Download the PDF version of the press release.


[New York, NY] September 1, 2017FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures presents a conversation about immigration issues by telling the story of passengers aboard the Golden Venture cargo ship in 1993: undocumented Chinese immigrants and asylum seekers who were taken into custody and detained at York County Prison after their ship ran aground off Rockaway Beach, New York. While waiting for uncertain legal outcomes, they practiced the traditional Chinese folk art of paper folding and made more than 10,000 meticulously folded paper sculptures, including caged birds, American eagles, and the Statue of Liberty. 


The journey of the Golden Venture passengers unfolded in the context of their representation by the media on June 6, 1993: news footage of Chinese immigrants who had been at sea for months leaping from a 150-foot cargo ship that ran aground on Rockaway Beach, and images of their rescue, were mobilized by the media and political commentators to situate this incident in relation to events, such as the first World Trade Center attack and the Oklahoma City bombing, that created anxiety around national security threats and borders.


Selected from MOCA’s collection, more than 40 sculptures collectively created by the immigrants while detained between 1993 and 1997 at York County Prison will be on display. Through the poetics of these artworks, archive materials, and recently recorded video interviews with many of their supporters, the exhibition will also provide multiple perspectives on the attainment of the American Dream, while shedding light on current immigration policies and control practices. FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures is on view October 5, 2017 through March 25, 2018 and is curated by Andrew Rebatta, MOCA’s Assistant Curator.


Additional Programs

In conjunction with FOLD, MOCA is offering a series of related events, public programs, family programs, and gallery tours. Please find below a schedule of FOLD programming through the end of 2017.


MOCACREATE: Zhezhi 摺紙 Folded Paper Arts

Saturday, October 7, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Saturday, October 21, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Free with Museum admission


While detained, Golden Venture passengers folded paper to create symbolic sculptures of all shapes and sizes, passing time and creating art together. Using a variety of paper types and folding techniques, construct colorful paper figures inspired by the works on view. Design your own or collaborate with others!


Screening of Golden Venture

Wednesday, October 11, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

$12/Adult; $8/Student & Senior; FREE for MOCA members


This 2006 documentary follows the Golden Venture passengers from Queens to York County Jail in Pennsylvania, where many were imprisoned for years while activists and lawyers fought for their release against a public opinion increasingly hostile to foreign immigration. An examination of how political pressures, media scrutiny, and reactionary policies can warp human lives, Golden Venture is a timely meditation on the state of the U.S. immigration detention system. Followed by Q&A with filmmaker Peter Cohn.


Curators’ Tour

Thursday, October 12, 2017, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 9, 2017, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 14, 2017, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Free with Museum admission


Join a curator-led talk and tour of FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures. The tours will be led by Andrew Rebatta, FOLD curator, and/or Herb Tam, MOCA’s Curator & Director of Exhibitions, every second Thursday from October 5, 2017 to March 25, 2018. 


Screening of Snakeheads: Chinese Mafia & the New Slave Trade

Thursday, October 19, 2017, 6:30 p.m.

$12/Adult; $8/Student & Senior; FREE for MOCA members


Co-directed by the late pioneering Asian American studies scholar, Peter Kwong, Snakeheads: Chinese Mafia & the New Slave Trade profiles the slave traders and Chinese laborers who were their victims, exploring issues of undocumented immigration, increased tension in communities such as New York’s Chinatown, and the human consequences of a race to the bottom in the global economy. Followed by Q&A with co-directors Jon Alpert and Ying Chan. This screening is co-presented with the Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV) and the Asian American/Asian Research Institute (AAARI) of the City University of New York. 


Free Open House for Educators and Curator-led Tour of Fold: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures

Thursday, October 26, 2017, 4:30-6:00 p.m.


As a way to actively engage visitors in a conversation about immigration issues, FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures will present the story of the passengers of the Golden Venture, a ship carrying 286 undocumented Chinese immigrants that ran aground in New York City in 1993. Selected from MOCA’s collection, over forty sculptures collectively created by the immigrants while detained for years at York County Prison will be on display. Join curators Herb Tam and Andrew Rebatta for a tour of the exhibition, and chat with MOCA education staff about school programs at the Museum and in your classroom.


Know Your Rights: What the Law is and What the Law isn’t

Thursday, November 2, 2017, 6:30 p.m.


Free and open to the public on MOCA Free First Thursdays

Join attorneys Claire Thomas and Ernie Collette for the second workshop in MOCA’s Know Your Rights series. They will provide a brief overview of immigration law, beginning with the Chinese Exclusion Act, and clarify the current status of U.S. immigration laws to provide usable knowledge for asserting one’s rights. The session will be bilingual (English and Mandarin), with law student Xixi Liu serving as interpreter.


MOCACREATE: Made by…me!

Saturday, November 4, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Saturday, November 18, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Free with Museum admission


Express yourself! Take home your very own zine, a handmade magazine about anything you’d like. Learn to fold and bind a basic saddle stitch zine with guest artist Jia Sung. Then, fill it with ideas and artwork, and share with friends and family.


MOCACREATE: Migration through My Eyes

Saturday, December 2, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 16, 2017, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

Free with Museum admission


Every family has a story. Join artist Jia Sung as she leads you in telling your personal or family migration narrative through writing, drawing, and folding activities. As a group, create a site-specific installation to share your stories with visitors of all ages.


Visitors to the Museum can enjoy MOCACREATE drop-in art workshops every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. 


Please check the museum’s website at for more detailed information, an updated calendar, and to purchase tickets. For press requests and images and to RSVP for the press preview on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 10 a.m., please email


FOLD: Golden Venture Paper Sculptures is made possible with the generous support of the S. H. Ho Foundation, Con Edison, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


About Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)

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.



Monday – Closed

Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – 11am-6pm

Thursday – 11am-9pm

MOCA Free First Thursdays: Free gallery admission on the first Thursday of each month, made possible through the generosity of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and J.T. Tai & Co. Foundation. 



General Admission: $10

Seniors (65+ with ID), Students (with school ID), Children 2 and up: $5

Children under 2, Cool Culture Families, MOCA Members: Free