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Guide to the Asian American Arts Centre Records TAM.613

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
2nd Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2596
special.collections@nyu.edu


Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Rachel Schimke, 2012-2013; Alexandra Gomer, 2018.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 05, 2020
Finding aid is in English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

 Updated to include materials integrated from accession number 2018.115 by Alexandra Gomer. Record updated by Rachel Searcy to reflect January 2019 accretion Record updated by Marissa Grossman to reflect rehousing of materials  , September 2018 , February 2019 , March 2020

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Asian American Arts Centre
Creator: Asian American Dance Theatre
Creator: Yung, Danny, b. 1943
Creator: Asian Arts Institute
Creator - dnr: Lee, Robert
Title: Asian American Arts Centre Records
Dates [inclusive]: 1960s-2000s
Quantity: 165 Linear Feet in 140 record cartons, 19 oversize flat boxes, 1 flat-file folder, and 1 CD box.
Location: Materials in this collection are stored offsite and advance notice is required for their use. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu at least two business days prior to visiting the library.
Language: Materials are in English and many Asian languages (especially Chinese).
Call Phrase: TAM.613

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Historical Note

The Asian American Arts Centre, founded in 1974 as Asian American Dance Theatre, is one of the older community arts organizations in New York City Chinatown. The current name, Asian American Arts Centre, was adopted in 1987 to encompass both the dance company (Asian American Dance Theatre) and the visual arts program, Asian Arts Institute, initiated in 1984.

The Asian American Arts Centre began the Asian American Artists' Slide Archive in 1982. Artist vertical files were developed and accumulated as a permanent research archive documenting the history of Asian/Pacific American Artists in the United States since 1945 to the present. The archive contains not only slides but also a variety of materials that are both primary and secondary sources from approximately 1,500 artists.

In 1986, the Asian American Art Centre initiated a research project with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation called the "Milieu" series. The project focused on Asian American artists from the post World War era (1945 to1965), contextualized them and their artwork within this historical setting, and provided a historical precedent for the cultural presence of young Asian American artists. About ninety artists who began their career between 1945 to 1965 were selected and extensive research was conducted for many of them, resulting in extensive documents and materials in their files. Some were interviewed in their native language and documentation from these interviews has also been archived.

In 2007, the Asian American Art Centre created a new archive, the AAAC Artist Archive, from a part of the original slide archive as part of its digitization project. 150 artists who exemplified the major issues that compose the subject of Asian American art were selected and their materials processed for long-term archival preservation. Selected materials from these 150 artists were in turn digitized and made available on the website http://artasiamerica.org. The centre's creation of and commitment to preserve and make accessible its Artist Archive is part of the organization's greater mission to "promote the preservation and creative vitality of Asian American cultural growth through the arts, and its historical and aesthetic linkage to other communities."

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Scope and Contents

The collection is primarily comprised of the organizational records of the Asian American Arts Centre. It is also contains the files of the Asian American Dance Theatre and the Asian Arts Institute, which merged to form Asian American Arts Center in 1987. Included in the collection are planning materials and publicity for Asian American Arts Centre exhibitions and other programming in the areas of Asian folk arts, international politics (such as the "China - June 4th, 1989" exhibition on the Tiananmen Square protests), and life and events in New York City (such as the exhibitions "Below the Canal After 9/11" and "New York Eviction Blues"). The collection also contains files related to Asian American Arts Centre and Asian American Dance Theatre/Asian Art Institute's grantsmanship, fundraising, and development, including grant proposals, foundation research, end-of-the-year fundraising form letters, etc. Many of the papers are the correspondence and notes of Robert Lee, one of the founders and the Executive Director of Asian American Arts Council, and Eleanor Yung, another Asian Amerian Arts Council founder and the artistic director of the former Asian American Dance Theatre.

To a lesser extent, the collection also includes materials generated by The Association of American Cultures and early Asian American movement organizations like Basement Workshop. The research files of Danny Yung, brother of Eleanor Yung, are also present, as are legal documents from the 26 Bowery case (Robert Lee and Eleanor Yung v. Tien Yick Co., Inc.). Some of the files pertain to Zuni Icosahedron, an experimental theater group from Hong Kong, of which Danny Yung is the artistic director.

