Nina Kuo

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Nina Kuo
Native name 郭麗娜
Nationality United States
Occupation Visual Artist
Multimedia Artist
Years active 1975-present
Notable work Tang Ladies

Nina Kuo (Chinese: 郭麗娜) is a Chinese American New York-based visual artist, painter, multimedia artist, and activist who examines the role of women and feminism and identity in Asian-American art.[1][2][3] Her works specifically relate to the Chinese woman's life and experiences in the United States. She is married to the Asian American artist and architect Lorin Roser.

Early life[edit]

Kuo was born in the Midwest. She grew up in Buffalo, New York, and is the daughter of abstract painter James K.Y. Kuo.

Kuo received a B.A. from SUNY Buffalo where she attended workshops by Judy Chicago and showed work with Robert Longo and Cindy Sherman.[2] Kuo received scholarships and studied at International Center of Photography in New York City.


Kuo moved to New York City in the 1980s, where she joined the activist arts community group known as the Basement Workshop, building community by implementing a do it yourself (DIY) ethos from establishing newsletters to curating art installations.[4] During that time, Kuo went back to China for the first time. She met her grandmother, whose feet were damaged by the traditional practice foot binding. She incorporated the idea of foot binding and fashion in her work of the time.[5][6]

Kuo was the first artist in residence at the Asian American Arts Centre.[4] In 1981-1982, Kuo as part of her efforts to build community within the artist community and do outreach as part of her residency at the Asian American Arts Centre, she was instrumental in building an Asian-American artist registry as a way to represent Asians in the United States.[7]

In the 1990s, Kuo was part of the Godzilla Asian American Arts Network, an arts collective and support network started in 1990 for Asian American artists, writers, and curators.[4][8]

For her 1997 residency at the Museum of Chinese in America, she explored the power of Asian American identity[9] and in 1999 Kuo exhibited her mixed media installation Chi Pao (Chinese Banner Dresses) at the Center for Photography at Woodstock this addressed gender stereotypes prevalent in Chinatown.[10]

Kuo's Politeness in Poverty photo mural was installed in the Broadway Lafayette subway station in New York City and was sponsored by ArtMakers.[11]

In 2009, Kuo created a series of video, animation and installation art works called Mythical Montage, which featured and examination of "illusion, feminine irony and transformations of Asian influences."[2][12][13]

Her Tang Ladies work in 2009 was described as "statuesque, delicate and quiet on the canvas as they investigate anachronistic details,"[8] The series reference the Chinese woman's desire to fit in, as well as the often negative connotation given to them by society, specifically in New York City.

In 2013, Kuo created a series that included photography and collage to commemorate and examine the death of Danny Chen, who committed suicide after harassment and hazing for being Asian-American.[14]

Kuo has worked in partnership with the artist Lorin Roser.[15]

Kuo works with different media.[4] She has traveled and photographed widely, focusing on cultural gestures and the aging process as it is lived out in different cultures.[11] She has worked and lived in China, Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.[7]

Kuo has exhibited with Ai Wei Wei, Martin Wong, Zhang Hongtu, Tehching Hsieh, Shirin Neshat, and Dawoud Bey.[16] Her work is in the collections of Brooklyn Museum of Art and New Museum in New York City.[2][17]

Kuo was also selected for group exhibits by curators: Kellie Jones and Thelma Golden.

Personal life[edit]

Kuo is married to the architect and artist, Lorin Chow Roser.[18] She lives and works in New York City.[4]


Solo exhibitions
  • 2007: "Chanel Chinoiserie," Cheryl McGinnis Gallery (New York, NY)[19]
  • 2009: "Mythical Museum," with Lorin Roser, Gallery 456 (New York, NY)[20]
  • 2014: "New Works: Artquakes, Andre Zarre Gallery (New York, NY)[21]
Selected group exhibitions
  • 1984: "ID: An Exhibition of Third World Woman Photographers," MoMA PS1 (New York, NY)
  • 1988: “Diverse Works” Coast to Coast” organized by Faith Ringgold, Clarissa Sligh (Houston TX)
  • 1988: “In Her Own Image” Intar Gallery (New York, NY), curator, Howardena Pindell
  • 1988: Longwood Arts Project (New York, NY), curator, Fred Wilson
  • 1988: “Art Against Apartheid,” Clocktower Gallery (New York, NY)
  • 1990: "Communycations: Public Mirror: Artists Against Racial Prejudice," MoMA PS1 (New York, NY)
  • 1994: "Bad Girls (Part II)," New Museum of Contemporary Art New York (New York, NY)[22]
  • 2002: "Constellation – Celebrating 25 Years," Center for Photography at Woodstock: CPW (Woodstock, NY)
  • 2003: "Paper 2003," Metaphor Contemporary Art (New York, NY)
  • 2003: "It's A Small World," China 2000 Fine Art (New York, NY)[23]
  • 2005: "New York Eviction Blues," Asian American Arts Centre (New York, NY)
  • 2005: "Welcome/Home," Cheryl McGinnis Gallery (New York, NY)
  • 2006: "Between Two Worlds, Reflections on Contemporary Chinese Art," Cheryl McGinnis Gallery (New York, NY)
  • 2012: "Hindsight : Foresight," Cheryl McGinnis Gallery (New York, NY)
  • 2012: "Going Green II," Crossing Art (New York, NY)
  • 2013: "Woman In Love – Asian Art Works (Beijing, China)
  • 2014: "Social Photography IV," The Emily Harvey Foundation (New York, NY)
  • 2014: "Occupied Canvas," Andre Zarre Gallery (New York, NY)[3]
  • 2017: "Nation IV – Thru The Rabbit Hole 2," Sideshow Gallery (New York, NY)
  • American Museum of Natural History (New York, NY)
  • New School
  • Newark Museum
  • Beijing University
  • Central Academy of Art
  • Beijing



