Taína B. Caragol recipient of 2019 Awards for Excellence - The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) & AAMC Foundation

NEW YORK, NY— The Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC) & AAMC Foundation announced the recipients of its 2019 Awards for Excellence last night during a special evening celebration at the Rubin Museum in New York. The annual, peer-juried Award recognizes curators from around the country for groundbreaking projects that have advanced new methodologies, scholarship, and inclusion and access within the arts.

Nearly 150 nominations were submitted for the 2019 awards, representing 76 arts organizations from 27 US states and 6 countries. The 2019 honorees are: Esther Adler,Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Marla C. Berns, Mindy N. Besaw, Amy Beste, Alan C. Braddock,Taína B. Caragol, Kristen Collins, Lydia Gordon, Corinne Granof, Tom Joyce, Bryan C. Keene, Karen Kramer, Karl Kusserow, John P. Lukavic, Jen Mergel, Asma Naeem, Sarah Kelly Oehler, Allen F. Roberts, and Trevor Smith. Representing a range of institutions and curatorial fields, including Native and Indigenous, Contemporary, Folk, Medieval, American, and Media art, as well as Photography, the 20 recipients of the 2019 Awards are united by a thoughtful reexamination of the canon and investigation of topics centered on race, sexuality, censorship, and the environment.

“For 15 years, curators have recognized the trailblazing achievements of their peers through our annual Awards for Excellence,” said Judith Pineiro, Executive Director, AAMC & 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.”

Since 2004 the AAMC has honored 202 curators and 86 organizations through the awards, honoring curators across 28 US states and 6 countries. Held annually, the Awards are part of the organization’s conference, which brings together over 400 curators from around the globe.

 Recipients of 2019 Awards for Excellence / Photo AAMC


Mindy N. Besaw, Curator, American Art, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

For Re-installation, Early American Art Galleries at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Taína B. Caragol, Curator of Painting and Sculpture & Latinx Art and History, National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and Asma Naeem, Chief Curator, Baltimore Museum of Art

For UnSeen: Our Past in a New Light, Ken Gonzales-Day and Titus Kaphar at National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Kristen Collins, Curator of Manuscripts, J. Paul Getty Museum and Bryan C. Keene, Associate Curator of Manuscripts, J. Paul Getty Museum

For Outcasts: Prejudice and Persecution in the Medieval World at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Tom Joyce, Professional Artist and Lead Guest Curator, Fowler Museum at UCLA and Marla C. Berns, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director, Fowler Museum at UCLA and Allen F. Roberts, UCLA Professor of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, Fowler Museum at UCLA

For their work on Striking Iron: The Art of African Blacksmiths at the Fowler Museum at UCLA

Karen Kramer, Curator, Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture, Peabody Essex Museum

For T.C. Cannon: At the Edge of America at the Peabody Essex Museum

Jen Mergel, Independent Curator; Board of Trustees, Vice President, Programs, AAMC & AAMC Foundation

For Fog x FLO: Fujiko Nakaya on the Emerald Necklace presented by the Emerald Necklace Conservancy


Wassan Al-Khudhairi, Chief Curator, Contemporary Art, Museum St. Louis (former Hugh Kaul Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Birmingham Museum of Art)

For Third Space at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Corinne Granof, Curator of Academic Programs, The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, and Amy Beste, Director of Public Programs, Departments of Film, Video, New Media & Animation, Sound, Art & Technology Studies, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

For their work on Up is Down: Mid-Century Experiments in Advertising and Film at the Goldsholl Studio at The Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University

Karl Kusserow, John Wilmerding Curator of American Art, Princeton University Art Museum, and Alan C. Braddock, Ralph H. Wark Associate Professor of Art History and American Studies, William & Mary

For their work on Nature’s Nation: American Art and Environment at Princeton University Art Museum

Sarah Kelly Oehler, Field-McCormick Chair and Curator of American Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Esther Adler, Associate Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, The Museum of Modern Art

For Charles White: A Retrospectiveat the Art Institute of Chicago and The Museum of Modern Art

Article, Essay or Extended Catalogue

John P. Lukavic, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Arts, Denver Art Museum

For “WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN, WHAT IS, AND WHAT WILL BE” in Jeffrey Gibson: Like A Hammer published by Denver Art Museum and DelMonico Books/Prestel

Digital Publication

Trevor Smith, Curator of the Present Tense, Peabody Essex Museum and Lydia Gordon, Assistant Curator for Exhibitions and Research, Peabody Essex Museum

For PlayTime