MINNEAPOLIS (June 7, 2011) – The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, home to one of the most important Asian art collections in the nation, today announced the appointment of Liu Yang, Ph.D., as the new curator of Chinese art and head of the museum’s Department of Asian Art. The MIA also announced the creation of two new, mid-level curatorships in Asian art, spurred by a challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Dr. Liu comes to the museum from the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, where he has worked as senior curator of Chinese art since 1997. Concurrently, he was an adjunct professor at the University of New South Wales, and the University of Sydney. He will assume his position with the MIA in June 2011.
The appointment of Dr. Liu as head of the Asian Art department and the two soon-to-be announced Asian art curators will allow the MIA to continue to strengthen the scholarship and presentation of its Asian art collection, whose particular strengths lie in Chinese and Japanese art, but which also includes significant holdings in Himalayan, Indian, Southeast Asian, Islamic, and Korean art.
“Dr. Liu’s experience as a senior curator of Chinese art positions him well to manage our magnificent and world-renowned collection of Chinese art and architecture,” said Kaywin Feldman, director and president of the MIA. “Yang has demonstrated excellence in building collections, curating exhibitions, and writing publications, all of which will add to and complement the strengths of our curatorial area.
“We also look forward to welcoming two other new Asian art curators as we expand and deepen the scholarship and exhibition of our collection,” Feldman added. “The two curators, one focusing on India and Southeast Asia, and the other focusing on Japan and Korea, will be selected by the MIA in the coming year.”
“We found Yang after a careful and extensive international search,” said Matthew Welch, deputy director of the MIA, and curator of Japanese and Korean art. “He brings international contacts and experience, an impressive list of exhibitions, and an expansive knowledge of Chinese art, and we look forward to him bringing his considerable expertise to bear on the MIA’s Asian collections and programming. We were also smitten by his open personality and quick sense of humor.”
Born in China, Liu Yang graduated from Southwest University in Sichuan with an M.A. degree, and has served as a lecturer at the Beijing International Studies University. In 1997 he completed his Ph.D. in Chinese art history and archaeology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Exhibitions Dr. Liu curated during his tenure at the Art Gallery of New South Wales include: “Homage to the Ancestors: Ritual Art from the Chu Kingdom,” 2011; “The First Emperor: China’s Entombed Warriors,” 2010; “The Lost Buddhas: Chinese Buddhist Sculpture from Qingzhou;” 2008; “Translucent World: Chinese Jade from the Forbidden City,” 2007; “The Poetic Mandarin: Chinese Calligraphy from the James Hayes Collection,” 2005; “Fantastic Mountains: Chinese Landscape Painting from the Shanghai Museum,” 2004; “Masks of Mystery: Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Sanxingdui,” 2001; and “Fragrant Space: Chinese Flower and Bird Painting of the Ming and Qing Dynasties,” 2000. He was the principal author of the accompanying catalogues. Two of them, Fantastic Mountains and The Poetic Mandarin, have received book awards from the Art Association of Australia & New Zealand for best large and small catalogues 2004/2006.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to join this dynamic team at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and to make a contribution to an organization with such a great collection and scholarly tradition,” Dr. Liu said.
The MIA is also pleased to announce the establishment of two new associate curator positions in Asian art. The curatorships are being funded through a Mellon Challenge Grant, a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant, and $2.5 million in matching funding pledged by longtime museum patron Jane Emison and an anonymous private donor.
Currently, searches are underway for these curators of Japanese and Korean art, and Indian and Southeast Asian art.
“The MIA is honored to receive these generous investments,” said Feldman. “Now that Dr. Liu is on board, we look forward to moving ahead with these important searches and building the best possible team of Asian art curators,” she said.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is home to 12,500 Asian art objects, ranging in date from 5000 B.C. to the 21st century. The collection is renowned for its superb Chinese ceramics, jades, textiles, scholars’ objects and furniture, and Japanese paintings and woodblock prints. The special exhibition, “Edo Pop: the Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints,” will open in October. Liu arrives after the departure of longtime curator Bob Jacobsen, whose work over 33 years greatly expanded the museum’s Chinese collection.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses more than 80,000 works of art representing more than 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt, Poussin, and van Gogh; modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Stella, and Close; as well as internationally significant collections of prints and drawings, decorative arts, modernist design, photographs, textiles, and Asian, African, and Native American art.
General admission is always free. Some special exhibitions have a nominal admission fee. Museum hours: Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Monday closed. For more information, call 612-870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.