This event, organized by Asia Society and the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, brought together fifteen Chinese and fifteen U.S. museum leaders for a two-day dialogue to assess common needs and develop new processes for museum exchanges. They identified various benefits of museum exchanges, such as programs that provide information and experiences to museum audiences, foster tolerance and understanding between nations, and enhance cultural competence in a globalized world. The directors also identified obstacles impeding museum collaborations, including disparities in resources and practices; cumbersome bureaucratic, legal, and regulatory systems; a lack of familiarity between museum professionals; and the absence of institutional and funding mechanisms to facilitate exchanges.

To benefit future activities, the museum leaders pinpointed three key areas of need and opportunity for the evolution of U.S.-China museum collaborations. Taken together, the suggestions offer a blueprint for improving institutional interactions:

People-to-People Contacts: Sharing Information and Access

  • Expand opportunities for directorial, educational, curatorial, and research travel.
  • Expand opportunities for artist-to-artist collaborations.
  • Take advantage of communications tools.
  • Develop public and private support for professional exchange.

Institutional Relations: Fostering Long-Term Partnerships

  • Broaden long-term loan agreements and work to overcome the constraints of exclusive object ownership.
  • Agree on shared principles and mechanisms for exhibition collaborations.
  • Undertake research and curatorial development of joint exhibition projects.
  • Expand collaboration on preservation and archeological projects.
  • Create mechanisms for large-scale personnel training.

Coordination Within the Museum Sector: Assessing Needs and Priorities in the Field

  • Provide tools to aggregate resources and spur institutional interaction.
  • Articulate and share experiences about common operating principles.
  • Collaborate on improving museum policy and adopting best practices.
  • Lobby private and public agencies to make cultural exchange a priority.

Finally, the directors suggested specific programs that their institutions, coupled with other museums, government agencies, and private funders, can pursue going forward. The consensus among them was that the expansion of museum collaborations will require new funding and organizational mechanisms to spur and conduct exchange activities. Some of the goals outlined by the Chinese and U.S. museum directors will be pursued by the Asian Arts and Museum Network, established in 2012 by Asia Society Museum.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

U.S. Embassy in Beijing

Dinner hosted by U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke

Friday, November 16, 2012

National Museum of China

Welcome remarks

Orville Schell and Melissa Chiu, Asia Society; Li Jianping, Vice President, Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries; Lü Zhangshen, Director, National Museum of China

Session 1: Museum Management and Operations

Modern museums have become increasingly larger and more complex social organisms, with an ever-expanding appetite for resources. This session concerned the question: What are the most constructive ways to organize, manage, and support such institutions, and how do unique local situations define what can be done?

Session 2: Museums and Our Communities

Throughout the world, museums have historically played civic-community roles—educating audiences, sharing collections, and providing forums for the discussion of history, art, and ideas. This session addressed a number of questions: What are some of the successful ways in which museums have engaged audiences? What are the experiences of museum professionals in making museums more integrally connected to the communities they serve? What kinds of educational-outreach strategies to schools, organizations, businesses, and the general public have worked best? What role can technology play in reaching these communities? What are the best practices in the United States and in China?

Session 3: What Can International Cultural Exchange Accomplish?

Because relations between the United States and China are increasingly important, the following questions were raised in this session: What role can international cultural exchange play in helping to create an environment in which shared concerns are more readily appreciated, and in which perceived conflicts are more easily resolved? How can culture play a role between the United States and China when the former has no ministry of culture and the latter does? Given this unique situation, what can we realistically expect from cultural exchange? How can the world of art and museums facilitate new approaches and pathways to cultural exchange that are worth exploring? What are the best ways to facilitate such explorations?

Walk-through of the National Museum of China

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA)

Session 4: Looking Ahead

In this session, participants discussed some answers to these questions: What kind of support would museums from both countries appreciate most? What are your next steps in furthering cultural exchange?

“A Work in Process”

The Chinese artist Pan Gong Kai and the American photographer Clifford Ross presented their work of collaboration.

Site Visits: Guided Walk-through of 798 Gallery District

Guided by Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art



U.S. Museum Directors

Stephen Allee

Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC)

Stephen D. Allee is associate curator of Chinese painting and calligraphy at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. In 1975, he received his B.A. in Chinese language and literature from George Washington University, Washington D.C. Selected as a fellow by the Committee for Scholarly Communication with the People’s Republic of China (National Academy of Sciences), he was among the first eight graduate students from the United States to study in the People’s Republic of China, attending the University of Nanjing from 1979 to 1980. After receiving his Ph.D. candidacy (1983) and master’s degree from the University of Washington (1986), Allee joined the Freer and Sackler galleries in August 1988. Since then, he has curated or co-curated almost thirty exhibitions at the museums, and his research and translations from the Chinese have appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications, including Challenging the Past: The Paintings of Chang Dai-chien (University of Washington Press, 1991), Brushing the Past: Later Chinese Calligraphy from the Gift of Robert Hatfield Ellsworth (Freer Gallery of Art, 2000), In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren from the Estate of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai (Freer Gallery of Art, 2003), and most recently in the online Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy web resource (February 2010), which featured more than 1000 pages of detailed documentation, transcriptions, and translation.

