Arts and Entertainment

Palmer Museum opens vibrant, timely exhibition of Asian and Asian American art

Rirkrit Tiravanija (Thai, b. Argentina, b. 1961), Untitled, 2011, archival inkjet print of artist's passport and artist's notebook of recipes with black arches covers mounted on base sheet, offset lithography, chine collé, color silkscreen, 36-1/8 x 48-1/8 inches. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. © Rirkrit Tiravanija and LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – This fall the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State opens "Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation." This major exhibition features the cosmopolitan, exuberant, and subtly subversive work of 15 artists of Asian heritage who are adept at crossing borders – not only physical ones but also those in media, styles, genre and materials. Global Asias is the first large-scale exhibition to highlight the impressive scope and diversity of the Jordan Schnitzer Foundation’s collection of contemporary Asian and Asian American art. The exhibition will premiere at the Palmer Aug. 28 through Dec. 12, before embarking on a national tour.

“The artists included in this exhibition open our eyes to what it is like to cross boundaries both real and cultural,” shared Jordan Schnitzer, whose family has a longstanding history of championing Asian art and culture. “I hope each viewer is as moved as I am by this exhibition and is challenged and inspired by the art. The power of this exhibition will influence all of us for years to come.”

Global Asias invites viewers to think about Asia not in singular but plural terms –  encouraging audiences to understand Asia as a site of meaning across the globe. The artists in Global Asias were born in Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Argentina and the United States. Guest curated by Chang Tan, assistant professor of art history and Asian studies at Penn State, the exhibition provides an opportunity to move away from considering Asia as a geographical location and instead invites us to think broadly about how “Asia” has long served as an imaginative construct.

“As a centerpiece of a world-class and globally oriented research university, we are dedicated to organizing and presenting projects that rewrite outdated histories, reconsider cultural assumptions and embrace inclusivity,” said Palmer Museum Director Erin M. Coe. “This powerful exhibition, which was conceived of in late 2018, invites us to consider our shared humanity particularly in the wake of the global pandemic.”

“On behalf of the Palmer Museum of Art and Penn State, I extend my gratitude to Jordan Schnitzer for recognizing the transformative power of Asian and Asian American art, and I thank the artists who inspired the exhibition,” Coe continued. “We stand with them and with all Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in condemning the recent appalling acts of discrimination and violence committed against these communities.”

The artists represented in the exhibition are Kwang Young Chun, Jacob Hashimoto, Manabu Ikeda, Jun Kaneko, Dinh Q. Lê, Hung Liu, Mariko Mori, Hiroki Morinoue, Takashi Murakami, Roger Shimomura, Do Ho Suh, Akio Takamori, Barbara Takenaga, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Patti Warashina. All draw on a rich array of motifs, media, genres, techniques and cultural motivations to reflect and embody diverse “Asias” in a modern global context.

“Globalization, with all its spectacles as well as perils, continues to shape our daily existence,” said guest curator Chang Tan. “The Asian and Asian American artists featured in this exhibition allow us to see that the divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is often misplaced and illusionary. We are on this beautiful yet fragile planet together. Art lays bare our shared passions and fears, and hence helps us map our entangled destinies ahead.”

The 45 works in Global Asias are divided into three thematic sections:

Exuberant Forms features works that reshape and challenge conventional views of abstract art by exploring new materials, techniques and metaphors. Kwang Young Chun (b. 1944) exploits the texture of handmade papers in his somber accretive monochromes, while Jacob Hashimoto (b. 1973) mimics the effect of collage in his tour-de-force prints. Jun Kaneko (b. 1942) “flattens” raku ware into explosive two-dimensionality. Hiroki Morinoue (b. 1947) and Barbara Takenaga (b. 1949) create intricate geometric patterns to evoke natural formations.

Moving Stories brings together powerful works that reflect on the experiences of migration, both within Asia and beyond. Dinh Q. Lê (b. 1968) appropriates and masks iconic images of the Vietnam War. Hung Liu (1948–2021) also finds inspiration in historical photographs, reinterpreting the genre of portraiture through the lens of displaced and voluntary immigrants. Roger Shimomura (b. 1939) borrows the visual language of Japanese woodblock prints and Pop art to render the lives of Japanese Americans incarcerated in internment camps during World War II. Do Ho Suh (b. 1962) and Rirkrit Tiravanjia (b. 1961) map their own diasporic trajectories, literally and metaphorically.

Asias Reinvented highlights two- and three-dimensional works that transform styles and motifs of traditional Asian art to engage, probe and critique contemporary popular culture and politics. The Pop- and manga-inflected fantasies of Takashi Murakami (b. 1962) and Mariko Mori (b. 1967) are rooted in both the artisanal heritages and the consumerist trends of Japan. Akio Takamori (1950–2017) and Patti Warashina (b. 1940) turn seemingly innocent motifs into uncanny portrayals of life, love and death. Manabu Ikeda (b. 1973) evokes Hokusai’s famous waves to create a surreal scene of planetary apocalypse.

