We The People: Xu Bing and Sun Xun Respond to the Declaration of Independence

hello everybody good evening to all of

you those

to those of you who are joining us from

the united states and good morning to

those who are

joining us from asia um i'd like to


bun huitan and asia society for

including my exhibition in the triennial

and congratulations for the heroic

efforts to open the exhibitions at the

asia society museum

and the new york historical society

during the middle of a pandemic

i'd also like to give my personal thanks

to dorothy tapper goldman

whose generous loan of this rare copy of

the declaration of independence

made this exhibition possible selections

from her collection of american

documents are currently on view at the

new york historical society in new york

in an exhibition called colonists

citizens constitutions creating the


republic i also encourage you to read

the catalogue to that exhibition

with a forward by the late great justice

ruth bader ginsburg

first some housekeeping before we get

into the program

i'll introduce the artists and give you

a short background

on the exhibition and show you the works

of art

since the triennial just opened

yesterday you probably haven't seen it

yet but i encourage you to visit the

asian society museum

and the new york historical societies to

see the shows

after the powerpoint i will ask each of

our participants some questions

if you have questions please write them

in the chat function on youtube

facebook or whatever platform you're

using to watch this program and i'll try

to incorporate as many as i can into the

questions and answers

the participants in this panel are

shubing sunshine

and dr agnes shutang both shubing and


are zooming in from beijing and i

appreciate them

getting up early in the morning to be

part of this program

i'd also like to thank shenzhen manager

of shubing's big

brooklyn studio for providing

translation for shubing

let me give you some information on the


shubing was born in chongqing sichuan

province in china

in 1955. his ruminations on the

indelible relationship between language

and society

have been an ongoing subject of his work

since the 1980s

he was first recognized for his now

iconic installation book from the sky

which featured over 4 000 nonsensical


resembling the chinese language the

artist subsequently

created square word calligraphy a

writing system

in which english words are written in a

manner resembling chinese characters

this cross-cultural fusion of language

leads the viewer to reassess their

preconceived notions about written


while illuminating cultural

commonalities between china and the west

the artist received a bfa in mfa in

printing from the central academy of

fine arts in beijing

in 1981 and 87 respectively

in 1999 shubing was a recipient of a

john d

and catherine t macarthur foundation

genius award shubing lived in brooklyn

new york for almost 20 years starting in

the 1990s before he

returned to china and he currently lives

and works in beijing

and brooklyn sinchin was born

in fusion liaoning province china in


sunshine's practice considers the

lingering impact of the cultural

revolution on chinese society

the subjective nature of global history

and the disjunction between personal


and officially recorded events his

surreal narratives realized through a

broad range of mediums including


drawing painting and site-specific


definitely appropriating sung dynasty

and western painting techniques

to create animals and other allegorical

characters that inhabit dreamlike

alternate universes

the artists received a bfa in

printmaking at the china academy of fine

arts hangzhou

in 2005 and established pi animation

studio in 2006.