Maxwell L. Anderson

Dallas Museum of Art (Dallas)

Maxwell L. Anderson has been the Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art since January 2012. He was the director of the Whitney Museum of American Art from 1998 to 2003 and the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Anderson was the director of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University from 1987 to 1995, where he inaugurated a series of international loan projects seeking alternatives to buying antiquities from illicit trade.

In 2002, Anderson co-authored an op-ed piece in The Washington Post warning against looting of museums and destruction of sites in the event of an invasion of Iraq, and he helped lead a delegation to the Pentagon to press the case. Anderson is the author of “Metrics of Success for Art Museums” (2004), an essay for the Getty Leadership Institute. He has launched two consecutive projects to build international libraries of digital media documenting the collections and activities of art museums—one for still images (AMICO), and one for video (ArtBabble).

Anderson is former chair of the Art Issues Committee, where, shortly after September 11, 2001, he introduced a successful motion to forego terrorism insurance, assuring that U.S. and international loan exhibitions could continue uninterrupted. He led the formation in 2011 of a partnership between the Association of Art Museum Directors and the United Negro College Fund to create a national program incentivizing students of color to enter the art-museum profession.

Neal Benezra

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (San Francisco)

Neal Benezra has been the director of SFMOMA since 2002. Benezra had previously served as deputy director and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, a dual position he assumed in 2000. Previously, he spent eight years at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, where he was assistant director for art and public programs (1996–1999) and chief curator (1991–1996). From 1985 to 1991, Benezra was a curator in the department of 20th-century painting and sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago. Benezra was curator at the Des Moines Art Center in Iowa from 1983 to 1985, and before that he served as one of the first coordinators of the Anderson Collection in the Bay Area.

Benezra holds both a Ph.D. and an M.A. in the history of art from Stanford University; an M.A. in the history of art from the University of California, Davis; and a B.A. with honors in the history of art and political science from the University of California, Berkeley.

Benezra is a member of the Smithsonian Council; the Art Advisory Board of the University of California, San Francisco; and the Art Advisory Panel of the Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury. Benezra also served as a visiting associate professor at the University of Chicago (1990) and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1988).

Melissa Chiu

Asia Society Museum (New York)

Melissa Chiu has been the director of the Asia Society Museum in New York since 2004 and is the senior vice president for global arts and cultural programs for the Society’s eleven centers and affiliates. She is responsible for the exhibition programs in New York, Hong Kong, and Houston. During her tenure, Chiu initiated the museum’s launch of a contemporary art collection and has also organized major international first-time loan shows with the governments of China, Vietnam, Pakistan, and India. She joined Asia Society in 2001 as the first-ever curator of contemporary Asian and Asian American art in the United States.

Chiu was the founding director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney, Australia, from 1996 to 2001. She has been a cultural commentator on PBS/Thirteen’s Sunday Arts television program, was a Getty Research Fellow (2003–2004), and has served on grant and policy advisory committees for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and Pew Research Center. She currently serves on the board of the American Association of Museums and the Museums Association of New York and has served on the board of the Association of Art Museum Directors.

Chiu is the author or editor of several books, including Breakout: Chinese Art Outside China (2007) and Contemporary Art in Asia: A Critical Reader (MIT Press, 2011, co-edited with Benjamin Genocchio). She earned a Ph.D. in Art History at University of Western Sydney and an M.A. in Arts Administration at University of New South Wales, in Australia.

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker

Frye Art Museum (Seattle)

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker is director of the Frye Art Museum in Seattle, Washington, and a former director of the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich, Germany, and the Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada. She has served as exhibition director and curator of numerous exhibitions on the history of the modern in these institutions as well as at the Martin-Gropius-Bau and the Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the International Center of Photography, MoMA-PS1, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, in New York; and the Kunsthal Rotterdam.

During her tenure in Germany, Birnie Danzker served as Speaker for the Municipal Museums of the City of Munich (2003 and 2006) and was a member of the Steering Committee for Administrative Reform of the Department of Culture, City of Munich, and the Subcommittee for the Reform of Municipal Museums (2002–2003). Birnie Danzker also served on the Advisory Committee: Exhibitions for the Goethe Institute InterNationes (2000–2004) and on the Commission for Public Art Projects and Art in Public Places, City of Munich (1997–1999).

