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The Art of Asia
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The Curators

Robert Jacobsen, Curator of Asian Art

On The Minneapolis Institute of Arts' Asian Collection:

"The museum opened its doors in 1915 with the idea that it would collect, display, and interpret the art of all peoples and all times. And in fact one of the most important objects that was purchased at that time was a marvelous statue of Kuan-yin that came out of a Chinese temple complex datable to the late 6th century.

"Like most American museums, the first works of Asian art to enter the collections in this museum came from private residents in the area. Most recently, of course, Ruth and Bruce Dayton have given us a tremendous overview of Chinese art. We've established under their leadership and generosity some of the world's finest collections of furniture and architecture, but we've also collected lacquer, ceramics, and archeological objects with their efforts."


Matthew Welch, Curator of Japanese and Korean Art

On New Media as a vehicle for learning:

"In many ways, the objects in art museums surpass the limitations of time and space. They speak directly to the hearts of visitors in a language so universal and profound as to transcend cultural, economic, and racial differences. At times, the "voices" of these objects resonate so clearly within us that further explanation is unnecessary.

"But at the same time, art objects can foster a desire to learn more about them. Where was this object made and how was it used? Who was the artist? What did the artist want to express? Traditionally, museums have tried to answer these kinds of questions in written labels and didactic panels.

"New technology provides an alternative to this conventional approach. For curators, who write labels for the objects on display, the chance to create an in-depth Web site is an exciting prospect."