Installation view of “Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths” (2018), curated by Tom Joyce, Maria C. Berns, and Allen F. Roberts, at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. Photo: Joshua White/

Association of Art Museum Curators Announces 2019 Award Winners

The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) and AAMC Foundation have named the recipients of their 2019 Awards for Excellence. The twenty winners of the annual peer-juried awards were recognized for groundbreaking projects on race, sexuality, censorship, and the environment, among other topics, and were honored at a special celebration held at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York on Sunday, May 5.

This year’s winners in the category of exhibitions are Mindy N. Besaw, curator of American art at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Taína B. Caragol, curator of painting and sculpture and Latinx art and history at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery; Kristen Collins, curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Bryan C. Keene, associate curator of manuscripts at the Getty; artist Tom Joyce, guest curator at the Fowler Museum at the University of California, Los Angeles; Allen F. Roberts, professor at UCLA; Marla C. Berns, director of the Fowler Museum; Karen Kramer, curator of Native American and Oceanic art and culture at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM); and independent curator Jen Mergel.

In the category of catalogues, awards went to Wassan Al-Khudhairi, chief curator of contemporary art at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis; Corinne Granof, curator of academic programs at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University; Amy Beste, director of public programs at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Karl Kusserow, curator of American art at the Princeton University Art Museum; Alan C. Braddock, professor at William & Mary University; Sarah Kelly Oehler, chair and curator of American art at the Art Institute of Chicago; and Esther Adler, associate curator at the Museum of Modern Art.

In addition, John P. Lukavic, curator of Native arts at the Denver Art Museum, received an award for his essay “What Should Have Been, What Is, And What Will Be” in the Denver Art Museum’s exhibition catalogue for “Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer” (2018), and Trevor Smith, curator of the Present Tense initiative at PEM, and Lydia Gordon, assistant curator for exhibitions and research at PEM, won an award for their digital publication PlayTime (2018).

“For fifteen years, curators have recognized the trailblazing achievements of their peers through our annual Awards for Excellence,” said Judith Pineiro, executive director of the AAMC and AAMC Foundation. “It is a privilege to celebrate this year’s awardees who, through their work, have fostered dynamic dialogue and broader engagement in the arts.”