Press Release

Dallas Museum of Art Appoints Vivian Li Curator of Contemporary Art

Dallas, TX
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Vivian Li has been appointed the Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA), it was announced today by Dr. Agustín Arteaga, the DMA’s Eugene McDermott Director. Most recently serving as Associate Curator of Asian Art and Global Contemporary Art at the Worcester Art Museum, Li brings expertise in both contemporary art and Asian art to the DMA. Her appointment follows several new additions across the DMA’s curatorial departments in the past year, which have built on the Museum’s breadth of curatorial expertise across cultures, periods, and geographies and reflect the full spectrum of the DMA’s collections and programs. Li will begin in her new role on October 7, 2019, and will report to Anna Katherine Brodbeck, the Museum’s Hoffman Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art.

As the DMA’s new Lupe Murchison Curator of Contemporary Art, she will work closely with Brodbeck to shape a balanced and dynamic exhibition and public program schedule that reflects the Museum’s broad-reaching, internationally focused approach; highlights the strength of the collection; and enables ambitious collaborations with contemporary artists from around the world. Li will also conduct research on the collection, recommend acquisitions, and collaborate on installations throughout the Museum.

“As we continue to build on the incredible and broad-ranging expertise of the DMA’s curatorial team to reflect the museum’s encyclopedic collection and programs, we are thrilled to welcome Vivian to the DMA,” said Arteaga. “Just as we recently created new curatorial roles in Islamic and Latin American art to support and further strengthen these areas of our collection, we are pleased to strengthen our curatorial expertise in contemporary art with Vivian’s appointment. With her engagement in both contemporary and Asian art across periods, she is poised to enhance and bring a new dimension to the study and presentation of the DMA’s contemporary art collection, which has particularly outstanding holdings of postwar Japanese art.”

Added Brodbeck, “We are thrilled to have found Vivian, an accomplished scholar and curator of East Asian art who is perfectly primed to expand upon our singular collection of Gutai art and connect it to art from the region and from around the globe. I was especially impressed by Vivian’s establishment of a residency that brought Southeast Asian artists to Worcester, which has a large population with roots in the region. That spirit of connection and engagement is at the heart of our mission at the DMA.”

A Ph.D. in art history, Li specializes in modern and contemporary art in China, with a focus on sculpture from the early 20th century through the postwar period. The subject of her doctoral thesis was post-1949 sculpture in China. With the support of a Fulbright fellowship, she conducted research in Beijing and Sichuan, and her research has also been supported by the Freer and Sackler Galleries and the Getty Research Institute.

Previously, Li worked as a curatorial assistant of Asian art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she helped organize the opening of its first Korean art gallery and the reinstallation of its Asian art galleries, as well as the major exhibition Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea, co-organized with LACMA. She was later invited back to the museum to serve as adjunct assistant curator to develop exhibition strategies for its Islamic art galleries. She additionally served as a lecturer in the History of Art Department at Clark University, Worcester, and has interned at the Dallas Museum of Art and the Guggenheim Museum.

Li has delivered scholarly papers and contributed to various publications in her field, including the Oxford Art Journal, Yishu, and the forthcoming anthology Postwar—A Global Art History, 1945–1965, edited by Okwui Enwezor and Atreyee Gupta. In recent years, she has also participated in several symposia and panel discussions and given lectures both nationally and internationally. Vivian Li earned her doctorate and master’s degrees in art history from the University of Michigan and Ohio State University, respectively. She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin.

“I look forward to working with the extraordinary encyclopedic collection at the DMA as well as the dynamic communities and art and cultural partners in Dallas,” said Li. “The collection’s unique international scope in postwar and contemporary art will allow us to tell an inclusive and provocative story of art in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”

About the DMA Contemporary Art Collection

The Dallas Museum of Art has one of the leading collections of contemporary art in an American encyclopedic museum. The collection encompasses over 4,000 works from 1945 to the present, including major holdings of Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism; conceptualism, time-based media, and installation works; photography; and the work of emerging artists. The Museum has particular strengths in German, Italian, East Asian, and Latin American art, as well as art of the African diaspora. Additions of work by today’s established and emerging artists continue the DMA’s distinguished history of collecting the art of the present, including recent acquisitions of works by Arthur Jafa, Yayoi Kusama, Sam Gilliam, Frank Bowling, James Coleman, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Gary Hume, Walter De Maria, and Haim Steinbach. Works by Texas artists, including David Bates, Annette Lawrence, and Ludwig Schwarz, have consistently been acquired.

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Vivian Li. Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art. Photo: Steve Briggs

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