Bringing together expertise from artist-run spaces and private collections in Vietnam and the San Francisco Bay Area’s most important center for Asian art and its centers of higher learning, this initiative aims to challenge stereotypes of Vietnam and reframe Vietnamese art and art history through a focus on two-dimensional media–paintings and drawings made over the last thirty years. Research toward a planned exhibition currently aims to connect generations of artists in Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora despite broken geographical and political ties.
Exterior view of Asian Art Museum. (Left) Jenifer K. Wofford, Pattern Recognition, 2020. Acrylic on aluminum. (Right) Jas Charanjiva, Don’t Mess With Me, 2013/2020. Acrylic and latex on marine plywood. Both commissioned by the Asian Art Museum. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum.
The collaborative nature of the initiative allows the group to draw on Post Vidai
, one of the earliest private collections of Vietnamese contemporary art housed between Geneva and Saigon and directed by Trần (who also the founder of Art Labor); the works of artists in the network of Sàn Art
, the oldest artist-run art organization in Ho Chi Minh City, where Do is curator; the collection of the Asian Art Museum
in San Francisco, where Chen is Head of Contemporary Art; and the intellectual networks of Lê, Associate Professor at California College of the Arts and CCSRE Mellon Arts Fellow at Stanford University.
Abby Chen is the Head of Contemporary Art and Senior Associate Curator at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. She leads the museum’s Transformation project. Her curatorial work includes commissioning Asian American artists such as Chanel Miller and Jenifer K. Wofford. She also helped acquire the largest collection of Bernice Bing, along with works by Carlos Villa, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha and many others. As part of the transformation, she established a new initiative Practice Institute, the collaborative model to change museum practices for the evolving artist community. Previously, she served for over a decade as the Curator and Artistic Director at the Chinese Culture Foundation and Center of San Francisco. Under her leadership, the community-based organization was transformed into an internationally recognized open and process-driven platform for contemporary art.
Vicky Do is an artist and curator based in Saigon, Vietnam. Her works have been featured at the Hong Kong Independent Film Festival and Urban Nomad Film Festival in Taipei, Taiwan (2015), Hanoi Docfest (2017), Seoul Media City Biennale, Seoul, South Korea (2018), The Factory Contemporary Art Center, Saigon (2018), Para/Site, Hong Kong (2019) amongst others. She now works as a co-curator at Sàn Art, a longest artist-run art organization in Saigon. Her curatorial practices range from community learning to exhibition and art books making. Past curated programs include (Re)imagined choreography, a Situationist International-inspired media workshop in the city (2020); Journey to the Southwest, a community outreach and research group to the Mekong Delta (2021); and Waiting for the end of wind, an exhibition of the paintings of Nguyen Thai Tuan (2022). She is a recipient of the Australia Council for the Arts’ International Art Leadership Fellowship (2019-2022).
Việt Lê is an artist, writer, and curator. Lê is an Associate Professor in Visual Studies at California College of the Arts. Lê has curated various transnational exhibitions and programs including transPOP: Korea Việt Nam Remix (with Yong Soon Min; ARKO Art Center, Seoul; Galerie Quynh and Sàn Art, Sài Gòn; UC Irvine; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2008-09), the 2012 Taipei Kuandu Biennale, and Love in the Time of War (UC Santa Barbara and SF Camerawork). Lê has presented his work at The Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada; the Smithsonian; UCLA Hammer Museum; DoBaeBacSa Gallery, Seoul, Korea; Japan Foundation, Việt Nam; 1a Space, Hong Kong; Bangkok Art & Cultural Center (BACC), Thailand; Civitella Ranieri, Italy; Shanghai Biennale, China; Rio Gay Film Festival, Rio de Janeiro; among other venues. Lê is the 2022 recipient of the CCSRE Mellon Arts Fellowship at Stanford University.
Arlette Quynh-Anh Tran is an art laborer based in Saigon. She is the Curator and Director of Post Vidai, a unique and significant collection of Vietnamese contemporary art with bases in Geneva and Saigon. She has curated and contributed to both local and international art publications and projects, such as Istanbul Biennale and Hugo Boss Asia Award (both 2015). She also founded Art Labor, a collective working between art, social and life sciences in various public contexts and locales, on long-term, multiple output projects which have been showcased at such venues as CCA-NTU Singapore; CCA Warsaw; Times Museum, Guangdong, China; Centre Pompidou, Paris, France; and 57th Carnegie International, Pittsburgh.