Metropolitan Museum curator to discuss acclaimed Byzantine exhibitions

Helen Evans, who curated two popular and critically acclaimed exhibitions of Byzantine art at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, visits Bates College to discuss the creation of those shows at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Keck Classroom (G52), Pettengill Hall, Andrews Road.

Titled Presenting Early Christian and Byzantine Art at the Met, Evans’ talk is open to the public at no cost. A reception follows. The evening is sponsored by the Bates Program in Classical and Medieval Studies and the Alison Lockwood Lecture Fund of the Department of Art and Visual Culture. For more information, call 207-786-6135.

Evans curated The Glory of Byzantium (843-1261) in 1997 and its sequel Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261-1557) in 2004 for the Met. Both drew works from important collections worldwide, including those of the monasteries of Mount Athos in Greece and of St. Catherine’s Monastery of Mount Sinai, which loaned 40 icons that had never before left the monastery.

Each show was named a major cultural event of its year by The New York Times and one of the top five exhibitions of its year by the London-based art magazine Apollo. The 2004 show also received significant awards for its catalog.

At Bates, Evans will describe the process of conceiving and organizing the two exhibitions. “Her visit gives us an unparalleled opportunity to hear first-hand, from one of the world’s leading curators, about the complex process of putting together great exhibitions,” says Rebecca Corrie, Phillips Professor of Art and Visual Culture at Bates and a contributor to the catalogs for both shows.

“Using her immense intelligence, energy and charm,” Corrie adds, Evans “marshaled a battalion of scholars in the production of the catalogs and drew works from collections around the world.”

Curator of Byzantine art at the Met, Evans joined the museum’s Department of Medieval Art in 1991 and became a full curator in 1999. She has written numerous scholarly articles and co-authored catalogs for exhibitions she organized at the Met as well as the Morgan Library in New York, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, the Benaki Museum in Athens and the Foundation Pierre Gianadda in Switzerland.

Evans has taught at the Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, Columbia University, the University of Chicago and Oberlin College, and has lectured extensively in Europe and America. Her panel and committee memberships include two positions connected with the Holy Monastery of St. Catherine at Sinai and a post on the Scientific Committee for the Exhibition for the 500th Anniversary of the Foundation of the Basilica of St. Peter in the Vatican, Vatican City.

A graduate of Newcomb College of Tulane University, she was chosen the Newcomb Alumna of the Year in 2005, and has been honored by the American Hellenic Institute and the Hellenic American Women’s Council.

Evans received her master’s degree and doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She has held fellowships from the Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies, the Samuel F. Kress Foundation and the American Academy in Rome.

She first visited Bates in 1993 to speak in a lecture series on Byzantine art, architecture and history.

View Comments