MEMBERS GALLERY TALK – Marvels & Monsters Opening Night 10/10/13

Jeff Yang at WNYC

Special insight into the creation of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942 – 1986 will be shared by exhibition curator Jeff Yang during the Members Gallery Talk right before the Preview Reception on Thursday, October 10.

Jeff Yang, well known for his “Tao Jones” column in the Wall Street Journal, is the former “Asian Pop” columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and publisher of A. Magazine. He began reading and collecting comics at the age of eight, and hasn’t allowed distractions like adulthood, marriage, and fatherhood to deter him since.  He’s even made comics a part of his professional life with the seminal graphic novel collection Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology and its follow-up Secret Identities: Volume 2 Shattered.

Join us for this unforgettable Members Gallery Talk.

Members Gallery Talk
Thursday, October 10th • 5:30 PM
JANM Members Only
Intimate gallery tour with curator Jeff Yang.

Preview Reception
Thursday, October 10th • 6PM – 9:30PM
FREE & open to the public!
Join us for a special preview of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942 – 1986. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network.

RSVP by October 9 to specialevents@janm.org or 213.625.0414 x 2222.

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If you’re not a current JANM member, join/renew now! In addition to special opportunities like this, members also receive free admission and discounts at our award-winning Museum Store and on workshops and tours. Your support enables us to continue to present exhibitions, public programs, educational workshops and tours, and much more!

CALL FOR ENTRIES: “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” monologue/short scene showcase—DEADLINE: September 15

ALIENS, KAMIKAZES, AND GURUS—OH MY!

marvels-monsters-signature-500px

Write an original monologue or short performance piece for a chance to be included in JANM’s October 10 “MARVELS & MONSTERS” SHOWCASE!

Throughout our nation’s history, Asians have been depicted as a set of distorted archetypes—the eternal foreigner, the sexless nerd, the brutal thug, the mystical wise man, the suicidal fanatic, the perpetual victim, the exotic seductress, and the conniving mastermind.

Now we’re looking for you to help shatter those images—with short original works of your own.

To commemorate the Japanese American National Museum’s West Coast premiere of MARVELS & MONSTERS: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986, we’re looking for you to submit monologues or short performance works that rethink, subvert, deconstruct, or satirize the eight Asian pop-culture archetypes depicted in this exhibition, which draws from science fiction author William F. Wu’s extensive collection of comic books featuring Asian and Asian American characters—widely considered to be the largest in the world.

The archetypes are:

    THE ALIEN: The perpetual foreigner; the enigmatic, inscrutable, unassimilable outsider in our midst. His customs are peculiar, his beliefs heathen, his agenda secret; never fully understood, and so never fully trusted, he is best regarded from a distance with a mix of curiosity, revulsion and fear.
    THE BRAIN: The hyperintelligent mind without a body; sexless, heartless, friendless, a self-hating prodigy more comfortable interacting with machines than people. The math nerd and mad scientist, the otaku and outcast: He may rule the world, but will he ever get the girl?
    THE BRUTE: The gangster, the thug, the minion, the martial arts master—the Brute may be a staggering physical specimen, but he is a nameless and voiceless one; his is not to wonder why—his is merely to do, and more often than not, die, without complaint or commemoration. Stoic in his suffering, silent in his rage, he is infinitely interchangeable, eternally anonymous, limited in language to gestures of deference and the vocabulary of violence.
    THE GURU: The mystical wise one, whose inscrutable ways disguise the ancient, awesome truths he holds within his soul. Aged and wizened, he speaks in vague riddles and impenetrable allegories, appearing at first glance to be mad, senescent, or both. Yet to the right individual, the apprentice who is destined to inherit the Guru’s secrets, he is a gatekeeper to limitless power.
    THE KAMIKAZE: Human missiles screaming a lingering cry of “Banzai!!!!” as they plummet toward enemy forces; insurgents wired with explosives, eager to martyr themselves to earn vengeance and a reward in Heaven; nameless soldiers scrambling over the corpses of their fellows only to be mowed down in turn. The Kamikaze has many faces, but all are mindlessly self-sacrificing, zealously loyal, feverishly patriotic, and utterly dismissive of the value of human life.
    THE LOTUS BLOSSOM: The long-suffering wife, the left-behind lover; the hostage, the victim, the betrayed and forgotten. The Lotus Blossom is patient in her doomed love and passive to her predestined fate—which is to be abused, abased, exploited, and ultimately destroyed by or sacrificed for the man she loves and serves.
    THE TEMPTRESS: The exotic seductress, who uses her feminine wiles and sexual prowess to enthrall and ultimately, betray—lush of body, false of heart, her mocking laughter and the sharp rake of her clawed fingers may well be the last thing you’ll ever experience.
    THE MANIPULATOR: The evil controller, the shadowy mastermind, the megalomaniacal puppeteer seeking conquest through nefarious intrigue; brilliant, yes, but twisted by an insatiable lust for wealth, power, and control—hoping, perhaps, that world domination might fill the dark and hollow void of his soul.

