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Michael Chagnon


Academic Profile

Michael Chagnon is a museum curator and specialist of the arts of depiction from the early modern Persianate sphere. He received his Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University in September 2015, having defended his dissertation “The Illustrated Manuscript Tradition in Iran, 1040s/1630s-1070s/1660s: Patronage, Production, and Poetics in the Age of the ‘Fresh Style.’” Appointed as Curator of Exhibition Interpretation at Japan Society Gallery in June 2015, he previously held curatorial posts in the Islamic Art departments of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum, and also served in curatorial capacities for exhibitions at New-York Historical Society and Asia Society Museum. His recent essays include “‘Cloath’d in Several Modes’: Oil on Canvas Painting in Later Safavid Iran” in the Rietberg Museum exhibition catalogue The Fascination of Persia: The Persian-European Dialogue in Seventeenth-Century Art and Contemporary Art of Tehran (2013); and “The Reception and Illustration of Hafiz in Mid-Seventeenth-Century Iran” in Studies on the Iranian World Vol. II: Medieval and Modern (2015). In addition to curatorial and museum work, he is currently preparing a paper that focuses on the subversion of gendered poetic tropes in the Persian tradition as exemplified in illustrated copies of the seventeenth-century poet Naw’i’s masnavi Suz u Gudaz (“Burning and Melting”).

Current Position

Curator, Exhibition Interpretation, Japan Society