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Curatorial Staff

Stephen Allee, Research Specialist

Stephen Allee

Associate Curator for Chinese Painting and Calligraphy


Stephen D. Allee received his BA in Chinese language and literature from George Washington University. Stephen was among the first eight graduate students from the United States to study in the People's Republic of China, attending the University of Nanjing from 1979 to 1980. After receiving his PhD candidacy (1983) and master’s degree in Chinese language and literature from the University of Washington (1986), Stephen joined the Freer and Sackler in 1988. Since then, he has curated or cocurated more than twenty-five exhibitions at the museums, and his research and translations have appeared in numerous exhibitions and publications including Challenging the Past: The Paintings of Chang Dai-chien (1991), In Pursuit of Heavenly Harmony: Paintings and Calligraphy by Bada Shanren from the Estate of Wang Fangyu and Sum Wai (2003), and, most recently, in the Song and Yuan Dynasty Painting and Calligraphy web resource (2010).

Louise Cort, Curator of Ceramics

Louise Cort

Curator of Ceramics


Louise Allison Cort is the author of Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley (1979, reprinted in 2000), A Basketmaker in Rural Japan (coauthored with Nakamura Kenji, 1995), and numerous scholarly articles. Louise’s research interests include historical and contemporary ceramics in Japan, Southeast Asia, and South Asia; Japanese baskets and textiles; and the Japanese tea ceremony. In 2008, she prepared (with George Ashley Williams IV and David P. Rehfuss) the online catalogue Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia: Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery.Since 1989, Louise has worked with Leedom Lefferts in conducting long-term documentation of present-day village-based production of earthenware and stoneware ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia, with support from the Nishida Memorial Foundation for Research in Asian Ceramic History and a Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies grant. Most recently, she was organizer and principle author for Korean Art in the Freer and Sackler Galleries (2013). With Andrew Watsky, she is preparing a book and exhibition, Chigusa and the Art of Tea (opening February 2014) on the story of the tea-leaf storage jar named Chigusa acquired by the Freer Gallery.

Debra Diamond, Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art

Debra Diamond

Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art


Debra Diamond received her PhD in South Asian art history from Columbia University (2000) and has published numerous articles on Indian and contemporary Asian art. A specialist in Indian court painting, Debra curated Garden and Cosmos: Royal Painting of Jodhpur, which opened at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on October 11, 2008. The exhibition then traveled to the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the British Museum, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Debra has curated numerous exhibitions at the Sackler Gallery, including Facing East: Portraits from Asia (2006), Perspectives: Simryn Gill (2006), and Autofocus: Raghubir Singh's Way into India (2003). She is currently planning exhibitions on Mughal masterpieces in the Freer and Sackler collections (2012), the visual culture of yoga (Yoga: The Art of Transformation, 2013) and the Freer Gallery’s portrait of Mumtaz Mahal (2014). In 2010, Debra received the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize for the Gardens and Cosmos: Royal Painting of Jodhpur exhibition catalogue.

Massumeh Farhad

Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art

Or contact Maya Foo

Massumeh Farhad earned her PhD in Islamic art history from Harvard University. In 1995, Massumeh joined the Freer and Sackler as associate curator of Islamic art and, in 2004, was appointed chief curator and curator of Islamic art. With a focus on the arts of the book from sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Iran, Massumeh has curated numerous exhibitions on a range of subjects in Islamic art, including Art of the Persian Courts (1996), Fountains of Light: The Nuhad Es-Said Collection of Metalwork (2000), Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey (2005–2006), Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in the Moscow Kremlin (2009), and Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009). She has also written extensively on seventeenth-century Persian painting. Her publications include Slaves of the Shah: New Elites in Safavid Iran (2004) and Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009).

