Godzilla vs. the Art World: Tomie Arai, Byron Kim, Herb Tam, and Ryan Wong

Godzilla vs. the Art World: Tomie Arai, Byron Kim, Herb Tam, and Ryan Wong
Thursday, July 18, 2019

ICI 401 Broadway, Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013
FREE and open to the public

In collaboration with the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), ICI will host a discussion with curators Herb Tam and Ryan Wong (Curatorial Intensive Alumni Tokyo ‘13), on their upcoming exhibition on the 1990s Asian-American art collective Godzilla, opening at MOCA in Spring 2020. Godzilla members Byron Kim and Tomie Arai will join Tam and Wong in their discussion to offer insight into the history and legacy of Godzilla and artist organizations in Chinatown.

Crucial to ICI’s public programs is building a strong connection to neighboring organizations and creating a dialogue between art non-profits in our community. This forthcoming exhibition highlights the legacy of Godzilla as one of the early Asian-American artist collectives operating in Chinatown, which currently is home to both MOCA and ICI. This event intends to connect New York-based contemporary curators with New York’s history and environment, expanding the role of a curator to also activate roles as a historian, resident and cultural worker.

The Museum of Chinese in America was founded in 1980 and is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States. The collection brings 160 years of Chinese American history to vivid life through its innovative exhibitions, educational and cultural programs. The greatly expanded MOCA at 215 Centre Street is a national home for the precious narratives of diverse Chinese American communities, and strives to be a model among interactive museums.

To attend, please RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with GODZILLA in the subject line.

This event is accessible to people with mobility disabilities. Please contact ICI for additional accessibility needs.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Image Caption: Godzilla Newsletter, Spring 1991, Vol.I, No.I.

July 18, 2019

ICI 401 Broadway, Suite 1620
New York, NY 10013


Tomie Arai

Tomie Arai is a public artist who collaborates with local communities to create visual narratives that give meaning to the spaces we live in. Through a framework of collaboration, Arai uses the specificity of her experience as an Asian American as a social space in which to investigate themes of migration, displacement, and cultural equity.

Arai has received awards for visual art from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the NY Foundation for the Art. She was a recipient of an Anonymous Was A Woman Award, a 2016 National Lifetime Achievement Award from the Women’s Caucus for Art and two Asian Women’s Giving Circle Art & Activism Grants. In 2019, she received a Headlands Center for the Arts McLaughlin Award for Social Practice.

Ms. Arai has designed both temporary and permanent public works of art for Creative Time, the US General Services Administration Art in Architecture Program, the NYC PerCent for Art Program, the MTA Arts for Transit Program, The National Endowment, and the SF Arts Commission. She is a co-founder of the cultural collective, The Chinatown Art Brigade, which has received support from A Blade of Grass, the LMCC Creative Engagement Program and the Laundromat Project.

Byron Kim

Byron Kim often works in an area one might call the abstract sublime. His work sits at the threshold of abstraction and representation, between conceptualism and pure painting. Kim’s best known work, Synecdoche, was included in the 1993 Whitney Biennial. Comprising a grid of hundreds of panels depicting human skin color, the painting is both an abstract monochrome and a group portrait. Once a week since 2001, Kim has made a small painting of the sky on which he inscribes a few momentary thoughts.

Born in 1961, Kim is a Senior Critic at Yale University. He received a BA from Yale University in 1983 and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1986. His work is in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; the Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley, CA; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, TX; the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; the M+ Museum, Hong Kong; the Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA; the
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; the Norton Family Collection, Santa Monica, CA; the Pérez Art Museum, Miami; the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford, CT; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY; and the Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA. Byron Kim lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Herb Tam

Herb Tam is the Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), New York where he recently co-curated “Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Spicy: Stories of Chinese Food and Identity in America,” which featured a video installation and ceramics that defined Chinese food in America. He also co-curated “Waves of Identity: 35 Years of Archiving,” an exhibition that explored the construction of Chinese American identity through MOCA’s archival materials. In 2012 he curated “America through a Chinese Lens,” which surveyed photographs of America by contemporary artists and non-professional photographers of Chinese descent. Tam has previously served as the Associate Curator at Exit Art and the Acting Associate Curator at the Queens Museum of Art. While at Exit Art, he curated “New Mirrors: Painting in a Transparent World”; and co-curated “Summer Mixtape Volume 1,” an exhibition exploring the role of pop music in the work of emerging artists. In 2007, Tam curated “A Jamaica, Queens Thing,” about the intersection between hip hop and the crack cocaine epidemic. He has also curated solo exhibitions with artists Lee Mingwei, Rafael Sanchez and Regina Jose Galindo, and has worked on historical exhibitions about urban planner Robert Moses and alternative art spaces in New York. Tam was born in Hong Kong and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied at San Jose State University and earned a masters in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts, New York.

Ryan Wong

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Ryan Lee Wong lives in Brooklyn, where he connects Asian American movement histories to the present.  Ryan organized the exhibitions Serve the People at Interference Archive and Roots at Chinese American Museum. He has presented talks at Brooklyn Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Asia Art Archive, Independent Curators International, and numerous universities. He has worked as and exhibitions administrator at the Metropolitan Museum, Assistant Curator at Museum of Chinese in America, and Managing Director for Kundiman. He currently serves on the Board of the Jerome Foundation. He regularly writes arts criticism and exhibition reviews for outlets such as Hyperallergic, T Magazine, and the Village Voice, and has contributed to catalogues or anthologies for the New Museum, Temporary Art Review, and Social Practice Queens.

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