Melissa Chiu

Screen capture of three shots of Museum Director Melissa Chiu

Melissa Chiu is the director of the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the national museum of modern and contemporary art, in Washington, DC. She is a world-renowned expert on modern and contemporary art, with specialist knowledge on Asian art. Chiu has worked with some of the world’s best-known artists to curate or commission groundbreaking exhibitions of their art, including commissioning Yayoi Kusama’s first-ever major exhibition focused on her Infinity Mirrored Rooms, which toured from the Hirshhorn across the country (2017); Ai Weiwei’s exhibition of photographs taken when he lived in New York, which premiered at the same time that he was arrested in Beijing (2011); and an exhibition focused on Yoshitomo Nara’s work and its connection to music (2010). Recently, she has commissioned Mark Bradford, Nicolas Party and Laurie Anderson to stage large-scale projects at the Hirshhorn. Last year, she initiated the Hirshhorn Cultural Ambassadors program–of whom J Balvin is the first–which will work with Museum on its award-winning teen art program, ArtLab. She holds a PhD and has published essays, articles and books on cultural diplomacy and museum issues as well as international and Asian contemporary art.