Jay Jie Xu

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco
Museum director; Historian (art)
Humanities and Arts
Visual Arts

First Chinese American director at a major U.S. art museum and first Asian American museum director elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Jay Xu has been Executive Director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco since 2008. Dr. Xu enjoys a rich variety of international museum experience over a period of thirty years as a research scholar, curator, and museum director. He earned his MA and Ph.D. in early Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University, and had previously worked in administrative and curatorial positions at the Shanghai Museum, China; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Seattle Art Museum; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was Pritzker Chairman of the Department of Asian and Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, in charge of arts of Asia and of the ancient Mediterranean world before he joined the Asian Art Museum.

Dr. Xu is committed to deepening understanding of Asian art and culture in the global context, and to advocating art museums as an essential platform for education, and for cross-cultural understanding and diplomacy. His vision for the Asian Art Museum is to explore and enhance global relevance and connections of Asian art and culture, and interconnectivity between ancient and contemporary art.

Dr. Xu is a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors since 2010 and has served on its governing board since June 2014. He is a member of the Committee of 100 (C100)—a United States national nonpartisan organization composed of American citizens of Chinese descent who have achieved positions of leadership in the United States in a broad range of professions; he currently serves on the board of C100 and as a vice-chair is responsible for activities in Northern California. Since 2018, Dr. Xu has served on the Advisory Committee of the Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; and since 2019, on the governing board of the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Dr. Xu’s professional awards include the Shimada Prize for Outstanding Publication in East Asian Art in 1997 by the Freer and Sackler galleries of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. and the Metropolitan Center for Far Eastern Studies of Kyoto, Japan; and the Premiere Dreamcatcher Award in 2014 by the San Francisco Unified School District for his support for art education in the public school system.

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