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Toledo Museum of Art Appoints Christine D. Starkman as Consulting Curator of Asian Art

Christine D. Starkman
Christine D. Starkman

The Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) has named Christine D. Starkman consulting curator of Asian art. As TMA continues its efforts to broaden the narrative of art history, Starkman will integrate Asian art into the expansive and global stories the Museum seeks to tell. After assessing TMA’s holdings, Starkman will focus on new acquisitions of Asian art to draw on collection strengths and complement existing holdings and will contribute to the Museum’s thinking about its upcoming reinstallation.

Starkman, a recipient of the 2021 Fulbright Scholar Award for Korea, is an Asian and contemporary art curator interested in the global, transnational and transcultural histories of modern and contemporary art between Asia, North America and Europe. She has been a researcher and curator at the Art Institute of Chicago, Cleveland Museum of Art and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

“Throughout my career, I have championed Asian and contemporary art through exhibitions, reinstallations and site-specific commissions, driven by the purpose of promoting new scholarship, cultural dialogue and exchange. As a diverse, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic city, Toledo is uniquely positioned to lead new and innovative acquisitions and programs for Asian art and what museums should look like in the 21st century. I am very excited for the opportunity to join the dynamic curatorial team and to connect with the wonderful networks of collectors, art organizations and civic and community leaders to work together in transforming this place where art is made, debated and celebrated.”

 Recently, Starkman was the guest curator at the Blaffer Art Museum, where she organized the exhibition Pam Francis Photographs and authored and edited the accompanying catalog. In 2019-2020, she organized the exhibition Measure Your Existence at the Rubin Museum of Art. In 2020, she co-curated Kimono Couture: The Beauty of Chiso at the Worcester Art Museum.

At the Toledo Museum of Art, Starkman will use her breadth of experience to expand scholarship in Asian art in ways that advance the Museum’s commitment to collect and display works of art of the highest quality across cultures, geographies and histories.

“Christine has a strong record of enacting transformational exhibitions and initiatives in myriad institutions across the world,” said Adam Levine, TMA’s Edward Drummond and Florence Scott Libbey director and CEO. “We look forward to her dedicated contributions and perspective as we work to further develop our already significant collection of Asian art.”

During Starkman’s 16 years with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, she served in several roles, including curator and head of the department of Asian art, which covered arts from antiquity to today, as well as founding curator of arts of the Islamic world. She also curated a dozen exhibitions, including Afghanistan, a Timeless History with Musee Guimet (Paris, 2002), Where Clouds Disperse: Ink Paintings by Suh Se-Ok (2007), Your Bright Future: 12 Contemporary Artists from Korea (2009) and Unrivalled Splendor: The Kimiko and John Powers Collection of Japanese Art (2012).

Other awards and fellowships Starkman has received include the School of Oriental and African Studies University of London Korean studies research fellowship (2017), Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art international researcher residency program (2017), Japanese intensive language study and research and conference travel fund for history of art from Rice University (2017), Getty Leadership Institute executive education for museum leaders at Claremont Graduate School (2014), Cecily Horton curators professional development fellowship (2014), Japan Foundation fellowship (2011), Korea Foundation Korean curator workshops (2002-2013) and Brown Foundation fellows program at Dora Maar House (2007).

Starkman is a member of the American Curators of Asian Art, International Council of Museums, College Arts Association, Association of Asian Studies and Textile Society of America. She served on the Houston advisory boards of Asia Society Texas Center and Japan American Society Houston from 2000-2007. She has 13 publications with two more upcoming: Do Ho Suh Portal Project (2022) and Global Informant: Bahc Yiso from New York to Seoul (2024).

Starkman did doctoral studies in modern and contemporary art at Rice University. She received her Master of Arts in art history (Japanese art and architecture) and Bachelor of Science in biology and political science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.