Who are we?

Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Curator for Contemporary Asian and Asian-American art at the Asia Society, has had a long involvement with Asian contemporary art and is recognized as a leading authority in the field. Prior to working at the Asia Society, she served as the founding Director of the Asia-Australia Arts Centre in Sydney, a non-profit contemporary art center devoted to promoting dialogue in the Asia-Pacific region among artists, writers, curators and filmmakers.

Additionally, Ms. Chiu has curated over thirty exhibitions with artists from Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Thailand and Japan, among others. She was a founding member of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium and a driving force behind the establishment of Asian Contemporary Art Week, which will mark its sixth year in New York next Spring.

Melissa Chiu received her B.A. from the University of Western Sydney and her M.A. from the College of Fine Arts, University of South Wales. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Western Sydney and has authored many artist monographs and conference papers and has published widely in journals, magazines and for exhibition catalogues. Ms. Chiu has been a faculty member of the Rhode Island School of Design where she taught Asian contemporary art and design. She has also served on a number of boards and grant panels, including the New York State Council on the Arts, Museums Grant Committee and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. 

  • Transcript


Question: What forces have shaped China most?

Melissa Chiu: I think in terms of today’s China, that the Cultural Revolution was both a terrible time for a lot of the people who experienced it . . . but I think it has set the stage for China to really be able to change in such a quick fashion; thereby this desire to create a new kind of modern-day China by getting rid of the _____ system. I think what it did was it freed up Chinese society to be able to adapt so much quicker to the demands of today. And so I would say that if we were to look at the Chinese situation, that it would really be the Cultural Revolution – that ten year period from ’66 to ’76 – as the major catalyst for what we see as being success in China’s kind of post-industrialization, if you like.


Recorded on: Jul 11 2007