Rebecca Bloom is a scholar and curator who specializes in Tibetan Buddhism, Buddhist material culture, and issues surrounding the intersection of religion and museums. Following four years of curatorial and educational work at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York, she pursued graduate studies and research that engage materials across media, methods across disciplines, and subjects across geographical boundaries. In her role at SUMA, Dr. Bloom has plunged into the world of modern and contemporary art, exploring especially the arts of the American West and Depression-era community art galleries. She is, however, forever scheming to bring more Asian art to Utah’s high desert.
Her work contributes to a growing body of scholarship within Tibetan Studies that bridges disciplinary divisions—between religion, art history, and literary studies—thus enabling an examination of figures, texts, and objects that complicate conventional genres and dominant narratives. Such research necessitates an interdisciplinary methodology and a diverse archive.
While Rebecca’s work has taken her to the far corners of Asia—from the Himalayan monasteries of Ladakh to the seaside temples of Tamil Nadu to the city-center shrines of Japan—her achievements State-side have also been true adventures. In addition to coauthoring and contributing to several publications, she co-curated a multi-year exhibition of Buddhist art at the National Museum of Asian Art and collaborated on three digital humanities projects with a multi-disciplinary team from the University of Michigan. Rebecca received her PhD from the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan in Summer 2022. She is currently the Diane P. Stewart Assistant Director, Curatorial Affairs at Southern Utah Museum of Art in Cedar City, Utah.
Industry Expertise (3)
Arts and Crafts
Areas of Expertise (8)
Modern & Classic Tibetan
History of Art
University of Michigan: PhD, Buddhist Studies 2022
Yale Divinity School: MA, Concentration in Asian Religions (Magna Cum Laude) 2012
Middlebury College: BA, Religion & History of Art (Joint Major) (Magna Cum Laude) 2006
Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies 2017 (professional)
Graduate Certificate in Museum Studies, 2017, University of Michigan
Rackham International Research Award 2017 (professional)
International Institute/Rackham Graduate School, University of Michigan
Practicum Stipend for Research Project 2015 (professional)
Museums Studies Program, University of Michigan
Highest Honors, History of Art and Architecture; High Honors, Religion 2006 (professional)
Media Appearances (2)
The Humanities’ Place in Research Spending
The Chronicle of Higher Education online
At one of the country’s top research institutions, not far from where scientists are working on discovering new treatments for disease, Donald S. Lopez Jr. is hard at work doing another kind of research: tracing the travels of Hyecho, an eighth-century Korean Buddhist monk.
Ancient Tradition Gets a New Look
The Buddhist Review online
Renowned Buddhist studies professor Donald S. Lopez Jr. cites Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities as one inspiration for the book Hyecho’s Journey: The World of Buddhism. However, unlike Calvino’s masterpiece, which imagines Marco Polo describing fictitious cities to Kublai Khan, Hyecho’s Journey shows us how real cities might have appeared to an 18-year-old Korean monk on pilgrimage to the major Buddhist sites of the 8th century.
Event Appearances (5)
A Mirror of Hands-on Instruction: Visual Transmission in the Thirteenth Dalai Lama’s Illustrated Vinaya Commentary
Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference, 2020 Boston
Hyecho’s Journey: Pilgrimage as Pedagogy
Annual Symposium for Pilgrimage Studies, 2019 College of William & Mary
The Monastery Museum: Where the Sacred and the Secular Mix
Anthro-History Program Annual Symposium, 2017 University of Michigan
Where the Sacred and the Secular Meet: The Politics of Display at a Monastery Museum in Ladakh, India
Museum Studies Brown Bag, 2016 University of Michigan Museum of Art
The Mystery of Dixon's Cedar City Works
Maynard Dixon: A MOA Symposium, 2023 BYU Museum of Art
Sensational Buddhism: Marks of PerfectionSmithsonian National Museum of Asian Art
Rebecca Bloom is a scholar and curator specializing in Tibetan Buddhism and Himalayan art. She is particularly interested in the re-creation of sacred spaces in museums and the creation of museum spaces in Buddhist monasteries. As cocurator of Encountering the Buddha, she was responsible for the Tibetan Buddhist Shrine Room and the app "Sacred Spaces," which allows users to explore this shrine room and other shrines across the Himalayas. Ms. Bloom is currently finishing her dissertation, the focus of which is an illustrated commentary on the monastic code composed by the Thirteenth Dalai Lama and the series of murals inspired by this unique text.
ARTH 3750 - History of Non-Western Art
A lecture course focusing on the history of non-western art. Students will come to understand the history and modern-day significance of art from outside the western tradition.