Armenian Museum of America honors Joan Agajanian Quinn for Women’s History Month

Art collector Joan Agajanian Quinn (center) with Armenian Museum President Michele Kolligian (right) and fellow Museum Trustee Sandra Missakian (Photograph by Kenneth Martin)

WATERTOWN, Mass. – To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, the Armenian Museum of America (AMA) is honoring Joan Agajanian Quinn, an art collector and a strong advocate on women’s issues. She is a trustee and member of the Executive Committee of the Armenian Museum of America. 

Part of Quinn’s collection was loaned to the museum for the exhibitions “On the Edge: Los Angeles Art 1970s – 1990s from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection” and “Discovering Takouhi: Portraits of Joan Agajanian Quinn.” These shows have received rave reviews from WGBH Arts editor Jared Bowen, Boston Public Radio, WBUR, Art New England Magazine and many others, and they are extended through March 31, 2023.

“We are grateful to Joan, and to her daughters Amanda and Jennifer, for loaning their art collection to the museum. This show has been transformative in terms of bringing new people into the museum and elevating our Adele and Haig Der Manuelian Galleries to a new level for future exhibitions,” states museum president Michele Kolligian.  

“The exhibitions include more than 20 women artists, such as Lita Albuquerque, Lynda Benglis, Vija Celmins and Claire Falkenstein. ‘Discovering Takouhi’ includes Dahlia Elsayed, Silvina Der Meguerditchian, Chris Hartunian and many more. Boston Globe reviewer Mark Feeney wrote that the Quinns were unconcerned with conventions, which is one reason they were likelier to collect work by women and artists of color than many of their peers,” adds Kolligian. “It is notable that the shows were expertly curated by three women: Rachel McCullah Wainwright, Natalie Varbedian and Gina Grigorian.”  

Quinn is the co-host of “Beverly Hills View” and has been the producer and host of the “Joan Quinn Profiles” for more than 35 years. The Los Angeles native was west coast editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview, Society editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the founding west coast editor of Condé Nast Traveler

She is an executive committee member of the Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) and serves on the board of the Women’s Support Center in Yerevan. Quinn has been appointed to an array of city and state commissions, and in 2017 she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

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Quinn recently announced that she is donating a series of paintings by Ruben Amirian to the collection of the Armenian Museum of America. “Homage to Mesrop Mashtots” contains 38 separate abstract paintings representing the letters of the Armenian alphabet. Each canvas is 12.5 by 16.5 inches. Assembled altogether, the series extends to an impressive 12 feet wide by four feet high. One of Amirian’s paintings is included in the “Discovering Takouhi” exhibition of Armenian artists, which will be on display through Spring 2023. 

Joan Quinn and artist Ruben Amirian, 2022

“Our family is honored and excited about the exhibitions at the museum. As a trustee, I am proud of the way the museum offers Armenian art that spans from ancient times to medieval and all the way to the modern era,” explains Quinn. “My hope was to attract more interest in the galleries and to offer something new to show from our family’s collection, which has not been widely seen or exhibited. I am also happy to expand the museum’s collection of modern artists with this gift.”

Amirian left Iran in 1962 for the US to continue his education, earning a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in city and regional planning from Howard University. Amirian pursued his love of art by taking courses in drawing and art history. The National Gallery of Art, Corcoran Gallery and other galleries became a second home where he was introduced to works by Richard Diebenkorn, Philip Guston, Edward Hopper and others. He maintains a studio practice in Glendale.

“On the Edge” and “Discovering Takouhi” are presented by the JHM Foundation. The Armenian Museum of America’s galleries are open Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and it is located at 65 Main Street, Watertown, MA.

Armenian Museum of America
The Armenian Museum of America is the largest Armenian museum in the Diaspora. It has grown into a major repository for all forms of Armenian material culture that illustrate the creative endeavors of the Armenian people over the centuries. Today, the Museum’s collections hold more than 25,000 artifacts including 5,000 ancient and medieval Armenian coins, 1,000 stamps and maps, 30,000 books, 3,000 textiles and 180 Armenian inscribed rugs, and an extensive collection of Urartian and religious artifacts, ceramics, medieval illuminations and various other objects. The collection includes historically significant objects, including five of the Armenian Bibles printed in Amsterdam in 1666.

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