In Canada, Birnie Danzker led a cultural delegation to China (1985) and was vice-chairman, Special Council Committee on the Arts, City of Vancouver (1989–1991); chairman, Subcommittee on Cultural Diversity, City of Vancouver (1989–1991); commissioner for Canada, Toyama Now ’87, Toyama, Japan, and Seoul, Korea (1987–1988); and head moderator for British Columbia, Royal Commission, Citizen’s Forum on Canada’s Future (1991).

Birnie Danzker has authored and edited numerous catalogues and books on art and has been a regular contributor to YISHU: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art.

Derek Gillman

Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia)

Derek Gillman has been the executive director and president of the Barnes Foundation since 2006. From 2001 to 2006, he held the position of president and director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Prior to moving to the Academy as executive director and provost in 1999, Gillman served as deputy director of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. From 1985 to 1995, he was keeper (equivalent to director) of the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, which houses the Robert and Lisa Sainsbury Collection of modern art, antiquities, and the arts of Africa, the Pacific region, and the Americas. He began his museum career in 1981 at the British Museum as a research assistant in the Department of Oriental Antiquities.

Between 1977 and 1981, Gillman worked as a specialist in Chinese art at Christie’s London, following a year spent at the Beijing Languages Institute on a British Council scholarship. He was an undergraduate at Magdalen College, Oxford University, where he first read Philosophy and Psychology and then Chinese Studies, and holds a Master of Laws degree by research from the University of East Anglia.

Gillman has written and taught on the subjects of Chinese art and cultural heritage and is the author of The Idea of Cultural Heritage (Cambridge University Press, 2010). He is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors and president of the International Cultural Property Society.

Dorothy Kosinski

The Phillips Collection (Washington, DC)

Dorothy Kosinski was appointed director of the Phillips Collection in 2007 and took up her post in spring 2008. Prior to joining the Phillips, Kosinski worked at the Dallas Museum of Art, where she served in a number of capacities for more than twelve years; her last position was senior curator of Painting and Sculpture. From 1985 to 1997, she lived in Basel, Switzerland, and worked with the Douglas Cooper Collection of cubist art. She also served as an independent curator of major exhibitions at the Royal Academy of Arts, London; the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg; and the National Gallery in Prague. Kosinski has written and edited many books and catalogs on a variety of art topics including 19th-century Symbolism, Dada, Surrealism, 20th-century sculpture, and contemporary art.

Kosinski received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts. She currently serves on the Board of the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Board of The Musée Rodin, Paris, as well as on a number of other academic and community organizations.

Dan Monroe

Peabody Essex Museum (Salem)

Dan L. Monroe has been the Rose-Marie and Eijk van Otterloo Director and CEO of the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) since 1993. Monroe has served as president of the American Association of Museums (now the American Alliance of Museums), the Association of Art Museum Directors, and the Western Museums Conference. He helped write and pass the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, a landmark federal legislation that fundamentally changed relationships among Native American tribes, museums, and federal agencies. He served on the NAGPRA Review Committee for ten years and has also played a key leadership role in national advocacy for museums and the establishment of national policies pertaining to ethics, cultural property, and deaccessioning. He has also served as a grants reviewer for the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, and Institute of Libraries and Museum Services and as senior advisor to the Getty Leadership Institute. Dan has lectured internationally on myriad topics pertaining to museums. He is a recognized expert on Native American art and maintains strong personal interests in Asian art, contemporary art, and photography.

Monroe has worked extensively in China and elsewhere in Asia, especially in relation to PEM’s pioneering Yin Yu Tang project, a unique cultural exchange between PEM and China that resulted in the acquisition of a Qing Dynasty house from Anhui Province, China, and its installation at PEM. Monroe has also been a musician, art photographer, and award-winning filmmaker.

Jock Reynolds

Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven)

Jock Reynolds has been the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery since 1998. He earned a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Davis. From 1973 to 1983, he was an associate professor and director of the graduate program at the Center for Experimental and Interdisciplinary Art at California State University, San Francisco, and also a co-founder of New Langton Arts in San Francisco. From 1983 to 1989, Reynolds served as the executive director of the Washington Project for the Arts, in Washington, DC. From 1989 he was director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, until assuming his position at the Yale Gallery.

Reynolds has garnered numerous grants and awards for his work as an artist, including two Visual Artist Fellowships and multiple Art in Public Places project awards from the National Endowment for the Arts. His artwork has been exhibited broadly in the realms of visual art and theater and is represented in collections of prominent museums throughout the United States.

Among his latest curatorial projects is Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective, a collaboration of the Yale University Art Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art. He also co-curated the traveling photographic retrospective, Robert Adams: The Place We Live. Currently, he is overseeing the major renovation, expansion, and reinstallation of the Yale University Art Gallery’s exhibition, teaching, and collection facilities.

