Robert Lee

    Robert Lee is the Executive Director of Asian American Arts Centre ( which is embarking on its 28th year of community programming. He initiated the Arts Centre's visual arts programming in 1978 drawing attention to Asian American artists work as a field of special study. He initiated the first public Archive for Asian American Artists in the United States encompassing 1100 artists to date.  In 1986 he completed the first overview of the art by Asian American artists, a one hour slide show production entitled, "The Art of Asian American Artists: Reflections of the Cultural Issues in Asian American Life", which was shown at conferences and on numerous campuses including the National Museum of American Art in Washington DC. 

     Curator, author of several articles on Asian American art, he has published over twenty catalogues including, "The Mind's I", "Public Art in Chinatown", "China: June 4, 1989", "Three Generations: Towards a History of Asian American Art", Contrary Equilibriums: the 12th Annual Exhibition, and published six issues of Artspiral", an occasional periodical providing a critical forum for the Arts.  In the area of folk arts he has written on Chinese folk deities, "Nuo" Masks and Shadow puppets.  He is the executive producer of a video and a CD, both entitled, "Singing to Remember", about a Tai Shan storytelling folksinger, Mr. Ng Sheung Chi who, subsequent to the video, was the first Chinese American to receive a NEA National Heritage Award.   In conjunction with Mayor Dinkins' Office for Asian Affairs and LEAP Asian Pacific American Public Policy Institute, he curated "We Count! The State of Asian Pacific America."  On the issue of racism he curated "Ancestors" in conjunction Kenkeleba House on African American and Asian American relations.  The third in a series of historical exhibitions is "Milieu III: Color in the Art of Natvar Bhavsar, VC Igarta, James Kuo, Ted Kurahara, Seong Moy", part of an ongoing research project begun in 1986 entitled, "Asian American Artists and Their Milieu: 1945 to 1965.  He has taught a course on Asian American Art at Parsons School of Design. 

Many well known artists today were exhibited by him at the Arts Centre early in their career such as:  Ik Joong Kang, Mel Chin, Byron Kim, Ming Fay, Ti Shan Hsu, Albert Chong, Tseng Kwong Chi, Martin Wong, Zhang Hongtu, Yong Soon Min, Kip Fulbeck, Paul Wong, David Y. Chung, Zarina Hashmi, Toshio Sasaki, Dinh Le, and Yeong Gill Kim.  Other well known artists who have shown at the Arts Centre are:  Xu Bing, Alfonso Ossorio, Wenda Gu, Chen Zhen, Krishna Reddy, Ushio Shinohara, Matsumi Kanemitsu, Choong Sup Lim, Nam June Paik, as well as Kenneth Noland, Vito Acconci, Barbara Kruger, Agnes Denes, Leon Golub, Lilliana Porter, Luis Camnitzer, Howardina Pindell, Faith Ringgold, etc. 

    Robert studied for his M.A. in art history at the City College of New York.  He worked briefly at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and interned at the Brooklyn Museum.  He studied studio and undergraduate art history at Rutgers University with sinologist George Weber Jr. and Jack Flam.  He has been working in the Asian American community of New York City since 1970 during which he served as the regional coordinator for the National Pacific Asian Coalition.

    Robert was Chair of The Association of American Cultures in 1993, (TAAC) a national advocacy organization on diversity in the arts where he served as a Board Member from 1985 to 1992.  Robert was a founding Board member (1983) of the Asian American Arts Alliance of New York City, overseeing its operations for more than six years. 

    Robert has traveled extensively meeting artists and art colleagues in: India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Ireland, England, Prague, Budapest, Mexico, Canada, Cuba and the People's Republic of China.


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