10.23.08 – 1.3.09: Icons of Presence Exhibition

Icons of Presence: Asian American Activist Art

Runs: October 23, 2008 – January 3, 2009
Opening Reception: October 23, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Chinese Culture Center Gallery
750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor
Gallery Hours: Tue- Sat, 10-4
Admission: Free

Chinese – 中文網頁

Related Activities:

Exhibition Catalog:

    Written by renowned curator & art historian Margo Machida, this book is the first to document the work of Asian American artists Jim Dong, Nancy Hom and Leland Wong. To order the catalog:
  • Click here if you are a US resident and want to pay by check or money order
  • Click here if you are a CA resident and want to pay by credit card or via paypal

Iconography of Asian American Activism
From the Nichi Bei Times Weekly November 27, 2008, written by April Elkjer

The short radio piece with Nancy Hom by April Elkjer for APEX Express on KPFA.


The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco is proud to present its new exhibition, Icons of Presence: Asian American Activist Art, organized by guest curator and scholar Margo Machida.

Icons of Presence highlights the substantial role of printmaking and graphics as a powerful means of social expression for Asian American visual culture. It showcases both graphic art and posters from the landmark decades of the 1970s and ‘80s, and more recent work by Jim Dong, Nancy Hom, and Leland Wong, who played a pivotal role in the San Francisco Bay area’s Asian American arts movement. Putting the work of these three Chinese American artists in a wider context, the exhibition and its accompanying catalog also emphasize the range of influences that have shaped their art and cultural activism.

Icons of Presence is conceived as a counterpart to Asian/ American/ Modern Art: Shifting Currents, 1900-1970. This national historical survey exhibition of Asian American art, with significant West Coast representation, is on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from October 25, 2008 – January 18, 2009. Since the de Young show does not extend through the ‘70s or beyond – the period that witnessed the rise of the Asian American movement and cultural politics – Icons of Presence foregrounds the activist turn in Asian American visual art. By focusing on the work of these three individuals, Icons of Presence provides a slice of a larger history in American art that is both national and international in scope, to which these still-active Chinese American artists bring their own distinctive perspectives.

Major funding for the Icons of Presence Exhibition is provided by generous contributions from Zellerbach Family Foundation, Vincent Woo Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation, Union Bank of California, Portsmouth Plaza Parking Corporation, Grants for the Arts, our members and individual donations.


Picture 1: A Future for Our Children?, Nancy Hom, 1985
Picture 2: Fate, Jim Dong, 2007
Picture 3: Demonstrating the Sword, Leland Wong