portrait of Aaron Seeto, a man wearing a black suit with a white shirt underneath

February 12, 2024

Hirshhorn Museum Appoints Aaron Seeto as Deputy Director
Brings Museum-Building Experience to Leadership Role at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

The Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden has appointed Aaron Seeto its deputy director, effective Feb. 12. An experienced arts administrator and curator specializing in modern and contemporary art, Seeto served since 2016 as founding director of Museum MACAN in Jakarta, the first major private art museum of international modern and contemporary art in Indonesia.

“As a museum administrator and curator, Aaron Seeto has demonstrated his talent for executing major capital projects,” said Melissa Chiu, Hirshhorn director. “I admire what he achieved at Museum MACAN particularly, from organizing and contextualizing its collection and exhibitions to establishing interdisciplinary education programs, to make it one of the most influential museums of contemporary art in Asia. He’s an excellent addition to our leadership team as we engage increasingly broader audiences throughout our ongoing campus transformation.”

In his role as director at Museum MACAN, Seeto managed a program of exhibitions focused on the history of the development of international and Indonesian contemporary art. Many projects were the first major surveys of Indonesian and Southeast Asian artists such as Arahmaiani, Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan, Melati Suryodarmo, and Agus Suwage, as well as large-scale institutional surveys by the likes of Yayoi Kusama, Lee Mingwei, Julian Rosefeldt, Chiharu Shiota, and Xu Bing. He also successfully developed a wide range of new arts education initiatives that positioned Museum MACAN as a committed partner with the Indonesian school system, in line with the museum’s vision and mission to support arts education and engagement across Indonesia’s diverse populus.

“I am the thrilled to join the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, an institution of exceptional significance nationally and on the world stage,” said Seeto. The Hirshhorn’s dynamic collection, vision for its public spaces and initiatives to expand public access to art and artists are profoundly inspiring. I am excited to have the opportunity to weave my experiences with emerging audiences in Asia into the fabric of the Hirshhorn’s future.”

Seeto also held roles at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, and the City of Sydney. He has been awarded a leadership grant from the Australia Council of Arts, a University Medal from the University of Wollongong, and a qualification from the MoMA International Curatorial Institute.

About the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is the national museum of modern and contemporary art and a leading voice for 21st-century art and culture. Part of the Smithsonian, the Hirshhorn is located prominently on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Its holdings encompass one of the most important collections of postwar American and European art in the world. The Hirshhorn presents diverse exhibitions and offers an array of public programs on the art of our time—free to all. The Hirshhorn Museum is open daily, 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m. (except Dec. 25). For more information, visit hirshhorn.si.edu. Follow the Museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Image credit: Portrait of Aaron Seeto, © Muhammad Fadli.