The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) just thirty minutes from Harlem today announced its critically acclaimed exhibit “Responses: Asian American Voices Resisting the Tides of Racism,” which will be extended through March 2022. After more than a year of closed operations due to COVID-19 and a five-alarm fire that damaged the bulk of its collections, MOCA successfully reopened last summer and launched its free Responses exhibition to detail the historical roots of anti-Asian and Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) racism from the early days of American history until the rise of anti-AAPI racism and violence today.
“Now more than ever, when anti-Asian hate is heightened around the country, we’re proud to extend our exhibition to serve as a voice for the Asian and Chinese American community, and to help heal through education at this crucial moment,” said Nancy Yao Maasbach, president of the Museum of Chinese in America. “We’re committed to serving as a cultural pillar and educational space so that we can broaden the American narrative to be inclusive for all.”
The exhibition comes at a critical time when anti-AAPI hate crimes rose to more than 9,000 incidents since March 2020. Responses begins with a hand-painted timeline that details 200 years of racism against the AAPI community including discriminatory laws and policies, riots, and intimidation campaigns. The exhibit also includes a collection of artworks, video footage, essays, and artifacts submitted by people across the nation through MOCA’s One World COVID-19 Special Collection, a year-long initiative designed to tell a multi-dimensional story of the pandemic through an Asian American lens. As part of the exhibition, MOCA commissioned music composers ARKAI and modern dance company J CHEN PROJECT to interpret the exhibition’s key themes. As an alternative option for visitors, MOCA partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to allow free digital access to the Responses exhibition on Bloomberg’s Connects app.
“Far too many times in the past year we have seen example after example of hatred and prejudice toward the Asian community in America, said Commission Member at New York City Commission on Human Rights and Activist Rocky Chin “Responses is designed to reflect on that toxic animus and work to prevent it from taking root in the future. The extension of this exhibit is an important moment for our community, our city and our nation, and we welcome all people to MOCA to view Responses, engage with its message and work with each other to build a more tolerant and respectful society.”
“With a spike in hate crimes across the country, MOCA is a vital resource for educating the public about our history and the contributions we have made as Asian Americans,” said P.S. 124 Principal Alice Hom.”Responses encompasses the historical roots of anti-Asian racism from the past until today. We’re happy MOCA extended this exhibition to help broaden the American narrative to be inclusive for all.
“At a time when there are so many issues facing the AAPI community today, I’m thrilled to hear that MOCA is extending their popular Responses exhibit,” said Artist and Educator Michael Sheng. “Our hope is to educate an even wider audience by sharing stories based on the historical roots of anti-Asian and AAPI racism to evoke change and to broaden the American narrative for all.”
Earlier this year, MOCA launched a new partnership with Google to provide access to digitized images of objects, sculptures, letters, photos and videos from MOCA’s collections for free on the Google Arts & Culture digital platform. Visitors will also have access to MOCA’s virtual exhibition “Trial by Fire: The Race to Save 200 Years of Chinese American History,” which details the fire that occurred at the museum in January 2020. Trial by Fire is compiled from daily social media posts, videos, images, public records, and news reports that documented the first critical weeks of the fire, its aftermath and recovery efforts. Though most of MOCA’s collections were recovered, the damage caused by the fire resulted in 85 percent of the museum’s artifacts that needed restoration.
Last Fall, the museum opened MOCA Workshop, a new facility for its extensive archive of over 85,000 artifacts that document the Chinese experience in America. The MOCA Workshop serves as a reading room featuring the Museum’s extensive library of Chinese and Asian American literature and a new space to house its collections.
The Museum of Chinese in America
The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) aims to engage audiences in an ongoing and historical dialogue, in which people of all backgrounds are able to see American history through a critical perspective, to reflect on their own experiences, and to make meaningful connections between: the past and the present, the global and the local, themselves and others. For more information, please visit http://mocanyc.org/.