School of Art

November 14, 2022


The Terra Foundation for American Art has awarded a $25,000 grant to the Montana State University Foundation to underwrite an international scholarly conference on the subject of Representations of Asian Migrants and Settlers in the Western United States ca. 1850-1929, to be held at the Museum of the Rockies on 16-28 September 2024.


Todd Larkin, Professor of Art History in the School of Art and Hua Li, Associate Professor of Chinese in the Department of Modern Languages & Literatures, will co-organize the event, which will provide scholars from universities, museums, libraries, and archives an opportunity to exchange research on the ways Asian American and Euro-American artists represented Asian migrants and settlers in art during the period between the Gold Rush and the Great Depression. Seven distinguished scholars have agreed to travel to Bozeman to chair sessions related to “Daily Life in the West,” “Contested Claims,” and “Modern and Contemporary Artists.”


Larkin says the idea originated in conversations about overlooked American paintings of Chinese migrants conversing in restaurants in San Francisco and Japanese migrants cultivating farms in Central California in the 1860s and 1880s. He observes: “Art occupied an important position in the lives of Asian Americans and Euro-Americans inhabiting the West and therefore serves as a crucial site for probing encounters between individuals and communities. Professor Li and I intend to explore the interests at play in commissioning, making, displaying, and viewing art during the formative period of migration and settlement. We hope that this scholarly conference will introduce an important yet overlooked body of images to our faculty and student scholars in Asian Studies as well as to the diverse communities of the Gallatin Valley, the Northern Rockies, and beyond.”