Giving Back draws from the extensive holdings in the University's libraries. Three distinct, thematic parts of the exhibition focus on special highlights of the collection: Native American art, with works spanning the late 18th century through c.1930; American portrait photography, with works from 1850 through 2014; and Buddhist art, with selected works from Asia dating from the 3rd century to the modern period.


The three-part presentaiton includes:

Native American Arts: The Stories They Tell  | curated by Elizabeth W. Hutchinson, Associate Professor, Art History Department at Barnard College, and Department of Art History & Archaeology at Columbia University

Portrait Photography: Daguerreotypes to Digital Prints | curated by Roberto C. Ferrari, Curator of Art Properties, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia University,

Buddhism: Iconography and Materiality | curated by D. Max Moerman, Professor, Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College, and Departments of Religion and East Asian Languages & Cultures at Columbia University

Over two centuries Columbia University has built, principally through private gifts, a more than 13,000-strong object-based art collection that is central to supporting its educational mission. Stewarded by the University Libraries, the art collection directly supports curricular programs and research. 

Giving Back extends the visibility of these important collections while construct ing a public narrative on their history andof Columbia University’s collecting practices. Through curated presentations, the exhibition will offer a platform for deepening conversations around these collections, and offer opportunities for new scholarship, advancing the teaching and research into the topics represented by the exceptional examples on view.


Fall 2021

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