The exhibition marks the first time in its 50-year history that the Palmer Museum has partnered with Jordan Schnitzer and his foundation.

National Tour

After its debut at the Palmer Museum of Art, the exhibition travels to the Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville, Tennessee, Jan. 28 through April 24, 2022; The Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, New York, June 4 through Sept. 18, 2022; Yellowstone Art Museum, Billings, Montana, Oct. 13, 2022 through Jan. 15, 2023; and USC Pacific Asia Art Museum, Pasadena, California, March 10 through June 25, 2023.   


A catalogue accompanies the exhibition and includes 73 color images, an essay by guest curator Chang Tan, a foreword by Palmer Museum Director Erin Coe and a collector’s statement by Jordan D. Schnitzer. Published by the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, the volume is distributed by D.A.P. (Distributed Art Publishers). The book will be available for sale in the Palmer Museum Store and will also be available through D.A.P.

Exhibition credits

Support for the exhibition and related educational and outreach programs has been made possibly by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Generous funding was also provided by Penn State’s Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost as part of the University’s Strategic Arts and Humanities Initiative and the George Dewey and Mary J. Krumrine Endowment.

Global Asias Initiative at Penn State

Penn State’s Asian Studies department sponsors the Global Asias Initiative, which encompasses several interrelated projects that bring together scholarship in Asian Studies, Asian American Studies and Asian Diaspora Studies. The multi-disciplinary collaboration fostered by the initiative has resulted in an award-winning journal, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, the biennial Global Asias conference and the annual Global Asias Summer Institute.

Related programs

Among the programs organized in conjunction with the exhibition are both in-person events and virtual presentations. Detailed information about upcoming events and programs as well as links for Zoom registration are available on the Museum’s website at

Wednesday, Sept. 8, 1:30 p.m.
Gallery Conversation: A Curator’s Perspective on Global Asias
Join exhibition guest curator Chang Tan in the gallery for a closer look at Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.

Friday, Sept. 17, 3:30 p.m., via Zoom
Panel Discussion: Anti-Asian Racism and Art
In conjunction with Global Asias, the Department of Asian Studies and the Global Asias Initiative present this webinar exploring how artists, curators and scholars address anti-Asian racism through works of art. Panelists: Alexandra Chang, Associate Professor of Practice, Department of Arts, Culture and Media, Rutgers University; Feng-Mei Heberer, Assistant Professor in Cinema Studies, New York University; Bakirathi Mani, Professor of English, Swarthmore College; Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies, Penn State; Moderator: Kendra McDuffie, Ph.D. Candidate in Comparative Literature and Asian Studies, Penn State. Cosponsored with the Global Asias Initiative, Department of Asian Studies. Support for this program was made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
Registration link:

Sunday, Sept. 19, 1 to 4 p.m.
Family Day: Drawing Connections
Explore contemporary art in Global Asias and discover inventive ways that artists use everyday materials and art mediums to express ideas. Enjoy brief, family-friendly tours, self-guided gallery activities and art-making activities featuring alternative tools and methods.
Support for this program was made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m.
Gallery Conversation: A Contemporary Artist Looks at Global Asias
Join contemporary sculptor Sidney Mullis for an in-gallery glimpse of Global Asias through the eyes of an artist. Stick around following the talk to take part in more activities planned for Art After Hours: Celebrating Multitudes.

Thursday, Sept. 30, 5 to 8 p.m.
Art After Hours: Celebrating Multitudes
Inspired by the Palmer’s new exhibition Global Asias, this evening offers an array of activities and voices to illuminate our complex, diverse and interconnected experiences in a global, contemporary world. Gallery talks, art activities, student-led tours and more will help visitors connect with art in fun and enlightening ways.

Tuesday, Oct. 5, 5:30 p.m., via Zoom
Museum Conversation: A Curator’s Perspective on Global Asias
Chang Tan, Assistant Professor of Art History and Asian Studies
Connect with the Palmer virtually and join us for this webinar-based introduction to Global Asias. Dr. Chang Tan, guest curator of the exhibition, will share images and insights about artists and works included in the exhibition that explore identity and the Asian diaspora in a global context. Registration link:

Friday, Oct. 8, 4 p.m.
Gallery Conversation on Global Asias: Collector Jordan D. Schnitzer and Guest Curator Chang Tan
Don’t miss this rare opportunity to participate in a conversation with collector Jordan D. Schnitzer, who will be joined by Chang Tan, guest curator of Global Asias.