Jennifer Russell

Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)

Jennifer Russell began her museum career in 1974 at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Starting as a curatorial assistant, she served in numerous roles, including acting director and deputy director. During her time at the Whitney, Russell organized a number of exhibitions, including American Art, 1900–1940 (1976); American Folk Painters of Three Centuries (1980); Celebrating Calder (1991); and Selections from the Permanent Collection, 1938-1946 (1993).

Russell moved to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1993, where, until 1996, she was the associate director for administration. In this role, Russell managed departments reporting to the director, including Curatorial, Conservation, Publications, and Libraries.

From 1996 until 2010, Russell held the position of senior deputy director for Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. At MoMA, Russell coordinated more than one hundred exhibitions, and, in 2004, she orchestrated the move of MoMA’s entire permanent collection in preparation for the museum’s physical expansion.

Currently, as associate director for Exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Russell supervises the Museum’s entire roster of temporary exhibitions, gallery rotations, and outgoing loan shows, a program of approximately thirty-five to forty presentations per year. In addition, she oversees the museum’s international initiatives, collaborating with institutions worldwide on exhibitions and other special projects.

Jennifer Russell is a graduate of Wellesley College (B.A., American Studies, 1971) and New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts (M.A., Art History, 1974), and is a Trustee of the Bank Street College of Education.

Roxana Velasquez

San Diego Museum of Art (San Diego)

Since September 2010, Roxana Velásquez Martínez del Campo has been the Maruja Baldwin Executive Director of the San Diego Museum of Art. Velásquez received a bachelor of arts degree in art history at the Universidad Iberoamericana (1992), where her studies focused on nineteenth-century European painting and sculpture.  She received an executive MBA degree in 2008 from the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México and Arizona State University, where she received special mention.

Velásquez was director of the Museo Nacional de San Carlos until 2004. She then became director of the Museo Nacional de Arte (MUNAL) and in 2007 was appointed director of the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, one of Mexico’s premier cultural institutions. Velásquez has helped organize highly successful international exhibitions, such as Rubens and his Century, Goya, Frida Kahlo Centennial, Illusions of the Middle East from Delacroix to Moreau, and From el Greco to Dalí—all of which brought record exhibition attendance.

Velásquez is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, International Council of Museums, and Asociación Mexicana de Profesionales de Museos. She has been distinguished by the King of Spain with the Cross of Isabel la Católica for outstanding cultural projects of Spanish art organized in Mexico. In addition, Velásquez is the recipient of numerous awards, including “best art publication” for Guía del Museo Nacional de San Carlos from the Mexican government, and “best exhibition” for Masterworks from the San Carlos Museum from the Georgia Association of Museums.

Olga Viso

Walker Art Center (Minneapolis)

Olga Viso became executive director of the Walker Art Center in January 2008. At the Walker, Viso oversees innovative artistic programming across the disciplines, including visual arts, design, performing arts, film, and video. As a curator of contemporary art, Viso is known for her scholarship in contemporary Latin American art and the work of the late performance-based artist Ana Mendieta. In 2013, Viso will open a major survey of the contemporary American sculptor Jim Hodges, which she is co-curating with Jeffrey Grove at the Dallas Museum.

Before coming to Minneapolis, she served twelve years at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, as a curator of contemporary art and as director. At the Hirshhorn, Viso organized or co-organized significant exhibitions of leading artists, including Robert Gober, Guillermo Kuitca, and Juan Munoz. Prior to joining the Smithsonian, Viso was a curator at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, Florida, and held several curatorial and administrative positions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently is on the board of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, New York, and has been a trustee at the American Association of Museum Directors. Viso received an M.A. in art history from Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia in 1992.

Adam Weinberg

Whitney Museum of American Art (New York)

Adam D. Weinberg has been the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art since 2003. During his tenure, he has overseen a range of major exhibitions, award-winning educational programs, and dramatic growth in the permanent collection, as well as organized exhibitions with other museums internationally. In 2010, the Whitney launched a capital campaign for the construction of a new Renzo Piano–designed building, scheduled to open in 2015.

Beginning in 1981, Weinberg served as director of education and assistant curator at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. He joined the Whitney for the first time in 1989 as director of the Whitney at Equitable Center. In 1991, Weinberg became the artistic and program director of the American Center in Paris. At the Whitney, he was named senior curator in 1998 after holding the post of curator of the permanent collection for five years. From 1999 to 2003, Weinberg was the director of the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy, Andover.

