Teotihuacan was an exemplary and archetypal city of ancient Mexico – and a place where art served to bind the diverse population together. While modern city-dwellers recognize its grid and multi-family dwellings as characteristics of our own urban forms, its monumental pyramids and hidden tunnels speak to a different order, drawn from the power of the natural world.
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Matthew H. Robb is Chief Curator of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, where he oversees the museum’s diverse array of exhibitions and collections devoted to the ancient, traditional, and contemporary cultures of Africa, Native and Latin America, and Asia and the Pacific. A specialist in the art and architecture of Teotihuacan, he curated the exhibition Teotihuacan: City of Water, City of Fire, for the de Young Museum in 2017, with additional presentations at LACMA and the Phoenix Art Museum. The exhibition received a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the accompanying catalogue, which he edited and wrote for, was recognized with an Award for Excellence from the American Association of Museum Curators in 2018. Before his appointment at the de Young as its first curator of the Arts of the Americas, he was Associate Curator in Charge, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, at the Saint Louis Art Museum, where he curated and supervised complete reinstallations of the museum's ancient American, African, Oceanic, and Native American collections. Robb holds an undergraduate degree from Princeton University; a Master’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin; and a PhD from Yale University. He has also held curatorial positions at the Walters Art Museum and the Princeton University Art Museum. He has lectured and written on a broad range of topics in the Indigenous arts of the Western Hemisphere, and was a scholar in residence at the Getty Research Institute in 2015. Current projects include an exhibition on contemporary artist Gala Porras-Kim as well as working with co-curators Victoria Lyall and Tere Romo on Traitor, Survivor, Icon: The Legacy of La Malinche and the Conquest of Mexico, scheduled to open in 2022.