“Contemporary Chinese Paintings,” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1948. Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art Archives.

Talk, Workshop


Contemporary Chinese Painting in 1940s New York City

January 24, 2023 – January 24, 2023
6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Asia Art Archive in America

23 Cranberry St. Brooklyn, NY

Asia Art Archive in America is excited to host a workshop, led by Joe Scheier-Dolberg, that focuses on an early and still underexplored episode in the history of modern and contemporary Chinese art in the United States, circa 1940. In the 1940s, as this workshop explored, Chinese painting of the day was presented in four significant museum exhibitions, three at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and one at the Museum of Modern Art. An examination of the artists, artworks, curators, and supporters of these exhibitions reveals a diverse and layered set of agendas with implications that span the artistic, geopolitical, and ideological realms.

The workshop was followed by a conversation between Metropolitan Museum curators Joe Scheier-Dolberg and Lesley Ma.

Joe Scheier-Dolberg has worked as The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s curator for Chinese painting and calligraphy for over ten years. In that time he has reinstalled the galleries for Chinese painting twelve times, with exhibitions on topics ranging from calligraphy to landscape painting to the practice of reclusion. Scheier-Dolberg received his PhD in Art History from Columbia University. He has published on Chinese portrait painting, Chinese albums, and contemporary art, among other subjects. His current show is entitled Noble Virtues: Nature as Symbol in Chinese Art.

Lesley Ma joined The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Spring 2022 as the inaugural Ming Chu Hsu and Daniel Xu Associate Curator of Asian Art in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art. From 2013 to 2022, she was founding Curator, Ink Art at M+, Hong Kong, a museum for global visual culture that opened in 2021. Prior to M+, she curated projects at Para Site, Hong Kong and was Project Director at Cai Guo-Qiang’s studio in New York. Her Ph.D. in Art History, Theory, and Criticism from the University of California, San Diego, focused on abstract painting in postwar Taiwan.