San Francisco, January 11 — The Asian Art Museum is thrilled to announce that Naz Cuguoglu, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art & Programs, has received a prestigious curatorial research fellowship grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Cuguoglu is the first Asian Art Museum curator focusing on contemporary West Asian perspectives; her research will foster a conversation between artists from the region and the museum’s historic collection within an as-yet-untitled 2025 exhibition exploring the intersection of rave culture, artist spaces, and community formation.
Since 2013, Cuguoglu has researched post-revolutionary cultural production in the wider Middle East. Her upcoming exhibitions bring together SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) diaspora artists with East and Southeast Asian communities for collaborations, institutional allyships, and discussions about diasporic identities. “Particularly after the Arab Spring, amid local cultural crises, new artistic voices full of energy and insight have been emerging in this region,” says Cuguoglu, whose work aims to create a support network and platform that unites artists, curators, and researchers. “My projects often challenge the fetishization of pain, exploring transformative narratives by focusing on the generations born after the 1970s. Through worldbuilding and ‘speculative fabulation’ regarding social and political progress, these groups seek to reclaim their agency in a world that refuses to see them as legitimate actors.”
“By reimagining the world through the lens of art, we generate hope,” says Abby Chen, Head of Contemporary Art. “Naz’s work does that and so much more by shifting narratives and perceptions of Asian and Asian American artists while tapping the vast potential for collaborative futures across ethnic and diasporic communities.”
Cuguoglu brings extensive curatorial experience to her role at the Asian Art Museum, having curated exhibitions and programs internationally at documenta fifteen, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, the Walters Art Museum, and the 15th Istanbul Biennial, and locally in the Bay Area at the Wattis Institute, Berkeley Art Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Slash Art. Cuguoglu first joined the Asian Art Museum in 2022 as an inaugural fellow of the Practice Institute, a multidisciplinary platform for visiting curatorial, scholarly, and artist-led research into the current—and future—experience and practice of museums, resulting in the original exhibition Into View: New Voices, New Stories opening Jan. 19.
This is the second time since the Asian Art Museum expanded its mission to include contemporary art and experiences in 2018 that one of its curators has been awarded the curatorial research fellowship grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts. In 2019, Chen (quoted above) was awarded this grant for her research into the creative survival of artists in Hong Kong, who were navigating the challenges of an evolving art market amid political unrest while investigating questions around identity, belonging, and autonomy.
“For our curators to be recognized twice in the short time since the Asian Art Museum launched its contemporary art program — and by such an important organization as The Andy Warhol Foundation for Visual Arts — is truly no small feat,” said Jay Xu, the Barbara Bass Baker Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum. “This grant affirms the museum’s commitment both to telling contemporary Asian and Asian American stories and to expanding the idea of what it means to be an Asian or Asian American artist.”
About The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The foundation manages a dynamic grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects. To date, the foundation has given nearly $300 million in cash grants to over 1,000 arts organizations around the country and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.
About The Asian Art Museum
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art, with more than 20,000 awe-inspiring artworks ranging from ancient jades and ceramics to contemporary video installations. Dynamic special exhibitions, cultural celebrations, and public programs for all ages provide rich art experiences that unlock the past and spark questions about the future.