First Chinese American director at a major US art museum, Dr. Jay Xu is Director of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors. He enjoys a rich variety of international museum experience. Prior to his appointment at AAMSF in June 2008, he had been Chairman of the Department of Asian and Ancient Art (2006-2008) and Head of the Department of Asian Art (2003-2006) at The Art Institute of Chicago, Curator of Chinese Art at the Seattle Art Museum (1996-2003), and Research Fellow at the Department of Asian Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (1995-1996). He began his curatorial career at the Shanghai Museum (curatorial assistant and assistant curator, 1983-1990), and received his graduate training in early Chinese art and archaeology at Princeton University (MA and PhD).
Dr. Xu is a passionate champion of Asian art and culture, committed to sharing his extensive knowledge of Asian art with a wide audience, and to promoting art and culture as an essential platform for cross-cultural understanding, diplomacy, and political and business developments.
Dr. Xu participated and contributed to the expansion projects at the Seattle Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. He has organized a wide range of exhibitions and made significant art acquisitions as a curator. A dedicated scholar of Chinese art, he is well published, particularly on ancient Chinese bronzes and archaeology. His other publications cover diverse areas of Chinese art and museum practice, and he lectures extensively on Asian art, including contemporary art. His professional awards include the prestigious Shimada Prize for Outstanding Publication in East Asian Art in 1997 for Art of the Houma Foundry (Princeton University Press, 1996; co-author), and a George Wittenborn Memorial Book Award of the Art Libraries Society of North America in 2001 for Ancient Sichuan: Treasures of a Lost Civilization (Seattle Art Museum, 2001; principal author), a landmark exhibition that he curated.