Oil & Water Symposium

Sun, Apr 27, 2014 @ 10:00am - 4:00pm


Admission: $15/Adults; $10/MOCA Members, Students, and Seniors

Advanced reservation and ticket purchase required

Admission cost applies to the full-day program.

Click here to register



The Museum of Chinese in America in New York City (MOCA) will host a scholarly symposium in conjunction with MOCA’s upcoming exhibition Oil & Water: Reinterpreting Ink, opening April 24th. The exhibition will feature the work of three renowned Chinese contemporary artists: Qiu Deshu, Wei Jia, and Zhang Hongtu, guest curated by Michelle Y. Loh.


This symposium is composed of experts in the field of Chinese and American art history who will discuss the trajectory of Chinese ink art from traditional landscape painting and calligraphy to the creative reinterpretation of these historic models, reflecting on the social, political and artistic ramifications of their development. The dialogues will unpack the intellectual importance of the ever-developing ink genre and the role these artists play in shaping contemporary art in New York.





10:00 – 10:30AM

Welcome and Introduction by Herb Tam, Carolyn Hsu-Balcer, and Michelle Loh



10:30AM – 11:30AM

Let Hundred Flowers Bloom: Contemporary Ink in the 21st Century by Julia F. Andrews, Kuiyi Shen, and Melissa Chiu / Moderated by John Rajchman


Philosopher John Rajchman, Director of the Modern Art M.A. Program at Columbia University, will lead a discussion with Julia Andrews, a specialist in Chinese art, who was the first American art historian to conduct dissertation research in China after formal establishment of US-China relations. Joining them will be Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Curator for Contemporary art at the Asia Society, a leading expert and authority in Asian contemporary art, and Kuiyi Shen, Director of the Chinese Studies Program and Professor of Asian Art History, Theory and Criticism at the University of California, San Diego. The conversation will address recent developments and scholarly discussion about Contemporary Ink.



11:30AM – 12:00PM

Artist Interview: Wei Jia and Robert C. Morgan


Focusing on the work of Wei Jia, critic and artist Robert C. Morgan will explore the diversity of “avant-garde ink” beyond Western formulas, Pop and Expressionism.  



12:00PM – 12:30PM

The Emergence of Asian Art and Asian American Art in the 20th Century: What is Asian, what is American? by Lilly Wei, Aileen Wang


The substance and antecedents of contemporary art, which, for decades, appeared to flourish only in certain choice centers in the West, are being looked at in the new context of a post-colonial, politically and economically vibrant Asia, and with appreciation for the distinctive culture and character of Asian-American immigrants. Art critic Lilly Wei joins art historian Aileen Wang in a dialogue on the emergence of Asian Art and Asian American Art in the last century.


12:30PM - 1:00PM

Lunch Break



1:00PM - 1:30PM

Gallery Tour with the Curator



1:30PM – 2:00PM

Artist Interview: Zhang Hongtu and Richard Vine


Managing Editor of Art in America and renowned expert on contemporary Chinese art, Richard Vine will discuss significant themes in Zhang Hongtu’s work.


2:00PM – 2:30PM

Artist Interview: Qiu Deshu and Joan Lebold Cohen


Qiu Deshu and art historian, photographer, and curator Joan Lebold Cohen will talk about their unique and fascinating friendship and artistic exchange which dates back to the 1980s.


2:30PM – 3:00PM

How Does Political Evolution and Artistic Revolution in China and America Shape the Development of Asian/American Art by Jerome Cohen


Professor Jerome Cohen, an expert in Chinese law, will share his insights on political evolution and artistic revolution in China and America, and their influence on the development of Asian-American art.



3:00PM – 3:30PM

Closing Remarks



3:30PM – 4:00PM

Gallery Tour with the Curator



Symposium Honorary Speakers:

Julia F. Andrews (Professor, Department of the History of Art, Ohio State University), Melissa Chiu (Director, Asia Society Musuem), Jerome Cohen (Professor of Law at New York University School of Law), Joan Lebold Cohen (Art Historian and Photographer), Qiu Deshu (Featured Artist), Robert C. Morgan (Professor Emeritus in Art History at the Rochester Institute of Technology; Critic and Artist), John Rajchman (Director, the Modern Art M.A. Program, Columbia University), Kuiyi Shen (Professor, Asian Art History, Theory and Criticism, University of California, San Diego), Richard Vine (Managing Editor, Art in America), Aileen Wang (Assistant Professor, Art History and Museum Studies, LIU Post), Lilly Wei (Art Critic and Independent Curator), Wei Jia (Featured Artist), and Zhang Hongtu (Featured Artist).



This exhibition is supported by Carolyn Hsu Balcer (CEO of SnoPea Inc. and Collector) and René Balcer, Karen Y. Wang, Rachel Sha, Marie and Harley Lippman, and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. 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.