As the first Asian Art Museum curator focusing on contemporary West Asian perspectives, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art & Programs Naz Cuguoglu’s research will foster a dialogue between artists and the museum’s collection. Since 2013, Cuguoglu has researched post- revolutionary cultural production in the Middle East, particularly after the Arab Spring; amid local cultural crises, new artistic narratives have emerged in this region. Cuguoglu’s research will create a support network and platform, uniting artists, curators, and researchers from the Middle East and the wider Asian diaspora in the U.S. Her project challenges the fetishization of pain and explores transformative narratives, focusing on a post-1970s generation interested in worldbuilding and speculation to reclaim agency. Cuguoglu aims to unite SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) diaspora artists with East and Southeast Asian communities for collaborations, institutional allyships, and discussions about diasporic identities.
“Our grantees range from small arts organizations with one staff member to major museums, yet they all provide essential resources for artists as well as innovative platforms for critical cultural dialogue. Creative risk-taking is at the heart of this country’s most meaningful social, political, and cultural developments, therefore we are proud to stand behind artist-centered organizations that support experimental practice.”
Joel Wachs, President