Melissa Chiu Named Director of Hirshhorn

Melissa Chiu

June 6, 2014

Melissa Chiu has been named Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian’s museum of modern and contemporary art. She joins the Smithsonian on September 29.

Chiu is museum director and senior vice president for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for the Asia Society in New York City. She was previously curator of contemporary Asian and Asian American art for the organization. The Society has 11 centers and affiliates in the U.S. and Asia. Under her leadership, the society’s museum has opened 10 exhibition a year and established a contemporary art collection; she has commissioned groundbreaking international loan exhibitions, opened exhibitions and programs for new Asia Society buildings in Hong Kong and Houston and raised much of the museum’s budget through private gifts.

A native of Darwin, Australia, Chiu was founding director of the Asia-Australia Centre in Sydney, Australia and curator for the University of Western Sydney Collection at the University of Western Sydney. She earned her bachelor’s degree at the University of Western Sydney, her master’s from the College of Fine Arts at University of New South Wales and completed her Ph.D. at the University of Western Sydney in 2005. She succeeds Richard Koshalek, Hirshhorn director from 2009 to 2013. Kerry Brougher, deputy director and chief curator of the museum, served as interim director through May 31, 2014, when he relocated to California; Richard Kurin, Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, is serving as acting director until Chiu’s arrival.

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