Susan Bean recently retired as the senior curator of South Asian and Korean art at the Peabody Essex Museum. She continues to pursue projects independently focusing on the visual culture of modern South Asia, from the colonial period to the present. Her exhibition Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India after Independence opens at the Peabody Essex Museum in February 2013. The exhibition, drawing principally on the rich resource of PEM’s Chester and Davida Herwitz Collection of modern and contemporary Indian art and including important loaned works, showcases the three generations of artists who shaped India’s golden age of modernist painting. An accompanying book is co-published with Thames & Hudson. Previously Dr. Bean produced a series of exhibitions and publications on 20th-century Indian art, including ReVisions: Indian Artists Engaging Traditions (2009); Gateway Bombay (2007); Epic India: M. F. Husain’s Mahabharata Project (2006); Exposing the Source: Paintings by Nalini Malani (2005); and Timeless Visions: Contemporary Art of India from the Herwitz Collection (1999). Dr. Bean also works on the early modern period. Her book, Yankee India: American Commercial and Cultural Encounters with India in the Age of Sail, 1784–1860 (2001), mined PEM’s collection and archive to illuminate the beginnings of American interest in the art and culture of the subcontinent. Currently she is delving further into the role of Bengal’s clay sculptors in reshaping the visual culture of early modern India, following on her 2011 publication, “The Unfired Clay Sculpture of Bengal in the Artscape of Modern South Asia,” in Companion to Asian Art and Architecture, Rebecca Brown and Deborah Hutton, eds.
Bean is a speaker in the Panel: Art Markets.