Weinberg is the author of numerous catalogs and essays on contemporary and modern art. He has served as a board member of diverse organizations, including the American Federation of the Arts; Storm King Art Center; Williamstown Art Conservation Center; Tang Museum, Skidmore College; and the Colby College Museum of Art. He has been a grant panelist for numerous federal, state, city, and private foundations. He holds a B.A. from Brandeis University and an M.A. from the Visual Studies Workshop, the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Jay Xu

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (San Francisco)

Jay Xu is the first Chinese American director at a major U.S. art museum. Prior to his appointment at Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (AAMSF) in 2008, he was chairman of the department of Asian and Ancient Art (2006–2008)—in charge of arts of Asia and of the ancient Mediterranean world, including ancient Near East, Greek, and Roman cultures—and head of the department of Asian Art (2003–2006) at the Art Institute of Chicago. He was a curator of Chinese art at the Seattle Art Museum (1996–2003) and a research fellow at the department of Asian art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995–1996). He began his museum career at the Shanghai Museum (1983–1990) and received his M.A. and Ph.D. in early Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University.

Xu is committed to deepening understanding of Asian art and culture in the global context, and to advocating global art as an essential platform for cross-cultural understanding and diplomacy. His vision for the Asian Art Museum is to embrace and explore interconnectivity between artistic ideas in Asia and in the rest of the world, and between traditional and contemporary art.

Xu is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, and a member of the Committee of 100, a national non-partisan organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent who have achieved positions of leadership in the U.S. in a broad range of professions.

Julián Zugazagoitia

Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City)

Julián Zugazagoitia, a man whose passion for the arts has taken him around the globe, took his post as the fifth director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in 2010. Since his arrival, he has shown a strong interest in reaching out to the community and in making the museum more open and accessible to all visitors.

Born in Mexico and educated at the Sorbonne Paris IV in France, Zugazagoitia speaks six languages and has worked at institutions in the Americas and Europe. Before moving to Kansas City, he was the director and CEO of El Museo del Barrio in New York, a leading institution in the field of Latin American and Latino art. He led the institution through a $35 million renovation project that resulted in new gallery spaces and a refurbished facility. He has also collaborated with such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Before leading El Museo del Barrio, Zugazagoitia worked at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York as executive assistant to the director. As a consultant and curator, he also worked with the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles and UNESCO, organizing exhibitions, events, and conferences internationally. He also curated exhibitions as director of visual arts with the Spoleto Festival in Italy.

Chinese Museum Directors

Lu Zhangshen

National Museum of China (Beijing)

Lü Zhangshen is the director of the National Museum of China. Born in 1955, Lü Zhangsheng studied in the Department of Architecture at Tsinghua University (1977–1980). In December 1980, he was assigned to the Ministry of Culture. From June 1992 to April 2000, he was deputy director of the National Art Museum of China. He was director of the department of planning and finance and later the department of personnel, Ministry of Culture (2000–2005). Since September 2005, he has been the director of the National Museum of China. Apart from being a senior architect, he is a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, honorary director of the Chinese Museum Association, vice chairman of the China International Culture Association, director of the China Calligraphers’ Association, special researcher with the Chinese Academy of Calligraphy, and a consultant to the China International Association of Calligraphy and Painting and the China Association of Collectors.

Bai Ming

Tsinghua University (Beijing)

Bai Ming is the director of the Art Museum, College of Fine Arts, Tsinghua University. A lecturer of the College of Fine Arts, Bai is also a member of the International Academy of Ceramics (IAC) of UNESCO, the secretary-general of the Ceramic Art Council of China Artists Association (CAA), a member of China Artists Association and China Oil Painting Society (COPS), the art director of China Ceramic Art Net (www.artcn.net), the executive editor of China Ceramic Artist magazine, a distinguished professor of art and design at Hubei University, and a visiting professor at the Guangxi Arts Institute.

Bao Dongbo

Hubei Provincial Museum (Hubei)

Bao Dongbo is the director of the Hubei Provincial Museum. He is also the director of the Hubei Provincial Cultural Relics and Archaeology Research Institute, vice council chairman of the Chinese Museums Association, and vice council chairman of the Hubei Provincial Museums Association. He has worked in the Hubei Provincial Library and the Culture Department of the Hubei Provincial Government, and he has published three books and dozens of articles on history, bibliography, colophonics, and museum management.

Bao Zewei

Gu Yuan Museum (Zhuhai)

Bao Zewei is the director of the Zhuhai Gu Yuan Art Museum as well as a member of the China Artist Association, a council member of the Guangdong Artists Association, a member of the Guangdong Oil Painting Arts Committee, and a standing council member of the Guangdong Oil Painting Society. He has held eighteen individual exhibitions in and outside China, and his works of art have won many awards.

Chen Jianning

Guangdong Art Museum (Guangdong)

Chen Jianning is the deputy director of the Guangdong Art Museum.

Chen Xiejun

Shanghai Museum (Shanghai)

Chen Xiejun is the director of the Shanghai Museum. Chen holds the post of standing deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Culture Heritage, council chairman of Shanghai Culture Association, vice president of the Shanghai New Subjects Association, vice chairman of the Chinese Committee of ICOM, an executive member of ASEF, a member of the International Council of American Asia Association, deputy council chairman of China Museums Association, deputy council chairman of the China Index Association, and vice president of the China Computer and Music Association. His fields of interest include: philosophy, contemporary urban culture, library theory, museum theory, and information sciences.

