Melissa Chiu

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Melissa Chiu (born 1972) is a museum director, curator and author. On June 5, 2014, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, a museum which is part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., announced it had hired Chiu to be the Hirshhorn's new director.[1] Chiu assumed her role as Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on September 29, 2014.[2] Previously, she was the Museum Director of the Asia Society, and its Vice President of Global Art Programs,[3] responsible for programming its Park Avenue museum and future museum facilities under construction in Hong Kong[4] and Houston.

Chiu is also the author of several books on Chinese contemporary art, and is one of the world's leading authorities on modern and contemporary Asian art.[5]

She is a board member of the Association of Art Museum Directors,[3] the American Alliance of Museums, and the Museum Association of New York.[6] She is also on the founding Advisory committee for the USC American Academy in China and has participated in the advisory committees for the Gwangju and Shanghai Biennales.


Born in Darwin, Northern Territory,[7] Australia, in 1972,[8] Chiu was educated in Sydney, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Western Sydney and then an MA (Arts Administration) at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. She later completed a PhD at the University of Western Sydney focusing on Chinese contemporary art in the diaspora.[9]


Chiu worked as an independent curator for several years before, in 1996, joining with a group of Asian Australian artists, performers, filmmakers and writers to establish Gallery 4A, a nonprofit contemporary art center devoted to promoting dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region. Chiu was founding Director of Gallery 4A,[10] later renamed the Asia-Australia Arts Centre. In 2001 she oversaw the Center's transition to a two-story city owned heritage building in Sydney’s Chinatown.[11]

Chiu was appointed Asia Society's Museum Director in 2004 after serving as the curator of contemporary Asian and Asian American art—the first curatorial post of its kind in an American museum. She initiated a number of initiatives at the Asia Society Museum, including the launch of a contemporary art collection to complement the museum's Rockefeller Collection of traditional Asian art.[3]

Chiu has been a prolific curator, organizing over thirty international exhibitions (largely, but not exclusively) focused on the art and artists of Asia.[9] Her major curatorial credits include Zhang Huan: Altered States (2006)[5] and Art and China's Revolution (2008) [5] with Zheng Shengtian, one of the first historical appraisals of Chinese art from the 1950s through 1970s and Nobody's Fool: Yoshitomo Nara (2010) with Miwako Tezuka.[12] She was awarded a Getty Curatorial Research Fellowship in 2004.[13]


She has also published widely, in art magazines and journals, and has authored several books, including Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China (2007), published by Charta and Chinese Contemporary Art: 7 Things You Should Know (2008), published by AW Asia.[8] Her latest books include Contemporary Asian Art with Benjamin Genocchio, published by Thames & Hudson and Monacelli Press,[14] and an edited anthology, Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader, published by MIT Press.[15]

Other Work[edit]

In 2010, Chiu joined the Sunday Arts television show on PBS WNET to conduct a series of interviews with cultural leaders. Interview subjects have included William Kentridge, Shirin Neshat, Yoko Ono, Tan Dun, Chuck Close and Antony Gormley.[16][17]

In addition to her museum work, Chiu is a regular speaker at international conferences and symposia and has delivered lectures at such institutions as Harvard University, Columbia University, Yale University and the China Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, among others.[3]


  1. ^ Cohen, Patricia; Vogel, Carol (June 5, 2014). "Asia Society Museum Director to Lead Hirshhorn". The New York Times. Retrieved June 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Melissa Chiu Named Director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden". Smithsonian Newsdesk. Smithsonian Institution. June 5, 2014. Retrieved October 21, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Officers". Asia Society. 2009-03-24. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  4. ^ About Asia Society Mission Our People Jobs Press Releases. "About Asia Society | Hong Kong". Asia Society. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  5. ^ a b c "A Conversation with Melissa Chiu | | 中国艺志". 1989-06-04. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  6. ^ "Board & Staff | The Museum Association of New York". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  7. ^ "Who are you? | Melissa Chiu | Big Think". Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  8. ^ a b "Profile: Melissa Chiu". Artinfo. 2008-12-01. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  9. ^ a b "Melissa Chiu | Museum Director, Asia Society". Big Think. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  10. ^ "Chronicler of the Asian-Australian experience". 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  11. ^ " - The Sydney Morning Herald". 2000-10-27. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  12. ^ Upcoming Events Past Events. "Yoshitomo Nara: Nobody's Fool | New York". Asia Society. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  13. ^ "Artlog". Artlog. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Contemporary Art in Asia - The MIT Press". 2011-04-29. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  16. ^ "Asia Society's Melissa Chiu Joins 'SundayArts' Team to Conduct In-Depth Interviews with Artists". Asia Society. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 
  17. ^ "Melissa Chiu | Sunday Arts". Thirteen. Retrieved 2012-09-19. 

External links[edit]