August 5, 2023 San Francisco — In the culmination of an international search, Yoon-Jee Choi has been named the Assistant Curator for Korean Art at the Asian Art Museum – Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art & Culture.
Starting in July of 2023, Choi oversees the museum’s Korean art holdings, which are among the most prominent public collections outside Asia. With more than 1,000 artworks spanning millennia of history and including textiles, jewelry, important celadons and ceramics, paintings, household objects, and contemporary multimedia and digital artworks, the Asian Art Museum was the first in the United States to create a department and designate a curator devoted exclusively to Korean art and culture.
“The Asian Art Museum has never been more dynamic in its offerings and outlook,” says Dr. Jay Xu, The Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO. “Yoon-Jee Choi is a curator who thrives in an environment of innovation and collaboration grounded in scholarship. Drawing upon our exceptional historic collection as well as our expanding contemporary program, her work will connect the past to the present while inspiring us all to think about what comes next. This is how we fuel our audiences’ imagination and deepen understanding and empathy among people of all backgrounds.”
Choi joins the museum from the University of Chicago’s doctoral program, where she is set to complete a Ph.D. examining the industrialization and modernization of the craft industry in Northeast Asia. Her larger body of research focuses on the art historical exchange among Northeast Asian countries during the early modern era, especially on the 19th-to-early-20th-century cultural interactions and exchanges between Korea and Japan.
“Yoon-Jee’s interest in and keen perspective on both traditional and contemporary art aligns perfectly with the museum’s ever-broadening focus,” says Chief Curator Dr. Robert Mintz. “She impressed us with her expansive ideas and sensitivity to our significant historic collection. Her combined passions for both Korean art of the past and the work of artists living and working today make her an excellent leader to guide our Korean Art department into the future.”
Prior to her graduate work at Chicago, Choi interned for the National Museum of Korea and worked as a research assistant for the Asian Museum Institute in Seoul. She completed her MA at the prestigious Ewha Womans University, where she also earned her BA.
“Yoon-Jee joins the Asian Art Museum at a particularly exciting moment,” continues Xu. “She is a critical player in a new cohort of young curators working on Korean, West and South Asian Art, Contemporary Projects, and Technology: these fresh voices cover a wide spectrum of cultures, geographies, interests, and future-focused fields.”
Recent critically-acclaimed Korean art exhibitions organized at the Asian Art Museum include Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture (2021), Couture Korea (2017), Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware from Korea (2016), and In Grand Style: Celebration in Korean Art During the Joseon Dynasty (2013).
About the Asian Art Museum
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art, with more than 20,000 awe-inspiring artworks ranging from ancient jades and ceramics to contemporary video installations. Dynamic special exhibitions, cultural celebrations and public programs for all ages provide rich art experiences that unlock the past and spark questions about the future.