Cheng Jiangzheng

Shaanxi History Museum (Shaanxi)

Cheng Jianzheng is the director of the Shaanxi History Museum. Cheng also serves as president of the Shaanxi Museums Society and as vice council chairman of the Chinese Museums Association. He has more than twenty years of experience in museum management. Two exhibitions he produced or designed were listed among the “Top Ten Art Exhibitions in China.” He has published more than ten articles on museum management and operation, and he has served as editor-in-chief of dozens of books on arts and museum management. He is also a renowned Chinese archaeologist.

Guo Xiaoling

Capital Museum (Beijing)

Guo Xiaoling is the director of the Capital Museum. Guo Xiaoling also serves as a professor at the School of History at Beijing Normal University, president of China’s Society of Ancient World History, vice council chairman of the Chinese Museums Association, and as a member of the Vetting Committee of the National Social Science Fund.

Fan Di’an

National Art Museum of China (Beijing)

Fan Di’an is the director of the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC). Fan also serves as vice chairman of the Chinese Artists Association and chairman of Art Museums Committee in China. He specializes in 20th-century Chinese art studies, criticism, and curatorial practices of contemporary art, and art museum studies. As the NAMOC director, he advocates the idea of “a museum for the public.” He has enthusiastically broadened the platform for international exchange at NAMOC, bringing in excellent exhibitions from around the world. He has also succeeded in bringing some of the best Chinese art overseas. As the chief curator of many important bilateral cultural exchanges, including the Europalia China Art Festival and the Chinese Cultural Year in Italy, he curated and organized a series of exhibitions of Chinese art to travel abroad. He has also been covered by leading international media. He was also recognized by Art and Investment magazine as one of the “50 celebrities who have influenced the contemporary art world.”

Fan Feng

Wuhan Art Museum (Wuhan)

Fan Feng is the director of the Wuhan Art Museum. Fan Feng graduated from Nanjing Arts Institute, School of Fine Arts. He is a member of the Chinese Artists’ Association, a professional artist of the Wuhan Academy for Painting, the vice chairman of the Wuhan Artists’ Association, and the executive curator of Wuhan Art Museum. He has attained China’s highest level of national certification in art and was awarded a lifelong special government subsidy by the Chinese State Council for his contribution to the art world.

Samuel Kung

Shanghai Contemporary Arts Museum (Shanghai)

Samuel Kung is the chairman and director of the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art. Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, Kung has been engaged in the gem industry for more than forty years and is known as a celebrated jadeite designer. In 2005, Kung established the Shanghai Contemporary Art Museum, the first private museum in the city. He is devoted to promoting the appreciation of Chinese and international contemporary art and design and encourages cultural exchange between Shanghai and the world.

Shao Shan

Guangdong Art Museum (Guangdong)

Shao Shan is the deputy director of the Guangdong Art Museum.

Shi Jinming

Shanxi Museum (Shanxi)

Shi Jinming is the director of the Shanxi Museum. Shi is also director of the Chinese Civilization Research Center of Shanxi Province and a professor and doctorate instructor at the University of Shanxi; he has been awarded special subsidies from the State Council. He also serves as vice council chairman of the Chinese Museums Association, vice council chairman of the China Ancient Vertebrate Society, and as a member of the standing committee of Shanxi Provincial People’s Congress. He has led a series of important archaeological excavations and published dozens of reports and papers. He has won a number of prizes, including “Top Ten National Archaeological Discoveries,” the “National Field Archaeological Studies,” and “Top Ten Best Museum Exhibitions in China.”

Wang Huangsheng

Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing)

Wang Huangsheng is the director of the Art Museum of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. Wang obtained his masters degree in art history from the Nanjing Art Institute in 1990 and his doctorate in 2006. Before taking his current position, he was director of the Guangdong Museum of Art. He also serves as a council member of the China Artists Association, deputy director of the National Committee of Art Museums, and a member of the Expert Committee of the China National Art Museum. Wang is a guest professor at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, Nanjing Art Institute, and Huanan Normal University. He was awarded Chevalier of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2004, and the Knight’s Medal by the President of Italy in 2006.

Xie Suzhen

Today’s Art Museum (Beijing)

Xie Suzhen is the director of Today’s Art Museum. Xie obtained her masters degree in art administration and curatorship from Goldsmith College at the University of London, and her doctorate in modern and contemporary art history from the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA). Before assuming her current position, she served as the executive director of the Art Museum of CAFA, the director and head of the exhibition team of the Taipei Contemporary Art Museum, the executive secretary of the Contemporary Art Foundation, the executive deputy director of the Mountain Art Museum in Gaoxiong, Taiwan, and the executive director of the Mountain Culture & Education Foundation.

