Red and Gold Washing
This chapter describes a shift in Asian art shows in the late 1990s, highlighting the growing prominence of Chinese Art. The author examines how this shift impacted Asian American women artists in California. The chapter focuses on Chinese artist Hung Liu, who has been living in California for decades and does not identify as Asian American. Her need to reference her national identity and roots in presenting the subject of her art appears to be deeply connected to a transnational cultural politics that masks under cosmopolitanisms an emerging Chinese national discourse. An analysis of the Asian Art Museum shows on Shanghai shows the recurring orientalism and celebration of modern art in a Eurocentric frame. The author develops a critique of the current transnational promotion of Chinese art, as indirectly reinforcing elitist Eurocentrism, and fueling neo-orientalist appetites reflected by recent California exhibits. Many contemporary art institutions embrace curatorial choices that silently marginalize diasporic artists in the USA, involuntarily erasing historical connections and continuities across the Pacific Rim, all the while reassuring Western audiences of their cosmopolitanism. The chapter concludes with a political critique of the Pacific Rim celebration, as erasing the historical patterns of Asian American communities, rendering Asian artists more marginal in comparison to Chinese artists.
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