Free Admission in December to Asia Society's Mixed-Media Exhibition "New Cartographies"

Artist Allan deSouza Visits Asia Society on December 8

HOUSTON, November 27, 2018 — Asia Society Texas Center (ASTC) is offering Houstonians a special gift this holiday season: FREE exhibition admission throughout the entire month of December. New Cartographies, currently on display in the Louisa Stude Sarofim Gallery, will be offered to the general public without a fee so families, working adults, and school children can see this groundbreaking exhibition during their holiday time off.

In addition, artist Allan deSouza will be featured on December 8 in an Artist Talk and will sign copies of his new book How Art Can Be Thought. Born in Nairobi to parents with Indian heritage, deSouza grew up in the U.K. and the U.S. and was highly influenced by his international upbringing. His work in photography, textiles, and print engage with issues of migration and identity, and challenge the viewer to examine one’s unconscious biases, often with satire and humor.

New Cartographies features deSouza and three other artists from across the U.S. and Asia, all making their ASTC debuts. The works, by contemporary artists deSouza, Tiffany ChungLi Songsong, and Sohei Nishino, examine how maps inform, and even shape, our view of the world in sometimes inaccurate ways. Ranging from photography to installation, the exhibition also highlights how the artists incorporate mapmaking into their work as they examine globally relevant topics such as urbanization, economic migration, environmental change, refugee movements, and the repercussions of colonial legacies.

Maps have been at the center of cultural and political exchange between Asia and the West for centuries, supplying an orientation to unfamiliar environments, an ability to communicate about foreign lands to a domestic audience, and in some instances a taxonomy that gave mapmakers a sense of control and order. Maps continue to define and help navigate diverse geographies, both in analog and digital modes. These artists take mapmaking in utterly new directions while challenging past norms.

“Each artist represented in this exhibition sheds light on the subjectivity of maps, their presumed accuracy, their uses in national strategies, and how they influence people’s impressions of different regions and historical events,” says Bridget Bray, Nancy C. Allen Curator and Director of Exhibitions.

Individually, the artists’ works have been seen across the world and represent a diverse range of perspectives, as the artists hail from Vietnam, Kenya, Japan, and China, respectively. However, all four artists’ work sheds light on how mapmakers’ choices can alter societal impressions and therefore have long-term impact.

Fast Facts

  • Exhibition dates: On view through March 17, 2019
  • Admission: FREE to the public in December 2018; normal prices resume in January ($8 for non-members and free for members)
  • Hours: Tuesday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (closed on December 25)

Related Programs

  • Artist Talk featuring Allan deSouza, Saturday, December 8 at 2pm; free for members, $8 for non-members; includes a free gallery tour (normally $8 for non-members)
  • Artist Talk featuring Tiffany Chung, Saturday, January 12 at 2pm; free for members, $8 for non-members; includes a free gallery tour (normally $8 for non-members)

About the Artists

Allan deSouza (featured in December 8 Artist Talk)

Allan deSouza (b. 1958, Nairobi, Kenya; lives and works in the Bay Area) is a multi-media artist. His photography, installation, text, and performance works restage historical evidence through counter-strategies of fiction, erasure, and (mis)translation. deSouza’s recent works engage with the history of the later 19th century and connections between South Asia, East Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

His work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, including at the Walther Collection, Germany; Pompidou Centre, Paris; 2008 Gwangju Biennale, Korea; 3rd Guangzhou Triennale, China; and in recent solo exhibitions at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; the Phillips Collection; the Fowler Museum; Krannert Art Museum; Talwar Gallery, NY; and Talwar Gallery, Delhi. His writings have been published in various journals, anthologies, and catalogues, including Third Text, London; Wolgan Art Monthly, South Korea; X-TRA, Los Angeles. He is the Chair and an Associate Professor in the Department of Art Practice, UC Berkeley.

Tiffany Chung

Tiffany Chung (b. 1969, Da Nang, Vietnam; lives and works in Houston) is noted for her cartographic drawings, sculptures, videos, photographs, and theater performances that examine conflict, migration, displacement, urban progress and transformation in relation to history and cultural memory. Chung’s work studies the geographical shifts in countries that were traumatized by war, human destruction, or natural disaster. Based on meticulous ethnographic research and archival documents, her work excavates layers of history, re-writes chronicles of places, and creates interventions into the spatial narratives produced through statecraft.

Chung’s works have been featured in exhibitions at the Mori Art Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and in the 2015 Venice Biennale, in the exhibition All the World’s Futures in the Arsenale, with an installation of 40 map-based drawings relating to the ongoing crisis in Syria.

Sohei Nishino

Sohei Nishino (b. 1982, Hyogo, Japan; lives and works in Kanagawa and Shizuoka) is a photographer whose work focuses on the relationship between the physical body, memory, and diverse geographies. After graduating from Osaka University of the Arts in 2004, he began his Diorama Map series. The series features a “diorama” of each selected city, composed of thousands of collaged photographs which are records of his movements through its streets and architecture. The countless first-person views are printed on contact sheets and subsequently reconfigured as “maps” in his studio. The works are imbued with his experiences walking the selected cities, and capture the dynamism and subjectivity of cityscapes as we experience them.

He has exhibited his work internationally at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Daegu Photo Biennale, Korea; Saatchi Gallery, London; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; and the ICP Triennial, New York.

Li Songsong

Li Songsong (b. 1973, Beijing; lives and works in Beijing) primarily employs painting in his practice, incorporating historical and political content informed by photographic research. He directs attention to the way in which societies understand their own histories, and its impact on their collective behavior. His paintings emphasize the materiality of the medium and manipulate scale, surface, and color to emphasize his themes.

He graduated from the Subsidiary School of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing in 1992 before going on to receive his BFA in oil painting from CAFA in 1996. Li has since been the focus of many publications and international exhibitions, including at Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, Germany; MAMbo – Museo d’Arte Moderna di Bologna, Italy; Pace Gallery, Beijing, London, and New York; and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing and Lucerne.

About Asia Society Texas Center

With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the rest of the world. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.

This exhibition is organized by Asia Society Texas Center.

Exhibitions at Asia Society Texas Center are presented by Wells Fargo. The China Series is presented by East West Bank. The Japan Series is presented by Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas). Major support also comes from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Nancy C. Allen, and Leslie and Brad Bucher, as well as The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston Endowment, and the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance. Generous funding also provided by The Clayton Fund, Texas Commission on the Arts, Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Franci Neely Foundation, Olive Jenney, Nanako and Dale Tingleaf, and Ann Wales. Additional support given by The Japan Foundation. Funding is also provided through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional visual art to Asia Society Texas Center. Special exhibition support provided by Leslie and Brad Bucher.

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