Curator’s Gallery Talk

The same day that crowds packed Pick-Staiger Concert Hall to learn about Roberta Buffett Elliott’s $100 million gift to the university, the Block Museum hosted its own sellout event.

The Curator’s Gallery Talk, offering an in-depth tour of Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies, drew a crowd of more than 80 individuals. Packed tightly but happily into the Block’s Main Gallery, the group listened intently as exhibition curator and associate professor of art history, Rob Linrothe, described the exhibition’s thesis and themes.

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Rob began outside the main doors by describing Collecting Paradise as an exhibition that is about “two places and their interactions” with Kashmir, as well as “two types of collecting.” Western Himalayans emulated and acquired Buddhist objects from Kashmir, and in later centuries, Europeans and Americans collected these same objects not for religious reasons, but for reasons of aesthetics and historical conservation. Rob discussed the differing motivations behind these modes of collecting, as well as the impact on the objects, the regions and the individuals involved.

Heading into the gallery, Rob focused on individual works to illustrate his thesis. Describing nuances in works from Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, visitors began to see how styles moved and developed as the works traveled across the region. They also learned about differences in perception—how an object can be viewed as “art” or “beautiful” to one culture, when that very designation defines it as “deconsecrated” in another. Modes of display can also impact the meaning and perception of an object.

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This event followed the wildly popular Opening Celebration, in which more than 500 people visited the Block Museum.

To learn about upcoming programs at the Block Museum, please visit our Events page.

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