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Mimi Gardner Gates: "From Dunhuang, China, to the Getty Center, Los Angeles: Opportunities and Challenges of Exhibiting Buddhist Cave Temples and Their Art"

Large Buddha
January 29, 2015 - 6:00pm
Levinthal Hall, Stanford Humanities Center

Free and open to the public

Program / Series

Silk Road Buddhism 


Stanford Humanities Center


In 2016, the Getty Center, Los Angeles, will feature the first major US exhibition about the Buddhist Grottoes of Dunhuang located on the Chinese Silk Road.
How to create an engaging visitor experience which conveys not only the extraordinary beauty of the Buddhist art at Dunhuang, but also evokes the spiritual power of the site and its myriad devotional images?  This talk will discuss original works of art from the Library Cave at Dunhuang - hanging painted banners and embroideries, artists' sketches and pounces, hand-copied sutras and prints, such as the Diamond Sutra, d. 868, as well as full-scale, hand-painted replica caves.


Mimi Gardner Gates, now Director Emerita, was Director of the Seattle Art Museum for fifteen years (1994-2009).  Under her leadership, the Olympic Sculpture Park was created; the downtown museum was expanded; and the artistic program achieved a high level of excellence.

Mimi Gates is a scholar of the history of Chinese art with a B.A. from Stanford University and a Ph.D. from Yale University.  Prior to moving to Seattle, she was Curator of Asian Art (1975-1986) and Director (1987-1994) of the Yale University Art Gallery.  In the field of Chinese art she has taught, published essays and organized numerous exhibitions, including Porcelain Stories, From China to Europe (Seattle Art Museum, 2000).  At the Seattle Asian Art Museum, she created the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas.  She is currently working on an exhibition project at The Getty Center in Los Angeles for 2016 entitled Cave Temples of Dunhuang: Buddhist Art on China’s Silk Road.

Currently she serves on the boards of Heritage University, Copper Canyon Press, Northwest African American Museum, Terra Foundation for American Art, San Francisco Asian Art Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery.  Mimi chairs The Dunhuang Foundation and the Board of Managers of the Blakemore Foundation.  She is a former fellow of the Yale Corporation.



Contact Phone: 
650 721-6609
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