You are currently browsing the monthly archive for March 2009.

Hiroshi Nohara has been living in the Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico since he flew in from Tokyo on Sept 2nd.  He has become a small celebrity.  He has been given food by the airport fast food restaurants and passengers and gives autographs and photographs.  He says that his stay is indefinite, and so far his travel visa remains valid until March.

• Malaysian court freed Raja Petra Kamarudin, who had been arrested and detained without trial on Sept 12th.  Kamarudin was arrested for comments  that were considered offensive to the government and Muslims.  Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been using blogs to challenge freedom of the press.  Blogs are said to have influenced outcomes in elections in Malaysia.

• On Thanksgiving Day there were a series of terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India, in which people were taken hostage at the Oberoi Trident and theTaj Mahal hotel.  Nearly 195 people died, including tourists and businessmen from Europe and the United States.  The siege on the Taj Mahal hotel lasted 3 days.

• China protested against a meeting between the Dalai Lama and the French President by canceling a meeting with the European Union.  Chinese authorities are angered because they believe the Dalai Lama will enforce Tibet’s independence from China.

•  Polish president Lech Kaczynsk held talks with South Korean president Lee Myung Bak asking for support for building Poland’s infrastructure which includes roads, subways, and nuclear power plants.  The latter idea is not popular with Polish citizens because of the nuclear power catastrophe in Chernobyl, Ukraine.

• The first Vietnamese-American was elected to Congress in Louisiana.  His opponent, Democratic candidate William Jefferson, was accused of bribery and money laundering.



by John Chae

“Good one W., I couldn’t have said it better,” I mutter to myself as I admire the recycled  White House letter paper and try to decipher the President’s signature.  Z w Bee, is what the scribble most closely resembles.  The Naturalization Ceremony Hall, in which I am reading this letter, is in the Fallon Federal Building in downtown Baltimore.  Contrary to its grand name, the hall looks like it was modeled after the local YMCA recreation room.  Four to five rows of fold-up chairs take up the bulk of the carpeted area.  The chairs are directed towards a wooden podium set in front of an American flag and to the left of this is a beige plastic fold-out table behind which stand three cheerful women who are congratulating the new citizens for their decision in joining team America.  The walls are loosely decorated with oddly placed, and rather distasteful, red, white, and blue ribbons.  Of which there aren’t nearly enough of and whose arrangement puts this attempt to shame when compared to even your most average Veteran’s day party.  Like most things in Baltimore, the ceremony hall seems to be underfunded.

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By Ellice Park

Byron Kim is a contemporary Korean-American artist. In the early 1990s, Kim made his debut in the art world with his artwork “Synecdoche,” a large group of monochromatic field paintings of various people’s skin tones. It was featured at the 1993 Whitney Biennial, which was also known as the ‘identity’ biennale or ‘multiculturalism’ biennale. Due to the fact that Kim is an artist of color, and having started his career with such artwork, people automatically assume that his work is only about race. Certainly, Kim’s work is often described under the category of identity art–but we learned through his visit to MICA that his work is about that and much more.

Byron Kim visited MICA for a couple of days in October 2008 and did a public lecture that filled up the Falvey Hall at the Brown Center. He also extended his visit by meeting senior undergraduate students, an art history course on contemporary Asia, critiquing graduate students of Hoffberger School of Painting, and talking with Asian students working on this publication, which included getting interviewed. There was certainly a great deal of hype that accompanied this Asian art star’s appearance on campus.

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By Ellice Park, Leslie Morgan Frederick

Brooklyn based artist Byron Kim visited MICA in 2008. He gave a public lecture, visited the Hoffberger School of Painting, seniors in the Painting and Drawing departments, and students in the Art History Course “Contemporary Asia”. He also found time to give Microcosm an hour-long interview. His visit was made possible by the Cultural Expansion Committee, the Hoffberger School of Painting, and the Mixed Media lecture series sponsored by the Painting, GFA and Drawing departments.

