Associate Curator of Amazonia

Responsibilities

As associate curator of Amazonia, I select objects from the collection for annual revolving exhibitions for the Hall of Amazon tribal cultures. I help maintain the health of the Amazonian collection and add pertinent information regarding additional historical aspects of tribal culture, classification of objects and identification of object materials. I select and curate traveling shows and aid in the installation of exhibitions, both traveling and in-house.

Philosophy

I believe that all human cultures are partly defined by what they create, whether it be their tools, systems of belief and governance, and their arts. It is through these media that we can study and understand different cultures, how they lived, survived and perished. The material culture of Amazonian societies has been largely overlooked. Even today most people do not realize that humans have lived in the Amazon rain forest for thousands of years while developing rich cultures and creating incredible works of art that utilizes ephemeral materials such as feathers, bark cloth, vegetal fibers, seeds, shells and wood. The nature of these materials prevents their preservation in the rain forest where humidity, heat and the destructive action of numerous insects destroys this material culture in days. It is the duty of institutions such as the Houston Museum of Natural Science to protect and preserve these objects in order to promote further study and understanding of these unique tribal cultures for future generations as well as imparting knowledge to people.

Favorite Museums

American Museum of Natural History, The Louvre and the Museum of Man in Paris, The British Museum of Natural History and the British Museum, the Field Museum, The Munich Museum of Anthropology, The Berlin Museum of Anthropology, The Metropolitan and the New York Museum of Modern Art and the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

Other Activities

Practice and play the piano and occasionally give a concert. Listen to chamber music concerts. Work in my garden. Read and watch a good movie. Build furniture.

Academic Background

B.A. California State University, Northridge. Major in Music history and performance, Minor in Art History, 1962

M.A. California State University, Northridge, Major in Music history and performance, Minor in Art History, 1965

Post Graduate study: University of Southern California 1966-1968

Professional Positions

Teaching assistant: California State University Northridge, 1963-1964

Instructor: Mount St. Mary’s College, Los Angeles, California, 1964-1970

Owner and director, Mekler Gallery, 1970-1990

Established the Mekler Gallery Chamber Music Concerts 1980 – 1989

Associate visiting Professor: University of California at Los Angeles, 2002-present

Associate Curator of Amazonia, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, 2003-present

Who’s Who in American Art, 1978-1994

Honorary trustee, Fresno Art Museum

Chamber music performances throughout California.

Live radio performances. KPPC, KFAC, Complete Mozart sonatas for Violin and Piano. KPFK

Participated (as pianist) in over 120 chamber music concerts featuring members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Sequoia String Quartet, as well as nationally and internationally known musicians.

Recorded the three sonatas for violin and piano by Brahms, the sonata for violin and piano in B flat major by Mozart as well as the world premiere recording of the Liszt Hungarian Fantasy for violin and piano(with Marshall Moss, Violinist). Under the Ampex label, 1971.

Soloist with the Nevada Chamber Symphony, Topanga Symphony, Pacific Palisades Symphony, and the L.A. Doctor Symphony performing concertos by Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Hayden and Brahms.

Exhibitions Curated

Invisible People, Arts of the Amazon
Fresno Museum of Art, November 1991 - May, 1992 (Catalogue)

Colors of the Dawn, Amazon Art
Bowers Museum of Cultural History, October, 1993 - May, 1994

Amazon Art Rituals
Fresno Museum of Art, May - September 1995

Vanishing Arts of the Amazon
Museum of Tolerance (Los Angeles), November 1995 - February, 1996
Houston Museum of Natural Science, February 19 - August 18, 1999 (Video)

Fragments of the Sky, The Art of Amazonian Rites of Passage
Peabody Museum of Natural History (Yale University), April 1997 - November, 1997 (Publication)

Arts of the Amazon, Ritual Feather Art of Brazil
Houston Museum of Natural Science, June 1997 - September 1997
National Geographic Society, Explorers Hall (Washington D.C.), September 1997 - February 1998
World Forestry Center (Portland), May 14, 1998 - October 8, 1998

Arts of the Amazon
Mingei International Museum of Cultural Arts (San Diego), December 1997 - April 1998
Florida Museum of Natural History (Gainesville), January 15 - May 18, 1999
Museum of Man (San Diego), July - November, 2000

Ritual Arts of the Amazon
California Academy of Science (San Francisco), May 30, 1998 - September 8, 1998

Under the Rainbow: Amazon Arts
Houston Museum of Natural Science, January 20, 2001 - January 10, 2005 (rotating exhibition)

Under the Canopy, Tribal arts of the Western and Northwestern Amazonia
Fresno Museum of Art, November 28, 2001 - February 24, 2002. (Catalogue)
World Forestry Center (Portland), April 25, 2002 - November 15, 2002

Vanishing Worlds, Art and Ritual in Amazonia (Catalogue)
Cantor Art Center (Stanford University), May 25, 2005 - August 21, 2005.
Mayborn Museum, Baylor University, Waco, Texas, 2005
University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2007
Birmingham Art Museum, Birmingham, Alabama, 2008
Spirits & Headhunters: Vanishing Worlds of the Amazon
Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston, Texas, 2009

Publications

Invisible People: Arts of the Amazon, Fresno Art Museum, 1991.

Roe, Peter, author. Barbara Braun, Editor. Adam Mekler, contributor. (Foreword, captions and research information). Arts of the Amazon: Thames@ Hudson, London, 1995.

Fragments of the Sky, The Art of the Amazonian Rites of Passage, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University. Contributing writer.

Allan, Tony. Bishop Clifford. Phillips, Charles. Lost Realms of Gold, South American Myth. Time-Life Books BV, Amsterdam., Duncan Baird Publishers, London, England. 1998. (Contributing Researcher).

Under the Canopy; Myth and Reality in Western and North western Amazonia. Fresno Art Museum, Fresno, California. 2001

Wilderness, Earth’s Last Wild Places. Patricio Robles Gill (Editor)
(Contributing writer). CEMEX publisher. 2004

Vanishing World, Art and Ritual in Amazonia. Russell Mittermeier Ph.D. Dirk Van Tuerenhout Ph.D. contributors. Houston Museum of Natural History, Houston. 2005

Project in progress

Database of over 2,500 Amazonian material objects including: photographs, native titles, tribal, geographical, historical, materials and ritual information, including literature and historical references.

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