Maya Foo

Curatorial Assistant


Maya Foo earned her BA in the history of art from the University of Washington, Seattle, where she focused on American art. In 2009, Maya received her MA in museum studies from George Washington University in Washington DC. As a graduate student, Maya interned in the curatorial department of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery; she went on to work for the museum, as well as the Smithsonian’s American Art Museum and National Museum of African American History and Culture. Maya contributed to the National Portrait Gallery’s 2009 exhibition catalogue Faces of the Frontier: Photographic Portraits from the American West, 1845–1924. Since joining the staff of the Freer and Sacker in 2010, she has helped research and will contribute to the exhibition One Life: Amelia Earhart, Aviatrix (June 2012, National Portrait Gallery), and cocurated Sweet Silent Thought: Whistler's Interiors, which opened in August at the Freer.

Lee Glazer, Associate Curator of American Art

Lee Glazer

Associate Curator of American Art


Lee Glazer has a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and has lectured and published on a wide range of art historical topics, including nineteenth-century popular illustration and song, the artist Romare Bearden, and James McNeill Whistler and American aestheticism. She recently reinstalled the Peacock Room to its appearance in 1908, when its shelves were filled with Asian ceramics collected and arranged by museum founder Charles Lang Freer. Since coming to the Freer and Sackler in 2007, Dr. Glazer has organized a series of thematic installations including watercolors by Winslow Homer, seascapes by American artist Dwight Tryon and Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, and nocturnes on paper by Whistler. She is the co-editor of James McNeill Whistler in Context (2008) and East West Interchanges in American Art (2012), and she is currently working with colleagues at Wayne State University on The Story of the Beautiful: Freer, Whistler and their Points of Contact (peacockroom.wayne.edu), an interactive web resource devoted to American art at the Freer.

Carol Huh

Assistant Curator of Contemporary Asian Art
Please contact Weina Tray

In 2007, Carol Huh was appointed the first curator of contemporary art at the Freer and Sackler. Through exhibitions and public programs, she furthers the Galleries’ effort to present works that explore current social change and artistic production related to Asia, particularly photography and time-based media. Recent projects have included such exhibitions as the museum’s ongoing Perspectives series (featuring works by Y.Z. Kami, Hai Bo, and Hale Tenger, among others) and Fiona Tan: Rise and Fall (Vancouver Art Gallery), for which Carol was the in-house curator. Upcoming exhibitions will include works by Ai Weiwei and Jananne Al-Ani. Carol has a graduate degree from the communication, culture, and technology program at Georgetown University.

Takako Sarai,Curatorial Assistant for Louise Cort, Lee Glazer, and Ann Yonemura

Takako Sarai

Curatorial Assistant for James Ulak, Louise Cort, and Ann Yonemura

(202) 633-0403

Takako Sarai was trained in Japan as a traditional calligrapher of Japanese script. She is a master of old Japanese writing systems and reads and writes old phonetic scripts (hentaigana). After spending several years at the Freer and Sackler as a research assistant, Takako joined the museums’ curatorial staff in 2005. Since then, her translations from English to Japanese have been appeared in numerous exhibition catalogues and scholarly publications, including “Charles Lang Freer and his Hokusai Painting Collection” (Hokusai, Nikkei, 2005) and “Women in the Realms of Clay” (Soaring Voices, The Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, 2007).

Mary Slusser

Research Associate

After receiving a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University in New York City, Mary spent many years living and working abroad. She has spent a significant amount of time exploring the region of the Himalayas, including seven years in Nepal. In addition to Nepal Mandala: A Cultural Study of the Kathmandu Valley (1982) and her most recent publication, The Antiquity of Nepalese Woodcarving (with Paul Jett, 2010), Mary’s numerous writings include groundbreaking work on Nepalese metalcraft and stone sculptures.

Jan Stuart, Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art

Jan Stuart

Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art

Jan Stuart rejoined the Freer|Sackler as the Melvin R. Seiden Curator of Chinese Art in 2014. In her previous tenure here (1988–2006), Stuart was instrumental in bringing greater attention to the fields of Buddhist sculpture, Chinese portraits and court paintings, and ceramic and decorative arts of China through her research, publications, and thought-provoking exhibitions. She organized and contributed to several exhibitions and catalogues, including Challenging the Past: Chang Dai-chien (with Shen Fu), Joined Colors: Decoration and Meaning in Chinese Porcelain (with Louise Cort), Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits (with Evelyn Rawski), and The Return of the Buddha: Sculptures from Qingzhou. From 2006 to 2014, Stuart was Keeper of Asia at the British Museum in London. She led the Department of Asia, which encompassed East, South, Southeast, and parts of Central Asia as well as Siberia. Stuart has degrees in Chinese art, archaeology, and East Asian studies from Princeton and Yale universities, and she is fluent in Mandarin. She has been a consultant, partner, jury member, and producer on a wide range of international educational and curatorial initiatives, including art fairs, films, and conservation projects.