Selected work[edit]

  • 1996: Cloique (Reflection of Tao Talisman Calligraphy). Brooklyn Museum – Gelatin silver photograph[29]

Works and publications[edit]

  • Kuo, Nina; Roser, Lorin (sound) (1984). Architectonic Inscapes. Los Angeles, CA: Women's Graphic Center. OCLC 232641597. 
  • Florschuetz, Thomas; Younger, Dan; Diamond, Ted; Evers, Winfred; Kuo, Nina (1988). Thomas Florschuetz, Dan Younger, Ted Diamond, Winfred Evers, Nina Kuo (Exhibition catalog). Syracuse, NY: Light Work. OCLC 71801380.  Catalog of an exhibition held at the Robert B. Menschel Photography Gallery, Syracuse, NY


  1. ^ "Brooklyn Museum: Feminist Art Base". Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum. 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Brooklyn Museum's Feminist Art Base: Nina Kuo, New York, USA" (Database). Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum. 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Nelson, Lani (9 September 2014). "Occupied Canvas: Nina Kuo". SinoVision. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Hyun (1 April 2006). "Caught Between Worlds: Artist Nina Kuo". Asiance Magazine. 
  5. ^ Chan, Michele (27 June 2014). ""If the Shoe Fits": Feet, femininity and Asian women artists – book review". Art Radar. 
  6. ^ Karetzky, Patricia Eichenbaum (2002). "Femininity in Contemporary Asian Art If the Shoe Fits... and Vernal Visions". Lehman College Art Gallery. 
  7. ^ a b "Episode 14. 3Q Radio: Nina Kuo". WNYU Radio. 20 January 2016. 
  8. ^ a b Chang, Alexandra; New York University. Asian/Pacific/American Studies Program and Institute (2009). "The Network: Godzilla". Envisioning Diaspora: Asian American Visual Arts Collectives: From Godzilla, Godzookie to the Barnstormers. Beijing: Timezone 8 Editions. ISBN 978-9-881-75223-9. OCLC 465331057. 
  9. ^ Lippard, Lucy R. (1997). The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society (PDF). New York: New Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-565-84247-2. OCLC 34958680. 
  10. ^ "Nina Kuo: Chi Pao (Chinese Banner Dresses)". Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW). September 1999. 
  11. ^ a b Lippard, Lucy R. (2000). Mixed Blessings: New Art in a Multicultural America. New York, NY: New Press. p. 140. ISBN 978-1-565-84573-2. OCLC 43958184. 
  12. ^ "Visual Artist Nina Kuo". Chinese American Arts Council (CAAC). 
  13. ^ "AsianConnections - Nina Kuo and Lorin Roser: Mythical Montage - Paintings Parallel 3D Animated Video". AsianConnections. 2009. 
  14. ^ "Commemorate Private Danny Chen's Life". AsianInNY. 1 May 2013. 
  15. ^ "Attractions: Chinatown History Museum". The New York Times. 25 July 1993. 
  16. ^ "The Moment at QBG: Contemporary Taiwanese American Arts at Queens Botanical Garden, Flushing New York" (Press release). Taiwanese American Arts Council. 2015. 
  17. ^ "Kuo, Nina: Profile". Asian American Arts Centre. 2015. 
  18. ^ Messaris, Paul (16 June 2015). "Interview with Lorin Roser: Digital Media, Architecture, Animation «  visualinquiry". Visual Inquiry: A discussion forum for visual studies at the Annenberg School for Communication. 
  19. ^ "Nina Kuo" (PDF). Nina Kuo. 
  20. ^ "Mythical Montage - Paintings Parallel 3D Animation". Gallery 456, Chinese American Arts Council. June 2009. 
  21. ^ Stone, Jane (21 April 2014). "SinoVision Journal: Nina Kuo". SinoVision. 
  22. ^ "Bad Girls (Part II) (gallery view)". New Museum - Digital Archive. March 1994. 
  23. ^ Cotter, Holland (23 March 2001). "Art Review; When East Goes West, The Twain Meet Here". The New York Times. 
  24. ^ "Nina Kuo: Profile". ArtSlant. 
  25. ^ "Prints by Chinese American artists produced by the Basement Workshop, New York. Includes: Arlan Huang - untitled; William Jung - Slave II; Nina Kuo - Neon Deviation; Colin Lee - untitled; John Woo - untitled". Library of Congress. 1 January 1982. 
  26. ^ "Goings On January 17, 2007: Nina Kuo, FF Alumn, at Cheryl McGinnis Gallery, NY, reception/talk Jan 19, 6-9 pm". Franklin Furnace. 17 January 2007. 
  27. ^ a b "Nina Kuo (New York, NY)". Center for Photography at Woodstock: CPW. 
  28. ^ "It's here! NYFA's Official 30th Anniversary Logo by Edwin Torres". New York Foundation for the Arts. 1 December 2015. 
  29. ^ Kuo, Nina (1996). "Cloique (Reflection of Tao Talisman Calligraphy)". Brooklyn Museum. 

Further reading[edit]