Q: How do you feel about being considered an artist who transcends multiculturalism, and do you agree with that notion or not?
BK: I agree with that. I think in the very beginning I very much was a part of the multicultural and I don’t know how intentional that was. I subsequently transcended that… I think that maybe my work has evolved from that. My work has always been somewhat personal,  and so it’s inevitably part of a number of different cultures. It’s part of an art culture, it’s part of a culture of my family. Its particularly part of the art world, but it’s also in some ways a part of the culture of New York. I’ve evolved from multiculturalism if by that you mean some sort of illusion of different, culturally informed content. Maybe I don’t find that model that useful any more.  It was useful for a moment.  It seems less useful now because once that happened, when we got through that, it no longer seemed necessary.  That’s not to say that everything is working perfectly…

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By Shu Xian Wui

The 1984 Sino-British Agreement, which stipulated the handover of Hong Kong to China, was executed in 1997, ending 156 years of British colonial rule. Hong Kong faced a predicament in terms of striving to retain its local identity and having to resist political, social and cultural hegemony by a much more powerful entity – China.

This paper aims to explore the impact of the handover on the social and cultural scene in Hong Kong, through the discussion of metaphorical interpretations of the characters and themes in Wong Kar Wai’s “Days of Being Wild”, via a postcolonial perspective and by illustrating with relevant examples of works by Hong Kong artists.

“Days of Being Wild” was filmed in 1991, by acclaimed Hong Kong director Wong Kar Wai. Wong belongs to the mid-1980s Second New Wave of Hong Kong filmmakers who are concerned with depicting contemporary social and political issues of Hong Kong in their films, inspired by French New Wave filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard.

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by Flora Choi

Linling Lu, a senior at the Maryland Institute College of Art, creates colorful, vibrant paintings that deal with the psychosis of the human mind, Asian culture, as well as topographical maps. Linling’s pieces are  very much influenced by nature. She has stated, ” I am just amazed by nature. Contours  that are created by nature and GIS technology are powerful and exciting. I want to transform that beauty and enlightenment into my paintings.” Confucianism and Taoism are related to her work as conceptual ideas that explain or explore the relationships between humans and the universe.

Linling was born in the southwest part of China, Guizhou Province, the home of many different ethnic minorities who constitute almost 40% of the population. People in that province have different cultures, various music, and many religions. Their ceremonies, rituals, and harvest celebrations from ancient times deeply influence her paintings in both colors and concepts. Coming to the United States from China was a big decision for her–for her great ambition to paint, she left her family, friends, and motherland. Two years have passed now, besides working through the language barrier between Chinese and English, she enjoys being here and seeing all the cultural similarities and differences between the western and the eastern World from an artistic perspective.


Download Linling Lu article

by Katherine Mann

2nd year MICA Hoffberger school of Painting student Hwa Hyun Kim at once reveres and pummels the expectations of figuration with whimsy and elegance in her portraits of men painted in ink on Korean paper.  Kim paints male figures in a style influenced by manga cartoons and traditional Asian ink painting–creating effeminate, yet absurdly desirable characters awash in a type of transgender, heartbreaking sexuality.


Hwa Hyun grew up in Seoul, Korea, reading manga books, particularly “romance manga”.  She refers to the male characters in these novels as “highly stylized” and “not heroic or strong but very beautiful, sweet and romantic.”  According to Kim, these novels described the male figure as an object of desire, subjects of the female’s gaze and fantasy.  She claims, “These mangas show exactly what women want from men –or (Asian) girls want from boys– without having to make any kind of compromise with the terms of reality (ex. Men are stronger than women, physically and socio-politically, therefore there are limits to what women can demand.. these conditions can be completely ignored in manga.)”

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We’re Artists meeting and talking with other Artists. Our interest is the Asian diaspora, and its farflung influences–and on the other hand, how Asian Culture and Arts have been influenced by the inter-culturalistic points its met in its travels. Tune in on Sundays for Microcosm’s regular goodness, and throughout the week for special surprises.
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