Press Release (05/03/11): MOCA Presents Unearthing: Works in Clay and Mixed Media by Carole Wong Chesek

Download a PDF of this press release: English | 中文新闻稿.

[New York, NY] April 14, 2011 – Coinciding with the Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as well as our tribute to the tenth anniversary of September 11th , the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is pleased to announce a new exhibition, Unearthing, featuring ceramic artist Carole Wong Chesek. The artist's practice of excavating personal experiences and empowering fading memories with new significance parallels MOCA's mission to encourage active engagement with the past, making it relevant to modern life through reflection and action-taking.

A second-generation Chinese American, Wong Chesek grew up in New York City’s Chinatown in the 1940s and 1950s. Her artistic practice is informed both by her bicultural background and her extensive training in studio art as well as art history and education. This exhibition presents an unprecedented selection of Wong Chesek’s mixed-media assemblages as well as works from two recent ceramic series. Collectively, they reveal the artist’s efforts to draw from an archeological and historical mind-set that responds to the need for contemplation, ritual, and “the sacred” in contemporary life.

In her mixed media series, personal experiences and memories are revisited as sources of inspiration and subjects of inquiry. Poetic and allusive, each piece becomes a powerful materialization shaped by and for reflection. “MOCA's mission is to share the diverse stories of the Chinese in America,” said S. Alice Mong, Director of the Museum. “Wong Chesek’s work is a form of storytelling…in a very personal way, yet creates an opportunity for others to look back on their own journeys.”

Like her sculptures, Wong Chesek’s ceramic pieces reflect her interest in deconstructing and reassembling distinct materials into a single work with layered meanings. The interplay of classical themes and forms – from the natural world to Asian landscape painting – gives Wong Chesek’s work a visual language that is uniquely her own.

In addition to an Artist’s talk highlighting Wong Chesek’s creative process and the inspiration behind her work, the Museum will also host a hands-on arts workshop in which participants will have an opportunity to engage in art-making using family objects, photographs and mementos. Please see our website for more information.

The exhibition is curated by guest curator Michelle Cheng, and organized by Ting-Chi Wang, Exhibitions Manager at MOCA. Support for this exhibition is made possible in part with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts (Museums Program).

About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) is the leading national museum dedicated to preserving and presenting the history and culture of people of Chinese descent in the United States. From its Maya Lin-designed home on the border of Chinatown and SoHo in New York City at 215 Centre Street, MOCA collects and displays historical and cultural artifacts, and organizes traveling exhibitions, classes, discussions, and events that explore all aspects of the Chinese American experience in the United States. MOCA began as a community-based organization founded in 1980 by Chinese American artists, historians and students who felt that the memories of first-generation “old-timers” in Chinatown would be lost without oral history, photo documentation, research, and collecting efforts. Now a resource for historians and community members alike, the Museum has evolved into a national keeper of cultural information and an influential voice in the ongoing history of Chinese and Chinese American culture across the country. The Museum’s original location at 70 Mulberry Street, currently the Collections and Research Center, is in the heart of Chinatown on the second floor of the historic, century-old school building that was once Public School 23. For more information, visit

Monday: 11am-5pm
Thursday: 11am-9pm
Friday: 11am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10am-5pm
The Museum is closed to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, except for prescheduled group tours and special programs.

General Admission: $7
Seniors (65+ with ID) and
Students (w/school ID): $4
Children under 12 in groups less than 8: Free
MOCA Members: Free

Target Free Thursdays: Free gallery admission every Thursday through the generosity of Target.

MOCA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization supported by its members, individual donors, and by public and private funds.