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Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Curator for Contemporary Asian and Asian-American art at the Asia Society, has had a long involvement with Asian contemporary art and is recognized as a[…]

Artists have the most solitary and social interconnected existence.

Question: What is an artist’s role in society?

Melissa Chiu: To be an artist is a very kind of solitary existence. You create . . . most of them create works in . . . by themselves in their studio environment. So I think for them to think that they represent a cultural or a nation, or a work collectively, I think, is a difficult concept for all of them. I think that they create works that might offer very important commentary on certain things; but I don’t know that they would ever feel like they could be involved in the kind of preservation of a local culture. I think that their works might be interpreted in that way, but I don’t know that any of them would ever feel that that was their role within society.


Recorded on: 7/11/07