Asian Art Curator Named to Lead Ringling Museum Asian Art Initiative
Sarasota, FL – June 20, 2008 – The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art announces the appointment of Dr. Qing Chang as the Helga Wall-Apelt Curator of Asian Art. This position was created and is supported through a $2 million endowment from Asian Art Collector Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt, a Sarasota resident and Ringling board member who has also contributed funds to build a wing for Asian art at the Ringling Museum. Dr. Chang begins July 7, 2008.
The Ringling Museum’s collection of Asian art includes Wall-Apelt’s promised collection of 18th and 19th century Chinese jades, Southeast Asian bronze sculptures and 12th and 13th century Cambodian stone figures. The holdings also include the Koger Collection of Chinese Ceramics acquired in 2002.
“We have been preparing the Museum for the arrival of an Asian Art curator for several years,” said Dr. John Wetenhall, Ringling Museum Executive Director. “Dr. Chang’s extensive knowledge of Asian art as well as his experience in a university art museum setting is a great fit for the Ringling Museum during this important chapter in our history.”
Under Wetenhall’s curatorial direction, Chang will conduct an assessment of the Ringling’s Asian art collections and contribute to a strategic plan for the Asian art initiative, which will include developing special exhibitions to be featured until the opening of the new galleries, as well as plan the exhibition space in the galleries. Chang will also develop a support group to engage community members in the Museum’s growing Asian collections, exhibitions and programs.
Chang has extensive background and expertise in Buddhist art including sculpture, painting, decorative art and architecture. He is also well-studied in Chinese secular decorative art such as ceramics, bronzes and lacquers.
Most recently, Chang served as the curatorial fellow at the Ackland Art Museum of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During his fellowship, he curated exhibitions of Asian Art, acquired significant Asian objects into the collection and co-taught an introductory course on Chinese civilization. He also conducted curatorial clinics for local collectors and aided in developing the collection.
Chang conducted his researches on Chinese art at some of the most important collections of Asian Art in the U.S. such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Freer/Sackler Galleries of Art, the Field Museum, and the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Chang has also published prize-winning books and articles on Chinese Buddhist and decorative art.
Chang earned his Ph.D. in Chinese Art at the University of Kansas. Prior to his role at the Ackland Art Museum, he held museum fellowships at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Freer/Sackler Galleries of Art.
Plans for the Dr. Helga Wall-Apelt Asian Art Wing are in the conceptual phase and will be finalized in the coming year.