This week the Museum of Chinese in America named a new executive director. She is Helen Koh, who previously served as an events curator for the Asia Society. She also has been in charge of the Asian American International Film Festival. Koh is a former professor at Columbia University and led corporate relations at the Rhode Island School of Design.
The museum has been located in a beautiful new facility at 215 Centre Street since 2009. A national search was conducted to find a new leader. In a press release, Koh said, “I look forward to working with the trustees, staff, and founders to create an exciting new chapter in MOCA’s development.”
Members of the public will have a chance to meet Koh next Wednesday at the opening of MOCA’s new exhibition, “America Through a Chinese Lens.” It will be held from 6-8 p.m.
Is she Korean? Thought the museum was of “the Chinese in America”. From previous experiences with the staff there, very few seemed to speak or know Chinese. Perhaps she does speak Chinese, but does her background have any direct relationship with the museum’s mission? Does this make any sense whatsoever to any outsiders?
On a related note, just hiring Maya Lin to “design” the space (as they did Billie Tsien before at the older location) because she is asian-american is not worth a hill of beans.
What does it matter whether Dr. Helen KOH Hyung-In is Chinese-American or Chinese? You, yourself, dismiss both Ms. Maya LIN and Ms. Billie TSIEN being Chinese-American, as any qualifications for being associate with Museum Of Chinese In America (MoCA). Yes, Dr, Koh is Korean-American. Dr. Koh has curatorial and programming experience, and what really matters whether she has good administrator, managerial and fundraising skills. What is of concern is that the majority of Dr. Koh’s experience has been in Asia Studies (area/regional studies), not Asian-America Studies (ethnic studies). Dr. Koh is a University Of Chicago Ph.D. in Korean Literature, and her main specialty in in Korean Literature, and Korean Cinema and Film. The question is what kind of focus and direction Dr. Koh can provide on Chinese-America. And I am Chinese-American.
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