Curator of Ancient Chinese Art
A specialist in Chinese antiquities, J. Keith Wilson received his BA in Chinese studies from Williams College (1978) and completed his PhD coursework at Princeton University (1988) after receiving MAs in Chinese art and archaeology from the University of Michigan and Princeton. He was also a research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo (1985–86). He was appointed curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art (1988–96) and chief curator of Asian art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (1996–2006). Since joining the Freer|Sackler in 2006, he has reinstalled the ancient Chinese art galleries in the Freer and launched a comprehensive digital catalogue dedicated to the museums’ early jade collections. Also interested in Chinese and Korean Buddhist art, Wilson co-organized Echoes of the Past: The Buddhist Cave Temples of Xiangtangshan (2011). He also initiated a digital imaging and research tool dedicated to the Freer’s renowned Cosmic Buddha, the subject of the monographic exhibition titled Body of Devotion (2016–17) and now an online feature. In 2019, he organized Sacred Dedication: A Korean Buddhist Masterpiece and the digital catalogue Goryeo Buddhist Paintings: A Closer Look dedicated to the sixteen examples in US museum collections.