Museum of Fine Arts Houston, Appoints Mahrukh Tarapor Senior Advisor for International Initiatives

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has appointed Mahrukh Tarapor as Senior Advisor for International Initiatives.

Gary Tinterow, director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, today announced the appointment of Mahrukh Tarapor as senior advisor for international initiatives for the MFAH. Dr. Tarapor is charged with broadening the reach and influence of MFAH international initiatives, including the securing of traveling exhibitions and loans of works of art; developing relationships with governments and cultural institutions globally; and developing new avenues for the exchange of scholarship. While Dr. Tarapor’s initial focus will be the museum’s Arts of the Islamic World program, her purview spans a broad range of international collaborations and projects.

“The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, has established a remarkable core program for the presentation of art from Africa, Asia and the Islamic world, all accomplished through the extraordinary support of Houston’s diverse philanthropic communities,” Tinterow commented. “Thanks to this profound level of engagement in Houston, the MFAH is now poised to forge partnerships globally that will reinforce and promote all that has been accomplished here. Mahrukh Tarapor has been a distinguished and visionary figure in the sphere of international cultural collaboration for nearly 30 years. She is the ideal professional to move the international priorities of the MFAH ahead.”

A widely recognized consultant for art museums and cultural institutions specializing in international initiatives and partnerships, Dr. Tarapor has been a leading figure for more than three decades in collaborations among cultural institutions, governments and museums. She is the longtime, former associate director for exhibitions and director for international affairs for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and she defined a leading role for the Metropolitan in the international exchange of scholarship and works of art, negotiating landmark loans worldwide for ambitious and acclaimed exhibitions. These presentations include Al-Andalus: The Art of Islamic Spain, the first exhibition to bring together the dispersed art of Islamic Spain, presented at the Alhambra Palace in Granada (1992); The Glory of Byzantium (1997) and its sequel, Byzantium: Faith and Power 1261–1557 (2004); Egyptian Art in the Age of the Pyramids (1999); China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200–750 AD (2004); and Art of the First Cities: The Third Millennium BC from the Mediterranean to the Indus (2003) and its sequel, Beyond Babylon: Art, Trade and Diplomacy of the Second Millennium BC (2008).

Dr. Tarapor has initiated and managed other landmark collaborations overseas. Several of these projects resulted in the conservation and preservation of some of the most culturally significant artworks of the Islamic world, including the conservation of the great, 12th-century minbar, or wooden pulpit, of the Kutubiyya Mosque, with the Badi Palace in Marrakesh, Morocco; and the creation of new exhibition galleries at the Holy Monastery of Saint Catherine at Sinai, Egypt, for the presentation of its unparalleled collection of Byzantine icons.
As the Metropolitan’s director for international affairs from 2006 to 2010, Dr. Tarapor was responsible for expanding and promoting the museum’s cultural relationships with museums and governments in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Dr. Tarapor is a member of the international advisory board of the Sakip Sabanci Museum, Istanbul; a member of the board of directors of the American Associates of the Saint Catherine Foundation; and a former member (1992–2009) of the Bizot Group, an assembly of directors from the world’s leading museums that organize major international exhibitions. She has received numerous awards for her cultural contributions, including from the governments of France, Morocco and Spain.

Dr. Tarapor received her doctorate in English and art history from Harvard University in 1977. She lives in Mumbai and Geneva. –

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