Saturday, Oct. 9, noon to 4 p.m.
Community Day: Parents and Families Weekend at the Palmer
As part of Parents and Families Weekend, the Palmer Museum of Art is offering an array of drop-in programs to inspire reflection and creativity, while showcasing the world-class collections, exhibitions and resources at Penn State’s art museum. Visiting families will have the opportunity to visit the groundbreaking Global Asias: Contemporary Asian and Asian American Art from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation before it embarks on a national tour. Support for this program was made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Monday, Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m., via Zoom
Artist Lecture: Jacob Hashimoto
As part of the School of Visual Art’s John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series, and in conjunction with the Palmer Museum’s Global Asias exhibition, artist Jacob Hashimoto will discuss his use of sculpture, painting and installation to create complex worlds from a range of modular components, including bamboo-and-paper kits, model boats and even AstroTurf-covered blocks. Sponsored by School of Visual Art’s John M. Anderson Endowed Lecture Series.
Registration Link:

Thursday, Oct. 21, 6 p.m., via Zoom
Art History Dickson Lecture
As part of the Department of Art History’s Dickson Lecture Series, and in conjunction with the Palmer Museum’s Global Asias exhibition, noted scholar Dr. Shipu Wang of the University of California Merced will discuss pre-WWII Asian American artists’ trans-racioethnic alliances with heterogeneous artist communities. Co-sponsored with the Department of Art History. Support for this program was made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.
Registration Link:

Thursday, Nov. 11, 5 to 8 p.m.
Art After Hours: Mapping Connections
Inspired by Global Asias artist Rirkrit Tiravanija and his relational art practices, this event promises an evening of unique experiences, including gallery games, performances and creative artmaking. Start times for specific activities will be available on the Palmer website. Support for this program was made possible by a grant from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation.

Thursday, Nov. 18, 2:30 p.m.
Gallery Conversation: Global Asias
Hyoungee Kong, Ph. D. candidate in art history, and Victoria S. Kenyon, graduate assistant offer insights on Global Asias. Kong’s research centers on japonisme, or the Western taste for Japan, and its queer promises to women on reimagining their bodies and pleasures outside sexual and gender norms of late 19th-century France. Kenyon is studying American painting and photography with a special interest in the intersections of art and science.

Virtual tour: Global Asias
Enjoy an interactive video-based tour of Global Asias featuring a selection of works from the exhibition.
Tour Link: Global Asias Virtual Tour

Educator resource unit: Global Asias
Online resources and lesson plans are available for K-12 educators to introduce concepts, themes and exhibition artists into the classroom. E-mail for more information.

COVID Disclaimer for programs: Penn State has issued rules and precautions that follow, or may in some cases exceed, guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit prior to attending a University event to ensure you are familiar with the rules and expectations.

The Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation

At age 14, Jordan D. Schnitzer bought his first work of art from his mother’s Portland, Oregon, contemporary art gallery, evolving into a lifelong avocation as collector. He began collecting contemporary prints and multiples in earnest in 1988. Today, the collection exceeds 19,000 works and includes many of today’s most important contemporary artists. It has grown to be one of the country’s largest private print collections. He generously lends work from his collection to qualified institutions. The foundation has organized more than 110 exhibitions and has had art exhibited at more than 150 museums. Schnitzer is also president of Harsch Investment Properties, a privately owned real estate investment company based in Portland, owning and managing office, multi-tenant industrial, multi-family and retail properties in six western states. For more information about the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation, visit

The Palmer Museum of Art: A cultural destination

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is the largest art museum collection between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and the most significant academic art museum in the state of Pennsylvania. A key element of Penn State’s land-grant mission of teaching, research and public service, the Museum is a vital and accessible cultural resource for Penn State’s students, faculty and scholars, as well as for all visitors to and from the entire central Pennsylvania region. Through its world-class objects, programs and outreach, the museum is a welcoming, inclusive and vibrant forum for authentic arts experiences and cultivates meaningful dialogue about today’s most potent ideas and pressing concerns. The free-admission museum, which has strong and longstanding connections with the wider local community, celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022.

The new Palmer Museum of Art

Construction of the new building for the Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State has begun. The museum will directly neighbor the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens in The Arboretum at Penn State, replacing the current facility on campus. The new 71,000-square-foot Museum, projected to open in the fall of 2023, will substantially boost accessibility to the University’s art collections for students, faculty, staff and the public. Seamlessly integrating art, architecture and nature and sited within a landscape similar to those that inspired many of the American works in its renowned collection, the new museum will nearly double the space for the display, study and stewardship of art. The innovative and versatile design by Allied Works features a series of interlocking pavilions clad in regional stone that evokes the geology of central Pennsylvania. In keeping with Penn State’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the new museum will be a high-performance building with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The Palmer Museum of Art has outgrown its current building as its art collection continues to expand, thanks to an increased number of generous philanthropists.