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HomeEventMuseum of Chinese in America Reopens with New Exhibition on History of anti-Asian/American/Pacific Islander Racism

Museum of Chinese in America Reopens with New Exhibition on History of anti-Asian/American/Pacific Islander Racism

Museum Of Chinese In America To Reopen After Pandemic Closure With New Exhibition Detailing History Of Anti-AAPI Hate

Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism

Exhibit Will Be On View From July 15 – September 19

[New York, NY] July 13, 2021 – After more than a year of shuttered operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a 5-alarm fire at its Collections space, the Museum of Chinese in America’s (MOCA) main museum space at 215 Centre Street will reopen on Thursday, July 15, 2021. The Museum’s reopening and its new exhibition will provide crucial focus on the historical roots of anti-Asian and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) racism from the earliest days of American history.

MOCA’s reopening will be anchored by a new original exhibition Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism. This exhibition is the culmination of MOCA’s yearlong OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection initiative that welcomed submissions of creative, artistic, and public responses to the tumultuous events of 2020-21. Art, essays, videos, music, and physical artifacts were donated by people from across the U.S. and Asian diaspora. The exhibition will offer an immersive experience and space for reflection, empowerment, and action by inviting Museum guests to leave their own responses as new platforms for understanding and education. The exhibit will run through the middle of September.

To bring the collection to a broader audience and to enhance the onsite experience, MOCA is pleased to announce its partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch a MOCA digital guide on the free Bloomberg Connects app. Visitors can download the app by searching “Bloomberg Connects” in the Google or Apple app stores. The MOCA guide provides users with original text, video and audio content that will enhance their interaction with MOCA both at the museum and from anywhere. Recognizing that AAPIs across the U.S. are finding themselves the target of intensifying hate, violence, and attacks, MOCA prioritizes its role in providing education resources and tools to combat this racism. MOCA’s presence on the Bloomberg Connects app will serve as a critical resource in accessing MOCA’s work. The app also provides access to more than 30 other world class cultural institutions.

MOCA will reopen with free admission for all. After receiving an unrestricted gift from MacKenzie Scott, MOCA is pleased to announce that admission to the Museum will be complimentary during the run of the Responsesexhibition from July 15, 2021, to September 19, 2021. Inspired by MacKenzie Scott’s words that “People struggling against inequities deserve center stage in stories about change they are creating,” MOCA prioritized a no-cost-barrier-to-entry for all.

“Arts and cultural organizations in New York City and around the world wondered if they would ever see a reopening. To welcome visitors back into MOCA’s space, at this important time when heightened racism toward AAPIs is rampant, is both a responsibility and an opportunity. To re-open in partnership with Bloomberg Connects and with the encouragement of MacKenzie Scott provides further encouragement to the MOCA team—one that we cherish and do not take lightly,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, President of the Museum of Chinese in America.

“The responses we’ve been gathering from the public since the early days of the pandemic offer a collective reckoning and call to action on the pressing issues facing the AAPI community today: hysteria of medical scapegoating, fear of violence against our elders, and solidarity with broader racial justice movements. This exhibition contextualizes today’s responses within a long, dark history of anti-AAPI hate,” said Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibits of the Museum of Chinese in America.

“MOCA brings to life the stories of generations of Chinese Americans, and Bloomberg Philanthropies has been glad to support its trailblazing work for years,” said Kate D. Levin of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Arts Program. “Now, as the museum reopens its doors and deepens its commitment to countering bias and hate, we’re excited to expand our partnership – and help MOCA reach an even wider audience through our free Bloomberg Connects mobile app.”

Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism features a comprehensive timeline on the gallery’s perimeter walls that traces 200 years of racism against Asians and Asian American Pacific Islanders, culminating with an expanded look at the past year’s spike in anti-AAPI violence. Artist Homer Shew will bring these events to life with specially commissioned murals that reflect the strength of communities throughout this long history. Commissioned pieces by J CHEN PROJECT and ARKAI will complement the exhibit run on select days.

