Congratulations to Sylvia Houghteling whose book The Art of Cloth in Mughal India has won the 2023 Charles Rufus Morey Book Award and to Janet Dees, editor of A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence, a finalist for the 2023 Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award for Smaller Museums, Libraries, Collections, and Exhibitions, both overseen by the College Art Association of America (CAA).
The Art of Cloth in Mughal India is a richly illustrated history of textiles crafted and collected across South Asia and beyond during the 16th and 17th centuries, illuminating how cloth participated in political negotiations, social conversations, and the shared seasonal rhythms of the year.
In this book, Houghteling, who is assistant professor of art history at Bryn Mawr College, charts the travels of textiles from the Mughal imperial court to the kingdoms of Rajasthan, the Deccan sultanates, and the British Isles, showing how the “art of cloth” encompassed both the making of textiles as well as their creative uses. Hailed as “lively…comprehensive…[a] superb account” (World of Interiors) and “a crucial, multidisciplinary addition to the field” (caa.reviews), the book—Houghtling’s first—offers an incomparable account of the aesthetics and techniques of cloth and cloth making and the way textiles shaped the social, political, religious, and aesthetic life of early modern South Asia. The Charles Rufus Morey Award, given annually by the CAA, recognizes “an especially distinguished book in the history of art, published in the English language,” and is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the discipline.
A Site of Struggle: American Art against Anti-Black Violence—published by Princeton University Press in association with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University—foregrounds the perspectives of African-American cultural producers to examine how artists have grappled with anti-Black violence and its representations from the late nineteenth century to the present. The catalogue includes contributions from Dees—Steven and Lisa Munster Tananbaum Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art—as well as Sampada Aranke, Courtney Baker, Huey Copeland, Leslie Harris, and LaCharles Ward and accompanied an exhibition, curated by Dees, that opened at the Block Museum in early 2022, later touring to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts in Montgomery, Alabama. The Alfred H. Barr Jr. Award is presented annually to the “author or authors of an especially distinguished catalogue in the history of art.”