Yang Chao

Xi’an Art Museum (Xi’an)

Yang Chao is the director of the Xi’an Art Museum.  Yang is also the chairman of Mei Ling Group, the executive director of Western Media, and the art supervisor of Lin Tong National Vacation Area. He has led the planning and design of many renovations and reconstructions of historic sites in Shaanxi Province, and he serves as senior adviser on city planning and development in several Chinese cities.

Zhang Wenjun

Henan Museum (Henan)

Zhang Wenjun is the director of the Henan Museum. Zhang is deputy board chairman of Chinese Museum Society, chairman of Henan Provincial Museum Society, a board member of the Archaeology Society of China, and a researcher of cultural relics of Henan Province. He has published about twenty articles and compiled more than ten books, including Central Plains Cultural Collection of Great Classics–Cultural Relics Volume.

U.S. Artists

Abigail Washburn

A singing, songwriting, Nashville-based clawhammer-banjo player, Abigail Washburn is as interested in the present and the future as she is in the past, and, as she pairs venerable folk elements with far-flung sounds, she is as attuned to the global as she is to the local. Her music ranges widely, from the “all-g’earl” string band sound of Uncle Earl to her bilingual solo release, Song of the Traveling Daughter (2005), to the mind-bending “chamber roots” sound of the Sparrow Quartet, to the rhythms, sounds, and stories of Afterquake (2009), her fundraiser CD for the Sichuan earthquake victims.  Her latest release is City of Refuge (2011), written with her collaborator, Kai Welch.

Armed with Chinese-language ability and profound connections to culture and people in Asia, Washburn is one of the few foreign artists currently touring China independently and regularly. In 2011, she completed a month-long tour of China’s Silk Road, supported by grants from the U.S. Embassy, Beijing. She was named a TED fellow and gave a talk at the 2012 TED Convention in Long Beach about building U.S.-China relations through music.  Her efforts to share American music in China and Chinese music in the U.S. exist within a hope that cultural understanding and the communal experience of beauty and sounds reaching out from tradition will lead the way to a richer and a more profoundly rooted existence for all humans amid a swiftly evolving world order.

Amy Tan

Amy Tan is a fiction writer, born in the U.S. to immigrant parents from China. Her novels are The Joy Luck Club, The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning—all New York Times best-sellers. She is also the author of a memoir, The Opposite of Fate, and two children’s books, The Moon Lady and Sagwa and The Chinese Siamese Cat. She has contributed numerous articles to magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s Bazaar, and National Geographic. Her work has been translated into thirty-five languages.

Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter with Ron Bass for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. She was the creative consultant for Sagwa, the Emmy-nominated PBS television series for children, which aired worldwide. Her story in The New Yorker, “Immortal Heart,” was performed on stages throughout the U.S. and in France. She wrote the libretto for an opera based on her novel, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, with music by Stewart Wallace, which premiered in 2008. Tan’s other musical work for the stage is limited to serving as lead rhythm dominatrix, backup singer, and second tambourine with the literary garage band the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose members include Stephen King, Dave Barry, and Scott Turow. In spite of their dubious talent, their yearly gigs have managed to raise over a million dollars for literacy programs. Tan has lectured at numerous universities internationally. Her new novel, The Valley of Amazement, will be released in 2013.

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michael Tilson Thomas became the San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) eleventh music director in 1995. He has made more than two dozen national and international tours with the SFS. He is also acclaimed for his work as a composer, and the SFS has premiered many of his works.

Tilson Thomas studied piano, conducting, and composition at the University of Southern California and at age 19 was named music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed assistant conductor (and later, principal guest conductor) of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He led the television broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic’s famed Young People’s Concerts (1971–1977), has been chief conductor and director of the Ojai Festival and music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic, and in 1988 became principal conductor (and now, principal guest conductor) of the London Symphony Orchestra. Until 2000, he was co-artistic director of the Pacific Music Festival, which he and Leonard Bernstein inaugurated in 1990. He appears frequently as a guest conductor with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States.

Tilson Thomas’s recordings have won numerous international awards, including eleven Grammys for SFS recordings. Among his many honors, he was presented the National Medal of Arts in 2010, named 1995 Conductor of the Year by Musical America, and in 2006 received Gramophone’s Artist of the Year award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres of France.

Chinese Artists

Chen Leiji

Chen Leiji began studying guqin at the age of nine. He is the first guqin graduate of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and the first student of the guqin master, Gong Yi. Chen Leiji also holds a graduate diploma in orchestral conducting from Rheims Conservatory. His in-depth study of Chinese and Western musical traditions places him at a virtual point of confluence, to establish a unity in the world even as we grow profoundly conscious of the treasures of its diversity. Chen has also contributed to creating several contemporary works, including Liu Yuan’s Youlan, with the Beijing Symphony Orchestra, and Luo Zhongrong’s Concerto for Guqin and Concerto for an Instrument of Silence, with the Amsterdam Nieuw Ensemble.

