Media only: Brenda Kean Tabor: 202.633.0523
Barbara Kram: 202.633.0520
Public only: 202.357.2700
Dr. James T. Ulak, head of Collections and Research, and chief curator at the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, has been named the galleries’ new deputy director. The Freer and Sackler galleries form the national museum of Asian art.
“I am delighted that Jim has agreed to take on this role as we continue to plan a wide variety of exciting new exhibitions,” says Freer and Sackler director, Julian Raby. Dr. Ulak will remain head of Collections and Research.
Born in Springfield, Ill., Dr. Ulak joined the galleries in 1995 after working as an independent consultant for private and institutional collectors of Japanese art. Most recently, he was instrumental in securing the bequest of an outstanding collection of mid-19th to mid-20th century Japanese prints from the estate of Robert O. Muller.
From 1989–1993, Dr. Ulak served as associate curator of Japanese art at the Art Institute of Chicago; and from 1987–1989 he was associate curator of Asian art at the Yale University Art Gallery. He also worked as a research assistant in the Oriental Department of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Before entering academia, Dr. Ulak was a Roman Catholic priest in Japan where he was involved in educational and social welfare projects for more than 12 years.
Dr. Ulak holds a doctorate in Japanese art history from Case Western Reserve University and The Cleveland Museum of Art, a master’s of divinity from Maryknoll School of Theology (State University of New York) and a bachelor’s in the history of philosophy from Maryknoll College in Glen Ellyn, Ill. Also, he has received numerous grants and fellowships. Dr. Ulak has organized a number of major exhibitions at the Freer and Sackler galleries. These include “A Well-Watched War: Images from the Russo-Japanese Front 1904-05 ” (2000); “Twelve Centuries of Japanese Art from the Imperial Collections” (1997)—the largest and most important selection of works from the imperial collections of Japan ever shown to the public; “Telling Tales in Japanese Art” (1996) and “Paintings by Masami Teraoka” (1996). He has also participated in the organization of exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Yale University Art Gallery and The Cleveland Museum of Art. He has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books and frequently lectures on subjects relating to aesthetics, Japanese culture and art.
The Freer Gallery of Art (12th Street and Independence Avenue S.W.) and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (1050 Independence Ave. S.W.) together form the national museum of Asian art for the United States. The Freer also houses a major collection of late 19th and early 20th-century American art. Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day except Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and admission is free. Public tours are offered daily. The galleries are located near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue and Orange lines. For more information, the public may call 202.357.2700 or TTY 202.357.1729, or visit the galleries’ Web site at asia.si.edu.