Christopher K. Ho ’92 is a celebrated artist, a teacher, a writer, and a leading advocate for Asian and Asian-American contemporary art. In 2021, he was named Executive Director of the Hong Kong-based Asia Art Archive – a non-profit responsible for the most important and valuable collection of materials about recent art in Asia.
“Asian art histories remain comparatively invisible,” he says. “My own education at Hotchkiss, Cornell, and Columbia concerned the West. Asia Art Archive is an independent non-profit that grew from a few shelves of books twenty-two years ago to an onsite and online library of over 115,000 records, all freely accessible to scholars, curators, artists, and the public. We also organize major exhibitions, train teachers from over 250 schools in Hong Kong, and deliver a robust schedule of symposia, talks, and publication launches. The main branch is in Hong Kong with satellites in New York and New Delhi.”
Of his own art, he says, “I live between cultures and continents, and my nomadic experiences deeply shape my work. My sculptural installations often address the complexities of geopolitics and our unevenly de-colonialized, increasingly networked world.”
See Ho’s work:
Ho’s arrival at Hotchkiss was serendipitous. “My family moved from Hong Kong to Los Angeles, with a two-year stop-off in Kuala Lumpur, when I was four. Los Angeles agreed less and less with me as I approached my teens."
He entered Hotchkiss as a lower mid where, he says, he got a fresh start. “At the first all-school Chapel, then headmaster Dr. Oden urged us to identify an arena in which to excel and make a mark. I chose art.”
He took inspiration from one particular faculty member: Marjory Reid. “Ms. Reid was my primary art and art history teacher for three years. Decades later, she remains the most influential person in my artistic trajectory. She introduced me to Hofmann, de Kooning, and Stella – touchpoints from which subsequent understandings of art emerged and evolved. The observational techniques she taught, and the formal analyses she encouraged, remain as useful today as they were in the old Cullman Art Wing.”
Ho’s interest in art began in childhood, but Hotchkiss enabled him to think of cultural production as a career. “As an upper-mid, I co-founded the Hotchkiss Art Society with Brian Hodge. As a senior, I co-edited the art and poetry journal, The Review. Understanding that studio art occurs within an ecosystem transformed art from a purely individual practice into a multifaceted, viable career with multiple points of engagement with the world.”
After Hotchkiss, he graduated from Cornell University’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning with a B.S. (Honors) in the History of Architecture and Urbanism in 1996, and the following year earned a B.F.A. in Architecture. He received his M.Phil. in Art History from Columbia University in 2003.
Ho ventured into teaching while continuing to create art. He served on the Rhode Island School of Design faculty for more than 15 years and also taught at several other institutions, including Cranbrook Art Academy, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Maryland Institute College of Art, and Pratt Institute. Of his time spent in the college classroom, he says he “misses the pushback that undergraduate art students give, which forced me to take seriously different, even opposing, viewpoints.”
He continues to enjoy the support of Hotchkiss alumni. “At our last fundraiser, I am grateful that Elaine Kwok ’98 volunteered as our auctioneer, and that board member Dee Poon ’99 hosted a table. Also in attendance were Ann Cha (nee Chan) ’94, Erik Leung ’94, Paulo Pong ’96, Alan Lo ’99, Vickie Li ’09, and Jasmine Li ’10.”
This month, Ho’s solo project CX 889 opens at Vancouver Art Gallery Offsite. “The installation is based on Hong Kong’s old, beloved Kai Tak airport, dismantled one year after the city’s transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People’s Republic of China. The title comes from Cathay Pacific’s flight number for its New York-Vancouver-Hong Kong route.”