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From India East: Meet the Curator


Friday, May 31, 2013
7:00 PM–8:00 PM

Meet the curator of the exhibition From India East, Jan Van Alphen
Join curator Jan Van Alphen, as he guides you through the exhibition From India East.
From India East will be an exhibition presented and described by Rubin Museum of Art curators of the treasury of Asian works held by the Brooklyn Museum. The year-long exhibition allows the museum to exhibit for the first time examples from far beyond the Himalayan region, including art from Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Korea, and Japan. The loan was made possible by the Brooklyn Museum’s temporary closing of its Asian art galleries.
The Rubin Museum made a selection of objects according to a concept that connects with its own collection: tracing back the origins of Buddhist and Hindu sculptural art in Asia to its roots, showing the stylistic evolution by both geographic distribution and time period. This means that the oldest examples of Indian art, be they Buddhist or Hindu in origin, have been chosen as various kinds of prototypes by which a more wide-spread evolution of Asian art can be identified.
The galleries are free of charge from 6 – 10 pm every Friday evening.
An informal celebration in the Rubin Museum’s Friday night K2 Lounge follows the program (cash bar).

About the Speaker

Jan Van Alphen began his tenure as Chief Curator at The Rubin Museum of Art in July 2011. As a Belgian Indologist he started in the early 1970s with philological research on Jain canonical texts, and translating the Sanskrit Natya Shastra, a treatise on Indian music from 100 BCE. After his post-graduate studies in Mumbai he did anthropological and musicological research amongst the aboriginals of Bastar (Chhattisgarh, India) between 1978 and 1981. During the same time, Jan was Assistant Curator of the India and Southeast Asia department at the Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels, and in 1984 he became Asia Curator in the Ethnographic Museum of Antwerp. From 1995-2008 he was Director of the same museum where he developed a remarkable series of exhibitions on Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and shamanism. Several of his exhibition catalogues became standard works in the world of Asian art and ethnography. Jan’s Oriental Medicine (1995), a comparative study on Ayurvedic, Tibetan and Chinese Medicine, was translated in 7 languages and was comprised of 11 editions. In 2009 Van Alphen became Chairman of the Scientific Committee at the Centre for Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux Arts) in Brussels. His exhibition Tejas on 1500 years of Classical Indian sculpture, presented 220 stone and bronze sculptures from 28 major Indian museums and institutions, a unique event. The Smile of Buddha brought 127 masterpieces of Korean Buddhist art to Belgium. His last exhibition in Brussels was A Passage to Asia, in which he collected 400 art objects from 16 Asian countries in one exhibition. Since 1995 Jan Van Alphen has lectured Indian art, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism at the Antwerp University (Belgium).