Secretary’s Research Prize, 2016
The Secretary’s Research Prize recognizes Smithsonian employees who have demonstrated exemplary work in publications, exhibitions, or other research. Ten prizes are awarded each year. National Museum of Asian Art is proud to announce two staff members were recognized with awards in 2016.
James T. Ulak
Senior Curator of Japanese Art
James Ulak was honored for his work on the exhibition catalogue Sōtatsu: Making Waves. The exhibition and its catalogue introduced to American audiences the life, artistic techniques, and legacy of Tawaraya Sōtatsu (active circa 1600–40), one of Japan’s most innovative painters.
Associate Curator of American Art
Lee Glazer received the award for her exhibition Peacock Room REMIX: Darren Waterston’s Filthy Lucre. Complementary installations explored aspects of Waterston’s immersive installation, which reimagines James McNeill Whistler’s famed Peacock Room as a decadent ruin that plays upon tensions between art and money.
Debra Diamond Receives Secretary’s Research Prize
National Museum of Asian Art Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Debra Diamond received the 2014 Secretary’s Research Prize for her exhibition and catalogue Yoga: The Art of Transformation. The prizes are awarded annually to Smithsonian employees for exemplary work in publications, exhibitions, and research, and reflect both excellence and diversity in research across the institution.
Director Julian Raby Awarded Order of the Rising Sun
Julian Raby, the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the National Museum of Asian Art t, was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, one of Japan’s most prestigious civilian honors. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe presented the honor in conjunction with a $1 million award to the National Museum of Asian Art, recognizing the museum’s promotion of Japanese art and culture, as exemplified by the landmark exhibition of art by Tawaraya Sōtatsu. The award also honors the National Museum of Asian Art longstanding leadership role in fostering collaboration between cultural institutions. Raby is one of eighty-five individuals worldwide to receive the order in 2015, and he is the only sitting US art museum director to earn this recognition.
Julian Raby Received the Distinguished Turkish Order of Merit Medal
Julian Raby, the Dame Jillian Sackler Director of the National Museum of Asian Art, was awarded the Order of Merit from the Republic of Turkey for his notable studies on Ottoman culture and arts. Raby received the medal in person from Serdar Kılıç, the Turkish ambassador to the United States, on August 13, 2014, in Washington, D.C.
The Order of Merit is given to foreign scientists, academics, artists, and intellectuals in recognition of their contributions to the international promotion and glorification of the Republic of Turkey in science and the arts.
Raby has supervised more than forty special exhibitions, such as Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey (2005) and Tsars and the East: Gifts from Turkey and Iran in the Moscow Kremlin (2009). He has served as curator, concept designer, and consultant for numerous exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the landmark Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum in Istanbul (1989) and Portraits of the Sultan: Picturing the House of Osman at the Topkapı Palace Museum in Istanbul (2000), and he has long been a renowned intellectual in Turkish arts and heritage.
Debra Diamond, Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Debra Diamond has been awarded two first-prize awards from the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) for her work on Yoga: The Art of Transformation. The exhibition received the 2013 first-place award of excellence for an exhibition. In addition, the Yoga: The Art of Transformation catalogue was recognized with the first-place award of excellence for an exhibition catalogue. The AAMC Awards of Excellence celebrate curatorial achievements with non-cash awards and are given to curators working in a wide array of fields and media, in settings ranging from university museums to the digital realm.
Louise Belvedere and Richard Skinner Honored as Smithsonian Unsung Heroes
Louise Belvedere Caldi, Administrative Assistant
As an administrative assistant in the curatorial and scholarly programs departments at the National Museum of Asian Art, Louise Caldi provides support to the heads of those two departments as well as to one of the curators, and leads the team of curatorial assistants. While her responsibilities are wide-ranging and important for the smooth function of the museum, just as importantly, she is unfailingly professional, courteous and creative in everything she does. She is a wonderful mentor for new staff and a trusted advisor to the senior staff with whom she works. She is always willing to volunteer at special events or to come in on weekends if necessary. This is a wonderful time to recognize her many contributions as an unsung hero.
Richard Skinner, Lighting Designer
Richard Skinner is a true Smithsonian professional whose focus is on the artifacts we strive to preserve, protect and display as well as the building they reside in, the people who work with them and those who come to visit them. His job description as the National Museum of Asian Art lighting designer wouldn’t seem to cover all these responsibilities, but his willingness to take on extra duties has expanded his influence to an amazing degree. Richard has worked at the National Museum of Asian Art for more than two decades, and he is the unofficial keeper of our institutional knowledge. He oversees construction projects and contractors with a microscopic attention to detail in order to insure the safety of our collection, staff and visitors, all while showcasing our exhibitions in the best of all possible lights—literally. His work is the “icing on the cake,” culminating a long process of selection and installing works of art—but without his amazing lighting skills, all those efforts would be worthless. He is the National Museum of Asian Art Unsung Hero Extraordinare!
