Fiercely Modern: Meet the Curator

    Friday April 26, 2013 @ 6:00 PM

    Join curator Jan Van Alphen, as he guides you through the exhibition Fiercely Modern: Art of the Naga Warrior from the Weltmuseum Wien in Vienna, that includes examples from one of the largest and most important Naga collections in the world.

    Naga describes a group of culturally and linguistically linked, but distinct tribes living on the border between India and Burma. Because the Naga had the reputation for being fearsome headhunters, they were somewhat isolated and evolved a distinctive material culture. They produce decorative ornaments, expressive wood carvings, and vividly colored textiles. 

    The admission to the galleries is free, from 6–10 p.m. every Friday.

    An informal celebration to follow in the Rubin Museum’s Friday night K2 Lounge (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).