he currently lives and works in beijing

dr agnes chu tang is executive chair

of the asia society triennial in

addition to her continuing role as chair

of asia society's global council on

asian arts and culture since 2015

dr shutang is an international cultural

heritage policy advisor

trained in archaeology and art history

in 2018 she was elected a distinguished

scholar to the university of

pennsylvania museum of archaeology

dr shuten served on unesco world

heritage center's

scientific committees advise president

obama's cultural

profit property advisory committee on

the renewal of a bilateral agreement

with china

to reduce the illicit trafficking of

cultural objects

dr xu tang has hosted and narrated two


tv documentaries including chineseness a

contemporary chinese art series

including an episode with xiubing on

discovery asia that premiered in 2014

during arbasel hong kong

agnes is a trustee of the new york

historical society where she chaired its

exhibitions committee since 2015

and also serves on the board of the

metropolitan opera

she is the recipient of numerous awards

and we are very grateful to have

both the artists and agnes with us today

for our panel

um now i'm going to show you a brief

powerpoint so you can actually

see the objects in the exhibition that

we'll be talking about

and then i'll ask the artist and agnes

some questions

so um rachel the powerpoint

okay um when i began working on the

exhibition we the people many years ago

i had no idea that it would open during

these turbulent times and the week

before the presidential election

however the timing has given new urgency

to the ideals of good government and

more leadership than are examined

in the responses of shubing and sentient

to the declaration of independence

next slide please

shubing use a copy of the analects of


to respond to the declaration of


this is the copy of the declaration

that's in the exhibition it dates to

1833 next slide

in this in in this book uh shubing

silkworm book the analytics of confucius

the analytics of confucius are a text

that inspired the nation's founders as

they crafted the declaration of


uh the sculpture was created through the

ancient chinese practice of seraculture

to produce a silk encased copy of the

analects that comments on the

fragility of such manifestos confucius

lived from 551 to 479 bce and was one of

the greatest moral thinkers

and teachers in history we decided to

keep the book

open before the silkworms spun their

gossamer webs and to highlight a

specific passage

next slide please

thank you sorry this is a little cut off

this is the passage that the book is

open to and it highlights

good government and moral leadership

here the analytics are open to a section

which talks about how to maintain the

trust of the people particularly urgent

for us during this election year

the passage concludes with the line the

state cannot survive

if the common people do not have

confidence in their leaders

next slide please

the founding spirit of american

democracy has often found residents in


what is less known is the fascination

held by the early american leaders

including thomas jefferson and benjamin

franklin for chinese civilization

today the figure of confucius is found

on the eastern impediment of the supreme

court building in washington

to the left of moses and

revealing the important connections

between the united states and asia

and this is something we'll discuss

further with agnes later in the


next slide please in this slide you can

see the sculpture

in the middle of the silkworms spinning

their webs you can see the silkworms at

the bottom

but if you look at to the bottom left

you can also see some writing in red ink

after shooting and i picked the pet uh

picked the passage

the text for that particular passage

went on two different pages

and so shubing that's shubing's

handwriting and he wrote and read the

words from the next page so it would all

be together

um in the silver book projects that

would all be visible

next slide please

uh and this is sunshine's response to

the declaration

he created a 24-page folding album

entitled july coming soon

the album borrows from classical chinese

painting traditions

to illustrate the fiery dynamics through

which new worlds are born or established

norms are questioned

sunchon takes inspiration from the

declaration to rebuke the current


and inventory the collateral damage

caused by its policies

and now i'm going to show you some

images from the

uh folding book and we'll come back to

these when we talk to sunshine we'll

bring some of these back

you can go to the next one you can kind

of scroll through these and i'll tell

you when to stop

you can see that stuff there thank you

you can see that um

the images start off very calm and then

they get more

violent and get more animated as

you go through the book the drama in the

paintings come from the threats against

the state that the declaration of


sought to start again sought to guard

against in this one you see

confucian scholars who were the

bureaucrats who ran the government at

the time

with their heads in flames and more

flames on the left

and blood on the tree on the right okay

next slide please

and here notre dame is burning down next


keep going there are a number of images

of the declarat of the statue of liberty

in this in many scenes the statue of


is in runes um in this image look at the

flames and what makes up

the the flames of the statue

next one keep going

here you can see the statue of liberties

and runes and

you can go to the next one rachel it's

fine we'll be back to these and here the


is of the earth is heard being hurdled

to the ground in flames

and next one more dragons

and then this is the very last one the

winged monster

with the hair of the president as he

slinks slinks away from the apocalyptic

scene and the damage that he's wrought

it's ascension it's very dramatic we'll

be talking about that in a few minutes

so how do we respond to such chaos and


i'm going to circle back here to shubing

for a minute

next slide rachel this is a picture of

shubing in his brooklyn studio in 2002

working on

his square word calligraphy which looks


english but is actually chinese chara i

mean looks like chinese but is actually


can we see the next one please and this

is something that shubing did


for this presentation tonight i want to

thank him so much for doing this

this is what we can do we can vote next

week can you see it can you spell it

so in square word calligraphy he's

written the word for vote and that's

something that

we all must do next week i have one more


we'll show and then we'll go to the

discussion and this is just to remind

you that the triennial is not just at

the asia society museum building

but also at the new york historical

society dreaming together

okay so let's go to questions and


and have a nice discussion about


i'm going to start

by asking shubing some questions and

then sinchin

and then agnes

shubing how are you

rick welcome welcome from beijing

oh yeah thank you

when i first asked you to be involved in

this exhibition and respond to the


you immediately said you wanted to do a

silkworm book

which surprised me i thought you were

going to do like square wood calligraphy

or something

but you right away you said you wanted

to do a silk room book why

uh because uh

so i are your chinese



um sharing can you translate yes

okay um actually shubing started to

um work with silkworm since 1994.

um for him silkworm such animals are

with a very particular characters they

are very quiet

but at the same time they work for all

their life

and they have a

very specific attitude toward nature

and i can say that their characters are

a very

not chinese but um eastern way

of mm-hmm



okay so when asked by susan what i would

love to submit for this

asia asian society triangle the first

thing that come into my mind is the

silkworm book

because it is a very quiet piece and

this piece

i think suits perfectly uh

in the asian societies gallery

i have to say that as a as a curator

in art history and i never thought i was

going to have to worry about like

silkworm gestation periods and the

physical process of silkworms and

um and can you talk a little bit about

how you actually do the silkworm book

about your process and how the sculpture

is made






so um actually i did not do it all by


i collaborated with silkworms so i think

one of the most important eastern value

or we say the philosophy of nature

is to work with the nature which means

you leave some extra space for the


this is also cans can be seen in a lot

of chinese painting

the painter actually uh put their ink

onto the shrimp paper and then waited

for the ink to dry

out and they leave that space for the

nature to do its job

so um this particular piece i

actually collaborated with silkworms and

i leave some space for the silkworm to

complete it

and finally i think that is something

that is more perfect and that is

something that is

beyond the artist's hands

um can you talk a little bit about using

the analytics of confusion

in this work what what do the analytics

mean to you what meaning does confucius

have i mean you rate

you were raised during a time uh during

the cultural revolution when

that was against everything that people

you know were supposed to think about

and yet

here we are using uh the analytics as a

way to discuss good government in the

united states

so how do you feel about how you feel

about confucius and the analytics





okay so um

uh with my modest knowledge of history

i actually have learned about um during

the 19th uh during the declaration of

independence actually the founding

fathers of the nation

they are all to certain extent

inspired or interested in the confucius


and when susan uh asked me to create a

specific work

in response to the declaration of


i think of that and i can not help

just thinking that like benjamin

franklin or jefferson

they are both inspired by the


back then and also uh

for example i think franklin mentioned

that confucianism

actually can serve the good to the

general public

and the value of the analytics is

actually to

all human beings by its moral teaching

and that impressed me a lot and also the


um consider that it is a positive


to all the public in america

and i think the analytics

influence actually is very positive

in developing a value system when the


is originally founded um

so i actually selected this very

old edition of the analects

and i discussed with susan which

paragraph do you think we should choose

to be left open so the audience can read


and i think the goal asks

confucius is the best

example of where and

when we are right now so it is talking

about something called good governing

or what is a good government and gong


confucius what is the most important

to you considering efficient governing

and the master's answer is we need to

have sufficient food

so our people won't starve we need to


enough arms against our enemies and last

but not the least

we need to have the confidence that the


you have the confidence in its


is actually one of um confucius favorite

disciples so he asks what if we have to

take one

from the three off the list and the

master answer then we

take off efficient arms

okay then to go continue to ask


what if we have to take one more down

the list

then the master answered okay then i

will choose to take

down the sufficient food because

sooner or later people have to face


own death so the last thing

that is remaining on this list is the


which means um the people have to um

keep that faith people have to have the

faith and confidence

in the government otherwise um

the government will collapse

i think that's a perfect place to segue


sunshine's album but we'll be back to

ask you some more questions

shooting but now let's move on to


so a lot of the things that xu bing has

been discussing in terms of good


are echoed in in your book but his book

is a very

very cerebral very elegant sort of

meditation on what is good government

and um your album is really much

very much in your face um and

i i love the fact that the images

respond so directly

to the declaration of independence so i

want to know if you could

talk about um some of the images

in the album and talk about

how your how you use them to respond to

the declaration

so i think rachel can we pull back the


there we go so sinchen which which part

do you want to talk about

