Mimi Gardner Gates to Speak at Nelson-Atkins March 2

Distinguished Asian art scholar provides insight to the caves of Dunhuang.

Dunhuang-CaveA shrine of Buddhist art treasures in the Chinese Gobi Desert is the subject of a talk at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art that will be given by distinguished scholar Mimi Gardner Gates at 6 p.m. on Friday, March 2 in Atkins Auditorium. The Caves of Dunhuang: Treasure Trove in the Chinese Gobi Desert takes visitors on an exciting journey through nearly 500 caves that contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of a thousand years.

The caves are located southeast of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road in Gansu province, China. The cave openings are stacked five stories high, some reaching more than 160 feet. According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk witnessed a vision of a thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays, and, inspired, he started the cave construction work that spanned ten dynasties. The caves are also known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas.
Mimi Gardner Gates, the stepmother of Microsoft founder Bill Gates, was director of the Seattle Art Museum for 15 remarkable 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 Asian art with a B.A. from Stanford University in Asian History; M.A.in Oriental and Chinese Studies from the University of Iowa; and  Ph.D. in Art History from Yale University.  Prior to moving to Seattle, she was at the Yale University Art Gallery, where she was curator of Asian art and subsequently promoted to director.  Traces of the Brush: Studies in Chinese Calligraphy and Bones of Jade, Soul of Ice: The Flowering Plum in Chinese Art are among the major exhibitions of Chinese art organized during her tenure at the Yale Art Gallery.

She previously served as president of the Association of Art Museum Directors and chaired the Federal Indemnity Panel at the National Endowment for the Arts. She is currently a member of the Governing Board of the Yale University Art Gallery and a fellow of the Yale Corporation.  In addition, she serves as chairman of The Dunhuang Foundation and Chairman of the Blakemore Foundation and is a member of the board of the Terra Foundation of American Art and the Heinz Center for Science, Economics and the Environment.

Admission to the talk is free; however, tickets are required and can be obtained at nelson-atkins.org or by calling 816-751-1ART.

KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

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