The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, April 23, 2018

Melissa Chiu named Director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Senior Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for the Asia Society. Photo by Ashley Gilbertson.

WASHINGTON, DC.- Melissa Chiu, museum director and senior vice president for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for the Asia Society in New York City, has been named director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, effective Sept. 29.

Chiu (pronounced CHEW) has served as the director of the Asia Society Museum since 2004 and before that she was the curator for contemporary Asian and Asian American art (2001–2004). She launched a contemporary art collection with a gift of $1.5 million from a single benefactor to complement the museum’s John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of traditional Asian art. Chiu has focused on expanding the presentation of contemporary art while building a new collection of photography and video, including major acquisitions by Nam June Paik, Yoko Ono, Mariko Mori and Yang Fudong for the Asia Society Museum.

With a staff of more than 100 and an operating budget of $29 million, the museum represents nearly half of the Asia Society’s total programming budget. Under Chiu’s leadership, the museum has opened up to 10 new exhibitions a year, including timely monographic exhibitions by artists such as Cai Guo-Qiang, Ai Weiwei, Yoshitomo Nara, as well as Sarah Sze, which coincided with the announcement that she would represent the United States at the Venice Biennale.

Chiu also commissioned groundbreaking international loan exhibitions devoted to modern art, including first-time presentations of Iran’s pre-revolutionary period “Iran Modern” (2013) and “Art and China’s Revolution” (2008), the first exhibition to focus on the art of China’s Cultural Revolution.

Chiu led the opening exhibitions and programs for two new Asia Society buildings in Hong Kong and Houston that opened in 2012. Most recently, she created a series of cultural dialogues between museum leaders in China, India and the United States, such as the U.S.- China Museum Directors Forum in Beijing, which resulted in her co-editing the report “Toward a New Phase of U.S.-China Museum Collaborations” (2013).

Chiu has been an executive committee and board member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (2008–2012), a board member of The American Alliance of Museums (2010–2013) and sat on numerous committees, including the U.S. Praemium Imperiale, Academic Committee for the Shanghai Biennale and Bellagio Creative Arts Fellowship for the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Hirshhorn, the Smithsonian’s museum of international modern and contemporary art, has had only five directors since its opening 40 years ago: Abram Lerner (1974–1984), James T. Demetrion (1984–2001), Ned Rifkin (2002–2005), Olga M. Viso (2005­–2007) and Richard Koshalek (2009–2013).

“Melissa is an experienced, accomplished and highly respected museum leader, with 20 years of experience in curating exhibitions and managing arts organizations,” said Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. “She will bring the right kind of leadership to allow the Hirshhorn to take its place among the best contemporary art museums in the world.”

An effective and creative fundraiser, Chiu secured about 80 percent of the Asia Society Museum’s budget through gifts from individuals and foundations and new fundraising initiatives such as the Contemporary Art Council, which was established five years ago and now supports the contemporary art exhibition program with funds and donations of artworks.

“We are thrilled to have one of the museum world’s rising stars coming on board to help begin a new chapter of the Hirshhorn,” said Peggy Burnet, chair of the Hirshhorn’s board of trustees who served on the search committee. “Melissa is a proven leader with a global perspective. As we head into the celebration of our 40th anniversary and look to the future, we believe Melissa has the vision and experience to ensure that the Hirshhorn remains an integral part of the Smithsonian experience on the National Mall and a leader in the field of modern and contemporary art.”

Before joining the Asia Society, Chiu was the founding director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney from 1996 until 2001 when she moved to New York. The Centre was housed in a renovated historic building and supported by a combination of private and government funds. Chiu organized exhibits, including displays of newly commissioned works, and created evening programs of video art and performances to attract younger visitors.

From 1993 to 1996, Chiu was the curator for the University of Western Sydney Collection at the University of Western Sydney where she organized exhibitions and built a collection of contemporary Australian art.

“I am honored to have been chosen to lead this modern and contemporary art museum in our nation’s capital,” said Chiu. “I look forward to working with the Hirshhorn staff as we move forward in this 40th anniversary year.”

A native of Australia, Chiu earned her bachelor’s degree in 1992 at the University of Western Sydney in art history and criticism and her master’s in arts administration in 1994 from the College of Fine Arts at University of New South Wales. She completed her Ph.D. with a dissertation on experimental Chinese art at the University of Western Sydney in 2005. Chiu has authored and edited several books and catalogs on contemporary art, including Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2010), lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, the Museum of Modern Art and other universities and museums.

Chiu succeeds Koshalek, who was the Hirshhorn’s director from 2009 to 2013. Kerry Brougher, deputy director and chief curator of the museum, served as the museum’s interim director until May 31 when he relocated to California. Richard Kurin, the Smithsonian’s Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, will serve as acting director until Chiu arrives. Kurin chaired the search committee that included Burnet; Smithsonian Regent Robert Kogod; Hirshhorn board members Jane Cafritz, Dani Levinas and Dan Sallick; Johnnetta Cole, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art; Dorothy Kosinski, the director of the Phillips Collection; and Hirshhorn staff member Susan Lake.

Today's News

June 7, 2014

Fundamentals: Architects take over Venice in Biennale directed by Rem Koolhaas

Melissa Chiu named Director of the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

Rijksmuseum to receive masterpiece by Meindert Hobbema for its Gallery of Honour

Shower of rose petals over Statue of Liberty marks 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Indian masterpieces to be featured at Bonhams New York during September Asia Week auctions

Masterworks by Claude Vernet owned by survivor of the French Revolution for sale at Bonhams

Newly discovered 'slave' portrait crosses the Atlantic on way to a museum under development

Scottish artist Anya Gallaccio's fourth solo exhibition with Blum & Poe opens in Los Angeles

Buffalo Bill Cody's Grizzly law necklace and Colt revolver offered at Heritage Auctions

Kunstmuseum St.Gallen presents a comprehensive showcase of Roman Signer’s work

The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston opens first U.S. survey of Jim Hodge's singular and poetic work

D-Day flown flag achieves $386,500 in Bonhams Auction of World War II Memorabilia

Detained Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian to be deported for his recent work: Canberra

Belgian shot in Jewish Museum attack in Brussels dies

Hunch-bat, Zorro snake among new Mekong species

Solo exhibition of works by Amy Ellingson opens at San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art

British pensioner flees care home to join D-Day ceremonies

The Museum of London reflects on its past and future in the House of Muses

Frieze London 2014: Details announced

"Mandy Greer: The Ecstatic Moment" opens at the Hudson River Museum

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- John Surtees' one-owner 1957 BMW 507 to be offered for the first time at Bonhams Festival of Speed sale

2.- Antiques looted in Libya by IS sold in Spain, two experts arrested

3.- The world's oldest bridge to be preserved by the British Museum's Iraq Scheme

4.- Exquisite jewels dazzle in historic Cartier exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia

5.- Now showing in US cinemas: "Hitler VS Picasso and The Others" directed by Claudio Poli

6.- New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art returns stolen idols to Nepal

7.- Glasgow starts a year of celebration as Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition opens

8.- Very rare Qing Dynasty bowl sells for $30.4 million

9.- Gardner Museum publishes "Stolen" book about 13 works in 1990 theft

10.- Royal Ontario Museum announces appointment of Curator, Islamic Art & Culture

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful