Tag: Dr. Melia Belli Bose

Report of the Director

Richard Brettell - AH - Margaret M. McDermott Distinguished Chair in Aesthetic Studies - Art History

Dr. Richard R. Brettell

The fall semester of 2016 has been almost volcanic with activity at the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History. We have welcomed a new visiting scholar from the University of Victoria, Professor Allan Antliff, who is in Dallas for the 2016-2017 academic year to work on a new book dealing with contemporary art and anarchist philosophy. Allan and I became friends through our mutual study of Camille Pissarro, whose anarchism is well known, and my students and I have learned a great deal from his imaginative and morally bracing kind of art history. His presence at UT Dallas will result not only in a major book but also in a long-term collaboration with the superb art history faculty at the University of Victoria, a collaboration which will be enriched by the presence on campus of Dr. Melia Belli-Bose of the University of Victoria in the spring term of 2017.

Most recently we co-organized with the Ackerman Center a symposium on the School of London, the post-WWII painters of Britain that included Freud, Bacon, Kossoff, Auerbach, Andrews, and Kitaj. The symposium coincided with a major exhibition of the group at the Getty. We have also planned a symposium with our colleagues at the Crow Collection of Asian Art devoted to the global ceramics trade centered in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Puebla, Mexico. The markets of Puebla linked the Islamic ceramic tradition via Spain with the Chinese tradition via the Mexican-ruled Phillipines and the Manila galleons.

Our goal of making our DMA headquarters a “Living Room” for art historians in Dallas-Fort Worth continues to advance, and later this month we will welcome as many of our metroplex colleagues as possible to meet the DMA’s new director, Agustín Arteaga. Our schedule of workshops masterminded by Lauren LaRocca continues apace, involving O’Donnell Institute scholars and fellows as well as distinguished guests.

This fall, we have also had a good many distinguished visitors to the Institute’s UT Dallas home, including Mr. and Mrs. O’Donnell, UT Dallas’s new President, Dr. Richard Benson, and the French Ambassador, Gérard Araud.

French Ambassador Gérard Araud (middle) and Consul General of France Sujiro Seam (right) visit EODIAH

French Ambassador Gérard Araud (middle) and Consul General of France Sujiro Seam (right) visit EODIAH

 

For me, the semester is filled with preparations for the lectures in what might well be the largest course in UT Dallas’s history, Introduction to the Visual Arts, taught to an eager group of almost 350 undergraduates in the lecture hall of the Edith O’Donnell Arts and Technology building. Using works of art in Dallas-Fort Worth museums as portals onto other places and other times, I endeavor to excite UT Dallas’s supremely intelligent undergraduates, the vast majority of whom major in sciences, technology, management, or social sciences, to pause and think about human history and its artistic and architectural heritage.

We have also progressed this term in our partnerships with the Wildenstein Institute in Paris, the Capodimonte Museum in Naples, the Swiss Institute of Art History in Zurich, the University of Victoria, and, soon, a new Institute for the Study of American Art at the University of Nanjing in China.

Not bad for a little more than two years.

 

Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.

Founding Director, The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History and the Margaret McDermott Distinguished Chair

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

Crow Collection of Asian Art Exhibitions, Events, and Lectures

Exhibitions

Abhidnya Ghuge: Flight of the Canyon
July 16-November 27, 2016

Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de Los Angeles
September 17, 2016 – February 12, 2017

Divine Pathways: South and Southeast Asian Art
October 22, 2016 – March 5, 2017

Events

Clay to Talavera: An Encounter of Cultures Gala
September 17
6:00-8:00pm: Cocktail Reception at the Crow Collection of Asian Art
8:00pm – midnight: Dinner and Dancing at the Belo Mansion

Talavera Workshop for Educators
September 24, 9:00 am – noon

Otsukimi Festival at Klyde Warren Park
October 15, 6:30-9:30 pm

Members’ Reception for Clay Between Two Seas: From the Abbasid Court to Puebla de los Angeles
October 27, 6:00-8:00 pm

Educator Workshop with Abhidnya Ghuge
November 3, 6:00-9:00 pm

 

Lectures

Asian Art 101: Islam and Art by Dr. Melia Belli Bose
September 1, 6:30-8:00 pm

Active Compassion by David H. Breaux
September 20, 6:30-8:00 pm