Peabody rising

By GREG COOK  |  July 23, 2008

New curators could change that. Phillip Prodger, the museum’s first full-time photo curator, began work in June. The museum’s first contemporary art curator could be announced as soon as next week, and be on board by September.

November brings a survey of paintings of polar vistas by Frederic Edwin Church, William Bradford, and Rockwell Kent. Exhibitions in 2010 will look at the Mayan relationship to the sea and bring rarely seen Chinese imperial jades, murals, and architectural pieces from 18th-century emperor Qianlong’s Garden of Longevity and Tranquility in Beijing’s Forbidden City. “Most Chinese people don’t even know about this [garden],” says Hartigan, “because it’s not the kind of thing people have access to.”

It may represent another major coup for the museum (and a testament to the skill and connections of its Chinese art curator, Nancy Berliner). It’s the kind of impressive move that the Peabody Essex is turning into a habit.

To read Greg Cook’s blog, The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, go to

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