Artists push to remove works from Chinese Museum in America collection
Just months after the Museum of Chinese in America (MoCA) in New York City was forced to cancel an exhibition by the pioneer artist collective Godzilla after nineteen of that group withdrew for what they said. Claimed to be the institution’s support for a large new prison near its premises, artists Colin Chin and Nicholas Liem are asking that their work be removed from an upcoming MoCA and museum collection exhibition, Hyperallergic reports.
The couple made their request in a July 12 letter to MoCA executives, naming their photo series “Documenting Persistence in Oakland’s Chinatown” as the work they seek to remove. Centered on the Californian neighborhood’s support for the Black Lives Matter movement, the series was scheduled to appear in the “Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism” exhibit, which premieres July 15.
Chin and Liem pointed to the $ 35 million grant received by the city museum as proof of MoCA’s support for the city’s plan to demolish the 15-story Manhattan detention center and replace it with a 29-story building. floors in one place on the edge of Chinatown. Several neighborhood organizations such as the Chinatown Art Brigade and their allies campaigned against the new prison, saying its construction would disrupt commercial activity in the region, which was hit hard last year due to the Covid crisis. -19, and that it jeopardizes the livelihoods of elderly majority immigrant residents and small business owners in Chinatown.
“We believe that the MoCA’s complicity with mass incarceration – which disproportionately affects blacks and Latinxes – and the gentrification of Chinatown undermines its aforementioned purpose,” the duo wrote. “This is contrary to expressions of solidarity between the African American and black communities against police violence and gentrification highlighted in our work.”
MoCA president Nancy Yao Masbach called Chin and Liem’s decision to step down as “guided by disinformation,” noting that “the MoCA has always been opposed to the construction of prisons in Chinatown, which we made public “.
Chin and Liem also accused MoCA co-chair Jonathan Chu of aiding in the gentrification of Chinatown through what they cited as his role in shutting down two unionized restaurants, Jing Fong and Silver Palace. Chu was the owner of the old restaurant, which closed earlier this year, and challenged his role in the closure. His grandfather Joseph Chu bought the building that housed the Silver Palace and later the New Silver Palace in the early 1970s, both of which saw workers demand justice for the tip theft and early union fighting. of the millennium. Inaugurated in 2013, the Chus have erected a Twenty-two story Hyatt on the site.