Tag: 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.

Islamic Art Revival Series Exhibition

Islamic Art Revival Series presents its first photography exhibition

THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE, Through the Lens of Three Women

At the Eisemann Center for Performing Arts and Corporate Presentations

February 28 – March 25, 2018

Presented by the Islamic Art Revival Series (IARS) a program of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, an exhibition of photography by three Texas based women including Carolyn Brown, Tuba Koymen, and Farah Janjua.

Free Activities & Events to Enlighten and Inspire Friday, March 2nd

Opening Night Reception featuring Dr Nada Shabout as the keynote speaker. Dr Shabout is a Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA).

ISLAMIC ART REVIVAL SERIES

The Islamic Art Revival Series (IARS) is a program of the Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, designed to increase awareness and build bridges of cultural understanding through the arts. Started in 2011 by a cross-cultural coalition of businesses and nonprofit leaders, students and small business owners, the IARS includes a diverse group of women and men, who are passionate about sharing the rich cultural relevance of Islamic Art and to enhancing cross-cultural understanding. For more information, visit islamicartrevival.com.

TEXAS MUSLIM WOMEN’S FOUNDATION 

The Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation is a 501(c)(3) civic organization that empowers, promotes, and supports all women and their families through educational, outreach, philanthropy and social services. For more information, visit tmwf.org.


Report from the Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History Research Center

“Patterns of Islamic Art” at the O’Donnell Institute Research Center at the Dallas Museum of Art, 2017, photograph by Carolyn Brown

 

We are excited to welcome everyone to join us this fall for our scholarly programs in the Research Center. Upon her completion of the first English-language translations of Paul Gauguin’s seven texts, UTD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Dr. Elpida Vouitsis discussed on August 29th how Gauguin’s writing style successfully communicates the duality of meaning in his artworks. In November our fellows have the special opportunity to visit the recent installation of Keir Collection objects with Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir. Our semester will conclude with a workshop by one of our new PhD fellows, Edleeca Thompson. Her research examines the myriad of ways museums display African art collections and how these design decisions effect interpretation.

The Research Center will host two new exhibitions this fall: Patterns in Islamic Art and Maya Trade and the Ulúa River Regions. I’ve curated a selection of Carolyn Brown’s photographs of Islamic architecture in the Middle East. Her images beautifully capture the nonfigural design elements in Islamic art: geometric, vegetal, and calligraphic. Patterns repeat and intertwine in colorful tiles on mosque façades and delicate stained glass that decorate intimate interiors. Our fourth vitrine installation, curated by DMA Curator Dr. Kimberly Jones, displays small ceramic vessels from the Ulúa region in Honduras. Despite their diminutive size, these objects were bound up in networks of trade and exchange throughout the Classic Maya kingdoms.

The Research Center promises to be a lively center of scholarly activity this fall with a new group of fellows from around the globe. We look forward to the coming year and welcome you to our many Fall programs. Visit our website at https://utdallas.edu/arthistory/programs/ and plan your calendar!

Lauren LaRocca

Coordinator of Special Programs

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

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

Report of the Director

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

Dr. Richard R. Brettell

In the land of art history, summer was the time to travel to research sites and work on projects before the busy fall at the O’Donnell Institute. EODIAH’s faculty, fellows, and graduate students have done just that as we continue to make an impact on art history throughout the country and the world. Two of our fellows, James Rodriguez and Kristine Larison, have been launched into the world, bringing news of EODIAH to their new homes in Indiana and Pennsylvania. Fellow Fabienne Ruppen from the University of Zürich visited museums and collections in the U.S. and Europe and spent time with her family in the Swiss Alps before returning to Dallas refreshed and ready to tackle her dissertation on Cézanne’s drawings. And Fellow Paul Galvez spent the summer in Princeton with trips to New England and California museums in his quest to finish his book on Gustave Courbet’s landscapes.

Our biggest achiever since our last newsletter was UT Dallas Distinguished Scholar in Residence Bonnie Pitman, who worked with EODIAH and DMA colleagues to create a pathbreaking conference at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Its focus was on partnerships between art museums and medical schools to cultivate the art of observation in medical students and physicians. By all accounts it was a great success. Congratulations, Bonnie–we await the story in the New York Times!

