“Caravans of Gold” exhibition publication receives 2020 Curatorial Award for Excellence

In April 2020 the Association of Art Museum Curators announced the Block Museum exhibition publication Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa as a recipient of the 2020 Award for Excellence. The annual, peer-juried award recognizes curators from around the country for groundbreaking projects that have advanced new methodologies, scholarship, and inclusion and access within the arts.

Block Museum Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs and exhibition curator Kathleen Bickford Berzock is among 26 international curators recognized in 2020. The Block Museum of Art previously received an AAMC Award of Excellence in 2019 for its publication Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio

Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

Twenty curatorial projects were honored in 2020. In addition to Caravans of Gold, publication awards were given to The American Indian and Warhol’s Fantasy of an Indigenous PresenceArt after Stonewall: 1969–1989Betye Saar: Call and Response; and Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle.

“It’s gratifying to receive a Curatorial Excellence award from the AAMC and to know that other curators have been inspired by our work,” says Kathleen Bickford Berzock. “We’re really honored to share this recognition with all of the contributors to the publication from across disciplines and continents.”


About the Publication

The Sahara Desert was a thriving crossroads of exchange for West Africa, North Africa, the Middle East, and Europe in the medieval period. Fueling this exchange was West African gold, prized for its purity and used for minting currencies and adorning luxury objects such as jewelry, textiles, and religious objects. The publication Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa draws on the latest archaeological discoveries and art historical research to construct a compelling look at medieval trans-Saharan exchange and its legacy. Contributors from diverse disciplines present case studies that form a rich portrayal of a distant time.

The Block Museum and Princeton University Press
Hardcover | 2019 | $65.00 | ISBN 9780691182681
304 pp. | 9 x 11 | 192 color illus.

Featuring a wealth of color images, this fascinating book demonstrates how the rootedness of place, culture, and tradition is closely tied to the circulation of people, objects, and ideas. These “fragments in time” offer irrefutable evidence of the key role that Africa played in medieval history and promote a new understanding of the past and the present.

Purchase at The Block Museum or online at www. press.princeton.edu


2020 AAMC Awards for Excellence

Catalogue Awards
Organization with an operating budget under $5 million
Kathleen Bickford Berzock, Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs, The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University           
For Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa at The Block Museum, Northwestern University, published by The Block Museum and Princeton University Press

Organization with an operating budget of $5–$15 million
Tyler Cann, Head of Exhibitions and Pizzuti Family Curator of Contemporary Art, Columbus Museum of Art
Anastasia Kinigopoulo, Lois F. McNeil Fellow, Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Daniel Marcus, Roy Lichtenstein Curatorial Fellow, Columbus Museum of Art
Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography, Brooklyn Museum
Jonathan Weinberg, Curator, The Maurice Sendak Foundation; Critic, Yale School of Art; Lecturer, Rhode Island School of Design
For Art after Stonewall, 1969–1989 at the Columbus Museum of Art, published by Rizzoli Electa

Organization with an operating budget of $15–$30 million
Melissa Ho, Curator of Twentieth-Century Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum
For Artists Respond: American Art and the Vietnam War, 1965–1975 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, published by Smithsonian American Art Museum in association with Princeton University Press

Organization with an operating budget over $30 million
Carol S. Eliel, Senior Curator of Modern Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
For Betye Saar: Call and Response at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, published by LACMA and Delmonico Books-Prestel

And

Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Co-Organizing Curator, University Professor of Art History, University of Virginia
Austen Barron Bailly, Co-Organizing Curator, Chief Curator, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Lydia Gordon, Coordinating Curator, Associate Curator for Exhibition Research and Publishing, Peabody Essex Museum
For Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle at the Peabody Essex Museum, published by Peabody Essex Museum / University of Washington Press

Exhibition Awards
Organization with an operating budget under $5 million
Andrea Gyorody, Ellen Johnson ’33 Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum
Matthew Francis Rarey, Assistant Professor of the Arts of Africa and the Black Atlantic, Oberlin College
For Afterlives of the Black Atlantic at the Allen Memorial Art Museum

Organization with an operating budget of $5–$15 million
René Paul Barilleaux, Head of Curatorial Affairs, McNay Art Museum
Lauren Thompson, Assistant Curator, McNay Art Museum
Jackie Edwards, Ph.D. Program in Art History, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
Bianca Alvarez, Public Art Project Manager, Department of Arts & Culture, City of San Antonio
For Transamerica/n: Gender, Identity, Appearance Today at the McNay Art Museum

Organization with an operating budget of $15–$30 million
Mark Godfrey, Senior Curator, International Art, Tate Modern, London
Zoé Whitley, Director, Chisenhale Gallery
Sarah Loyer, Associate Curator and Exhibitions Manager, The Broad
For Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 at The Broad

Organization with an operating budget over $30 million
Karina Corrigan, H.A. Crosby Forbes Curator of Asian Export Art, Peabody Essex Museum
Lan Morgan, Assistant Curator for Exhibitions and Research, Peabody Essex Museum
For the Sean M. Healey Family Gallery for Asian Export Art at the Peabody Essex Museum

Article or Essay
heather ahtone, Senior Curator, First Americans Museum
For The American Indian and Warhol’s Fantasy of an Indigenous Presence, published in Warhol and the West by the University of California Press

Digital Publication
Sarah K. Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago
John P. Murphy, Hoehn Curatorial Fellow for Prints, University of San Diego
For Ivan Albright Paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago. Digital URL: artic.edu/digitalalbright published by the Art Institute of Chicago

About AAMC

Founded in 2001, the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) & AAMC Foundation advances the curatorial field through forward-looking leadership in development and educational opportunities for learning and connecting at every stage of a curator’s career. In partnership with more than 1,300 members, we serve as a resource for the profession’s best practices, codes of conduct and ethical standards. We provide a platform for the exchange of a broad range of information on critical issues driving the field, including diversity and inclusion, digital innovation, artistic voices and histories, and marketing and audience engagement. Our members include independent curators and staff members from 500+ art organizations and museums in eighteen countries, ranging from leading national institutions to community-based art organizations. Through our work, we serve members, professional colleagues, and the public, and our outreach reflects diverse perspectives within the field, often examining strategic directions of curatorial practice and art organization management. With a network spanning the globe, we are an ambassador and advocate for all art curators and the leading champion of their significant contributions.

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