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The Museums at W&L Present ‘Stephanie Shih: LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見)’ The solo exhibition, on view starting Aug. 28, mines the Reeves Collection of Chinese Export to explore diaspora and identity through ceramics.

SHIH_The-Rose-Piece_1-of-2_forTerra-3-600x400 The Museums at W&L Present ‘Stephanie Shih: LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見)’美(國)人(The Rose Piece), 2023, Stephanie Shih, archival pigment print on bamboo paper, mirrored vinyl, and ceramics drawn from Reeves Collection. Museums at W&L. Image © Stephanie Shih.

The Museums at Washington and Lee University are pleased to present “LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見),” a solo exhibition by the Museums’ inaugural artist-in-residence Stephanie Shih. The exhibit will be on view from Aug. 28, 2024 through June 7, 2025 in the Reeves Museum of Ceramics, with an artist’s talk and reception slated for Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

The exhibition and reception events are free and open to the public.

Shih is a second-generation Taiwanese-Chinese-American photographer and visual artist whose work pays tribute to still-life traditions while reclaiming them to pave new ground for contemporary representations of Asian American narratives.

LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見)” is an original collection of 15 life-size photography and video-based still life installations inspired by the Museums’ historic collection of Asian export porcelain. The multimedia pieces, created on-site, pair altered still-life photographs with corresponding objects from the ceramics collection to evoke themes of commerce, labor, imperialism, race, migration, identity and belonging. Each photograph features a hand-carved void where the ceramic should be and is presented alongside the actual ceramic, creating an interplay between the physical and the photographic. With the displayed ceramics “missing” from the still-life photographs, Shih’s work invites the viewers to consider unsurfaced narratives and voices in the Reeves ceramics collection and whose histories are represented in – or left out of – the collection.

“We are thrilled to present Stephanie Shih’s remarkably profound project, a concentric exploration of our ceramics collection that elevates our Museums as a site for reflection and critical inquiry,” said Isra El-beshir, director of the Museums at W&L. “LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見)’ is designed to foster historical empathy, presenting an innovative and nuanced interpretation of the past that resonates with the present.”

By recontextualizing the ceramics from the Museums’ historic collection, Shih transforms their status from luxury objects of possession to diasporic objects that reflect the histories and contexts of the people who crafted them. Furthermore, the contrast between the photographed scenes and the ceramic objects prompts questions about how cultural, social and political forces cultivate a simultaneous desire for these objects and animus toward their makers and places of origin.

Shih’s work has been exhibited in solo and group shows at venues such as Hashimoto Contemporary in Los Angeles, the Griffin Museum of Photography in Boston, the University of Southern California’s Pacific Asia Museum and the Royal Photographic Society in the United Kingdom. Her photography has been featured in a variety of popular outlets, including Bon Appetit, Lenscratch, Bloomberg Businessweek, Gastronomica, Buzzfeed News, the Los Angeles Times and High Country News. Her residencies include the Oak Spring Garden Foundation (2024), the Museums at W&L (2023) and the Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (2022). Shih is also a professor of linguistics at the University of Southern California.

LONG TIME NO SEE (好久不見)” was organized by El-beshir; Nalleli Guillen, associate director of curatorial affairs; and Elizabeth Spear, curator of academic engagement; in collaboration with curatorial consultants Jacqueline Chao, the Cecil and Ida Green Curator of Asian Art at the Dallas Museum of Art; Rachel Du, Chinese art specialist at Bonhams auction house; and Kelly Fu, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University.

The Museums at W&L are open to the public Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The Museums are open administratively to the campus community only at the Reeves Museum of Ceramics on Mondays and Tuesdays. For more information on exhibitions and programming, visit the Museums at W&L’s website.