Eight winning pieces will be selected by a jury that includes exhibition curator Jeff Yang; winning authors will receive widespread public acclaim and admiration, a $100 honorarium, and the opportunity to present their pieces as staged readings at JANM’s “Marvels & Monsters: Unbound” Short Works Showcase on October 10, 2013.

Unleash your creative potential. Submit your entries today!

Entries must be emailed to mm@janm.org as file attachments (.DOC, .TXT, or .RTF filetypes accepted; email above if alternate filetype is preferred). You will receive an emailed confirmation of your submission.

RULES:

1. Entries must be received by no later than 5PM PT on September 15, 2013 to be considered. Winners will be notified by 5PM PT on September 18.

2. The competition is open to all individuals, amateur or professional.

3. Entries should be no more than five minutes long in total.

4. All types and genres of work that can be performed live are eligible, including musical and solo performance pieces. Any instruments, props, or media utilized in a presentation must be provided by and are the sole responsibility of the submitter.

5. Works will be judged on their originality and quality, as well as their complementarity with other selected works and their relevance to the ideas and images depicted in the exhibition.

6. Winning submitters will be responsible for casting, staging, and directing their own presentations. JANM will provide space for one dress rehearsal before the showcase.

7. Authors retain all rights to their submissions. However, by submitting, authors agree to present their work at JANM on October 10, and to allow presentations to be taped for possible inclusion in the Marvels & Monsters exhibition and in documentary and video materials related to the exhibition.

SAVE THE DATE! Marvels & Monsters opens October 12!

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Yellow Claw #1 (Atlas Comics, 1956) Credit: Yellow Claw #1 (October 1956), Marjean Magazine Corp. [Atlas].
With Comic-Con long over and summer superhero movie season coming to an end, are you looking for another pop culture fix? If so, search no more—Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 opens October 12, 2013 at JANM!

Through a selection of images from comic books representing four turbulent decades, Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986 assembles a team of xenophobic archetypes to illustrate the roots of Asian misrepresentation in pop culture. Curated by Jeff Yang, Marvels & Monsters places these genre-spanning archetypes—the Guru, the Brain, the Temptress, the Manipulator, the Alien, the Kamikaze, the Brute, and the Lotus Blossom—into a historical framework and then follows up with a discourse between current Asian American creators.

View the most striking examples of these archetypes alongside contemporary Asian American graphic novels and interactive installations through February 9, 2014. This exhibition is a collaboration between the A/P/A Institute at NYU and the NYU Fales Library & Special Collections.

For more information about the exhibition, visit: janm.org/marvels-monsters

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Don’t miss out on two FREE events to mark the opening of Marvels & Monsters!

Preview Reception
Thursday, October 10th • 6PM – 9:30PM
FREE & open to the public!
Join us for a special preview of Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics with curator Jeff Yang. Hosted by the JANM Young Professionals Network.

Target FREE Family Saturdays: Zap! Pow! Bam!
Saturday, October 12th • 11AM – 4PM
Free all day!
Celebrate the opening of Marvels & Monsters at our comics-themed Target Day. Check janm.org/target for the schedule.

A Conversation with Lela Lee
Saturday, October 19th • 2PM
Lela Lee, author and artist of the comic book series Angry Little Girls will discuss her comics and their impact on Asian Americans and beyond. There will be an exclusive, members-only Meet & Greet with Lela at 1PM—stay tuned for details!

Selecting Artifacts to Accompany “I Want the Wide American Earth”

So many artifacts to choose from!

One of our upcoming exhibitions, I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story, takes a sweeping look at how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history through 30 banners of poignant text, photographs, and art.

To put a personal touch from JANM on the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, we chose to complement the banners with some items from the Museum’s extensive collections. Since we have over 60,000 unique artifacts, documents, and photos in our permanent collection, it was a tough choice!

As a summer intern, I was given the (amazing!) opportunity to select these artifacts. There were several qualifiers—the artifacts would have to be both relevant to its banner’s content and interesting, whether visually or content-wise. My first step was to read through the exhibition text to get a better sense of the exhibition as a whole, then to list them out along with a brief summary and relevant information (keywords, dates, people, etc.—anything that might help narrow down artifacts). I sent the document to our Collections Associate, who searched the collections database and returned a pretty extensive list of potential artifacts. From there, it was a matter of selecting one or two for each banner and then pulling them to take a look. We also collaborated with the Riverside Metropolitan Museum to loan a few items from their historic Chinatown collections.

