SALEM, MASS.- The Peabody Essex Museum
announces the appointment of Daisy Yiyou Wang, Ph.D., to be its new curator of Chinese and East Asian art. Dr. Wang comes to PEM from the Smithsonian Institution's Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Specializing in later Chinese art and Chinese contemporary art, Dr. Wang's most recent research, for which she won a Smithsonian Scholarly Studies Award, focused on Chinese lacquer and on Charles Lang Freer, the pioneering American collector of Asian art.
"Dr. Wang's exceptional credentials, interdisciplinary approach and collaborative spirit are just the ticket for envisioning a fresh approach to Chinese and East Asian art at PEM and beyond," said Lynda Roscoe Hartigan, The James B. and Mary Lou Hawkes Chief Curator at PEM.
Dr. Wang's contributions to exhibitions include work on Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan, and the reinstallation of the Freer Gallery's ancient Chinese art collection. Among her many publications are Charles Lang Freer and Collecting Chinese Art in Twentieth-Century America, to be published in 2014, and The Art and Science of Chinese Lacquer, coming in 2015. Between 2000 and 2009, she worked for the Shanghai Biennale, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Asia Society Museum in New York.
As chair of the China Program Committee of the American Alliance of Museums, Dr. Wang founded the largest annual U.S.-China museum professional exchange program. With the goal of sharing best practices and developing new partnerships, she has brought together more than 500 American and Chinese museum leaders for site visits, lectures, panel discussions and project meetings. In 2013, she led a team to launch the Marketplace, a program for Chinese and North American museums to exchange their traveling exhibition information. Dr. Wang co-directed the Smithsonian and China project, resulting in numerous collaborative projects between the Smithsonian and the Chinese museum community. She guided the Smithsonian's first fundraising initiative in mainland China, and the production of a dozen prime-time programs by China's national TV station featuring the Smithsonian's Chinese art collection. Almost 1 billion people in China viewed these programs.
Dr. Wang's scholarship and leadership in U.S.-China museum collaboration have earned her a Smithsonian Valuing World Cultures Award, a Smithsonian Post-Doctoral Fellowship and a Getty Museum Leadership Fellowship. She has served as a grant reviewer for the Getty and an advisor to the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Getty Conservation Institute and the Public Diplomacy Programs of the U.S. Department of State. She earned her B.A. in international affairs and law and her M.A. in English language and literature, both from the University of International Relations, in Beijing, and her Ph.D. in art history from Ohio University. Dr. Wang is also a simultaneous interpreter, and the translator of more than 20 art historical articles and books.
The Chinese Collection at PEM
PEM's collection is among the top five Chinese art collections in North America, with unique strengths in 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century art and material culture. Areas of emphasis include: religious objects, among them paintings, woodblock prints, and sculptures; textiles, especially embroidered apparel, screens, hangings, bed coverings, patchwork, and ritual objects from 1644 to the 1990s and comprising 40 percent of the overall collection; decorative, daily use and celebratory objects such as porcelain and woodblock prints; imperial portraits, porcelain, and sculpture; painting and calligraphy from 1700 to the present, including examples of contemporary art representing traditional and non-traditional art forms; and art works that manifest influences from American and European cultures. Many of these areas are absent at most other museums.
Of unique importance is Yin Yu Tang, the 200-year old Qing dynasty merchant's house from Anhui Province. The house manifests links with other cultures and collection areas, and presents cultural elements from around 1800 to the late 20th century. The house is absolutely unique in the museum world; no other museum in the United States or Europe has a similar historic structure. Additionally, the house, its objects, and its history provide a superb primary source for research on many topics.