The New Social Environment#69

Within Global Isolation: Asian Artists in America


1 p.m. Eastern / 10 a.m. Pacific

Artists Leonard Suryajaya, Hương Ngo, and Ying Zhu will join curators Han Hongzheng and Chandler Allen to discuss their work in the virtual exhibition, “Within Global Isolation: Asian Artists in America.”

About the exhibition:

Asian Artists in America is the first installment of a series of virtual exhibitions. Organized independently by curators Han Hongzheng and Chandler Allen, Within Global Isolation: Asian Artists in America brings together work by ten Asian artists across the country, including Hương Ngô, Guanyu Xu, Leonard Suryajaya, Ying Zhu, Siyuan Tan, Zhen Guo, Damien Ding, Tin Wai Wong, Weina Lee, and Toby Zeng. The exhibition is a response to the rise in discrimination towards people of Asian descent, now at its peak as a result of COVID-19. In it, we reassess work relevant to the pandemic, and prompt questions of coexistence — both on the global and local levels.​

The exhibition is virtual, and has a substantial interview component, in which each artist shares their experience with COVID-19 in stories that detail the discrimination they have faced as well as hardships universal to those surviving the pandemic. These extensive interviews allow for contrasting opinions and ideas to unfold through open discussion.

Within Global Isolation: Asian Artists in America will be available to view throughout the time of the pandemic.

More at

Leonard Suryajaya headshot

Leonard Suryajaya (b. 1988 in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia) is an interdisciplinary artist focused in photography who lives and works in Chicago, Illinois. He was raised as an Indonesian citizen of Chinese descent, and educated as a Buddhist in a Muslin-majority country, Suryajaya uses photography to test the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family. He received his BFA from California State University in 2013, his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2017. Over the last three years, Suryajaya has exhibited at major institutions worldwide, including the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece (2018); Mana Contemporary in Miami, FL (2018); Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, IL (2017); and Photoforum Pasquart in Biel, Switzerland (2017). His work is housed in the permanent collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, the Center for Photography at Woodstock and the Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection.

Hương Ngô, ESCAPE. 2004 - 2006. Courtesy of the Artist.
Hương Ngô, ESCAPE. 2004 - 2006. Courtesy of the Artist.

Hương Ngo (Ngô Ngọc Hương, 吳玉香) was born in 1979 in Hong Kong, and often works between France, Vietnam and the US. She is currently based out of Chicago, where she is an Assistant Professor in Contemporary Practices at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Having grown up as a refugee in the American South, she engages histories of colonialism and migration, particularly in relationship to language, structures of power, and ideologies. The body and, alternately, its absence and its traces are strongly present in her work, which often asks how we might make visible the process of our own subject formation. She earned her BFA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004 and completed the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2012. In 2016, she was awarded the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant in Vietnam to realize a project, begun at the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in France, recently exhibited at DePaul Art Museum (2017), and continued through the Camargo Core Program (2018), that examines the colonial history of surveillance in Vietnam and the anti-colonial strategies of resistance vis-à-vis the activities of female organizers and liaisons. Her work has been exhibited worldwide at the MoMA, MCA Chicago, Nhà Sàn Collective, and Para Site, and supported by 3Arts, Chicago Artists Coalition, DCASE, and Sàn Art, among others.

Ying Zhu headshot

Ying Zhu (b. 1979 in Lanzhou, China) lives and works in Washington, D.C. Since receiving her MFA from the University of Nebraska in 2010, Zhu has exhibited widely, including the exhibitionsDialogueat Stable Arts in Washington, D.C. (2020);Material Womenat the Smith Center in Washington, D.C. (2020);Landingat the Museum of Contemporary Art Taiwan (2015);Magical Thinkingat Roots Division in San Francisco, CA (2014);III Moscow Young Art Biennalein Moscow, Russia (2012); andMind the Gapat the Neukolln Art Festival Nacht Und Nebel in Berlin, Germany (2011).

Chandler Allen is an Associate at Kasmin Gallery as well as the Research Assistant to Matthew Barney. She earned a dual degree in Photography and International Business from the University of Texas at Austin (2016) where she was the Russell Lee Endowed Presidential Scholar and an MA in the History of Modern and Contemporary Art from Christie’s Education New York (2017) where she was the Trust Scholar. In 2017 and 2018, she worked on the core project team of the largest auction in history, the Collection of Peggy and David Rockefeller at Christie’s New York, for which she conducted archival research on 1500 works of art, co-wrote essays with the Post-War & Contemporary and Impressionist & Modern art departmentsthat were published into a six-volume set of catalogues, and researchedthe Rockefeller’s international affairs during WWI and WWII. Since 2018, Chandler has worked on the sales team of Kasmin helping to curate exhibitions of contemporary and twentieth-century art. Her forthcoming exhibition AND/ALSO: Photography (Mis)represented opens July 9th.She also works independently as a curator, writer and practitioner.Her research focuses on how codified value systems in culture and politics manifest formally in photographic practices, with a particular interest in how our desire to photograph can both be a consequence of, and cause, major developments in social, military, media, and art history.

Hongzheng Han

Han Hongzheng (they/them) received their MA from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU in 2019. During their study at the IFA, Han co-foundIFA Contemporary Asia, the first pan-Asian art forum at NYU. Han is now an independent curator and art researcher working and living in NYC. Focusing on racial identities and body politics, Han’s recent curatorial works includeRunaway World 2020: Ten Chinese Artists Group Show;Beyond Borders: Art in the Post COVID Era, and so on. Han is determined to utilize their personal and educational exploration of racial identity and queerness to develop methodologies that bring exposure to under-represented artists and marginalized groups, as well as establish a sophisticated rejection of an outdated east/west academic dichotomy.

We will close the conversation with poetry reading from Brendan Lorber.

A headshot of poet Brendan Lorber

Brendan Lorber the author of If this is paradise why are we still driving? and several chapbooks, most recently Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems. He’s had work in*The American Poetry Review, Fence, McSweeney’s, can we have our ball back and elsewhere.*Since 1995 he has edited Lungfull! Magazine, currently in hibernation, an annual anthology of contemporary literature that prints the rough draft of contributors’ work in addition to the final version in order to reveal the creative process. He’s also edited The Poetry Project Newsletter and ran the Zinc Bar Reading Series for so long. He lives atop the tallest hill in Brooklyn, in a little castle across the street from a five-hundred-acre necropolis where he’s working on a ghost story.

❤️ 🌈 We'd like to thank the The Terra Foundation for American Art for making these daily conversations possible, and for their support of our growing archive.