Tag: Keir Collection

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

 

Emblem I. A Conversation. Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. This discord may be fatal but it is not serious. The fingers point, the coffee is strong and hot, the skull session continues. (2015) (Monoprint, acrylic on paper, 22 x 27 inches)

Emblem I. A Conversation. Conviction and persuasion are not called for in a dialogue. This discord may be fatal but it is not serious. The fingers point, the coffee is strong and hot, the skull session continues. (2015) (Monoprint, acrylic on paper, 22 x 27 inches)

 

We’ve had an exciting spring semester of workshops at the EODIAH Research Center. A diverse range of topics were presented including Ethiopian manuscript painting, museum exhibition design, and the impact of water mixable oils (WMOs) on current art conservation practice. The semester will conclude with two workshops at the EODIAH Research Center. On April 18 SMU Professor of Art Dr. Michael Corris will present his new publication, Leaving Skull City: The Afterlife of (Some) Conceptual Art, “a compilation of insightful, first-hand accounts of art making, art criticism, and exhibition organizing from the early-1970s to the present.” EODIAH fellow and newly minted Ph.D. Dr. Joseph Hartman will present his research at our final workshop of the semester on April 25,Cuba Incarcerated: The Historic Vision of Cuban Prison Architecture. The Research Center continues to be a hive of scholarly activity and a space in which to display artworks.

Curated by our own Dr. Sabiha Al Khemir, the third vitrine installation showcases beautiful lusterware ceramics from the Keir Collection. The collection of objects tells the story of the revolutionary technique of luster painting with examples from Iraq, Iran, and Egypt. Come by and view our ‘sneak peek’ of Islamic lusterware before the next installation of Keir objects at the DMA opens April 18 in the Focus I Gallery.

Be sure to visit the EODIAH Programs page on our website this summer to view our Fall 2017 events!

Lauren LaRocca

Coordinator of Special Programs

The Edith O’Donnell Institute of Art History

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

 

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). 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