The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)’s Fall 2018 exhibition Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s by Bud Glick is the largest exhibition of photographer Bud Glick’s work documenting everyday life in New York City’s Chinatown in the 1980s. It is organized in conjunction with the Museum of the City of New York (MCNY) exhibition Interior Lives: Contemporary Photographs of Chinese New Yorkers.
Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s by Bud Glick reflects on how Manhattan’s Chinatown has changed, progressed, and evolved since MOCA’s founding in 1980 when the Museum, then known as the New York Chinatown History Project, began to document the experiences of Chinatown residents whose way of life was changing or disappearing altogether amid socioeconomic shifts in New York City.
For three years beginning in 1981, Bud Glick was commissioned by MOCA to photograph the street life, people, and domestic scenes of Chinatown. He earned the trust of Chinatown residents and gained access to interior lives during a pivotal time when new waves of immigrants from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China began to converge into Chinatown, altering the demographic landscape of what was then home to earlier migrations and the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia.
Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s by Bud Glick is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of Glick’s photos – some of which have never been seen before by the public – taken during those pivotal three years.
The exhibition weaves multimedia into its presentation to connect past and present using audio oral histories that Glick and MOCA have recently recorded with individuals who were the subjects of Glick’s photos more than 30 years ago. These oral histories are presented throughout the exhibition and, through MOCA’s newly launched Cantonese and Mandarin audio guides on the WeChat platform, enable Museum visitors to hear first-person accounts of life in 1980s Chinatown and their thoughts on present-day anxieties over housing, development, and immigration.
“Bud Glick’s 1980s photographs of New York City’s Chinatown is a significant body of work at a critical time. Only as a retrospective can one begin to grapple with the power of immigration, the transformation of space, and the subtleties of community. By combining Bud Glick’s photographs with oral histories, this exhibition presents a rich contextualization of a complex time when much of the global Chinese diaspora viewed New York City’s Chinatown as its north star.
“I am grateful to MOCA for giving me the opportunity 38 years ago to embark on this journey and connect intimately with so many people in Chinatown. This project allows me to live out my responsibility to the people who welcomed me into their lives,” said Bud Glick. “I see this exhibition as a continuation of that journey where I hope more and more people will connect to the stories told in these photos. I am especially glad that the photos are being exhibited at MOCA, where they belong and belong to all.” Bud Glick
Herb Tam, MOCA’s Curator and Director of Exhibitions, says: “Bud Glick’s photographs of the Chinese community in the 1980s poignantly capture what is usually taken for granted: the everyday moments at work, home, and on the streets that make up a community’s culture. He documented a changing Chinatown as much with his heart and soul as with his eye.”
Bud Glick – Interior Lives: Photographs of Chinese Americans in the 1980s
October 18, 2018 – March 24, 2019
Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA)
215 Centre Street
New York NY 10013