uh i think the first uh i want to

introduce the whole book

um yeah i finished this

this walk i think during my traveling


because the size is really good for the


table yeah and uh i breathe

from in china and also japan and they're


and and during time i always thinking


the the reality of our life

so you know it's uh that the story is


the um about

the the independence

declaration so uh

but i really want to talk about the

channel reality

is uh how to uh

how how to thinking about uh

the the china society

and politician and

the uh the geography

yeah so uh so this is

why uh how i finished this work and the


i think uh i won't talk about the uh

statue library okay yeah

rachel can you go to the statue of

liberty well there are a few statues of


i think we'll we'll start with this this

one um

you know one thing that struck me is in

the album you did that's in

the brooklyn museum collection the

statue of liberty is whole and she's the

beacon of liberty and it's a very

positive image

but in this um in in your album here

she's in pieces you know the whole it

really shows how desperate the situation

is so i'd like to you to talk a little

bit about that

yeah so the liberation uh the delivery

is uh i think is american spirit

you know the freedom and the democracy

and uh

that's i think that's very important but

i think after many many years

and uh if we look uh look back at the


and we find some uh uh

archaeology archaeology and

what we think about the library again

and also from this i think we jump to


flower yeah next

flower so um

which there we go yeah yeah so you know


flower is a hong kong logo

the flower is a hong kong logo okay it's

a hong kong logo i think

it's china reality

so two things together and we look at

the news

and what happened in our life in our


and what the people think so i think

sometimes the reality is it's a big joke

all our thinking is a big joke

so where is our dream

and the title is we don't uh we don't

dream alone

yeah not alone but where's uh where is

our dream

so what happened in the world and the

world was

where the world will go so this is i'm

really interesting about this

how about why do you have notre dame

burning down in there

i'm sorry you have the notre dame

cathedral in paris you have it in flames

at the beginning of the album

yeah i think that's um

how to say i think from that's a point

the whole world to change

yeah the whole world changed it's a very

very important saying uh for our

uh spirit

the world spirit has

the current situation in the united

states between in the world between

covet and then we have the election

on top of it do you think it's changed

the meaning of some of the

images in your painting because you

painted this last year

last fall and the world's changed since

then dramatically

yeah the world changed a lot and many

many things

happen and uh yeah and also donald trump

the last image let's go to the very last

image rachel


is rachel there can you first there you

go thank you

there you go

yeah that's a that is um the metaphor

uh yes as a demon it's demon but

everybody knows it's donald trump i know

the american is um

the whole society is very separate

it's a it's a yeah some people really

like it and

some people don't like and american a

lot of things happen

um yeah every day i i

i will spend time to read the

international news and all

america is very special and but i think

through that i won't talk about uh

the chinese what happened in china

okay yeah so that's it says for me

is like how to say uh

maybe game is not not really a right

words but it's really like a a big game

the political game and also diner a lot

of things

happen and we i think

if we have a such um president

and what what chinese people think

let me um i'm going to move on to agnes

and ask her some questions and then i'll

come back and ask some questions of all

of you

again um agnes i'd like to return to one

of the main themes of the exhibition


um and not just of we the people but

also of the whole triennial that art

breaks through geographical and cultural

barriers and um go back a little bit to

shubing's use of the analytics of

confucius as a response to the


also echoing some of the same themes

that uh sunshine paints

in his album i know you've done a lot of

research on the influence that confucius

ideas of good government more leadership

had on the founders of this country

including thomas jefferson and benjamin


can you talk a bit about the historical

connections between the

china and the united states in this


well thank you susan and uh before

before i get into um the historical


of your question i i just want to say

that it has been a tremendous honor to

um work with you dr bennington and

historical society together i feel like

uh that collectively we have


bunuitan's common dream

for humanity especially at the time when

we need hope

and the message of human resilience

and it cannot be more appropriate

to discuss moral leadership and good

