Photo: Alvina Lenke Studios. Colorization based on recent research and added by Light Work, Syracuse, New York, 2020.
Joseph Urban (American, b. Austria, 1872 -1933), “Bedroom for Elaine Wormser(detail),” Chicago, 1930
A Cincinnati Art Museum (CAM) curator is being honored for her work on a popular exhibition.
The art museum’s digital exhibit, Joseph Urban: Unlocking an Art Deco Bedroom, spearheaded by CAM curator Amy Dehan, just received a 2023 Award for Excellence from the Association of Art Museum Curators (AAMC). These are the only accolades by which curators directly honor their colleagues.
AAMC says nearly 175 nominations were submitted and vetted by curator jurors across the globe. Importance was placed on how each entry reflected the association’s core values of inclusion, access, dialogue and engagement, according to a release.
Recipients were announced at a recent celebration in New York City.
“Each year it is a privilege to celebrate the work of curators that have advanced new methodologies, scholarship, and inclusion and access within the arts,” Judith Pineiro, executive director of the AAMC and AAMC Foundation, said in the release. “It is thrilling to recognize this year’s awardees in-person, and acknowledge the dynamic dialogues and broader engagement their work has sought to achieve.”
The AAMC honored 11 projects, with Joseph Urban: Unlocking an Art Deco Bedroom winning in the digital exhibition category.
Dehan served as the lead curator of the exhibit with help from Emily Holthrop, CAM’s director of Learning & Interpretation; Doug Hovekamp, the executive creative director at MOJO PSG; and Talia Shiroma, a curatorial assistant for Arts of the Americas and Europe at the Brooklyn Museum.
CAM’s Unlocking an Art Deco Bedroom by Joseph Urbanexhibit was the first time that the 1930s bedroom, designed by architect Joseph Urban, was on public display. The exhibit ran from May to October in 2022 and featured the room of affluent 17-year-old Elaine Wormser, recreated by architect and scenic designer Joseph Urban and originally located in Chicago’s Drake Tower.
With chartreuse bedding and curtains, elaborately patterned carpeting and coordinating furniture, the bedroom blended a touch of Vienna with Art Deco, said CAM.
When Wormser moved to Cincinnati in 1936, she brought nearly all her bedroom with her. She donated the bedroom to the art museum in 1973 and it remains the largest collection of “Urban-designed furnishings held by any public institution,” per the museum.
In addition to the furnishings, the exhibit also included period-specific drawings, paintings, fashion and a behind-the-scenes look at the building and preservation of the Wormser bedroom.
The exhibit ran at the museum from May to October last year, but you can still take a virtual tour of it here.
You can watch a short film of the AAMC Award for Excellence awardees discussing their inspiration below: