Category: Islamic Art

A Tale of Two Cities and Two Symposia

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History is casting its net widely so as to benefit from the best possible partners. The past month has seen two superb scholarly symposia, one held in Dallas and the other in New York, in which EODIAH has played crucial intellectual and sponsorship roles.

Islamic Sympsosium

Close to home, we worked with our distinguished Visiting Associate Professor, Dr. Melia Belli, to create a partnership with the Islamic Art Revival Series and the Aga Khan Council for the Central United States and our permanent partner, the Dallas Museum of Art. The result was entitled INTERSECTIONS: THE VISUAL CULTURE OF ISLAMIC COSMOPOLTIANISM. Held over two days on May 4 and 5, the symposium brought scholars from the US, Canada, and Europe to Dallas, forming intellectual and social bonds over lectures, discussions, meals, and bus rides in the Margaret McDermott Suite at UTD’s McDermott Library as well as the Dallas Museum of Art (details included below).

Tour of the Keir Collection at the Islamic Art Symposium

Musical Performance, Bahman Panahi, Musicalligraphy: the relationship
between calligraphy and music

The idea of the symposium results from the latest methodological shifts in inter-cultural studies by stressing the interactions among artists, patrons, and institutions from the Medieval world to the present. The aim of the symposium was to demonstrate the many ways in which “Islamic” art maintained active relationships with other cultural and religious traditions throughout the millennium and a half of Islamic cultural traditions. With powerful short papers, discussion sections, and longer keynote address by world-renowned scholars, the symposium was a resounding proof of EODIAH’s local partnerships and international ambitions.

The second symposium was held in New York at the Frick Collection under the partnership of EODIAH and the Frick’s distinguished Center for the History of Collecting. The topic was the early collecting of Impressionist paintings, and the keynote speaker was our own Rick Brettell, who, with the close collaboration of the Frick’s wonderful Inge Reist and her staff, presided over a group of scholars from England, France, Germany, and the United States to discuss the early collectors of Impressionism in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Held in the Frick’s beautiful oval auditorium, the scholars spoke to a full house, and we were lucky enough that UTD’s Provost, Dr. Inga Musselman, was able to attend the second of two days, May 11 and 12. We were even luckier that our friends at Christie’s made possible a very collegial dinner at the Restaurant d’Orsay and that Northern Trust, with offices in Dallas, Chicago, and New York helped us with the costs.

Both symposia were so bristling with intellectual energy and new research that it is likely that one if not both of them will result in books.

(L-R) Lionel Pissarro and Joachim Pissarro (great grandsons of Camille Pissarro), George Schnerck, Rick Brettell

Laura D. Corey, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Paul-Louis Durand-Ruel

(L-R) Inge Reist, Director of The Frick Collection’s Center for the History of Collecting at the Frick Art Reference Library; Chris Riopelle, Curator of French Paintings at the National Gallery London; and George Shackelford, Deputy Director of the Kimbell Art Museum

L: Lionel Pissarro and Andrea Nasher at dinner at the Frick Collection. R: Joachim Pissarro and Anne Distel, Musée d’Orsay.

 

 

 

More about Intersections: Visual Cultures of Islamic Cosmopolitanism

A collaboration between the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History, Islamic Art Revival Series and Aga Khan Council for the Central United States in partnership with the Dallas Museum of Art, a monumental Islamic Art Symposium Intersections: Visual Cultures of Islamic Cosmopolitanism was held Friday, May 4 – Saturday, May 5, 2018.

Intersections: the Visual Cultures of Islamic Cosmopolitanism was an innovative Islamic Art Symposium in Texas; the first major academic symposium to investigate art of various media (architecture, painting, textiles, calligraphy, photography and music) born of contact between Islamic and non-Islamic societies. Papers and presentations addressed artworks from a wide temporal (eighth century to present) as well as geographic (North Africa, Europe, Middle East, Central and South Asia) scope.

Calligraphy presentation at the Islamic Art Symposium

The first session was held at the UT Dallas Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology Building. Opening remarks were given by Dr. Richard Brettell, Symposium Co-Chairs Dr. Melia Belli and Samina Hooda, and Dr. Amyn Sajoo. Panels included Islam, Art and the Medieval World and Early Modern Conversations with panelists Marcus Milwright, Cathleen Fleck, Alia Sandouby, William Toronzo and Alicia Walker, Jennifer Pruitt, Manuela Ceballos, Heghnar Waterpaugh, Mika Natif, Saleema Waraich, and Chanchal Dhadlani, and Vivek Gupta. The Keynote Address was given by Dr. Jonathan Bloom on “Fatimid Objects in European Churches”.  The day concluded with a musical performance by Bahman Panahi on “Musicalligraphy: the relationship between calligraphy and music” on the tar/sitar.

