|Founded at||New York, NY, USA|
|Ken Chu, Bing Lee, Margo Machida|
Godzilla: Asian American Arts Network was a New York-based Asian American arts collective and support network established in 1990. Founding members Ken Chu, Bing Lee, Margo Machida, and others established Godzilla in order to facilitate inter-generational and interdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration for Asian American artists and art professionals.The collective provided visibility in local and national exhibitions, developed press outreach strategies, published newsletters, and sponsored symposia on Asian American art. It was disbanded in 2001.
Godzilla's contemporaries included Godzookie, and the Barnstormers.
The original members of Godzilla were Tomie Arai, Ken Chu, Karin Higa, Arlan Huang, Byron Kim, Bing Lee, Colin Lee, Janet Lin, Mei-Lin Liu, Margo Machida, Stephanie Mar, Yong Soon Min, Helen Oji, Eugenie Tsai, Charles Yuen and Garson Yu.Some of Godzilla's members were previously involved in Basement Workshop and Asian American Art Centre. Members decided to name the organization "Godzilla" after Japanese movie monster Godzilla.
The collective organized "slide slams" where hundreds of artists had the opportunity to display their work as well as view other artists' works.Godzilla also published a national newsletter that included member-written opinion pieces, coverage of Asian American art from across the United States, and calls for artwork. Because Godzilla members rejected formally becoming a 501(c)3 organization, rotating volunteer committees coordinated much of its work. The Godzilla logo and newsletters were designed and produced by Charles Yuen.
Other notable artists and arts professionals who later joined Godzilla include artists Paul Pfeiffer, Zhang Hongtu, Nina Kuo, Allan deSouza, and art critic Alice Yang.
In the spring of 1991, members of Godzilla published a letter highlighting the historic absence of Asian American artists in the Whitney Museum of American Art's Biennials.The collective chose to call attention to this absence in part because of the Whitney Biennial's influence in establishing trends in the American art scene. In response to Godzilla's letter, Whitney Museum director David Ross met with Godzilla members Tsai, Machida, Pfeiffer and others to discuss plans to expand minority representation the Whitney's curatorial staff, which was intended to in turn improve the representation of minority artists in the Whitney's future biennials. Tsai was subsequently appointed as a curator at the Whitney in 1994.
The Whitney Biennial is a biennale exhibition of contemporary American art, typically by young and lesser known artists, on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, United States. The event began as an annual exhibition in 1932, the first biennial was in 1973. The Whitney show is generally regarded as one of the leading shows in the art world, often setting or leading trends in contemporary art. It helped bring artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Jeff Koons to prominence.
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Basement Workshop was an Asian-American political and arts organization in New York City active from 1970-1986. It was created during the Asian American Movement and acted as an umbrella organization to writers, visual artists, dancers and choreographers, and activists. It published Bridge Magazine and sponsored exhibitions and after school programs. Artists such as Tomie Arai, Fay Chiang, Larry Hama, Jessica Hagedorn, Jason Kao Hwang, Nina Kuo, and Chris Iijima were involved. Basement Workshop spawned numerous other organizations, including the Asian American Dance Theater, Asian American Arts Centre, Godzilla Asian American Arts Network, and Museum of Chinese in America.
Michi Itami is a visual artist, known for her printmaking, painting, ceramics and digital art. Her work has been exhibited internationally. She has had solo exhibitions at A.I.R. Gallery, New York; 2221 Gallery in New Delhi, India; Shinsegae Gallery in Seoul, Korea; Beni Gallery in Kyoto, Japan, among others. In 2004 Itami was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Woman's Caucus on Art. She taught at the San Francisco Art Institute and at California State University, Hayward, and is Professor Emerita at City University of New York where she taught for over 20 years. Itami received a BA in English Literature from UCLA in 1959; later studied at Columbia University in New York where she performed graduate work from 1959-1962 in Japanese and English literature, later receiving a MA degree in 1971 from the University of California Berkeley. She was a member of Godzilla, an Asian American arts advocacy group.
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