Schedule a time to visit the Carlos Museum before the semester ends

Emory Report | April 28, 2021

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The newest exhibit at the Carlos Museum was curated by students in a class studying Hinduism and the avatars of Vishnu. Image: “Vishnu Rests on the Cosmic Ocean,” Punjab Hills, Guler, ca. 1800. Opaque watercolor on paper. Courtesy of Harshna and Pyush Patel. L2020.11.2.

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The Michael C. Carlos Museum has offered a variety of virtual programs and exhibits during the COVID-19 pandemic, but members of the Emory community and the general public also can make a reservation to visit in person. The last few weeks of spring semester are the perfect time to stop by to see one exhibit before it closes and another — curated by students — that has just opened.

“The Avatars of Vishnu”

The student-curated exhibition “The Avatars of Vishnu” opened in the Works on Paper Gallery April 24.

Vishnu, one of the most popular Hindu deities, manifests in various forms known by the Sanskrit term avatāra, which means descent. Throughout cyclical periods of time, known as yugas, Vishnu descends to earth to restore cosmic order and balance. His avatars are the embodiment of dharmaa central concept in Hindu traditions that can be understood as order, righteousness, and duty. 

This exhibition was curated by students this semester in the class “Depicting God in Hinduism: The Avatars of Vishnu,” taught by Ellen Gough, assistant professor in Emory’s Department of Religion. 

“I have been so impressed with the students' creativity and engagement with the project,” Gough says. “They threw themselves into researching each of their assigned pieces for the exhibition — from a 10th-century statue of the boar incarnation of Vishnu to a 19th-century watercolor of Krishna as the cosmos — and paid attention to all the details necessary for curating an engaging, meaningful exhibition. The students spent hours and hours carefully looking at these paintings and sculptures, drawing our attention to all sorts of distinctive details that shed light on the communities who made these objects and how they defined God.”

The class included virtual visits from distinguished art historians with the Brooklyn Museum, Middlebury College and Haverford College who discussed the many forms in which Vishnu descends to earth to restore cosmic order and balance. Recordings of these lectures can be viewed online

“The Avatars of Vishnu” is open until June 20.

“Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place”

The exhibition “Wondrous Worlds: Art and Islam Through Time and Place” explores the long history, vast geographic expanse and remarkable diversity of works of art in the Islamic world. Wondrous Worlds remains at the Carlos Museum through Sunday, May 9. 

The museum has offered ongoing virtual programs in conjunction with “Wondrous Worlds” since the exhibition opened in January.

Videos of the programs feature authors, panelists and lecturers from across the U.S. and around the world. All videos are available on the Wondrous Worlds programming page. One notable highlight on that page is the Gallery Talk and Guided Tour by Emory faculty members Roxani Margariti, associate professor of Middle Eastern Studies, and Scott Kugle, professor of South Asians and Islamic Studies.

Reservations to visit the Carlos Museum are needed in order to control building density and comply with CDC and Emory University COVID-19 safety protocols. Schedule a time and learn about visitor guidelines here.