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.
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).
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.
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.
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.