suryiani, this mixed media art installation consists of light, hanging Chinese rice paper scrolls and life size puppets explored themes of identity, displacement, inclusion, and ultimately of Americanism. Named after the grueling immigrant processing center off the coast of San Francisco, the body of work reinterprets the Island (as it was called by its inmates), from a political, historical perspective, and explores the experiences of the Island’s many Chinese detainees.

Suriyani’s work illustrates the poems of hope, frustration, and longing etched into the barracks’ walls, bedposts, and open surfaces by immigrants from China’s Pearl River Delta. The Island symbolizes more than a rite of passage into the multitude of uncertainties that defined Chinese American experience in the early Twentieth Century. As a nation of immigrants and their descendants, this exhibition underscored the issue of transculturalism, our struggle for human dignity, and our need to make where we are a place we can call home.

Tyrus Wong: A Retrospective

Tyrus Wong, Self Portrait, 14 1/2 ” x 21 3/8″, late 1920s, watercolor on paper.
Chinese American Museum, gift of Sanora Babb Howe

December 18, 2003 – October 17, 2004

This exhibition showcased the works of Tyrus Wong, who at the age of 93, is one of the earliest and most influential Chinese American artists in the United States. In his long, pioneering career as a local artist, Wong is a seasoned painter, muralist, ceramicist, lithographer, designer, and kite maker. This exhibition also featured Wong’s imaginative kites, which he has been building and flying for the past 30 years. Drawn from public and private collections, several of the pieces chosen for this exhibition have not been shown publicly since the 1930s.

Chinatown Stories: Realizing the Imagined by Steve Wong

December 18, 2003– June 18, 2004

This installation piece by Steve Wong explores the theme of community through the use of postcards. By collecting personal stories and memories from community members, as well as the sellers of the vintage Chinatown postcards he has amassed on e-bay for this project, Steve Wong enters these disparate voices into a dialogue of ideas about Chinatown, specifically, and what places come to mean in everyday life.