I don’t want to give away too much (you’ll have to come to the show to see all of the artifacts), but you’ll be able to see a really striking article written in the 1940s by the chairman of the California Joint Immigration Committee. The article, after being submitted to a national magazine, was passed around by the Japanese American Citizens League’s Equality Committee as a reminder of the challenges faced.

What I find interesting about the article is the blatantly offensive language—featuring lines such as “Because of their unassimilability and the impossibility of competing with them due to their low standards of living, Japanese immigrants have never really been welcome in the United States.” Of course I was previously aware of such anti-Japanese sentiment (how could I not, after touring Common Ground: The Heart of Community), but seeing it literally spelled out for me made an abstract concept truly hit home.

See this artifact and more in I Want the Wide American Earth from September 14 ‐ October 27, 2013! Check the exhibition page for more details.

I Want the Wide American Earth Opening Party

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Japanese American laborers at Tule Lake War Relocation Center, Tule Lake, California.
Photo credit: Library of Congress

Opening Party
Friday, September 13
6:30PM-10PM

FREE!

Whether you rep the 626, can’t get enough of boba, or just really love Asian Pacific American history, come out to the opening party for I Want the Wide American Earth: An Asian Pacific American Story!

The opening party will have loads of great entertainment and treats. YouTube comedy and music stars The Fung Brothers and DANakaDAN will be performing live, along with music from DJ Tony. We will also be debuting a new two-person show, Our American Voice. The show, presented in partnership with East West Players, explores diverse stories of Asian Pacific Americans. And if you get peckish between performances, head on over to the Mighty Boba Truck for a delicious drink!

Through a Smithsonian traveling display of 30 banners of poignant text, photographs, and art, I Want the Wide American Earth takes a sweeping look at how Asian Pacific Americans have shaped and been shaped by the course of our nation’s history.

Check out the exhibition page for more info.

 

(Video from: The Fung Brothers)

Thanks to the Smithsonian and exhibition sponsor W.K. Kellogg Foundation; public programs sponsors: MetLife Foundation, Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County Arts Commission; and media sponsors: Angry Asian Man, KSCI-TV LA-18, and The Rafu Shimpo.

Hong Zhang Gallery Talk

TWIN SPIRITS #1 (2002) Zhang Chun Hong Charcoal on paper. Diptych. Collection of the artist. © Hong Chun Zhang

Wondering about the meaning behind the scrolls of hair in Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter? Interested in learning more about art?

Chinese-born artist Hong Zhang will be leading a gallery talk about her work in Portraiture Now at 1pm on Sunday, July 28. Her soft, yet subtly detailed charcoal works represent themes such as familial bonds and life’s twists and turns.

Zhang received her BFA in Chinese painting from the Beijing Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1994, before coming to America in 1996. She has an MFA from the University of California, Davis, and now resides in Lawrence, Kansas.

Portraiture Now: Asian American Portraits of Encounter displays the diversity of contemporary Asian American identity through the groundbreaking work of seven visual artists—CYJO, Zhang Chun Hong, Hye Yeon Nam, Shizu Saldamando, Roger Shimomura, Satomi Shirai, and Tam Tran. The exhibition will close September 22, 2013.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear an acclaimed artist discuss her work! The talk is free with Museum admission.

Patriots & Peacemakers opens February 16

Patriots & Peacemakers: Arab Americans in Service to Our Country opens at JANM this Saturday on February 16 and will be on view through April 14, 2013. Fittingly, we will also be commemorating our annual Community Day of Remembrance here that day too.

Created by the Arab American National Museum (AANM), the exhibition tells true stories of heroism and self-sacrifice that affirm the important role Arab Americans have played in our country throughout its history.

Patriots & Peacemakers highlights three specific areas of service: the U.S. Armed Forces, diplomatic service and the Peace Corps. Personal narratives highlight Arab American men and women of different national and religious backgrounds. The exhibition also asks visitors to consider how commitment to service impacts them in their daily lives.

In addition to the exhibition from AANM, there are a few extra components. We are screening 9066 to 9/11: America’s Concentration Camps, Then…and Now?, a documentary produced by our Watase Media Arts Center in 2004. The film focuses on the parallels between the post-September 11 treatment of Arab Americans and Muslims in this country with treatment of Japanese Americans after the start of World War II.

