Posted on September 25, 2009
One of the great things about New York is all the small, undiscovered museums and galleries that lurk in unlikely places, or that you may never have even heard of. Take the Museum of Chinese in America, which moved to a new home in Soho this week. Thirty years ago, Charles Lai and John Kuo Wei Tchen, who wanted a place to preserve the memory of Chinese-American immigrants, founded the museum. Located on the second floor of a building in Chinatown, it featured photographs and documents, many of them discarded by locals. The new museum (known as MOCA, not to be confused with the one in LA) has quite a distinguished pedigree: it was designed by Maya Lin, best known as the architect of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, DC. The new space, which was unveiled to the public on Tuesday, features memorabilia of the Chinese-American experience from the 1850s to the present; it’s five times the size of the original space. Lin has said that the two entrances (one on Centre Street; one on Lafayette) have symbolic meaning: Chinese Americans have a background in the east, but have made their home in the west. Current exhibitions include “Here & Now: Chinese Artists in New York,” which examines the work of 12 New York artists of Chinese descent. The museum is located at 215 Centre Street; call (212) 619-4720 for more information.