The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe,” an exhibition that was on view at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco from Oct. 21, 2016 – Jan. 15, 2017, was the recipient of three major museum industry awards in May 2017.

The Association of Art Museum Curators & AAMC Foundation, a professional and scholarly organization that promotes the work of North American curators, recognized the catalogue for “The Rama Epic” with the Award for Excellence, in the category for an organization with an operating budget of $15–$30 million. The award will be presented to exhibition curator, Forrest McGill, the Asian Art Museum’s Wattis senior curator of South and Southeast Asian. The catalogue features essays by McGill, Pika Ghosh, Robert P. Goldman, Sally J. Sutherland Goldman, and Philip Lutgendorf, as well as contributions by museum curators Qamar Adamjee, Jeffrey Durham, and Natasha Reichle.

At the American Alliance of Museums’ annual conference in St. Louis, the exhibition received the Special Achievement Award for Interpretation, in the Excellence in Exhibition Competition, for its innovation, engagement, interpretation, and overall compelling conception.

The “Rama Epic” was distinguished for its fresh takes on an ancient sacred tale from Southern Asia, using historic and contemporary art to convey the appeal of the great adventure story’s four main characters.

The “Rama Epic” won an additional Bronze MUSE Award for Audio Tours and Podcasts from AAM. The 60-minute audio tour, which resembles a serial radio play, contains dialogue based on the classical version of the tale by the sage-poet Valmiki, mixed with musical effects.

Presentation of the exhibit was made possible with the support of Helen and Rajnikant Desai, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Martha Sam Hertelendy, Vijay and Ram Shriram, Society for Asian Art, Meena Vashee, Kumar and Vijaya Malavalli, and Nordstrom. Major support of the exhibition publication is provided by Society for Art & Cultural Heritage of India.


Japanese art exhibition catalogue Seduction draws top honors

The catalogue for the Asian Art Museum’s major Japanese art exhibition from 2015,  will be honored with a Silver medal at the National Level for a Fine Art publication at the upcoming 21st Annual Independent Publisher Book Awards. The award goes to the Asian Art Museum’s chief curator and curator of Japanese Art, Laura W. Allen. In the “Seduction” catalogue, Allen, who organized the exhibition of Edo-period depictions of urban pleasure quarters, places these works in context, while providing insightful entries for each artwork. The publication features scholarly essays by Julia Meech, Eric C. Rath, and Melinda Takeuchi, while Helen Mitsu Nagata offers translations of a text on the Yoshiwara pleasure quarter.

The exhibit presentation was made possible with the support of Hiro Ogawa, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Anne and Timothy Kahn, Rhoda and Richard Mesker, and Blakemore Foundation.

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