Weina Tray, Curatorial Assistant for the China Program

Weina Tray

Curatorial Assistant for the China Program


Weina Tray joined the Freer and Sackler in 1998 as assistant to two curators of Chinese art. In 2000 and 2001, she contributed to the glossaries for the catalogues Music in the Age of Confucius and Worshiping the Ancestors: Chinese Commemorative Portraits. Weina uses the Freer|Sackler Library and other scholarly resources to locate and assemble materials that support curatorial research efforts. She received her associate degree from Zhejiang Teachers Institute and taught Chinese at a middle school from 1975 to 1982. In addition to her work at the Freer and Sackler, Weina has continued her teaching career, providing instruction in Chinese to Chinese-American students in the United States.

James Ulak, Senior Curator of Japanese Art

James Ulak

Senior Curator of Japanese Art


Dr. James Ulak is senior curator of Japanese art. After joining the F|S staff as curator of Japanese art in 1995, he served as deputy director (2003–2010) and head of collections and research and chief curator (2002–2003). A specialist in the history of narrative painting production in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Japan, Jim received his PhD from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland) in 1994. Before his arrival at the Freer and Sackler, he was a researcher at the Cleveland Museum of Art, associate curator of Asian art at Yale University Art Gallery, and associate curator of Japanese art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Jim has produced more than twenty exhibitions and has published on a wide range of topics in Japanese art including medieval Japanese narrative painting, eighteenth-century "eccentric" painters, and Japan's artistic encounters with modernity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In 2010, he was inducted into the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun, an honor accorded by the Japanese government, for his outstanding contribution to the field of Japanese art.

J. Keith Wilson, Curator of Ancient Chinese Art

J. Keith Wilson

Curator of Ancient Chinese Art


J. Keith Wilson completed his PhD coursework at Princeton University after receiving his MAs in Chinese art and archaeology from both the University of Michigan and Princeton University. After serving as a Mellon Fellow at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, he was appointed curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art and, later, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. In 2006, Keith joined the curatorial staff at the Freer and Sackler. Although his primary field of expertise continues to be Chinese antiquities, he has researched and published broadly on a range of East Asian art historical topics, including Korean and Japanese art. He is currently planning the reinstallation of the Chinese exhibits in the Freer and Sackler, in addition to a major exhibition dedicated to art produced in the late Shang dynasty capital, Anyang.

Ann Yonemura, Senior Associate Curator of Japanese Art

Ann Yonemura

Senior Associate Curator of Japanese Art

Or contact Takako Sarai

Ann Yonemura received graduate training from Princeton University in the history of Japanese art. Since arriving at the Freer and Sackler, Ann has organized numerous exhibitions, including Ancient Japan (1992), Freer—A Taste for Japan (2006), and Hokusai (2006), a major international loan exhibition. Currently she is working on an exhibition, to open in 2012, of Hokusai's Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji for the Sackler Gallery. In addition, Ann is coordinating the research and digital photography of the Gerhard Pulverer collection of Japanese illustrated books as part of an online scholarly catalogue project supported by a grant from the Getty Foundation. Her publications on Japanese painting, lacquer, calligraphy, and prints include Masterful Illusions: Japanese Prints in the Anne van Biema Collection (2002) and a two-volume work, Hokusai, published in 2006.

Research Collaborations

Staff at the Freer and Sackler work closely with colleagues all around the world. Learn more about ongoing research collaborations.
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Fellowship Opportunites
Fellows in Residence 2013–14
Past Fellows

Curatorial Staff Publications

Recent publications

The Freer is closed for renovation and reopening in 2017. The Sackler remains open, with a full lineup of exhibitions and events both in the museum and around DC.