The Metropolitan Museum of Art David H. Koch Plaza © The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art announced the appointment of Dr. Lesley Ma as the inaugural Ming Chu Hsu and Daniel Xu Associate Curator of Asian Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. Ma joins The Met from M+, Hong Kong’s museum of visual culture, where she has served as founding Curator, Ink Art, since 2013. A core member of the inaugural curatorial team at M+ (which opened in November 2021), she has led the effort in establishing an institutional framework and collection on ink art, an area of visual art that covers modern and contemporary responses across and beyond Asia to the ink painting and calligraphy traditions. At The Met, as an expert in the modern and contemporary art of Asia, she will be working collaboratively with the department and across the museum on acquisitions, collection interpretation and display, and developing exhibitions and other programming. She will join The Met in April 2022.
“We are thrilled to welcome Lesley Ma to The Met. Her deep curatorial background in contemporary Asian art and her transnational expertise in ink art will help us expand our collections, will foster cross-departmental collaborations and enable new connections to be drawn between art of the past and the present,” said Max Hollein, Marina Kellen French Director of The Met. “We are enormously grateful to Ming Chu Hsu and Daniel Xu for endowing this position in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.”
Sheena Wagstaff, Leonard A. Lauder Chair of the Museum’s Department of Modern and Contemporary Art, added, “Lesley joining the international modern and contemporary art team opens exciting opportunities for The Met to take account of the remarkable artistic creativity throughout East and Southeast Asia. Her extensive experience of building collections of art from across the region will enable us to tell richer stories of 20th- and 21st-century art as it relates to the deep arc of history.”
Ma commented, “I am deeply honored and grateful to join The Met, and to have the opportunity to bring diverse Asian voices in modern and contemporary art to the Museum. I look forward to working with the esteemed colleagues within the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and across the Museum at this critical moment, to explore new dialogues across time and regions for our audiences near and far.”
At M+, Ma’s research in modern and contemporary art, especially modernist movements and tendencies in postwar Asia and performance art, complements her transnational, interdisciplinary approach to ink art. She co-curated Individuals, Networks, Expressions, a survey of visual art from the 1950s to the present from the M+ Collections, and curated M+ Commission: Tong Yang-Tze, a presentation of large-scale calligraphy for the museum’s opening. A co-editor of M+ Collections: Highlights and contributing writer for Chinese Art Since 1970: M+ Sigg Collection, she curated The Weight of Lightness: Ink Art at M+ (2017), a collection exhibition. Additionally, she has been involved in the M+ Live Art series since 2015. Prior to M+, Ma co-curated The Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s—Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan (2013) for Para Site, Hong Kong, which toured to the Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, and The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City. From 2011 to 2012, she was Curatorial Coordinator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and from 2005 to 2009, she was Project Director at Cai Guo-Qiang’s studio in New York. A recipient in 2015 of the Yishu Award for Critical Writing on Contemporary Chinese Art, Ma has contributed to ArtAsiaPacific, Yishu, and Artforum and published on modern and contemporary Asian art in academic volumes and museum catalogues in English and Chinese. She was a member of the 2019 Asia 21 Young Leaders. Ma grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and holds a BA cum laude in History and Science from Harvard College and an MA in Museum Studies from New York University. Her PhD in Art history, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, focused on abstract painting in postwar Taiwan.
About Ming Chu Hsu
Ming Chu Hsu, a Met Elective Trustee, is an entrepreneur based in Hong Kong, Lisbon, and New York. She is the principal owner of several multinational firms that include real estate investment companies such as Reformosa group in Europe and Richmond Grant International Ltd. in Asia. Ms. Hsu is also the founder of Merald International Holdings, a private investment company focused on the tech and medical sectors, and the founder and chair of Alex & Wright Inc., which is involved in the design, manufacture, and sale of high-end luxury goods and jewelry. She serves as an overseer of Columbia Business School, from which she earned an MBA in 1992. She has been involved with the Chinese initiatives of Orbis, an international nongovernmental organization devoted to eye health, and she has supported the Hong Kong International School, the Taipei American School Foundation, and the U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California, among others. Ms. Hsu named the curatorship jointly with Mr. Xu in 2018.
About Daniel Xu
Daniel Xu is a co-founder and the Chief Information Officer of Tencent, a leading provider of Internet value-added services in China, where his responsibilities include the strategic planning and development of the company’s website properties and communities, customer relations, and public relations. Mr. Xu previously worked in software system design, Internet management, sales, and marketing at the Shenzhen Data Telecommunications Bureau. He received a BS in Computer Science from Shenzhen University and an MS in Computer Science from Nanjing University. He serves as an overseer of Columbia Business School.