The Museum of Chinese in America(MOCA), co-founded by New York University Professor John Kuo Wei Tchen in 1980, opened in its new location, 215 Centre Street-on the cusp of Chinatown and SoHo-on September 22.
“The Museum of Chinese in America was established nearly 30 years ago by two Chinese Americans, co-founders Charles Lai and John Kuo Wei Tchen, who knew it was important to document and preserve the history of our Chinese American heritage and experience,” said Museum Director S. Alice Mong. “Our new location will allow the museum to look at that experience through many different lenses and bring 160 years of our history to vivid life through innovative art and history exhibitions, films, panels, and educational and cultural programs.”
Designed by artist and designer Maya Lin, MOCA’s new home is a 14,000 square foot space in a former machine shop, renovated to feature multiple exhibition galleries, interactive display kiosks, a multipurpose auditorium/classroom, a research center, and a flexible space for multidisciplinary public programs. MOCA’s original Mulberry Street location was on the second floor of a historic, century-old school building that was once Public School 23.
MOCA’s core exhibition, “With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America,” is co-curatored by Tchen, a professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and in NYU’s Department of History, and Cynthia Ai-fen Lee. The exhibition presents the diverse layers of the Chinese American experience while examining America’s journey as a nation of immigrants-an overview of Chinese in the United States from the 19th century to the present, individual stories that reveal what it has meant to be Chinese in America at over time, and the physical traces and images of past generations left for us to consider, reflect on and reclaim.
The exhibition was designed by Matter Architecture Practice with graphics by mgmt. Design, lighting by Marcus Doshi Lighting Design, fabrication by ExPlus Incorporated, and audiovisual installation by VideoSonic Systems. For more, go to http://www.mocanyc.org/.