Zoe S. Kwok’s dissertation, “An Intimate View of the Inner Quarters: A Study of Court Women and Architecture in Palace Banquet,” examines paintings of architecture in the Tang (618–907) and Song (960–1279) dynasties, focusing on how artists used built structures to enhance the narrative of a scene. She also argues that painters of architectural images were hardly portraying blueprint images of buildings—as traditional literature often claims—but were knowingly constructing imaginary architectural scenes.
Zoe is currently the assistant curator of Asian art at the Princeton University Art Museum. Prior to her appointment at the museum, she was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She has also worked at the National Palace Museum in Taiwan and interned at the Sackler Museum at Harvard University. Zoe received a B.A. in history and art history from Wellesley College and an M.A. in East Asian studies from Harvard University. As a Ph.D. candidate at Princeton she was the recipient of a Blakemore Foundation Fellowship and a Fulbright Fellowship, both for study and research in China.
At the museum, Zoe is responsible for researching the Asian art collections, developing gallery installations from the collections, and organizing special exhibitions, among other duties. In addition to her main field of interest—Chinese painting from the Tang and Song Dynasties (618–1279)—she is also interested in Chinese ceramics, Japanese painting of the Heian period (794–1185), and Indian miniature paintings.
Zoe is currently engaged in research leading up to a themed rotation titled “Ways of Knowing and Re-creating Dunhuang” that will be on view at the Princeton University Art Museum in the fall of 2015. She is also doing research for a future special exhibition concentrating on the theme of banquets in Chinese art. In addition, Zoe is carrying out focused object-based research on a Chinese handscroll in the museum’s collection known as Dragons in Clouds and Mist.