September 25, 2014 - March 01, 2015



Waves of Identity transforms the Bloomberg Special Exhibitions gallery into an archive environment encouraging open exploration of MOCA’s rich collection of Chinese American history. This exhibition will present over 200 objects and stories, organized in eight sections through a series of provocative questions such as Where Does Chinatown End? How Do You Become American? and What Does It Mean To Be Chinese? This inquiry-based approach will prompt visitors to actively search for answers within archive materials and objects. The featured artifacts, documents, videos and oral histories embody and evoke the lives, complexities, and aspirations of Chinese American communities in New York Chinatown and beyond.


Phoebe Chen dresses on view at MOCA's exhibition, 'Waves of Identity'


The exhibition will include highlights from MOCA’s special collections and previous exhibitions including intricate paper sculptures from the Fly to Freedom Collection: The Art of the Golden Venture Refugees, Recovering Chinatown: The 9/11 Collection, Marcella Chin Dear Collection, Hazel Ying Lee Collection, the Chinese Musical and Theatrical Association Collection, and more. During the run of the exhibition, MOCA will also offer a series of programs and educational workshops. On Thursday, October 9 at 7 pm, join the curators for a discussion on the exhibition. Click here for registration and more information on the program. For updates on the forthcoming program schedule, please check back on the Museum’s website.


Exhibition section: How Do You Become American? Watch the exhibition trailer here.


Waves of Identity: 35 Years of Archiving is curated by Herb Tam, Curator and Director of Exhibitions and Yue Ma, Associate Director of Collections. Cynthia Lee served as a project advisor. It is presented in conjunction with the New-York Historical Society's exhibition, Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion.


Funding for the exhibition and catalog is provided by the S. H. Ho Foundation Limited, Con Edison, National Endowment for the Humanities as part of the New-York Historical Society’s exhibition, Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion, and an anonymous donor. This exhibition and related programs are also 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.