2021 Artist Banners
Like many across the country and world, The Noguchi Museum’s staff, visitors, and stakeholders have been devastated by the escalating and continued violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. As an institution founded by Japanese American artist Isamu Noguchi and dedicated to preserving his legacy and humanist vision for a hybrid future, The Noguchi Museum stands in solidarity with these communities. In 2021, the Museum launched its first Open Call for Artist Banners, with the aim of raising awareness and amplifying local AAPI voices. Emerging AAPI artists based in Queens were invited to submit designs for the Museum’s outdoor banners to advocate for anti-racism. Artist submissions were evaluated by a jury composed of The Noguchi Museum’s organizing committee, a cross-departmental, intergenerational group of staff volunteers; and members from two local partner organizations, Queens Council on the Arts and Asian American Arts Alliance.
Our committee was thrilled to select Chemin Hsiao as the inaugural winner, and Woomin Kim and Mo Kong as runners-up, from a strong and varied pool of submissions. Chemin Hsiao’s work Dandelions Know (2021), presented across our six outdoor banners, is a powerful message of anti-racism, solidarity and hope in response to the growing tide of violence and fear faced by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the United States.
2022 Open Call
The winning banners for the 2022 Open Call for Artist Banners will be revealed on the 118th anniversary of Isamu Noguchi’s birth: November 17, 2022.
“I think he has to pay for what he did. But once he does, we should work out some kind of situation where we could forgive somehow and move on with our life. Otherwise you’re going to have that forever. But maybe we’re going to be hurt forever anyway.”–Eric Lawson, son-in-law of Vicha Ratanapakdee, from the New York Times article “Why Was Vicha Ratanapakdee Killed?,” August 17, 2021
The more I read about the various anti-Asian violence, the more I realize that artwork cannot truly stop all the irrational hate, or ease the pain for those who already got hurt and are suffering. Instead, I ask myself, “As an Asian Pacific Islander, how do you feel about all the anti-Asian incidents? What messages can you send to your fellow Asian or American friends as a visual artist?” Within the banner spaces, I create the following visual essay in sequential format (from left to right in the images above). They represent feelings or messages, and aim to provide sympathy and comfort:
03. Cut the Loop
04. Dandelions Know (as they float, too)
05. Heal and Forgive (if possible)
06. We’re Only Human. Keep Communicating.
Chemin Hsiao (Taiwan) is a visual artist based in Queens and Brooklyn at the Chashama BAT Studio Space. He received his BFA and MFA from the School of Visual Arts, and primarily works with water-based mediums such as watercolor and acrylic pigments on paper. In his artwork, Hsiao would like to capture the personal emotions toward subjects or atmosphere, via the elusive connections from his memories and cultural background. He was a recipient of the New Work Grant and ArtSite Public Art Commissioning from Queens Council on the Arts. Since 2019, he has completed several commissioned public murals for the Queens community including Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and Flushing. Besides his studio practice, Hsiao has taught in-person and virtual visual arts workshops to students from kindergarten to seniors for organizations such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Noguchi Museum, Queens Museum, Queens Botanical Garden, Abrons Arts Center, ProjectArt, Queens Public Library, and Nan Shan Senior Center. cheminart.com | @cheminhsiaoart
I used to notice how Asian markets were often inaccurately depicted in Hollywood films as dark, damp places where mysterious and dangerous things happened. During Covid, I witnessed how the western narratives caused violent consequences towards Asian communities with heightened xenophobia. I was born and lived my whole life in Korea until my late 20s. Shijang, which generally means open air market in Korean, is a huge part of a lot of Korean people’s lives including myself. It is a place full of energy and vibrancy with all kinds of colors and materials. Through my quilt series called Shijang Project, I depict the landscape of Shijang through my perspective, in a celebratory and colorful way. For the banners, I propose to recreate the sections of the quilts using waterproof material.
Woomin Kim is a South Korean artist currently based in Queens. Through her textile and sculptural projects, she examines the active materiality of daily objects and urban landscapes. Kim has participated in exhibitions and residencies at the Queens Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Boston Children’s Museum. Kim has received fellowships and awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation and the Korean Cultural Center. Her works have been featured in The New York Times, Hyperallergic, and BOMB Magazine. Kim holds a B.F.A from Seoul National University and received an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. woominkim.com | @woominpkim
Still Life of An Asian Household’s Fridge
During the COVID-19 pandemic, due to hateful crimes, many Asian owned-grocery stores were closed down. When the familiar food became unavailable, the connection between us and our cultural roots was disrupted. What we ate on a daily basis tells more of our identity and personal history. In this banner series I created sculptural installations inside my own fridge with Asian household groceries and objects that witnessed my immigration process. These still life pictures dig deeper into my family roots while building connections within and throughout larger communities. It is a safe place to connect with other Asians and immigrants, to share life experiences, to discuss the current environment and racism, to get educated and de-exoticize Asian culture; it is a place to be included.
Mo Kong is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher currently residing in Queens. They received an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design. They have been the subject of solo exhibitions at CUE Art Foundation (New York), Artericambi Gallery (Verona), Gertrude Gallery (Stockbridgeand), and Chashama (New York). Their work has been included in the Queens Museum, RISD Museum, SFMOMA, Minnesota Street Project, Spring Break, ARTISSIMA, Make Room Gallery, and Rubber Factory Gallery. They also have received fellowships or residencies from Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Triangle Arts Association, The Studios at MASS MoCA, Vermont Studio Center, Gibney Performance Center, Lighthouse Works and AAI. Their work has been mentioned in Hyperallergic, Artforum, Cultured magazine, ARTnews, CoBo Social, Wall Street International, SFMOMA, and Public Knowledge. mokongmo.com | @mosmosk