(Chinese name: 孟璐; Japanese name: アレクサンドラ モンロー)
Alexandra Munroe, Ph.D., is a curator, scholar and writer on Asian art and a leader of global arts strategy for museums. Internationally recognized as among the most influential curators of her generation, she has organized the first U.S. retrospectives of Asian-born artists Yayoi Kusama (1989), Yoko Ono (2001), Cai Guo-Qiang (2008), and Lee Ufan (2011). Her 1994-95 survey exhibition, Japanese Art After 1945: Scream Against the Sky, is recognized for initiating the academic and curatorial field of postwar Japanese art history in North America.
An authority on modern and contemporary Asian art and transnational art studies, Munroe is Samsung Senior Curator, Asian Art, and Senior Advisor, Global Arts, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, positions created for her since she joined the museum in 2006. Under her leadership, the Guggenheim has expanded its mission to broadening the geographical scope of its programs through the study, acquisition, and exhibition of art from non-western regions.
At the Guggenheim, Munroe serves on the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi’s Curatorial Working Group, which devises and implements the collections programs for the future museum. She also founded and presides over the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Council, a curatorial think tank.
Munroe’s exhibitions and catalogues have won numerous awards including four prizes for best-show from the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). Her Guggenheim show exploring the influence of Asian aesthetics and philosophy on American modern art, The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia 1860-1989, won the inaugural NEH Chairman’s Special Award with a grant of one million dollars. Her shows have been chosen for “Top of the Year” lists by The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, Artforum, Geijustu Shincho, Hyperallergic, and TimeOut New York, among other publications
A native New Yorker, Munroe was raised in Mexico and Japan. She completed freshman and sophomore years at Brown University, Providence, RI and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Language and Culture from Sophia University, Tokyo. During her college years in Japan, she was a resident lay disciple at Yōtokuin, a subtemple of Daitokuji, a 14th-century Rinzai Zen monastery in Kyoto.
Returning to New York in 1982, Munroe joined Japan Society, an American organization dedicated to cultural and policy exchange between Japan and the U.S. During her seven-year tenure at Japan Society Gallery, she helped organize exhibitions of contemporary Japanese artists and architects including Tadao Ando, Arata Isozaki, Toyoo Ito, Ushio Shinohara and Hiroshi Sugimoto.