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Talk / Lecture

POSTPONED – Curator’s Choice: A Walk-through of Communications Systems in a Global Context

February 5, 2022 | 1:00PM - 2:00PM


Written and visual communication has taken many forms over human history. This installation features an ancient Egyptian stela, an illuminated medieval Armenian Gospel, an early modern Inka knotted khipu used for sophisticated numerical accounting, the manuscript of Hank Levy’s 1973 musical score “Whiplash,” and the logbook recording “the birth of the Internet” at UCLA. Rare books and manuscripts showcase the distinctive writing systems of Japanese, Ge’ez, Arabic, Javanese, and English; religious texts embody the divine; and calendars guide prophecies. All these texts seek to move a message from sender to receiver. Meanwhile, the craft of writing itself has inspired many artists, including the 20th-century Senegalese painter Yelimane Fall whose inventive calligraphic style manifests the healing power of words. Join Chief Curator Matthew H. Robb for a walk-through of this exhibition at the Fowler Museum.

Matthew H. Robb has served as chief curator of the Fowler Museum since 2016. He oversees the museum’s diverse exhibitions and collections devoted to the ancient, traditional, and contemporary cultures of Africa, Native and Latin America, Asia, and the Pacific. Prior to joining the staff of the Fowler, he was the first curator of the Arts of the Americas at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Robb holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University; a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin; and a PhD from Yale University. 

Curator’s Choice
Join curators for lively conversations about their passions and projects that inspire audiences to engage with different worldviews and find joy in the multiplicity of human experiences.

Image credit: Hank Levy (b. 1927, Baltimore, US; d. 2001, Parkville, US), Score for “Whiplash,” 1973; paper, ink; Ethnomusicology Archive, Herb Alpert School of Music


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