Since his return to China, Chen Leiji has been teaching orchestral conducting at the Chinese Conservatory of Music and touring the world as a guqin soloist. He was chosen to play the Lost Sound of Antiquity, the most famous of all guqin pieces, at the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Wang Yuja

Since her 2005 debut with the National Arts Center Orchestra, 25-year-old Chinese pianist Yuja Wang has performed with many of the world’s prestigious orchestras and esteemed conductors in the U.S. and abroad, including with the New York Philharmonic, the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, and the YouTube Symphony Orchestra led by Michael Tilson Thomas. She has performed with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra in Beijing, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in Spain and London, and the Hong Kong Philharmonic. Wang has given recitals in major cities throughout Asia, Europe, and North America and makes regular chamber music appearances at summer festivals internationally. She made her Carnegie Hall recital debut in the Isaac Stern Auditorium in 2011.

An exclusive recording artist for Deutsche Grammophon, Wang’s debut recording is Sonatas & Etudes (2009). Gramophone magazine named her the “Classic FM Gramophone Awards 2009 Young Artist of the Year.” She received an Echo Award in 2011 as “Young Artist of the Year” for Transformation (2011). Her first concerto album, in collaboration with Claudio Abbado and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, was nominated for a Grammy for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo.” Her most recent record, Fantasia, is a collection of encore pieces.

Wang studied at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing and is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia (2008). At age 15, she won Aspen Music Festival’s concerto competition. She received the Gilmore Young Artists Award (2006) and the Avery Fisher Career Grant (2010) and is a Steinway Artist.

Wu Fei

Born and raised in Beijing, Wu Fei is a composer, vocalist, and performer of the guzheng (Chinese zither). She began performing guzheng at the age of six, and she spent her formative years studying composition at the China Conservatory of Music before moving to the U.S. in 2000. She holds an M.A. in composition from Mills College.

Wu Fei has performed and recorded with musicians such as John Zorn, Fred Frith, Secret Chiefs 3, Carla Kilhstedt, and Cecil Taylor. Her commissions range from a composition for the Percussions Claviers de Lyon, which premiered in the Forbidden City Concert Hall in Beijing, to live performances in Paris and Tokyo for Hermès. She has composed for symphony orchestra, choir, string quartet, chamber ensemble, Balinese gamelan, film, and modern dance. She has performed at the Stone and MoMA in New York City, North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands, Vossa Jazz Festival in Norway, Europalia in Belgium, Beijing MIDI Festival, and Madame Guitar Festival in Italy.

Her solo albums are A Distant Youth (2007, Forrest Hill) and Yuan (2008, Tzadik). Her most recent release is Pluck (2011), the eponymous record of her duo with the Brooklyn-based classical guitarist, Gyan Riley. Wu Fei is also currently collaborating with the American banjo player/singer-songwriter, Abigail Washburn.

Wu Tong

Wu Tong is a musician and composer and has become his generation’s most visible proponent of traditional Chinese music. Wu has achieved an unparalleled following for Chinese music on three continents as a founding vocalist of the pioneering rock band Lunhui (“Again”), which merges Western and Asian traditions; as a performer with the Silk Road Ensemble; and as a soloist with the New York Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. In recent seasons, he has appeared with the Silk Road Ensemble at such prestigious venues as the Aichi World Expo, the Hollywood Bowl, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Millennium Park. In 2010, the album Yo-Yo Ma & Friends: Songs of Joy & Peace, which Wu helped produce, won the Best Classical Crossover Album in the 52nd Grammy Awards. He also released his personal crossover album, The Sound from My Heart.

Press Coverage

Press Coverage

Asia Society and the 2012 U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture were mentioned in a profile of Michael Tilson Thomas on the New York Times China website.

2012 U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture  was covered by China Daily.

The U.S.-China Museum Director’s Dialogue (part of the 2012 U.S.-China Forum on the Arts and Culture) was featured on the websites of The National Museum of China and Arts Beijing




US Embassy in Beijing

National Museum of China

The Central Academy of Fine Arts

The Central Conservatory of Music

Lead Sponsors

China Friendship Foundation for Peace and Development

China-United States Exchange Foundation


Individual Support

Mimi and Peter Haas Fund

Richard Thompson

Harold and Ruth Newman

Adam Yu 于志强

Media Partners



2012 U.S.-China Museum Leaders Forum
2012 U.S.-China Museum Leaders Forum
2012 U.S.-China Museum Leaders Forum
2012 U.S.-China Museum Leaders Forum