Bryan R. Just Peter Jay Sharp, Class of 1952, Curator and Lecturer in the Art of the Ancient Americas
Ph.D., Tulane University, 2006
Bryan R. Just specializes in ancient Maya art history and hieroglyphic writing. His curatorial responsibilities at the Princeton University Art Museum, however, encompass the entirety of the indigenous Americas, spanning some 5,000 years and artistic production from the southern cone of South America to the Bering Strait. His recent publications include Dancing into Dreams: Maya Vase Painting of the Ik’ Kingdom (2012), “Printed Pictures of Maya Sculpture” (2012), “Mysteries of the Maize God” (2009), “Modifications of Ancient Maya Sculpture” (2005) and “In Extenso Almanacs in the Madrid Codex” (2004). He also contributed to the Princeton University Art Museum’s Handbook of the Collections (2007), and its revised edition (2013). Just served as in-house curator for the exhibition Gifts from the Ancestors: Ancient Ivories of Bering Strait, co-curated by William Fitzhugh and Julie Hollowell, from October 2009–January 2010 at Princeton. He also curated Dancing into Dreams: Maya Vases of the Ik’ Kingdom (October 2012–February 2013), which was a finalist for the 2012 Association of Art Museum Curators Outstanding Exhibition in a University Museum. In addition to his museum responsibilities and involvement with the Art and Archaeology department, Just chairs Princeton’s Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) committee and sits with committee in the Program in Latin American Studies.
Just regularly teaches an introductory lecture course on the art of Mesoamerica, and topical seminars on a variety of subjects, including the Maya, the Olmec, and the American Southwest. His courses consistently involve intimate study of original works art from the Princeton University Art Museum’s collections. He has also previously taken his students to explore private collections as well as archaeological sites and museums in Chiapas, Mexico.
Currently, Just is curating a renovation of the ancient Americas galleries in the art museum and writing an accompanying book on selections from the collection. Both are scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2014. He is also developing an exhibition on the art of Peru’s first horizon (1000–1 B.C.), slated to open in 2017.
Dancing into Dreams: Maya Vase Painting of the Ik’ Kingdom (Princeton University Art Museum, 2012).
“Printed Pictures of Maya Sculpture,” in Past Presented: Archaeological Illustration in the Americas, ed. Joanne Pillsbury (Dumbarton Oaks, 2012).
“Mysteries of the Maize God,” Record of the Princeton University Art Museum 68 (2009).
“Modifications of Ancient Maya Sculpture,” RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics 48 (2005).
“In Extenso Almanacs in the Madrid Codex,” in The Madrid Codex: New Approaches to Understanding an Ancient Maya Manuscript, ed. Gabrielle Vail and Anthony F. Aveni (University Press of Colorado, 2004).