NEW HAVEN, CT.-Jock Reynolds, Henry J. Heinz II Director, Yale University Art Gallery, today announced the creation of a new curatorial department devoted to Indo-Pacific art, enabled by the generosity of Yale alumnus Thomas Jaffe, Class of `71. Mr. Jaffe has provided not only his extraordinary collection of more than 500 examples of tribal sculpture from Southeast Asia, augmented by a same-sized collection of Indonesian textiles, but also the funds to fully endow a curatorial position and to create a gallery of Indo-Pacific art. This commitment firmly establishes the Yale University Art Gallery as one of the country's leaders in the field.
The new curatorial position will be filled by internationally recognized scholar Ruth Barnes, currently textile curator in the Department of Eastern Art at the Ashmolean Museum, in Oxford, England. Dr. Barnes will begin planning the Department's direction on a consulting basis in April 2009 and will commence her post full-time in January 2010.
The gallery is to be named in honor of Professor Robert Farris Thompson and the late Professor George Kubler, pioneering Yale art historians. Mr. Jaffe comments, "Kubbler's lectures on Mesoamerica and Thompson's on Africa have opened the eyes of generations of Yale students to the beauty and meaning of art from beyond the traditional seats of culture in the West and Asia. This new department would not exist without them."