Running now through May 24, 2009 at the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota campus is an exhibit titled Changing Identity: Recent Works by Women Artists from Vietnam. It’s the first exhibit of female artisits from Viet Nam and the U.S., and Minneapolis will be the last stop for the exhibition. The exhibit focuses on “gender roles, stereotypes, cultural identity, and what it means to be a woman artist in Vietnam”.
If you think it’s hard to get Vietnamese artists to have exhibitions outside of the country, then imagine how hard it is to get the works exhibited any where in the U.S. where there’s a sizable anti-Communist Vietnamese community. Now imagine if the artists are women…
Minneapolis is probably the only location where this exhibit is backing into a sizeable Vietnamese population, but unlike San Jose, Orange County, and to some degree, Houston, the community isn’t fervently anti-Comunist enough to stop the exhibit. Which is ironic, cause didn’t we all leave Viet Nam to avoid such repression?
I just went to the exhibit, and although its small (well, the whole museum is just one level of artwork) and the Frank Gehry designed building its in is probably only slightly better than Frank Gehry’s other monstrosity (The Seattle Music Experience Project SLASH Science Fiction Museum Flop), the Changing Identity exhibit is a good start for showcasing this far too marginalized minority. Plus, IT’S FREE!
I especially liked the photographs by Phuong M. Do (that’s her on the exhibition’s cover), a Vietnamese American who took self portraits of her herself in family settings in Colorado, France, and Viet Nam while her aunts and uncle ignored her clicks and flashes, oblivious to the resulting photographs. Gave me chills cause I felt the same way in Viet Nam and when I’m overwhelmed at family parties… She also has her work displayed this month through May 31 at New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service at the Puck Building’s Gallery Space, 296 Lafayette, 2nd Floor (I would have inserted a snide comment about Wagner being a great Public Policy/Urban Planning grad school to go to if you can’t get into Berkeley, but since I’m out (wo)manned 2-1 on this, I think this side note does its job).