Arrangement

This collection has not been arranged by an archivist.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Yung, Danny, b. 1943
  • Lee, Robert
  • Yung, Eleanor
  • Chin, Rockwell (Rocky)
  • Ng, Sheung Chi

Subject Organizations

  • Asian American Arts Centre
  • Asian American Arts Alliance
  • Asian Arts Institute
  • Asian American Dance Theatre
  • Basement Workshop
  • Association of American Cultures

Subject Topics

  • Community organization -- New York (State) -- New York
  • Asian American art.
  • Folk art.
  • Art -- Political aspects.
  • Asian Americans -- Civil rights.
  • Asian Americans.
  • Folk music.

Subject Places

  • New York (N.Y.).

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Administrative Information

Custodial History

The archived website was migrated from the California Digital Library's Web Archiving Service to the Internet Archive's Archive-It Service in November 2015. The link to California Digital Library was removed in October 2017.

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions with the exception of boxes 4-6, 10, 12-15, 20, 22-23, 30, 44, 66, 87, 91, 95, 103, and 113. Access to these boxes is restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Any rights (including copyright and related rights to publicity and privacy) held by the Asian American Arts Centre were transferred to New York University in 2012 by Robert Lee. Permission to publish or reproduce materials in this collection must be secured from the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive. Please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Asian American Arts Centre Records; TAM 613; Box number; Folder number; Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University.

Separated Materials

Forty-seven linear feet of art books, catalogues, and serials from the collection were given to the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. An additional four linear feet of books and serials were separated for cataloging by the Tamiment Library. Duplicates of flyers, programs, and other printed ephemera were removed. Some personal materials were separated and may be returned to the donors.

Audiovisual Access Policies and Procedures

Audiovisual materials have not been preserved and may not be available to researchers. Materials not yet digitized will need to have access copies made before they can be used. To request an access copy, or if you are unsure if an item has been digitized, please contact tamiment.wagner@nyu.edu with the collection name, collection number, and a description of the item(s) requested. A staff member will respond to you with further information.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

Due to technical or privacy issues, archived websites may not be exact copies of the original website at the time of the web crawl. Certain file types will not be captured dependent on how they are embedded in the site. Other parts of websites that the crawler has difficulty capturing includes Javascript, streaming content, database-driven content, and highly interactive content. Full-Text searches of archived websites are available at https://archive-it.org/organizations/567.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Robert Lee on behalf of the Asian American Arts Centre in 2012, 2018, and 2019. The accession numbers associated with this gift are 2012.022, 2012.038, and 2012.040, and 2019.018.

Processing Information

Some materials were rehoused into archival quality folders and containers. In such cases, any original folder titles were copied onto the new folders or containers. Materials were condensed between boxes to correct under- or overstuffing. Folder titles added by the archivist are indicated with square brackets.

In 2014, the archived websites were added as a series.

Appraisal

No materials were separated from this collection.

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Container List

Container 1     Title Date
Flat-File-Folder: 4 Asian American Dance Theatre Calendar
1983
Box: 2 Oversize Box: Publications, Masks, Hat
1990s
Box: 41 Oversize Box: Words on Cardboard (from box originally labeled "Old Papers + Mail Bob Personal 1984"), Guestbook
Box: 130 "China - June 4, 1989" Exhibit
late 1980s-early 1990s
Box: 131
Box: 132
Box: 133
Box: 134
Box: 135
Box: 136
Box: 137
Box: 138
Box: 139
Box: 140
Box: 141
Box: 142
Box: 143
Box: 144
Box: 168
Archived Website

Asian American Arts Centre: Mar 25, 2014-ongoing

[https://wayback.archive-it.org/6336/*/http://www.artspiral.org/]

Scope and Content Note

The Asian American Arts Centre, founded in 1974 as Asian American Dance Theatre, is one of the older community arts organizations in New York City Chinatown. The current name, Asian American Arts Centre, was adopted in 1987 to encompass both the dance company (Asian American Dance Theatre) and the visual arts program, Asian Arts Institute, initiated in 1984. In 2007, the Asian American Art Centre created a new archive, the AAAC Artist Archive. 150 artists who exemplified the major issues that compose the subject of Asian American art were selected and their materials processed for long-term archival preservation. The website contains a blog with details on past and current exhibitions, the digital archive of art, and information related to community organizing in Chinatown.

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