IMU UR2: Art, Aesthetics, and Asian America
October 28-29, 2022
On October 28-29, Stanford University will host IMU UR2: Art, Aesthetics, and Asian America. This two-day convening brings together artists, curators, and scholars to rethink and reimagine the histories and futures of artists of Asian descent.
Together with the exhibitions East of the Pacific: Making Histories of Asian American Art, The Faces of Ruth Asawa, and At Home/On Stage: Asian American Representation in Photography and Film at the Cantor Arts Center, IMU UR2 inaugurates the Asian American Art Initiative (AAAI). This event also serves as the public launch of the Martin Wong Catalogue Raisonné, a free online resource that is a collaboration between the AAAI, the Martin Wong Foundation, and Stanford Libraries.
IMU UR2 is a phrase coined by the artist Martin Wong, who lived and worked on the West and East Coasts. Phonetically reading “I am you, you are two/too/to” captures the imagination, playfulness, and conceptual depth of Wong’s work. Here, the self is not singular but made in relation to others, who are likewise made in relation to us. The phrase encapsulates the symposium’s aim of thinking through the myriad ways Asian Americans and the work they create are at once connected and distinctive.
Rather than a traditional symposium, the structure of this convening emphasizes dialogue, experimentation, and deep engagement with images. Each speaker was asked to prepare a ten-minute presentation about a single image that speaks to the theme of their panel, including “Global Intimacies,” “Race & Aesthetics,” “Art & Activisms,” “History & Memory,” “Gender & Sexuality,” and “Institutional Interventions.” A respondent will offer a ten-minute reflection, followed by thirty minutes of discussion and audience Q&A. The event will conclude with a keynote conversation between Cathy Park Hong and Jen Liu, moderated by Marci Kwon. The convening and keynote will be held in person and streamed live via Zoom.
Co-directed by Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, associate curator at the Cantor Arts Center, and Marci Kwon, assistant professor of art and art history, the Asian American Art Initiative is dedicated to the collection, preservation, research, teaching, and public presentation of Asian American/diaspora artists and makers. The AAAI is housed at the Cantor and collaborates with campus units, including the Asian American Studies Program and Stanford Libraries and Special Collections. Through a series of long-term installations, special exhibitions, research and education projects, the AAAI fosters in-depth scholarly and public engagement with artists and makers of Asian descent.