governance uh a week in advance of

less than a week in advance of a

historic event in not only in american

history but also in world history

it is also an honor i just must say to

be on this panel with

shibing and sunshine it is it is a

tremendous joy

to to have been

working with artists around the world

on this unprecedented

art festival dedicated to contemporary

asian art

so let me take you back a little bit we

know that in 1776 the american


happened we must remember uh what


um it was chinese tea that was dumped

into the boston harbor that precipitated

the american

revolution and we know that america

wanted to have a direct commercial

trading relationship with china that in

um 17 i think it was around 1782

that the first ship called the empress

of china

was the american ship first shipped to


so most americans learned that the

relationship between china

and america began with commerce

what i have been trying to um

convince people to look at from is from

a different dimension from a cultural

and actually artistic

as well as cultural dimension so let me

take you back to

a couple hundred years even before the


revolution and there's a personal

connection there

um so in 1603 uh let me actually take

you to

beijing china in 1603

the great italian jesuit matteo ricci

converted the imp

the grand imperial secretary of the

state and

this man's this man's name was uh um his


baptismal name was paulo shu paulo that

was his uh um baptismal name

and his chinese name is she won she and

this was

actually he was my uh great great great

great great great grandfather

by uh 14 generations uh i am his direct

descendant and

hence my name agnes i i come from a

deeply catholic family i often joke that

my family has been catholic

longer than the united states of america

has been has had its history and so in


matteo ricci and paulo shu

met each other and had the first


truly engaged in the first international

cross-border dialogue

they learned each other's tongues we

know that mateo ricci learned to read

and speak chinese he was able to

remander in chinese

and and uh um and shivansi

learned to read latin and we know

that uh matteo ricci handed and gave

this is actually in the visual

it we have an art a a work of art to

illustrate this that um matteo richie

gave shivanti a copy of euclid's


and that um this is the key point here

that shugonchi gave matteo ricci

a copy of the intellects

and from that point on the jesuits

brought confucian texts

back to europe they translated into


and these translated texts of ancient

chinese philosophy

were then transmitted and read by the

great thinkers of the europe

during the age of um european


but i want to take us back to our


uh america in 1738

benjamin franklin published a series of


called the morals of confucius in the

pennsylvania gazette

remember this is before the american


by by couple decades but in addition we

keep on talking about benjamin franklin

but we also know that thomas jefferson

we know that in i think was in 1771

we know in his diary that at christmas

time he recommended two

translated novels from chinese

um to his friends his in fact i believe


either his son-in-law or his

brother-in-law and

also there is a famous chinese play

called the orphan of zhao

there was a irish playwright named

arthur murphy

and in 1769 we're talking about again

before the revolution

a version of that um based on voltaire's


that's called the orphan of china

actually premiered

at the john street theater in new york


i didn't know that 1776

and this is 1769. and then we have the


we know that thomas paine actually in

his age of reason

spoke of confucius as a voice

of moral authority of of ethics

we also know that the great poet


of um filiph renault

who was considered the revolutionary

voice the revolutionary poet

of the american revolution actually um

penned a series of poems

that he named the book

of odes after the great confucian

classic and this all happened to be for

the example that the most

iconic example we have of confucian


which is on the east pediment of the

supreme court of the united states of


let me ask you excuse me um

both in as as an expert

on on asian art that you are but also as

um somebody very much involved with the


um and this i'm going to ask the same

question of

sinchin and beijing to talk a bit about

what you know what do you hope visitors

will take away

from the installations what do you think

they'll take away from the exhibitions

both the one at asia society

and at the historical museum

um at the historical society you know

how does the theme of we do not dream


really is it reflected in some of the

works or how do you see it reflected in

in this

particular exhibition as you know

um talking heads for about the last five

years now have been so focused on this

great conflict the clash of

civilizations the thucydides trap

between china the inevitable war between

china and america in fact i think

our exhibition the tri-annual which is

