Reading List: Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2024

Stack of six books on a shelf

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month! In celebration, the Frick Art Reference Library offers a reading list from our collections that features the work and research of a variety of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander American artists and scholars.

For other related titles, see our 2021 AAPI Heritage Month Reading List. Centered on the same theme, this month’s updated list showcases new acquisitions and other selections from our ever-expanding book collections.

The titles below are available to browse in our temporary reading room, which remains open by free appointment. The two e-books are freely accessible in our catalog through Ebook Central. To access these titles online, register for a free account.

  1. Drawing New Color Lines: Transnational Asian American Graphic Narratives

    Edited by Monica Chiu (2015)

    This collection of essays analyzes Asian American graphic narratives from a transnational perspective, offering an illuminating discussion of graphic arts, globalism, and what it means to “see and be seen” as Asian American. Entries investigate the impact of Asian popular culture on graphic narratives writ large, asserting that through the graphic format, portrayals of Asian, American, and Asian American characters transcend static conventions in favor of fresh, multifaceted perspectives on race and identity.

  1. Pacita Abad

    Edited by Victoria Sung (2023)

    This exhibition catalogue reflects the exuberant visual, material, and conceptual themes that characterize the life and work of Pacita Abad. Abad, a Filipina artist known for her vibrant and socially conscious work, created colorful paintings exploring the lives of women globally. Her pieces have been exhibited in hundreds of venues around the world and have left a lasting legacy since her death in 2004. Abad's “trapunto” paintings—stitched, stuffed, and painted canvases drawing on global textile traditions—are a highlight of this comprehensive survey.

    Book spread with the title page "Masks and Spirits" at left and an artwork of a mask-like decorative figure at right
  1. Pacific Century—E Hoʻomau no Moananuiākea: Hawaiʻi Triennial 2022

    Edited by Melissa Chiu, Miwako Tezuka, and Drew Kahuʻāina Broderick (2022)

    Published in conjunction with the Hawai‘i Triennial 2022 and curated around the concept of a “Pacific Century,” this volume examines key art historical foundations and contemporary discussions of the art of the Asia-Pacific region. Essays from the co-curators accompany previously published seminal texts by artists and scholars, which together examine interwoven themes of history, place, and identity within the context of Hawaiʻi’s unique vantage at the confluence of the Asia-Pacific region and Oceania.

    Gray book cover on a shelf with bright blue lettering and outlines of the Hawaiian islands
  1. Isamu Noguchi: A Sculptor’s World

    By Isamu Noguchi (2015)

    Originally published in 1968, this autobiography by the famed sculptor, artist, and landscape architect is considered his most comprehensive statement on his body of work. The volume combines the artist’s writings with photographs, drawings, and architectural plans to offer a rich visual and textual exploration of his creative process. Praised for its innovative layout and insightful reflections, the book remains an essential resource for anyone interested in Noguchi’s influential sculptures and his unique perspective on the world of art.

    Book spread with a photo of an artist and images of his abstract sculptures
  1. The Other American Moderns: Matsura, Ishigaki, Noda, Hayakawa

    By ShiPu Wang (2017)

    The Other American Moderns examines the artistic contributions of four early twentieth-century Asian American artists: Frank Matsura, Eitaro Ishigaki, Hideo Noda, and Miki Hayakawa. These artists, working in photography and painting, all explored themes of “Americanness” through their depictions of diverse racial and ethnic groups. Wang argues that their work challenges traditional narratives of American modernism, highlighting the historically overlooked contributions of artists of color.

    Book spread with a colorful modernist painting at left and a portrait of a man smoking a pipe at right
  1. Salman Toor: No Ordinary Love

    By Asma Naeem, Evan Moffitt, and Hanya Yanagihara (2022)

    This richly illustrated exhibition catalogue features nearly forty works by Salman Toor—a Pakistani artist based in New York City—alongside insightful essays by curator Asma Naeem and writers Evan Moffitt and Hanya Yanagihara. The comprehensive essays delve into Toor’s vibrant depictions of queer lives and their place in a reimagined art historical landscape, weaving together contemporary experiences with historical motifs.

    Shown in the catalogue, Toor’s Museum Boys (2021) was featured in Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters, a 2021–22 installation series at the Frick’s former temporary home, Frick Madison.

    Book cover on a shelf featuring an artwork of a male figure surrounded by an assortment of objects in a green room
  1. Anicka Yi: Metaspore

    Edited by Fiammetta Griccioli, Vicente Todolí, and Remina Greenfield (2022)

    Accompanying Anicka Yi’s 2022 exhibition of the same name at Pirelli HangarBicocca in Milan, this comprehensive catalogue dives into the Korean-born artist’s work from 2010 to the present. Detailed entries shed light on the showcased installations, alongside critical essays and insightful conversations with the artist herself. Exploring themes of nature, technology, and symbiosis and documenting collaborations with scientists to invoke her “sensory ecologies,” this catalogue offers a rich exploration of Yi’s artistic process and the unique ecosystems she creates.

    Book spread showing an art installation punctuated by four large yellow lanterns
  1. Surface Relations: Queer Forms of Asian American Inscrutability

    By Vivian L. Huang (2022)

    Surface Relations flips the script on a negative stereotype, examining how artists have strategically reclaimed the idea of inscrutability, traditionally used to depict Asian and Asian American people as unknowable. Huang explores how a range of artworks employ silence, invisibility, and other aspects of inscrutability to create powerful forms of resistance against racism, sexism, and heteronormativity.

All photos by Joseph Coscia Jr., The Frick Collection

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