Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the arts

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Edited by Christopher K. Ho and Daisy Nam

This collection of seventy-three letters written in 2020 captures an unprecedented moment in politics and society through the experiences of Asian-American artists, curators, educators, art historians, editors, writers, and designers. The form of the letter offers readers intimate insights into the complexities of Asian American experiences, moving beyond the model-minority myth. Chronicling everyday lives, dreams, rage, family histories, and cultural politics, these letters ignite new ways of being, and modes of creating, at a moment of racial reckoning.

348 pages. 
Perfect bound, 7 × 10".

With Contributions By: 

Aily Nash and Sylvia Schedelbauer, Ajay Kurian, Alexander Lau, Anicka Yi, Anne Anlin Cheng, Anoka Faruqee, Aruna D’Souza, Asad Raza, Brendan Fernandes, Brian Kuan Wood, Byron Kim, C. Spencer Yeh, Candice Lin, Cathy Park Hong, Celine Wong Katzman, CFGNY, Chitra Ganesh and Sung Hwan Kim, Chris Wu, Christine Y. Kim, Dawn Chan, Furen Dai, Hera Chan, Herb Tam, Holly Shen, Hồng-Ân Trương, Howie Chen, Hyperlink Press, Iftikhar Dadi, J Fan, j.p. mot, Jean Shin, Jen Liu, Jesse Chun, Jessica Hong, Jia Tolentino, John Tain, John Yau, Josh Kline, Ka-Man Tse, Ken Lum, Kenneth Tam, Kim Nguyen, Luke Luokun Cheng, Lumi Tan, Maia Chao, Marc Handelman, Marci Kwon, Margaret Lee, Martha Tuttle, Martin Wong, Mary Lum, Matthew Shen Goodman, Megha Ralapati, Mel Chin, Michelle Lopez, Mimi Wong, Mo Kong, Naeem Mohaiemen and Yara El-Sherbini, Pamela M. Lee, Patrick Jaojoco, Patty Chang, Paul Pfeiffer, Philip Poon, Prem Krishnamurthy, Ralph Pugay, Sarah McCaffery, Zheng Shengtian, WangShui, Sreshta Rit Premnath, Tausif Noor, Vinay Hira, Yayoi Shionoiri, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.


Praise for Best!: 

“This refreshingly original anthology offers a remarkable window into the everyday spaces where art, biography, and cultural marginality provoke and enrich one another.” —Arjun Appadurai, Max Weber Global Professor, Bard Graduate Center

“There is something metamorphic about the letter form, and this capacious book shows how the epistolary address can mutate into seemingly any genre. What is marvelous about this rangy collection—whose selections include discursive essays, Instagram screenshots, filial love letters addressed towards the future and the past, poems, crossword puzzles, and more—is how it is so emphatically a heterogeneity, just like the impossible polyglot of Asian America itself.” —Ken Chen, former Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop

“Greatly complicating and enriching the category ‘Asian American,’ these missives contribute enormously to urgent ongoing discussions around race in the US.I saw myself reflected as never before in these letters.” —Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Senior Curator, Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum

Resonating with all who have faced discounting stereotypes and discrimination, and providing insight for those who haven’t, Best! is a powerful call for solidarity and action. —Lauren Long, Asia Art Pacific

“I may not identify as Asian American, but I think what you are telling me is that it might not matter. In short: your existence makes me, and I imagine many others, feel more seen.” —Ysabelle Cheung, Frieze  

“The authors [in Best!] allowed themselves to play host to contradictions: underdog status can offer delight when we stick it to the man; our embarrassments and shame make us recognizable to each other.” —Danielle Wu, Art in America 

“A gorgeous display of the diversity of lived experiences of art workers who fall imperfectly under the “Asian American” identifier. . . . Offering these as letters lets the writers think as expansively as they want, dropping hints that can turn into possibilities, that can fire our neural networks into new and exciting configurations.” —Kerry Cardoza, Chicago Review of Books

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