AANM also created a special banner dedicating this presentation in Los Angeles to Senator Daniel K. Inouye who passed away at the end of last year “…In sincere appreciation for his contributions to the exhibition’s development, his support for the Arab American National Museum and the Arab American community, and his decades of exemplary service to our country.”

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, Curator of Exhibits at AANM, came at the beginning of the month to work with JANM staff to install the exhibition in our upstairs gallery. One of the special perks of being a staff or volunteer at JANM is getting to go on walkthroughs of our new exhibitions with curators and artists.

You can check out photos from the special Patriots & Peacemakers walkthrough with Elizabeth on our Facebook page. Here are a few photos:

Elizabeth Barrett Sullivan, AANM Curator of Exhibits, giving a walkthrough of "Patriots & Peacemakers" for JANM staff & volunteers.
Arab Americans are descendants of people who lived in the Arab World which consists of 22 countries in North Africa and West Asia.
"Patriots & Peacemakers" features personal stories of Arab Americans through history.
Stories are divided into 3 sections: military service, diplomatic service, and Peace Corps service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

View the rest of the Patriots & Peacemakers photos >>

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural opens February 9th!

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters

Supernatural: The Art of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters opens this Saturday!

The exhibition features the work of Audrey Kawasaki, Edwin Ushiro, and Timothy Teruo Watters—artists who have explored some of these otherworldly concepts, illustrating how traditional ideas have evolved and been adapted over time.

The exhibition will be up from February 9 – March 17, 2013. That’s just 5 weeks to come check it out before it closes!

For more details, visit: janm.org/supernatural

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We are celebrating the opening with two FREE events!

TARGET FREE FAMILY SATURDAY
Art from the Heart
11AM – 4PM
FREE ALL DAY!
Celebrate Valentine’s Day and the opening of Supernatural exhibition! Show your love by making art for yourself and others. Participate in art workshops with Timothy Watters and Edwin Ushiro!

Check janm.org/target for schedule >> 

 

Supernatural Opening Party
6:30PM – 9PM
FREE!
Get mystical with JANM! Celebrate the opening of Supernatural with the artists and some spooky fun—wandering ghosts, a medium, and special treats!

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Learn more about the exhibition and the artists on our Discover Nikkei website. We’ll be adding an interview with Timothy Watters next week:

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Here are a few photos from the exhibition installation happening this week. Check our Facebook page for more photos: Supernatural photo album

 

Artist Edwin Ushiro prepares sketchbooks to display in the exhibition
Edwin Ushiro's sketchbooks
Paintings by Timothy Teruo Watters waiting to be hung
Fighting For Democracy: Who is the "We" in "We, the People"?

“Fighting for Democracy” travels to Charlotte, NC

The traveling exhibition, Fighting For Democracy: Who is the “We” in “We, the People”? opens at the Levine Museum of the New South in Charlotte, North Carolina this Saturday!

Fighting For Democracy: Who is the "We" in "We, the People"?The Levine will be the 10th site where we have travelled this exhibition that presents the diverse perspectives of seven individuals whose lives and communities were forever changed by World War II.

The exhibition will be on display from January 19 through July 14, 2013. Go check it out this Sunday at the Levine Museum’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Celebration 2013. Free admission, activities, & performances.

For more info about the MLK Celebration >>

 

If you are in the Charlotte area, or have friends & family who are, let them know about the exhibition!

Levine Museum of the New South
200 E. Seventh Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

For more information about the Charlotte presentation, contact 704.333.1887, or visit museumofthenewsouth.org.

For more information about the Fighting for Democracy exhibition >>

 

Giant Robot Biennale 3 Closing Party!

There are just 10 days left to come see (or see again!) the Giant Robot Biennale 3 exhibition before it closes on Sunday, January 20!

Giant Robot Biennale 3Come celebrate another successful Biennale at the GRB3 Closing Party on Thursday, January 17 from 6pm – 10pm (THAT’S NEXT WEEK!) with Giant Robot, JANM’s Young Professionals Network, and many of the artists from the exhibition.

It’s FREE!

Just go here to RSVP: grb3closingparty.eventbrite.com

For information about the exhibition, artist bios, images, videos, and more, visit janm.org/grb3.

 

JANM Young Professionals Network
The Young Professionals Network (YPN) furthers the mission of the Museum through philanthropic and social activities by connecting people in their 20s, 30s and 40s with a diverse and professional network that supports the growth of the Japanese American community. It provides young professionals with opportunities for community building, volunteering, fundraising, outreach and engagement. The YPN is governed by the New Leadership Advisory Council (NLAC) of the Japanese American National Museum.