WORCESTER, MASS.- The Worcester Art Museum
today announced the appointment of Rachel Parikh as its new Assistant Curator of Asian Art. Parikh comes to WAM from the Harvard Art Museums where she served as the Calderwood Curatorial Fellow in South Asian art from 2016 until 2019. She has also held curatorial positions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Department of Arms and Armor and the Art Institute of Chicago in the Department of Asian Art. As Assistant Curator of Asian Art at WAM, Parikhs responsibilities include developing a vibrant exhibition program, building on the Museums holdings with new acquisitions, and rethinking the narrative of WAMs permanent collection galleries. Parikhs appointment was effective February 18, 2020.
Parikh holds a PhD in art history from the University of Cambridge with an expertise in South Asian and Islamic painting, as well as arms and armor, and has published widely on Asian art, including the 2020 book, The Khalili Falnamah: The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art (London: The Nour Foundation). While at the Harvard Art Museums, Parikh researched and catalogued its comprehensive collection of nearly one thousand works on paper. She also created a dynamic installation program based on the collection. Prior to that, as Andrew W. Mellon Curatorial and Special Collections Fellow in the Department of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she researched and catalogued the South and Southeast Asian collection of arms and armor, which had remained relatively understudied since its acquisition in 1936. While at the Met, she co-curated the exhibition, Power and Piety: Islamic Talismans on the Battlefield. Parikh has also worked with the Wallace Collection in London as a research and catalogue specialist for their collection of Indian and Islamic arms and armor.
It was evident throughout the search that Rachel has not only developed herself as a respected scholar of South Asian art, but she has also given serious thought to how art museums can best present their Asian collections to twenty-first century audiences. I am eager to see how she brings her expertise and thoughtfulness to bear on our galleries, said Claire Whitner, Director of Curatorial Affairs and James A. Welu Curator of European Art.
Launched in 1901 with a large bequest of Japanese prints from John Chandler Bancroft, WAMs Asian Art department contains holdings spanning the entire continent with areas of particular depth in Japanese painting and Japanese prints, including extensive holdings from the Edo, Meiji, and postwar eras. Other areas of strength include Chinese painting, ceramics, and jades; modern Japanese ceramics; and Indian and Persian painting.