At the heart of the exhibition are the artwork, multimedia, and material objects submitted by the public through MOCA’s OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection, which documents the agency and generosity of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) donation efforts, transnational interconnectedness and organizing in digital and physical spaces, and the resourcefulness individuals have embraced to: counter anti-AAPI hate, cope with pandemic life, and tackle issues around social justice.

A projected soundtrack and video in the gallery weaves together excerpts from hours of oral histories recorded in the past year for the OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection to tell a multi-dimensional story of the pandemic through an AAPI lens.

The Responses exhibition concludes with a space for visitors to leave their own responses, using their choice of materials: written text, drawing, or collage. These visitor responses will then be added to the OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection in a growing display of resistance and reflection to counter hate and fear.  

Since the launch of the OneWorld COVID-19 Special Collection in April 2020, hundreds of people have submitted artwork, essays, and multimedia projects creations to form a collective historical record of how COVID-19 has affected Chinese American and AAPI communities. Hundreds more responded to MOCA’s REMEMBER, RECORD, RESPECToutreach campaign and PSA video launched in the wake of the tragic shooting deaths of six women of Asian descent and two other victims in Atlanta and submitted stories in response to the latest wave of anti-AAPI hate and violence.

MOCA recognizes and thanks the many contributing voices that made this exhibit possible: ARKAI (Philip Sheegog and Jonathan Miron); Marina Bhargava; Cecilia Xie Lan Birge (Princeton Chinese Community); Jing Cai (American Chinese Culture and Education Foundation); Vinh Cam; Carolina Castillo; Dave Chan, Melissa Yan, Leo Chan, and Stella Chan; Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai (Heart of Dinner); Xiao Chen; Jessica Chen (J CHEN PROJECT); Kenneth R. Chester Jr and Linglong Wei (US-China Common Concern Committee); Kenneth “ActionKid” Chin; Cynthia Choi; Vera Chow; Fabiana Chiu-Rinaldi; Tina Chung and Sherry Zhong (U.S. Chinese Women’s Association); Mengyu Dong; Tewfic El-Sawy; Khamla P. Erskine (Croton Face Masks Makers); Dr. Rajeev Fernando (Chiraj); Sunhoo Foo; Laura Gao; Echo Yu He (N95forNYC); Clara Hsu and the Grant Avenue Follies; Dr. Agnes Hsu-Tang and Oscar Tang; Steffi Huynh; Russell Jeung; Mike Keo; Joanne Kwong; Larissa Lam and ONLY ONE aka Baldwin Chiu; Eric Lee; Robert Lee; Gigi Li; Jefferson Li; Xiaowen Liang; Sheung Mei Liu and Jonathan Stein; Phillip Lim and Rubah Abu-Nimah (#NYTougherThanEver); Dr. Thomas Lo; Dave Lu; Mary Luke; Bianca Mabute-Louie; Patrick Mock; Erdem-Undral Naranbaatar; Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya; Seema Shakti; Liang Shao; Victor Sheih (Allendale Chinese Community); Michael Sheng; Homer Shew; Claire Shin; Ivan Small; Grace Sue; Ee Tay; Bonhui Uy; Katie Wang (Lynbrook Chinese American Community); Shuyi Wang; Edwin Wong (Forest Hills Asian Association); Jennvine Wong; Charlie Wu (Montgomery Chinese Community); Ellen Wu; Penny and David Yao (Chinese American Museum Foundation); Kyra Yip (Concerned AsAm Citizens of NYC); David Youtz; Justin Yu; Perry Yung / Yung Hoi; Xia Zhao (Stony Brook Medicine); Justin Zhao 

While its physical space will open on July 15, 2021, MOCA remains committed to providing its curatorial, collections, and educational content via digital, online and social media platforms, as well as offering live-streamed public programs, masterclasses and tours of the Museum to the tens of thousands of virtual attendees who have enjoyed MOCA’s digital programming since the onset of the pandemic.

For more information about MOCA’s virtual programming, visit MOCA’s website at www.mocanyc.org, sign up for MOCA’s e-mail newsletter, or follow MOCA on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok at @mocanyc; and WeChat at MOCANYC_USA.

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