Sessions at the DMA featured keynote speaker artist Shahzia Sikander discussing her multicultural past and our future. Sikander has received many prestigious awards, including the Asian Society Award for Significant Contributions to Contemporary Art and the Inaugural Medal of Art from the US Department of State (AIE), Washington, DC. A scholarly panel on Modern and Contemporary Islamic Art and a presentation by Jason Moriyama, a Senior Partner with Moriyama and Teshima Architects in Canada were followed by a special tour of the DMA’s Keir Collection of Islamic Art. Other presenters included Jenifer Pruitt, Michelle Craig, Nada Shabout, and Vivek Gupta.

The Islamic Art Revival Series, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the Crow Collection of Asian Art presented events at the DMA on the Thursday prior to the Symposium including a lecture and calligraphy workshop with Bahman Panahi, Islamic Art Presentations, and a Code of Ethics Workshop with Dr. Azra Aksamija.

Download the full Symposium program here.

Reports from the Dallas Museum of Art

DMA_Logo_Print_CMYK_2Color  

Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

Courtesy Dallas Museum of Art

Viva DMA

 

On March 12, a sweeping survey of painting, sculpture, photography, drawings, and films that document Mexico’s artistic Renaissance during the first half of the 20th century opened to the public. The much anticipated exhibition México 1900–1950: Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, José Clemente Orozco, and the Avant-Garde brought in that day more than 2500 excited visitors eager to gaze at beloved masterworks and behold lesser-known pioneers of Mexican Modernism. In the days leading up to the opening, the Museum welcomed esteemed guests including Maria Cristina García Cepeda, the Minister of Culture of Mexico; Jorge Baldor, the founder of the Latino Center for Leadership Development in Dallas; and many Mexican art lenders to the exhibition’s DMA presentation. Accompanying the impressive exhibition is an equally beautiful illustrated catalogue coordinated by the DMA and the Secretaría de Cultura/Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes. It is edited by Dr. Agustín Arteaga, who has also written its lead essay, and available in both English and Spanish.

Ramón Cano Manilla Indian Woman from Oaxaca (India oaxaqueña), 1928 Oil on canvas Overall: 58.5 x 39 in. (149 x 99.5 cm) Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City Constituent holdings, 1982 © Courtesy of El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes Y Literatura, 2017

Ramón Cano Manilla
Indian Woman from Oaxaca (India oaxaqueña), 1928
Oil on canvas
Overall: 58.5 x 39 in. (149 x 99.5 cm)
Museo Nacional de Arte, INBA, Mexico City Constituent holdings, 1982
© Courtesy of El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes Y Literatura, 2017

 

Prime Real Estate

 

It took noted art collector Edmund de Unger over five decades to comprise one of the world’s most geographically and historically comprehensive collections of Islamic art. This April, the DMA will once again showcase these remarkable treasures, the largest public presentation in the Collection’s history, in a new long term installation. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art Gallery will highlight particular strengths within the Collection, from luster pottery and rock crystals to rare manuscripts and painted miniatures of exquisite beauty. The gallery will be located at the very heart of the Museum, in the DMA’s concourse. “By situating the gallery of this important collection of masterworks in a prime location on the Museum’s first level, the DMA is affirming the vitality of Islamic art to its exhibition program and to the art historical canon,” said Sabiha Al Khemir, the DMA’s Senior Advisor for Islamic Art. The Keir Collection came to the DMA on a long-term loan agreement with the trustees of the Keir Collection that was finalized in 2014, transforming the Museum into the third largest repository of Islamic art in the US.

Khamsa of Nizami c. 1585–1590, Mughal Work on paper Overall: 2 3/4 × 5 3/8 × 7 7/8 in. (6.99 × 13.65 × 20 cm) The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.18

Khamsa of Nizami
c. 1585–1590, Mughal
Work on paper
Overall: 2 3/4 × 5 3/8 × 7 7/8 in. (6.99 × 13.65 × 20 cm)
The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.18

 

Islamic Art Revival Series Exhibition

Helen Zughaib, Generations Lost

Helen Zughaib, Generations Lost

IARS Women’s Invitational Exhibition 2017 was presented by Islamic Art Revival Series at the Eiseman Center of Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations in Richardson, Texas in the Forrest and Virginia Green Mezzanine Gallery from March 1st to March 26th.

This exhibition presented the work of ten minority women practicing in the United States as first generation artists. This exhibition focused on the work of these women artists who create art work which not only reflects, the strong bond to their own heritage but the experience of living in the USA, their new permanent home, and how this experience has influenced the work they are presenting now.

The exhibition Curator and IARS Art Director Shafaq Ahmad explains, the work selected is innovative, daring, inspiring and presents unique narratives, techniques, current social issues and viewpoints that contribute to understanding of diverse cultures.  A wide variety of themes will be presented in this contemporary art exhibition. Artists originally from Japan, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, now living in the United States were invited to take part in this unique and inspiring exhibition.

IARS offers an opportunity for the audiences of all ages, genders, faiths and cultures to view not only very diverse art but to interact with a body of work from each artist for a better understanding of their work.