Louise Cort Receives the 2012 Secretary’s Distinguished Research Lecture Award
National Museum of Asian Art Curator of Ceramics Louise Allison Cort has been named the 12th recipient of the Distinguished Research Lecture Award. This honor recognizes a scholar’s sustained achievement in research, longstanding investment in the Smithsonian, outstanding contribution to a field, and ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience. In this instance, it celebrates how Cort has shared knowledge gained through scholarly research.
In this spirit, on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, Cort presents a lecture titled People Making Pots: Connecting Present and Past in Japan, India, and Mainland Southeast Asia at 2 pm in the Freer’s Meyer Auditorium. A reception follows.
With the Smithsonian since 1981, Cort’s interests include historical and contemporary ceramics in Japan and South and Southeast Asia, Japanese baskets and textiles, and the Japanese tea ceremony. Since 1989—in collaboration with cultural anthropologist Leedom Lefferts, research associate in the National Museum of Natural History’s Department of Anthropology—Cort has documented present-day village-based production of earthenware and stoneware ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia. The project received major support from the Nishida Memorial Foundation for Research in Asian Ceramic History and a Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Studies grant.
Cort is the author of Shigaraki, Potters’ Valley, published in 1979 and reprinted in 2000. In 2008 she prepared (with George Ashley Williams IV and David P. Rehfuss) the online catalogue Ceramics in Mainland Southeast Asia: Collections in the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Her study on Indian earthenware, Temple Potters of Puri, was published in 2012, the same year that Cort received the 33rd Koyama Fujio Memorial Prize for her research on historical Japanese ceramics.
For the Distinguished Research Lecture Award, Cort was selected from finalists recommended by a committee representing research areas across the spectrum of Smithsonian scholarship. This year’s committee included Adrienne Kaeppler (NMNH); Bert Drake (SERC); Cynthia Mills (SAAM); David DeVorkin, chair (NASM); Giovanni Fazio (SAO); Jason Stieber (AAA); Katherine Ott (NMAH); Kenneth Slowik (NMAH); Tom Crouch (NASM); and William Wcislo (STRI).
Smithsonian Spotlight: Secretary’s Research Prize, 2011
Massumeh Farhad, Chief Curator and Curator of Islamic Art
John Winter, Conservation and Scientific Research
The Secretary’s Research Prize is awarded to Smithsonian employees who have done exemplary work in publications, exhibitions, or other research. Ten prizes are awarded every year. The National Museum of Asian Art are proud to announce that two staff members were awarded the 2011 prize. Massumeh Farhad has been honored for her extraordinary work on the exhibition Falnama: The Book of Omens (2009–2010), which she curated along with guest curator Serpìl Bağci. The exhibition illuminated the mysteries of the Falnama: 16th- and 17th-century Iranian and Turkish manuscripts that were used to tell fortunes and gaze into the unknown. John Winter has been posthumously awarded the prize for his book East Asian Paintings: Materials, Structures and Deterioration Mechanisms. His research focuses on the historical techniques of painting in Japan, China, and Korea.
Smithsonian Spotlight: Peacock Room Wins Cine Award
The Smithsonian Channel film on the Freer Gallery’s Peacock Room, featuring an interview with associate curator of American art Lee Glazer, won the fall 2011 Cine Golden Eagle Award. Recognized as a mark of excellence throughout the film and television industry for over 50 years, this award is given biannually to films that are innovative in structure and that demonstrate overall distinction.
James T. Ulak, Senior Curator of Japanese Art
James T. Ulak has been awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Japanese government. The honor recognizes Ulak’s significant contributions toward strengthening bilateral relations and building collaboration between public and private fine arts institutions in Japan and the United States, resulting in the sophisticated presentation of Japanese visual culture in both countries. The award was conferred in a private ceremony at the Japanese ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., on July 6, 2010.
Debra Diamond, Associate Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art
Debra Diamond was recognized with two major awards for her work on the exhibition catalogue Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. In February 2010 she was awarded the Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Award from the College Art Association, the professional organization for faculty and museum curators in art history and the visual arts. This award, established in 1980 in honor of the founding director of the Museum of Modern Art, is presented to the author(s) of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art, and is CAA’s highest award for museum scholarship.
In September 2010 Debra was awarded the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Prize for Garden and Cosmos. This prize recognizes excellence across the Smithsonian; just ten are awarded each year.
National Museum of Asian Art Publications
National Museum of Asian Art publications have won an impressive number of awards, examples of which are listed below.