Met announces first-ever endowed curatorial position for Japanese decorative arts

Metropolitan Museum of Art

L to R: Diane Abbey, Arthur Abbey and Monika Bincsik at the exhibition Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection

NEW YORK – Daniel H. Weiss, President and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, announced today that Diane and Arthur Abbey, well-known New York collectors of Japanese bamboo art, have provided a generous gift to endow a curatorship in the Museum’s Department of Asian Art. In recognition of their gift, the position has been named the Diane and Arthur Abbey Curatorship for Japanese Decorative Arts. Assistant Curator Monika Bincsik, who joined the department five years ago, is the first incumbent, effective February 13, 2018. The curatorship is the first endowed position for Japanese decorative arts in the Museum’s history.

“We are profoundly grateful to Diane and Arthur Abbey for providing such generous support, which allows us to endow this position in our Department of Asian Art,” said Mr. Weiss. “Their gift helps ensure that The Met continues to be a leader in the collection, study, and presentation of the finest examples of Japanese decorative arts.”

In March 2017, the Abbeys designated more than 70 works of Japanese bamboo art as promised gifts to The Met; most of these works were featured in the recent exhibition Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection, which was curated by Monika Bincsik. The exhibition, on view from June 13, 2017-February 4, 2018, attracted more than 420,000 visitors from around the world. The Abbeys also underwrote the exhibition and its related publication.

“Diane and I are thrilled to support one of the world’s great encyclopedic art institutions in its effort to comprehensively collect and present Japanese culture from earliest times down to the present,” stated Mr. Abbey.

About Arthur and Diane Abbey

Arthur N. Abbey serves as senior and founding partner of Abbey Spanier, LLP, where he is a leading practitioner in the field of securities, antitrust, and consumer litigation. He has served for approximately the past 20 years as chairman of the board of New York Law School, where he and his wife co-founded the Diane Abbey Law Institute for Children and Families and also named fellowships for summer internships and public service.

Diane Abbey, who formerly served as an educator for Planned Parenthood, continues to serve as a trustee of New Alternatives for Children, an organization that provides a range of social services for disabled children and their families and a board member of JCCA, an agency dedicated to providing child welfare and mental health services to children in need.

Mr. and Mrs. Abbey are members of The Met’s Friends of Asian Art group and supporters of the Central Park Conservancy, Adelphi University, LIFT, Safe Passage, and Japan Society, among others. Their collection of Japanese baskets and bamboo sculpture from the late 19th century (Meiji period) to the present is among the finest assembled.

About Monika Bincsik

Bincsik specializes in Japanese decorative arts, especially lacquer. She grew up in Budapest, Hungary, and received her Ph.D. from the ELTE University of Budapest for a dissertation on the history of collecting Japanese art in the West. While a Monbushō Fellow affiliated with the Department of Art History at Kyoto University from 2000 to 2002, she was able to continue her study of Japanese lacquer art under the tutelage of Haino Akio, Curator of Lacquer at the Kyoto National Museum. She then served as Curator of Japanese Art at the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, from 2002 to 2007. From 2008 to 2009 she was a Jane and Morgan Whitney Art History Research Fellow at The Met, conducting research on Japanese lacquers and the history of the collection.

Bincsik later worked as a research assistant at the Art Research Center at Ritsumeikan University, Kyoto, where she earned a second Ph.D. for a dissertation focusing on Japanese lacquers. While at The Met, she conducted research on the Museum’s holdings in lacquer, textile, ceramics, and netsuke. She was co-curator of the exhibition Kimono: A Modern History (fall 2014) and curator of Discovering Japanese Art: American Collectors and The Met (2015) and, most recently, Japanese Bamboo Art: The Abbey Collection. She has published numerous articles on Japanese decorative arts and collecting history.

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