In the Shadow of Liberty, Graphics of Chinese Exclusion, 1870s - 1890s, 1986

In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act became the first law that prohibited individuals from entering the U.S. based on race. In 1986, MOCA developed the exhibition, In the Shadow of Liberty: Graphics of Chinese Exclusion, 1870s - 1890s. The exhibition opening coincided with the 100th year celebration of the Statue of Liberty. Thus, the name of the show critiques the 1886 opening of the Statue of Liberty, a mask of freedom in the United States, while Chinese Americans experienced overt exclusion. In the same year, the New York Times developed a piece called, “Why Asian Students Excel,” bringing attention to a new way of perceiving Asian Americans: the model minority myth. Throughout these events, MOCA strived to ask, “How do we want to gain our liberty? Through exclusion of some or inclusion of all?”