Assistant Director Dr. Sarah Kozlowski and I worked hard to further two of the Institute’s international partnerships. Sarah made an important trip to Naples to meet with our partner, Dr. Sylvain Bellenger, Director of the Capodimonte Museum in that extraordinary city and to make headway on a multi-year project of collaboration between EODIAH, the Museum in Naples, and the Sorbonne in Paris. She reveals more below. I had a bracing tour of our new Swiss partner’s headquarters, The Swiss Institute for Art Research (www.sik-isea.ch/en-us), with whom we are working closely as we contemplate the future of a Barrett Museum of Swiss Art at UT Dallas. Located in a stunningly restored and expanded villa in the hills above Zürich, the Swiss Institute is the most important place globally for advanced research on Swiss Art.

Giacometti plasters in the Kunsthaus Zürich

Giacometti plasters in the Kunsthaus Zürich

Our ATEC-EODIAH faculty member Dr. Max Schich had a summer of global travel in his quest to make UT Dallas a world center for large data art history. He also is working on a promising partnership with the Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte in Munich, whose former Director Dr. Wolf Tegethoff spoke at our founding. Under Max’s leadership we will see a steady stream of visitors from Munich to Dallas in the 2016-2017 academic year.

In one year, we have established alliances with important museums and institutes in three European cities. These are multi-year commitments that will insure that EODIAH has an important foothold in the places where our discipline was born.

This fall we welcome the return of Drs. Mark Rosen and Charissa Terranova, who each had academic leaves in 2015-2016 and are returning to the fold refreshed by a solid year of research. Each of their reports is below. While they were away, we constructed exciting new offices for these important scholars in the EODIAH complex at UT Dallas so that they can say farewell to their old offices in the Jonsson Building and come to be with us. This fall, we will ALL be together in the ATEC Building for the first time since our founding two years ago. We thank the new Dean of ATEC, Dr. Anne Balsamo, for allowing the Institute’s expansion in her wonderful building.

One of our most important accomplishments this past year has been to dramatically increase the Institute’s collection of scholarly books about art. This effort was begun at our founding with the gift of New York and London auction catalogues by the New York collectors Mr. and Mrs. Ivan Phillips. This gift has truly started an avalanche of books from institutional and private donors. The first was a complete set of contemporary auction catalogues from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and this was followed by the American auction catalogues and private library of the late Perry Rathbone, the distinguished museum administrator and scholar who recently died at his home in Connecticut. From this followed the gift of substantial parts of the art libraries of S. Roger Horchow and the late Nash Flores, each important collectors of art books in areas not covered seriously at UT Dallas. All of this material was capably catalogued and organized on our Cunningham-designed book shelves by students from The Greenhill School. We have also just acquired a private library devoted to Islamic art formed by Dr. Oliver Watson, the I.M. Pei Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Oxford. This library will support ongoing study and research focused on the Keir Collection at the DMA.

About one 20th of the Comini library

About one 20th of the Comini library

And, if all of this was not enough, an Institute mailing that featured photographs of our book-lined offices so inspired the great art historian Dr. Alessandra Comini, Professor Emerita at SMU, that she has decided to bequeath her extraordinary library devoted to German, Austrian, and Scandinavian art as well as art produced by women artists to the Institute. When Sarah Kozlowski and I went with Alessandra through this private library, which approaches 30,000 volumes, we were in complete awe. The Comini library will be the largest gift of scholarly books in UT Dallas’s history.

This fall, our wonderful new staff member Lauren LaRocca is going to bring EODIAH-DMA alive. Lauren is curating an exhibition of Carolyn Brown’s architectural photographs of the Mexican Baroque city of Puebla and made possible a joint installation of global works of art in the DMA’s collection that use trade beads, the latter co-curated by the DMA’s superb Dr. Roslyn A. Walker, Senior Curator of the Arts of Africa, the Americas, and the Pacific and The Margaret McDermott Curator of African Art, and myself. Both installations will open this fall. Lauren has also worked with us and the DMA to create an incredible fall lineup of programs for the Institute at both the DMA and UT Dallas. And she worked with the DMA so that its new mobile app was conceived and worked through in EODIAH’s research center.

The DMA is our full partner, and it is exciting that we will do so much more in the Museum this year than we did in the months after the opening of our wonderful mirror-ceilinged space. We eagerly await the DMA’s new Director, Augustín Arteaga, so that we can work together even more. And we thank the departing Olivier Meslay for working so well with us thus far.

In the short two-year period since the Institute was founded, we have tried to become THE place for art history in North Texas and to make a global footprint as well. This next year will be devoted to hiring another O’Donnell Chair and to launching our Master’s Program in Art History. As we move forward, we are sprinting, not walking! What has made me the happiest is the number of individual donors who have decided to join us on our race toward excellence. Our wonderful Director of Development, Lucy Buchanan, will tell you all about our new friends!

 

Richard R. Brettell, Ph.D.

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