A VILLAGE BEFORE US brings together nine Vietnamese artists and scholars based in Chicago, offering nuanced insight into the ever-changing world of Vietnamese art. Moving beyond the pervasive war and post-war narratives, the exhibition engenders questions about cultural production, heritage, identity, memory, and dreams. By highlighting the ‘nowness’ of Vietnamese art, the exhibition encourages reflection on both its historical aspects and potential future trajectories.

The exhibition’s title, A VILLAGE BEFORE US, encapsulates core aspects of both Vietnamese culture and the broader art world. A VILLAGE is an extended unit formed of nucleus connections, while BEFORE acknowledges the legacy of its past and stands in anticipation of its future trajectory. US, a plural pronoun, intimately speaks to the collective identity of the participating artists while subtly playing with the moniker of the group’s current home.

A VILLAGE BEFORE US opens November 10th, 2023 at the John David Mooney Foundation, 114 W Kinzie, Chicago, IL



Fri, Nov 10, 5:30pm–7:30pm
Opening Reception with Curator-Led Tour
Fri, Nov 17, 6:00pm–7:00pm
On the Albert Goodman Collection of Vietnamese Art with Nora Taylor
Sat, Nov 18, 6:00pm–8:00pm
Maya Nguyen and [[Rehearsal]]
Sat, Dec 2, 4:00pm–5:00pm
Roundtable Discussion, in collaboration with Working Title, an art historian-led initiative from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Fri, Dec 8, 6:00pm–7:00pm
Dis/Embodiment: Nonaligned Aesthetics in Contemporary Vietnamese Art by Justin Quang Nguyên Phan
Fri, Dec 15, 4:00pm–7:00pm
Closing Reception with Artist Panel Discussion



A VILLAGE BEFORE US is hosted by the The International Currents Gallery at John David Mooney Foundation, with the assistance of Frances Lightbound.

This exhibition is curated by Thuy-Tien Vo, Fulbright scholar and Master of Art in Visual and Critical Studies candidate at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Dr. Nora Annesley Taylor, Alsdorf Professor of South and Southeast Asian Art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with organizational support from Ngô Hứa Minh Trí as project manager and Do Trong Quy and Đỗ Minh Giang (Jent) as designers.

Special thanks to UIC School of Art & Art History, SAIC Visual and Critical Studies, Performance, Art History Department, Communication Department, F News Magazine, and to all our families, friends, partners, assistants, and beyond.


Major funding for A VILLAGE BEFORE US is generously provided by the Edith-Marie Appleton Foundation and the John David Mooney Foundation.

Additional support has been graciously contributed by an anonymous benefactor.


Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates on future exhibitions, events, and the exciting artistic endeavors of our participating artists.