Visual artist Phillip Chen creates relief etchings inspired by his family stories. One print unearths his great grandfather’s experience as a gold miner in California during the Gold Rush in the 1860s. Another is based on his uncle who owned the only restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana that served African Americans in the 1930s. Please join Phillip Chen in conversation with A/P/A Institute at NYU Founding Director and MOCA co-founder Jack (John Kuo Wei) Tchen as they discuss the intriguing yet complex stories within these amazing prints to addressing the important distinction between history and memory.
This program is held in conjunction with the exhibition Memory Prints: The Story World of Phillip Chen (details below) and co-sponsored by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Memory Prints: The Story World of Phillip Chen
Curated by John Kuo Wei Tchen
On view: Thursday, September 25, 2014-Sunday, March 1, 2015
Memory Prints is a solo exhibition by Phillip Chen, an artist and printmaker from the Midwest. In fifteen relief etchings about his family, Chen reckons with significant moments in Chinese American history. These prints unearth the emotional landscape of an American family’s many generations’ possible futures and pasts. The suffocating terrain of the Exclusion era, of the racial violence and marginalization, are also felt and made palpable, personal. What are its ongoing legacies? These time/space prints are knotted like a traveling griot’s memory. At once pained, calmed, hot, cooled, jagged, refined, transmuted—these haunted historical visions are the alchemy of a master printmaker.
One print is inspired by the story of his great grandfather, a gold miner in California during the Gold Rush in the 1860s, who needed to sever his queue during an underwater fishing dive to save his own life. Another is based on his uncle who owned the only restaurant in Fort Wayne, Indiana that served African Americans in the 1930s. The constellation of inherited objects and etchings produces a psychic space where the interrelationships between object and image, and history and memory, are explored.
This exhibition and related programs are made possible with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (Museum Program), with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature, and with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for the exhibition is provided by the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Phillip Chen received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his master of fine arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work in print media has been exhibited in over one hundred and fifty locations nationally and internationally and is held by public collections that include the Brooklyn Museum, Carnegie Institute Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts, and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, Beijing. He has served as an evaluator for College Art Association, National Endowment for the Arts, and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. He is a recipient of the prestigious Louis B. Comfort Tiffany Award.