Year Joined

  • 2010

Areas of Expertise

  • Arts & Entertainment 


  • Fellow, American Academy of Arts and Sciences 

Boards Joined

  • Terra Foundation for American Art 
  • Advisory Board of the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies 
  • Advisory Board of the Shanghai Museum 

Online Presence


  • Jay Xu discusses latest exhibit at Asian Art Museum in San Francisco

    July 30, 2019  |  SF Gate

  • Jay Xu appointed to Terra Foundation for American Art and American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    April 22, 2019  |  ArtfixDaily

  • Jay Xu comments on ‘Kimono Refashioned’ Exhibit at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum

    April 18, 2019  |  The Art Newspaper

  • Jay Xu raises $1.5M at Asian Art Museum Gala

    March 14, 2019  |  San Francisco Chronicle

  • Jay Xu meets principles from Nanjing University

    June 04, 2018  |  Nanjing University

  • Jay Xu ’s special exhibit at Asian Art Museum features live music and dance shows

    February 28, 2017  |  San Francisco Classical Voice

  • Jay Xu ’s special exhibit at Asian Art Museum “brings ancient China to life”

    February 16, 2017  |  China Daily

  • Jay Xu ’s Asian Art Museum hosts 6-foot bamboo lantern for Lunar New Year

    January 31, 2017  |  7th Space Interactive

  • Jay Xu co-curates “Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty” special exhibit at Asian Art Museum

    January 19, 2017  |  Yahoo Finance

  • Jay Xu reminds us of Asian Art Museum’s message of inclusivity

    December 01, 2016  |  China Daily

  • Jay Xu , director of the San Francisco Asian Art Museum, organized the exhibition ‘Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art From the National Palace Museum, Taipei’

    August 17, 2016  |  Wall Street Journal

  • Jay Xu and Asian Art Museum release plans to expand

    July 15, 2016  |  SFist

  • Jay Xu were honored at the World Affairs Council awards dinner as distinguished foreign-born leaders in the Bay Area

    May 26, 2015  |  World Affairs

  • Jay Xu discusses the collection of the late Robert Hattfield Ellsworth with the New York Times.

    March 15, 2015  |  New York Times


Jay Xu Director and Pioneer, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco


Director & CEO

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

Dr. Jay Xu has served as director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco since 2008, and he is the first Chinese American director at a major American art museum. Xu is committed to deepening understanding of Asian art and culture in the global context, and to advocating the art museum as an essential platform for cross-cultural understanding. Under his leadership, the museum launched the Transformation Project due to completion in summer 2020, which involves launch of contemporary art, expansion of exhibition and public spaces, renovation of collection galleries and education classroom, and investment in digital tools for deeper and richer audience engagement, all underwritten by a $100 million campaign.

Aside from his work at the Asian Art Museum, Xu serves in a variety of civic responsibilities. He is a member of the governing board of the Terra Foundation for American Art; a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors (North America); a member of the Advisory Council of the Department of Art and Archaeology, Princeton University; a member of the Visiting Committee of the Harvard Art Museums; a member of the Advisory Board of the Tang Center for Silk Road Studies, UC Berkeley; a member of the Advisory Board of the Shanghai Museum; and a visiting senior professor at the College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University.

In 2010, Xu was elected to the Committee of 100. In 2015, Dr. Xu became the first Asian American museum director elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Xu earned his MA and PhD in early Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University, and has had nearly forty years of international museum experience as a research scholar, curator, and museum director. He previously served as assistant to the museum director at the Shanghai Museum; research fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; curator of Chinese art at the Seattle Art Museum. He also served as head of the Asian art department and chairman of the department of Asian and Ancient Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. An award-winning scholar of Chinese art, Xu focuses his academic research particularly on ancient Chinese bronzes and archaeology, and has also worked on topics in Chinese painting and calligraphy, Chinese ceramics, history of Chinese art collecting and museum development, and contemporary Chinese art. He lectures extensively on Asian art, including contemporary art, and on museum practice


  • Committee of 100

    Extraordinary Chinese Americans

  • Ensuring Full Inclusion in America
    Advancing U.S.-China Relations
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