named we do not dream alone and its

companion exhibition at the new york

historical society

which is aptly named dreaming together

is the antithesis

of that in fact

the message is the common humanity is


these two countries learned

from each other and that the

fundamental value of both

countries embodied by confucianism

and embodied by the founding fathers

in our constitution and our declaration


independence is virtue

good governance and moral leadership


exactly well well said shubing let me

come back to you

for a moment what do you hope visitors

will take away from your installation

but also

how do you think what do you think is

the meaning of art today how can art be


especially in this time when there's so

much dishonesty in the media and

politics and the world is in chaos how

do you think

that your work in asia society triennial


can help people deal with those issues







foreign can you translate please

yes thank you um

so in fact i think human beings are

right now experiencing such uh

challenging times

for all of us at first actually to be

honest i think

art is of no use but however after


over about a year now that i think

it still is very valuable

and artists can use their artworks to


meaning to the audiences that only art

can speak it aloud

and i think this is what um the

audiences will take away from the asian

society triennial

after they walk out of the gallery and

seeing my works

um i think the only uniqueness

of art is its honesty

by honesty i mean even the artist

he or herself is pretentious however

his or her artwork would not lie they

will reveal

that particular quality of the artist

and this is especially meaningful during

a time

where you can see so much dishonesty


the media from the politics etc etc

thank you

very very well said um sunshine before

i ask you that question we have a

question that's come in from the


um and they wanted to know when you

painted the globe in your album

why the focus on the globe it highlights

south america

did you know that

i think the yeah because

the exhibition uh the

exhibition about independence

declaration um


when i joined the work and i'm

always thinking uh

thinking about our life and

our reality

so you know um

we look back the history and i really uh

read the whole words of the independence

um i think the history always make

a joke for our

life reality

if if we find something

what happened right now

i think that that's really like it's

like a door

it's like a door our other life what we

we can see and where we stay

it's not not a totally choose i think

it's through this kind of

door we can go to another world

it's about the spirit it's about the


it's about hope but

from the the life reality

i think we can get really limited

very limited and the way we are


by something but i don't know what what

it's it's not a

it's not a politic and it's not um

it's not a political or another uh power

i think it's it's it's also from our


so i think it okay so where we can go

yeah so this is this is what i thinking

during i

uh i i do my work

we have a question for the uh from the

audience for agnes

um agnes do we know what the

enlightenment thinkers

and more specifically the american

founding fathers found distinctive about

confucian moral philosophy

after all there's no shortage of

traditional moral thinking in the west

that philosophers and politicians of

that time could draw upon

what was missing in the european

tradition that these thinkers found him


that's a good question a very good

question that we can discuss

we can have a graduate seminar on and in


i think susan you and i agree we can

easily pontificate for the next

uh week about this uh but i will answer

um succinctly um

religion oh okay

confucianism is

not was not it is not

a religion and

that was very attractive to some of the


in that it is a code of ethics

it is a it's it is a moral

it is a set of morality of principles

based on humanity what we do

in this world as humans

rather than being influenced by the


wealth well said you just put a you just

put a 10 volume book into a

very succinct and eloquent paragraph

um does anybody have any last comments


we're running out of time here but um

we we have a few moments for a few more

comments from each

shubing do you have anything else you

want to add

i'm so spoiled when we talk as i feel

like you could go on you know we could

have long discussions about any one of

these topics but

but we have a few more minutes so if you

have any

any last comments i know that you spent

um you know most of the quarantine

in new york you were here from february

till september and you just went back to

china recently

uh have you what do you think about the

differences in the approaches but

to the pandemic in both places i mean

that also could be a whole book but

in a few lines what do you think about


how is it to be back in china now uh

that's okay yeah so it's a






jen um yes

i actually spent about six months uh

