Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970

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Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970 is the first comprehensive study of the lives and artistic production of artists of Asian ancestry active in the United States before 1970. The publication features original essays by 10 leading scholars, biographies of more than 150 artists, and over 400 reproductions of artwork, ephemera, and images of the artists.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

This stout volume breaks ground in art history and Asian American studies. Bolstered by hundreds of illustrations, the ten essays by preeminent scholars include comprehensive and accessible histories depicting how Asian American artists' lives have been both intertwined with and segregated from mainstream American culture. Editors Chang and Mark Johnson, codirectors of the Stanford Asian American Art Project, and Paul Karlstrom (ed., On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900-1950) include chapters on such topics as photography, women artists, and postwar modernists. Perhaps most valuable is a 190-page section containing succinct biographies of 159 artists. Many little-known masters gain deserved prominence, and more famous artists like Isamu Noguchi are placed in an artistic and sociocultural continuum expanding the sense of the interconnectedness of artistic achievement in America (despite the Asian Exclusion Act of 1924 and 1942's Executive Order 9066). The 1970 cutoff date largely excludes artists of Hawaii, and the editors acknowledge that the sparse coverage of people of Filipino, Korean, and Southeast Asian ancestry reflects the demographics of an earlier era. Nonetheless, this survey has great value for students of art and ethnic history. A benchmark text that will be of great use for many years to come.
—Douglas F. Smith

From the Publisher
"...a must-read for specialists in American ethnic history.... It will surely remain a classic work in Asian American studies and—it is to be hoped—in American art history."—Greg Robinson, l'Université du Québec Montréal, Journal of American Ethnic History

"Here are artists and work that have long been lost, forgotten, and in some cases deliberately hidden. I was impressed by the comprehensive, thoughtful, insightful, and sometimes provocative approach taken in the essays, but to see the art itself! We see the breadth and range of experience, styles, and obstacles both artistic and personal. What is western? What is eastern? How did citizenship, internment, or discrimination affect these artists? Asian American Art faces these questions and beyond."—Lisa See, author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and Peony in Love

"I congratulate the team that has devoted years of work to this remarkable recovery of Asian American art making. Every library in the country should have this art history book on its reference shelves for its names, its biographies, its reproductions, and its fresh and inspirational stories of courage and dedication."—Wanda M. Corn, Professor Emerita, Stanford University

"A dazzling collection of images and essays which recuperates a century of Asian American artistic production, Asian American Art: A History, 1850-1970 provides us, at long last, with a comprehensive and foundational work. More than a convenient ìbridge,î the hundreds of images reproduced here explode the static and tired categories of "Western" and "Eastern" art. Beyond introducing the art and the artists in depth and in context, the essays in this volume stand as a brilliant exploration into the historical meaning of Asian American art. This book challenges the reader to re-visualize American art and re-imagine American culture."—Robert G. Lee, Brown University

"Ground breaking" and "historic" are terms often overused and overstated for the works they purport to describe. Both, however, are appropriate for this outstanding volume, which introduces readers to the breadth and depth of Asian American fine artists. This single work will spur enormous growth in the many fields it directly impacts, including American Studies, Art History, Asian American Studies, and American History. Another overused term: "A must read." In this case, understated. —Franklin Odo, Director, Smithsonian Institution Asian Pacific American Program

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804757522
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 9/29/2008
  • Series: Asian America Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Gordon H. Chang is a professor of history at Stanford University and codirector of the Stanford Asian American Art Project. He is the author of many books and essays, including Friends and Enemies: The United States, China, and the Soviet Union, 1948–1972 and Morning Glory, Evening Shadow: Yamato Ichihashi and His Internment Writings, 1942–1945. Mark Dean Johnson is a professor of art at San Francisco State University and co-director of the Stanford Asian American Art Project. He has collaboratively organized exhibitions such as Chang Dai-chien in California and With New Eyes: Toward an Asian American Art History in the West, and conferences including Expanding American Art History to Reflect Multiethnic Diversity. He is also the editor of At Work: The Art of California Labor. Paul J. Karlstrom, former West Coast regional director of the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art, writes about modern and contemporary art in the United States. He is the editor of On the Edge of America: California Modernist Art, 1900–1950 and has contributed to major studies of Diego Rivera, Jacob Lawrence, and Yun Gee.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Emerging from the Shadows: The Visual Arts and Asian American History Gordon H. Chang Chang, Gordon H.

Introduction Beyond East and West: Artists of Asian Ancestry in America Mark Dean Johnson Johnson, Mark Dean

Uncovering Asian American Art in San Francisco, 1850-1940 Mark Dean Johnson Johnson, Mark Dean 1

Hidden in Plain Sight: Little Tokyo Between the Wars Karin Higa Higa, Karin 31

Facing the Pacific: Asian American Artists in Seattle, 1900-1970 Kazuko Nakane Nakane, Kazuko 55

The Tip of the Iceberg: Early Asian American Artists in New York Tom Wolf Wolf, Tom 83

Deployments, Engagements, Obliterations: Asian American Artists and World War II Gordon H. Chang Chang, Gordon H. 111

The Wind Came from the East: Asian American Photography, 1850-1965 Dennis Reed Reed, Dennis 141

Pioneers, Renegades, and Visionaries: Asian American Women Artists in California, 1880s-1960s Valerie J. Matsumoto Matsumoto, Valerie J. 169

Chinese Artists in the United States: A Chinese Perspective Mayching Kao Kao, Mayching 201

Postwar California: Asian American Modernism Paul J. Karlstrom Karlstrom, Paul J. 231

Art and Social Consciousness: Asian American and Pacific Islander Artists in San Francisco, 1965-1980 Margo Machida Machida, Margo 257

Introduction to Biographies of California Asian American Artists, 1850-1965 Sharon Spain Spain, Sharon 283

Biographical Entries Mark Dean Johnson Johnson, Mark Dean Paul Karlstrom Karlstrom, Paul Sharon Spain Spain, Sharon 290

Chronology of Asian American Art and History, 1850-1965 Shelley Sang-Hee Lee Lee, Shelley Sang-Hee Sharon Spain Spain, Sharon 477

Acknowledgments 513

About theAuthors 515

Credits 517

Index 523

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