Melissa Ho is the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s curator of 20th-century art; she joined the museum’s staff in September 2016. She is responsible for research, acquisitions and exhibitions related to the museum’s collections, focusing on art made since 1945. Ho is particularly concerned with studying the connections between artistic practice and social and historical conditions. She is also interested in debates surrounding abstraction, conceptualism and experimental art. Her current project is “Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965-1975,” an exhibition that opened at the museum on March 15, 2019.
Ho was a curator from 2011 to 2016 at the Smithsonian’s Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she organized “Shirin Neshat: Facing History” (2015) with Melissa Chiu; “Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler” (2014); and “Barbara Kruger: Belief+Doubt” (2012). She also co-curated, with Evelyn Hankins, a re-installation of the museum’s collection, “At the Hub of Things” (2014).
Ho began as an artist, working primarily in collage and installation. She earned a bachelor’s degree in studio art and art history from Princeton University and a master’s degree in art history from the University of Pennsylvania; her thesis examined the performative practice of photographer Tseng Kwong Chi.
About the Smithsonian American Art Museum
The Smithsonian American Art Museum is the home to one of the largest and most inclusive collections of American art in the world. Its artworks reveal America’s rich artistic and cultural history from the colonial period to today. The museum’s main building is located at Eighth and F streets N.W., above the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metrorail station. Museum hours are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Its Renwick Gallery, a branch museum dedicated to contemporary craft and decorative arts, is located on Pennsylvania Avenue at 17th Street N.W. The Renwick is open from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. Follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. Smithsonian information: (202) 633-1000. Museum information (recorded): (202) 633-7970. Website: americanart.si.edu.