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Melissa Chiu. Photo: Greg Powers. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.
Melissa Chiu. Photo: Greg Powers. Courtesy of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

Melissa Chiu to Curate Third Honolulu Biennial

Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, has been named curator of the third edition of the Honolulu Biennial, which will open in February 2021. Since joining the Hirshhorn in 2014, Chiu has organized exhibitions by Shirin Neshat, Robert Irwin, Yayoi Kusama, and Charline von Heyl, among others. A specialist in contemporary art from Asia and the Pacific, she also served as museum director and senior vice president, global art programs, at Asia Society in New York for over a decade.

“Dr. Chiu is key figure in building the global dialogue around contemporary art of the Asia-Pacific region, and we look forward to the conversations and connections she will advance for the Honolulu Biennial in 2021,” said Katherine Ann Leilani Tuider, executive director and cofounder of the Honolulu Biennial Foundation.

Commenting on her appointment, Chiu said: “I am thrilled to participate in the Honolulu Biennial, one of the most recent additions to the circuit of international biennials. As a relative newcomer, the Honolulu Biennial allows us to look at all of the curatorial possibilities that such an exhibition presents. I’m looking forward to exploring this as a curatorial model.”

The second edition of the biennial, “To Make Wrong / Right / Now,” showcased the work of forty-seven artists and collectives across twelve venues throughout Honolulu, including the Bishop Museum, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Hawai’i State Art Museum, the Foster Botanical Garden, and Aliʻiōlani Hale, which houses Hawai’i’s Supreme Court. The exhibition drew 115,000 visitors, and according to the foundation it generated an estimated $81.96 million for the state’s economy.