January 21 2012 - May 25, 2012
’Round the Clock: Chinese American Artists Working in Los Angeles surveys the artistic output of five contemporary Chinese American artists: George Chann, John Kwok, Jake Lee, Milton Quon, and Tyrus Wong. Born between 1910 and 1920, and educated at Los Angeles art schools such as Otis Art Institute and Chouinard Art Institute, each of these individuals employed their artistic abilities to make a living while following their own artistic pursuits in their free time. These five artists built their careers in the creative industries, especially in film and in advertising. They joined in the war effort of the 1940s and called Los Angeles home. Theses artists became agents and beneficiaries of Los Angeles’s burgeoning art scene, and, in the process, each artist made a name for himself.
’Round the Clock considers how these contemporary artists balanced their personal art making with their professional demands; how they achieved success on their own terms in their commitment to making art in Los Angeles; and the significance of their contributions to the region’s artistic and cultural legacy. This exhibition presents the artists’ respective visions under the auspices of Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A. 1945-1980 so that the history of Chinese American art practices in Los Angeles can be shared with the broader public and more fully appreciated.
This show seeks to situate these artists within the cultural and artistic milieu of twentieth century Los Angeles, as well as the broader social and political context of the time. As Chinese Americans living in the United States before World War II, their daily experience was greatly affected by anti-Chinese and other discriminatory laws dating back to the nineteenth century. It was 1943 when Congress finally lifted six decades of restrictions on Chinese immigration, and for the first time in seventy years, Chinese in America could apply to become naturalized citizens. These legislative changes were the first of many that significantly improved Chinese American life in the decades following World War II.