Rochelle Kessler has been active in the academic and museum fields for over thirty years with an area of expertise and research in the art and culture of South Asia, the Islamic world and greater Asia. Kessler received an undergraduate degree (BFA) in painting and drawing at the California College of Arts, Oakland, followed by two Masters degrees: in South Asian studies at the University of Arizona and Islamic art history at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in art history at the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Arizona State University.
Kessler has taught undergraduate/graduate-level art history and regional studies courses (Middle East and great Asia) at the College of New Rochelle, NY; The City College, The City University of New York; Woodbury University, Burbank, CA; Prescott College, Prescott, AZ; and now serves as an adjunct faculty member at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ.
Before relocating to Arizona in 2010, Rochelle held curatorial positions at the Mingei International Museum, San Diego; Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Museums. Kessler also served as collections manager and educator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art; and was an international exhibition project liaison for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum during the 1985 Festival of India in the US.
She has curated or co-curated over twenty exhibitions including Shadows of God on Earth: Arts of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Dynasties; The Sensuous and The Sublime: Representations of Love in the Arts of the Middle East and Southern Asia; A Grand Legacy: Arts of the Ottoman Empire (Harvard University Art Museums); Like Flowers in a Garden: Drawings and Embroideries of Women in South Asia; Valor and Virtue: Visualizing Rajput Identity, (Los Angeles County Museum of Art), and Bold Abstractions: Textiles from Central Asia & Iran (Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles).
- M.A. - Master of Arts in Oriental Studies, University of Arizona
- M.A. - Master of Arts in Art History, New York University
- HU 144: Studies in Art
- RS 307: Islam & Arabic Culture
HU 144 Studies in Art
HU 145 Themes in Humanities
HU 325 Exploring Film
HU 345 Comparative Religions
RS 300 Observing Asian Cultures
RS 306 Studies in Middle East History and Cultures
RS 307 Islam and Arabic Culture
HON 250 Honors Seminar II
> Co-author (with Meredith Strauss): “Burbank to Bursa: Woodbury Design Students Tour Turkish Textiles,” in NewsBlog, Surface Design Association’s on-line digital magazine (August, 2, 2010).
> Chapters: “South Asia,” “Anatolia, Persia and Central Asia,” and sections in “Ancient World,” and “Traditional Dress” in Grammar of Costume (London, Thames and Hudson, 2008).
> Entries: “Mughal Painting,” “Deccani Painting,” and “Rajput Painting” in Encyclopedia of India (New York, Charles Scribners Sons, 2005).
> “Adorning the Beloved: Krishna Lila Images of Transformation and Union, A Celebration of Love: The Romantic Heroine in the Indian Arts (New Delhi, 2004) 187-192.
> Essay, entry, and glossary editor: The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art (Columbus, 2003).
> “In the Company of the Enlightened: Portraits of Mughal Rulers and Holy Men,” Studies in Islamic and Later Indian Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, 2002) 16-41.
> Transcription of public lecture: “Encountering Remarkable Men: Mystics in Mughal Paintings,” Hadeeth ad-Dar: The Newsletter of Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Issue 10 (Safat, Kuwait, 2001).
> Catalogue entries: A Decade of Collecting: Recent Acquisitions by the Harvard University Art Museums, Harvard University Art Museums Bulletin, vol. 7, no. 2 (Cambridge, Spring 2000).
> Catalogue entries: 40 Years On … Donations by John Goelet: Sculpture, Paintings and Drawings, Miniatures and Calligraphy, Tankas and Mandala (New York, 1999).
> Research and co-author: Rajasthani Miniatures: the Welch Collection from the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, exh. cat., The Drawing Center (New York, 1997).
> Catalogue entries: Arte islámico del Museum Metropolitano de Arte de Nueva York, exh. cat. Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (Mexico City, 1994).