Museum names new curator of Asian art

San Antonio Business Journal, Feb 9, 2009

John Johnston is the new Asian art curator at the San Antonio Museum of Art

San Antonio, TX (USA) -- The San Antonio Museum of Art has appointed John Johnston as the Coates-Cowden Curator of Asian Art.

Johnston officially started working on Feb. 2. He joined the museum from the Honolulu Academy of the Arts.

“The Asian art collection here enjoys an international reputation for its excellence and depth,” Johnston says. “I look forward to contributing to the growth of the collection.”

A specialist in Buddhist art, Johnston spent the last several years organizing an exhibition titled “The Dragon’s Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan.” That exhibit will travel to Paris, Zurich and Cologne next year. He assembled more than 100 pieces of sacred Bhutanes artifacts and served as co-editor and contributor of the accompanying catalogue.

San Antonio Museum of Art (SAMA) officials took note of Johnston’s role in The Dragon’s Gift as well as his fluency in Mandarin Chinese in making the decision to tap him for the role of Asian art curator.

“John Johnston is exactly the type of Asian art curator SAMA needs at this time in our history,” says Marion Oettinger, the Betty and Bob Kelso director of the San Antonio Museum of Art. “He has a strong background in Chinese ceramics, the museum’s most significant area of Asian art collecting. John has also worked in Japan and is excited about strengthening our collections of Japanese paintings, lacquer, ceramics and other things. Finally, he is an excellent writer and lecturer who conveys successfully his deep passion for Asian art and culture.”

He is also co-founder and contributing editor of Buddhist Art News, a daily updated Web site that focuses on developments in Buddhist art.