The artists participating in the exhibition are Sarah Ahmad from Georgia, Nida Bangash, from Texas, Sue Ewing from Texas, Nina Gharbanzadeh from Wisconsin, Saberah Malik from Massachusettes, Hend Al Mansour from Minnesota, Roya Mansourkhani from Texas, Naoko Morisawa from Washington, Sudi Sharaf from New York and Helen Zughaib from Washington D.C.

 

Visit the Islamic Art Revival Series website.

Dallas Becomes a Major Center for Islamic Art

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UTD and Senior Advisor for Islamic art at the DMA

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UTD and Senior Advisor for Islamic Art at the DMA

Four years ago, when I was appointed the Dallas Museum of Art’s Senior Advisor for Islamic Art, a caring colleague in Europe remarked: ‘But there is no Islamic art in Dallas!’ Thanks to the visionary institutional leadership in Dallas that reality has changed with impressive speed, and is growing ripples.

Dr. Brettell saw the significance of introducing the teaching of Islamic art at the O’Donnell Institute, and the first graduate course took place last year. This teaching experience was made all the more rewarding for me thanks to a very inspired and sharp group of students. The course brought an emphasis to the importance of cultural context and examined our ways of looking. It provided an in-depth introduction to the subject of Islamic art, highlighting its unity and diversity from Spain to South East Asia. Last year we discussed some of the main aspects of Islamic art, such as calligraphy and figural representation. The next Spring semester of 2017, the course will concentrate on distinctive styles and iconic representations of Islamic art, highlighting new topics such as technical innovations and cross cultural influences.

The course focuses on the art of the object, examining works in different mediums, produced over many centuries, especially during the Medieval period. It makes extensive use of the Keir Collection at the DMA. The Keir Collection constitutes a major resource of the material culture of the Islamic world, spanning three continents and thirteen centuries. It is a considerable benefit for the course as it enables students to examine physical objects of art. The Keir Collection, assembled over the course of five decades, is one of the most geographically and historically comprehensive of its kind, encompassing almost two thousand works—from works on paper to rock crystal, to ceramics, metalwork, carpets and textiles. The arrival of the Keir Collection at the DMA transforms Dallas into the third largest repository of Islamic art in the United States.

Next term we welcome Dr. Melia Belli-Bose, visiting from the University of Victoria. She will teach here at UT Dallas and I am excited that she will contribute to the graduate course, bringing her extensive research experience and fresh insights.

A library of Islamic art – which belonged to the scholar Dr. Oliver Watson, the IM Pei Professor of Islamic art and architecture at Oxford University – has been acquired by the EODIAH and is on its way from the United Kingdom to Dallas. It will be housed in the O’Donnell Institute space at the DMA. The library holds eleven hundred volumes and includes standard reference books as well as rare runs of journals, and a number of substantial works especially on ceramics, architecture and painting. The library will be a significant foundation for research, supporting the Keir Collection and the study of Islamic art.

Next April, the first space dedicated to Islamic art will be inaugurated at the DMA. The Keir Collection will be presented in a new purpose-designed gallery space off the Museum’s Concourse. The new long term installation will present over a hundred pieces from the collection, many of which were never shown before, while retaining some of the masterworks from last year’s exhibition Spirit and Matter, such as the celebrated Fatimid rock crystal ewer, one of only seven in the world of its caliber and the only one of its type in the United States. Over the years, the gallery will offer a rotation of pieces, especially works on paper and textiles.

A taste of what’s to come in the gallery will be revealed at the beginning of the Spring semester when we display a number of works from the Keir Collection in the EODIAH vitrine at the DMA. The theme will be luster-painting on ceramics, which is an important innovation of the Islamic world. The complex technique of luster and its alchemy (where metal oxides produce the effect of iridescence) illustrates the connection between science and art, and the transfer of knowledge from East to West.

 

Large bowl, ceramic, with luster-painted decoration, Iraq or Egypt, 10th century. The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.220

Large bowl, ceramic, with luster-painted decoration, Iraq or Egypt, 10th century.
The Keir Collection of Islamic Art on loan to the Dallas Museum of Art, K.1.2014.220

 

I love the vitrine itself – ingeniously designed by Buchanan Architecture to physically connect the DMA and the Institute space: one can look at the display from the inside and from the outside. The vitrine physically and conceptually reflects institutional collaboration. In a way, it mirrors the dynamic of art history’s perspective: our very imperative in the Islamic art course, to look from within and from without, to look at the object, at the world within it, at the cultural context that produced it and its way of seeing the world.

The Islamic art initiative is an exciting venture with many ripples to come. The momentum for Islamic art in Dallas at present is a window into a historical step in the trajectory of Islamic art, which, in itself, is no less than a leap in the canon of art history and of fostering cross-cultural understanding.

Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir

Distinguished Scholar of Islamic Art at UT Dallas and Senior Advisor for Islamic Art at the DMA