quarantined in my brooklyn studio

and all i can see is let me see the

trees in my backyard

that i feel very fortunate to have and i

observe them in great details

and i think they are very important

um so i have been long neglected

everything the trees in the backyards


i found some new inspiration from them

every single day so it's interesting

that after i came back

to china the pandemic here is let's say


under control now and the life is back

to its normal

and you can see the contemporary art

scenes are back to

it's before very lively stage very

active stage

however the pitfalls of contemporary

arts show itself too

so maybe after the pandemic our standard

is growing higher and higher too

i think we are at the moment that is

still too close

too near the pandemic that we can hardly


but i think um the contemporary art

should be more

inspiring more


challenging to our normal existing

knowledge system

and to avoid certain pitfalls that it

has always been

having thank you

sinchen do you have any last words any

last comments

uh yeah i want to talk about

uh uh a little bit about it the the


worries uh yeah well i but you know

when i bike to my parents home uh

i cannot go out and everything is


then we it's really like

in the in the really small house

and of course you have to work and

that's really a sad time and also i

talked with

some my artist a friend and we think

some people think okay you know for the

uh for the reality the the artist is

very soft

and you have to find a way uh to say

to save yourself and which kind of

work you can do and the worker

can do something for for the

for your life um so

you have to think about a lot of uh

position uh um problem

and also you have to thinking about the

religion uh

problem and you have to you know you

have to jump

out of your life understand

in the another level uh step to watch

the whole world

and you will find some something

so so i think that's uh that's really


and the the the korean worries

life uh really helped me

so i think i can i can find something


from that and

for now my direction is more clear

that's interesting that's really do good

agnes any last words

well the topic of our conversation today

was inspired by the declaration of

independence a very

important document in world history

but we all know now that that

was a that was and is a flawed

document even though it talks about

idealism of equality

that not all men were created equal that

all men were referring to

lando gentry men would with possession

of land

and behind me um

is a iconic image

taken by the great african-american

photographer gordon parks in 1942 he

called it

an american gothic here you

have an african-american woman who

is a a um

a maintenance worker at an american

obviously at a court

you see the american flag hanging above


she's her gaze is off camera i want to

invoke this image

and if i may conclude tonight's

discussion with a improved

um dream of of greater humanity and


by quoting the great martin luther king


which is on on august 28 1963

he said one day

this nation will rise up and live out

the true meaning of the creed of

the decoration declaration of


that we hold these truths

to be self-evident and that

all men are created equal

we look forward to that day we do look

forward to that day

um i encourage every um before i say

goodbye to everybody i just want to say

um i think you should all read the um

essay by ruth bader ginsburg and uh

the catalog to dorothy goldman's new

york historical society show because

in that um justin ginsburg talks about

all the people who were left behind by

the declaration

and by the independ by the declaration

of independence by the constitutions

and that these documents are living


um and that we need to struggle hard

and work hard in order to include all


um in in the beliefs that we hold to be


that all people are created equal um i

want to personally

thank the artists i want to thank

shubing so much sinchen so much agnes so

much thank you

all for being part of this panel um you

can't see it but i'm wearing my vote

necklace so

if you're if you're in the united states

um and

you haven't voted yet please be sure to

vote next week

our world here depends on it and please

be sure

thank you everybody for coming to be

part of this panel tonight

and everybody who came and listened and

left some

thoughtful comments also um in the chat

function and

um everybody go to asia society see the

triennial go to the new york historical


um see the triennial there also and if

you're not in the united states go

online because the works by all these

artists the works you looked at tonight

are on the asia society website

and you can look at them in more detail

there and there will be a catalog

accompanying the triangle which will

come out in february or sometime this


thank you every uh everybody very much

and good night to everybody or good


thanks thank you thank you everybody

thank you agnes thank you

thank you