As the Asian Art Museum celebrates its 50th anniversary with a number of successful shows. the museum also announced a plan to expand at additional 12,00 square feet. The new space is being designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast, who was born in Thailand and is based in Los Angeles and New York. It will include a 9,000-square-foot gallery that will be among the largest in San Francisco. Also planned is a renovation of the museum’s entrance lobby and classrooms, and a reorganization of existing collections galleries and other spaces. Construction will begin in 2017.
Along with this proposed expansion, the Asian Art Museum also announced a new staff appointment. Effective June 1, 2016, Dr. Fan Jeremy Zhang has been hired as senior associate curator of Chinese art, Dr. Zhang will join Associate Curator of Chinese, Art Li He. to oversee the organization of special exhibitions and the care and interpretation of the museum’s renowned collection of Chinese art.
“Dr. Zhang’s strengths as a scholar, curator and archaeologist align perfectly with our collection,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “We’re excited about the varied experiences and valuable insights he brings, as well as his enthusiasm for the museum’s mission of sharing Asian art with broad audiences in meaningful ways.”
Trained as an archaeologist in his native China, Zhang comes from The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida, where, as the Helga Wall-Apelt Associate Curator of Asian Art, he oversaw the development of its brand new Center for Asian Art in the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Gallery of Asian Art scheduled to open in May. In this role, Zhang was responsible for selecting artworks from the museum’s permanent collection and loans to go on display in its expanded Asian art gallery space, among other tasks.
“I am thrilled to join Dr. Jay Xu, Li He and the rest of the curatorial team at the Asian Art Museum,” Zhang said. “I look forward to partnering with staff on the research, collection and display of both traditional and modern Chinese art, and to take part in further enriching the museum’s already robust international and domestic exhibition program.”
Zhang brings extensive experience with collection research and enhancement, new gallery launch and expansion program, as well as the organization of international loan exhibitions. Among his broad academic interests are the art and archaeology of middle-period East Asia, the material culture of China’s Conquest Dynasties, the Silk Road trade and cultural exchange, and the early history of Asian art collections in North America.
Zhang holds a Ph.D. from Brown University and an M.A. from Vanderbilt University, both in art history, and has held research positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and the Smith College Museum of Art.
He has taught courses on East Asian Art, published numerous journal articles, and edited the books “Royal Taste: The Art of Princely Courts in Fifteenth-Century China” (2015) and “Collecting Art of Asia: Highlights of the Asian Collection at the Smith College Museum of Art” (2013).
Zhang joins the Asian Art Museum at a notable time in its exhibition of Chinese art. This summer, the museum presents Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei, the first American exhibition in 20 years drawn from this institution, one of the world’s greatest collections of Chinese art. More than 150 objects spanning 800 years of Chinese imperial taste will be on view, many traveling to the U.S. for the first time.
“As we move forward with our expansion project, we’ll certainly draw on Dr. Zhang’s highly relevant experience overseeing the development of The Ringling’s new Asian art facility,” Xu said. “We’re particularly fortunate that he’s joining us at this significant moment for the museum.”