Visual and Performing Arts at Asia Society: A New Vision, Building on 60 Years of Engagement


A Strategic Vision for Arts & Culture

Join Boon Hui Tan, Vice President of Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director of Asia Society Museum, as he outlines the museum's vision and plans for the coming years.

Welcome by Renée Fleming and introduction by James D. Wolfensohn.

Panel Discussion

Following Boon Hui Tan’s presentation, Jane DeBevoise and Dr. Sook-Kyung Lee will join him in a lively discussion.

In many parts of Asia, the development of contemporary art has been supported by the heady growth of the art market and collecting. The financial crisis of 2008 was a shock to the system and affected local art scenes all across the region. In its wake, there was a recalibration of activities not just by commercial art players but also by artists and the arts organizations supporting them. This panel discusses the broad changes in the arts scene post crisis and the status of emerging arts scenes in the region.

Special Performance

The evening will also feature a live and immersive performance by Susie Ibarra, an innovative composer and musician.

Reception to follow.

Free but limited availability. Please RSVP to

Jane DeBevoise is Chair of the Board of Directors of Asia Art Archive in Hong Kong and New York. Prior to moving to Hong Kong in 2002, Ms. DeBevoise was Deputy Director of the Guggenheim Museum, responsible for museum operations and exhibitions globally. She joined the Museum in 1996 as Project Director of “China: 5000 Years,” a large-scale exhibition of traditional and modern Chinese art that was presented in 1998 at the Guggenheim museums in New York and Bilbao. Ms. DeBevoise has a MA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD from The University of Hong Kong, both in art history. Her recent book Between State and Market: Chinese Contemporary Art in the Post-Mao Era was published in 2014 by Brill. She has been a Trustee of Asian Cultural Council, New York, since 2009.

Renée Fleming joined the Asia Society Board of Trustees in 2014. She is one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, performing in opera houses and concert halls all over the world. In 2013, she received the National Medal of Arts and won the Best Classical Vocal Grammy Award. She has sung at such occasions as the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony and the Diamond Jubilee Concert for Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2008 she was the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala. Ms. Fleming has been awarded the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Sweden’s Polar Prize, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, and honorary membership in the Royal Academy of Music. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Artistic Advisory Board of the Polyphony Foundation. In March, Ms. Fleming was appointed Artistic Advisor At Large for the Kennedy Center.

Composer/percussionist Susie Ibarra creates live and immersive music that explores rhythm, indigenous practices, and the interaction of cities and the natural world. Ibarra is a Yamaha, Paiste, and Vic Firth Drum Artist. She is a 2014 TEDSenior Fellow. Her work includes Musical Water Routes in the Medina of Fez, a music and river route mobile app in collaboration with architect Aziza Chaouni, May 2016 Sacred Music Festival of Fez; Mirrors and Water, a composition and sonic installation commissioned for Ai Wei Wei’s Circle of Animals/Zodiac Signs at the sculpture trail of the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming 2015; Digital Sanctuaries, a modular music app walk that remaps cities with sanctuaries of music and engages with historical and cultural sites within a city with music composed by Electric Kulintang, commissioned by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and City of Asylum, Pittsburgh; Circadian Rhythms, commissioned for Earth Day 2013 at Renssalear RPI EMPAC, inspired by endogenous rhythms for 80 percussionists and 8.1 surround sound of Macaulay Library recordings; The City a Radio Radiance, a commission for Young Peoples Chorus of NYC; We Float, a 2014 commission by Ecstatic Music Festival with singer songwriter Mirah, a sonic retelling of space explorations; and The Cotabato Sessions, a digital music film and album that captures one family legacy of gong-chime kulintang music in Mindanao, Philippines. She is a faculty member at Bennington College where she teaches performance and percussion. She is also a faculty member at the Center for Advancement of Public Action where her teaching focuses on rebuilding cities with the arts, art intervention, and advocacy for human rights extended equally to women and girls. 

Dr. Sook-Kyung Lee, Senior Research Curator of Tate Research Centre: Asia, leads Tate’s research in modern and contemporary art of the region. She is also Curator of Tate’s Asia Pacific Acquisitions Committee, an international art collection initiative. Dr. Lee was previously Exhibitions & Displays Curator at Tate Liverpool (2007–2012) and curated a number of exhibitions and displays including “Doug Aitken – The Source” (2012–13), “Thresholds” (2012–13) and “Nam June Paik” (2010–11). She also curated a collection display of artworks by Nam June Paik at Tate Modern (2014–16), and served as the Commissioner and Curator of the Korean Pavilion for the 56th Venice Biennale (2015). Dr. Lee has organized and participated in several symposia and conferences internationally, such as Dislocations: Remapping Art Histories (Tate Modern, 2015) and Trauma & Utopia: Interactions in postwar and contemporary art in Asia (Mori Art Museum, 2014). She has written and lectured widely on modern and contemporary Asian art.

Josette Sheeran is the seventh president and CEO of Asia Society. She is responsible for advancing the organization’s work throughout the United States and Asia, in arts and culture, policy and business, and education. She is former vice chair of the World Economic Forum, where she helped advance global initiatives encompassing global, regional, and industry agendas. Prior to the World Economic Forum, Ms. Sheeran was executive director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), appointed by U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2006. Under her leadership, the WFP increased its donor base to more than 100 nations, and became the first global institution to include the so-called BRIC countries and the Gulf States among its top 10 donors. As U.S. Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, and deputy U.S. Trade Representative, Ms. Sheeran conducted high-level diplomacy with virtually every nation in Asia. Ms. Sheeran is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations. She was awarded Japan's Nigata International Food Award, Commandeur de l'Ordre du Mérite Agricole by the government of France, and Brazil’s highest civilian award, the Grand Official Order of the “Rio Branco,” from President Lula Da Silva.

Boon Hui Tan is Vice President for Global Arts & Cultural Programs and Director, Asia Society Museum, New York, where he leads the organization’s global arts and cultural activities. He oversees Asia Society Museum’s acclaimed exhibition programs and the Asia Society Museum Collection, which comprises the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Traditional Asian Art and the Contemporary Art Collection of photography and new media works by Asian and Asian American artists. Additionally, he directs the organization’s initiative Asia Society Museum: The Asia Arts and Museum Network. Prior to this, he was Assistant Chief Executive (Museum & Programs) at the National Heritage Board (NHB) in Singapore, overseeing exhibitions, programs, and outreach events across the Board’s museums, institutions, and divisions. He was Artistic Director for the 2015 Singapour en France, le Festival, the largest multidisciplinary presentation of contemporary culture from Singapore and Southeast Asia in France, and is a founding board member of the International Biennial Association. As Director of the Singapore Art Museum from 2009 to 2013, he led the transformation of the museum into a contemporary art institution focused on Southeast Asia and assembled the largest public collection of contemporary art from the region.

James D. Wolfensohn is Chairman and CEO of Wolfensohn and Company and formerly served as Chairman of Citigroup’s international advisory board (2006). He was President of the World Bank Group (1995–2005); Special Envoy for Gaza disengagement for the quartet of the Middle East (2005–2006); President and CEO of James D. Wolfensohn; Executive Partner of Salomon Brothers, New York; Executive Deputy Chairman and Managing Director of Schroders, London; and Managing Director of Darling & Co., Australia. He is Chairman Emeritus of the board of trustees of Carnegie Hall (1991) and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington DC (1996). He was Chairman of the board of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University (1986–2007). Mr. Wolfensohn has BA and LLB degrees from the University of Sydney and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business.

Event Details

Mon 23 May 2016
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY

Free but limited availability. RSVP required. Please send ticket requests to
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