Phoenix Art Museum Curator of Asian Art to Retire

Phoenix Art Museum announced that Janet Baker, Ph.D., has been named Curator Emerita of Asian Art in honor of her distinguished service over more than two decades as the museum’s curator of Asian art.

Baker, who is retiring on Aug. 31, joined the museum in 2000 and over her 23-year tenure guided the expansion of the museum’s holdings in Chinese, Japanese, Sri Lankan, Indian and contemporary Asian art, more than doubling the collection by adding 3,000+ objects. She also organized wide-ranging exhibitions that explored art forms from across the Asian continent spanning from antiquity to the present.

Recently, Baker stewarded a major acquisition of more than 50 Indonesian textiles, the first works from Indonesia acquired into the museum’s Asian art collection. As curator emerita, Baker will remain an adviser on the museum’s art of Asia collection and exhibition program. PhxArt will launch a national search for its next curator of Asian art.

“On behalf of our staff, volunteers and, most importantly, our community, we extend our deep gratitude to Dr. Baker for her outstanding service and commitment to leading Phoenix Art Museum’s Asian art department and elevating its collection,” said Jeremy Mikolajczak, the museum’s Sybil Harrington director and CEO. “Dr. Baker has made an indelible impact on this institution by curating thought-provoking exhibitions, writing scholarly catalogs, and nurturing donor and community relationships that have contributed to the legacy of Phoenix Art Museum in meaningful ways. We wish her well in her retirement and look forward to working with her as a trusted adviser and curator emerita going forward.”

Baker has more than 40 years of experience in the field of Asian art. “Dr. Baker’s outstanding service in stewarding the Asian art collection has made a profound impact on Phoenix Art Museum and its ability to bring historical and contemporary Asian artworks to wider audiences,” said Donald Opatrny, chair of the museum’s board of trustees.

After retiring from PhxArt, Baker will remain an honorary professor of art history at Arizona State University. The museum will host a special event this fall to honor Baker’s service.

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