The MoCA, Museum of Chinese in America, “will present two exhibits this fall focusing on comics and Asian-Americans: Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics 1942-1986 and Alt. Comics: Asian American Artists Reinvent the Comic Book”.
William D. Wu, a science fiction writer and cultural studies scholar, spent four decades (1940s to 1980s) collecting the images for Marvels and Monsters. It offers a unique perspective on the racial and cultural evolution in America via the xenophobia and racist propaganda that continue to define America’s perceptions of Asians today.
The curator, Jeff Yang, says that the “key elements” that have shaped Asians as a people occurred during this time (40s to the 80s) such as the Korean War, Pearl Harbor, and the Asian American rights movement - for example.
The Marvels and Monsters selection is juxtaposed within a historical framework and insights from Asian American writers and artists like Ken Chan, Gene Luen Yang or Larry Hama. The exhibition is also interactive, allowing visitors to understand Asian stereotypes by putting themselves in a life-sized cutout installation called “Shades of Yellow” - the shades used for Asian skin tones in comics.
Meanwhile, Alt. Comics extends the conversation that Marvels and Monsters started into the present day by showcasing contemporary work by Asian American artists who create more authentic identities by subverting stereotypes. As it suggests by its name, this exhibit focuses on alternative or independent comic spaces, particularly those in San Francisco and New York. This exhibition features work by Jerry Ma, Larry Hama, and Lark Pien - just to name a few.
The Atl. Comics exhibition “includes excerpts from “Secret Identities Volume 2: Shattered, a follow-up to the groundbreaking compilation using the comic format to ‘upend, re-envision, re-imagine - to shatter - the distorted and negative images that have shadowed Asian Americans since the earliest days of our arrival in this country”.
The exhibitions will run from September 27th, 2012 until February 24th, 2013.