Saudi Aramco World: May/June 2014 - page 49

May/June 2014
the camera to play an active part in the
through May 25.
Hito Steyerl:
Junktime is “an exhibition
that cannot be sustained, that is falling
apart before installation has even begun,
that flickers on and off to Skype notifi-
cation sounds, that consists of nothing
but these sounds…. Junktime is what
happens if the rug of time is pulled out
from under time-based media.” Ashkal
through May 31.
Burnt Generation:
Contemporary Ira-
nian Photography offers an oppor-
tunity to move beyond cliché and
enter the worlds of eight original and
engaged image-makers who have lived
and worked in Iran. Their photographs
reflect the realities of contemporary Ira-
nian society, from coping with the con-
sequences of conflict to conforming to
class ideals to taking part in religious rit-
uals, but they take a sideways perspec-
tive on public and personal histories.
Some of the artists make documentary
photography, others portraiture, others
fine art or conceptual work, but their
subjects are all caught in the web of
history, be it personal, historical or polit-
ical. Somerset House,
June 1.
Welcome to Iraq
shows the work of 11
contemporary Iraq-based artists, includ-
ing photography, painting and political
caricature, to provide insights into Iraqi
culture. The exhibition was originally
displayed at the 55th Venice Biennale.
Gallery, through June 1.
Don’t Embarrass the Bureau
is a group
exhibition featuring artists who ques-
tion the workings of bureaucracy, in the
time of so-called “leaked democracy,”
by subjecting it to challenges that reveal
how sensitive and even precarious it
may be. The works in the exhibition
query the legitimacy of the structures
that govern our social, political and eco-
nomic life and inspire us to rethink how
we perform our roles as citizens.
Konsthall, through June 1.
Sacred Scenes:
Icons of the Orthodox
Church presents works by renowned
artist Vlasios Tsotsonis, whose artwork
is found in churches around the globe,
including in Jerusalem’s Church of the
Holy Sepulchre. In addition to showing
original, large-scale pieces by the artist
and studies for his first
pieces, which
he is completing at St. Mary in Livo-
nia, Michigan, the exhibition explores
the establishment and growth of Arab–
American Orthodox communities. Arab
American National Museum,
through June 1.
Lost and Found:
The Secrets of Archi-
medes. Archimedes—mathemati-
cian, physicist, inventor, engineer and
astronomer—lived in the third century
. In 10th-century Constantinople, a
scribe copied Archimedes’ treatises
onto parchment. In the 13th century, a
monk erased the Archimedes text, cut
the pages along the center fold, rotated
the leaves 90 degrees, folded them in
half and reused them to create a prayer
book. This process of reuse results in
a “palimpsest.” In 1999, the Walters
Art Museum in Baltimore and a team
of researchers began a project to read
the erased texts of the Archimedes
Palimpsest—the oldest surviving copy
of works by the greatest mathematical
genius of antiquity. Over 12 years, many
techniques, novel and traditional, were
employed by more than 80 scientists
and scholars in the fields of conserva-
tion, imaging and classical studies. This
exhibition tells the story of the resulting
rediscovery of new scientific, philosoph-
ical and political texts from the ancient
world. The manuscript demonstrates
that Archimedes discovered the mathe-
matics of infinity, mathematical physics
and combinatorics—a branch of mathe-
matics used in modern computing. Hun-
tington Library,
San Marino, California,
through June 8.
Rita Bannerjee draws
on the artist’s background as a scien-
tist and her experience as an immigrant.
Her richly textured works complicate the
role of objects as representations of cul-
tures; by juxtaposing organic and plas-
tic objects, she concocts worlds that
are both enticing and subtly menac-
ing. Sackler Gallery,
Washington, D.C.,
through June 8.
Cleopatra’s Needle
celebrates the Cen-
tral Park Conservancy’s upcoming con-
servation of the obelisk of Thutmose
popularly known as “Cleopatra’s Nee-
dle,” explores the meaning of obelisks
in ancient Egyptian divine and funerary
cults and considers how these massive
monuments were created and erected.
An equally important part of the pres-
entation shows the significance of this
ancient architectural form in western
culture. Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York,
through June 8.
Living Shrines:
Uyghur Manifestations
of Faith brings into focus a Uyghur des-
ert tradition of construction of desert
shrines to religious teachers and pilgrim-
age sites, some reaching back as far
as the 10th century. For 10 years, pho-
tographer and videographer Lisa Rose
worked in the Taklamakan Desert in
China’s northwestern Xinjiang Uyghur
Autonomous Region photographing
these ephemeral markers of faith. The
sites, called mazars, not only are devo-
tional but also encompass personal
prayers, often accompanied by such
offerings as animals or dolls, the latter
left by women praying for children. They
express individual invocations, honor
teachers or denote burials. Brunei Gal-
through June 21.
Helen Pashgian:
Light Invisible debuts
a new large-scale work by the Los
Angeles–based light and space artist. It
comprises 12 two-part columns formed
of molded acrylic; as viewers walk past,
around and between these columnar
forms, the sculpture creates an immer-
sive viewing experience that invites
meditations on the nature of materials
and light.
Los Angeles
County Museum
of Art, through June 29.
Etel Adnan in All Her Dimensions
highlights the different aspects of the
work of the Lebanese-American visual
artist, poet, playwright and essayist,
still active at almost 90. The exhibition
includes paintings, drawings, leporellos
(accordion-folded artist’s books), tapes-
tries, writings and films from the 1960’s
onward. Adnan addresses such con-
cepts as identity, war and the dichot-
omy of work and home life; she sees
her paintings as expressing joie de vivre
and turns to her writing to meditate on
the darker side of life. Besides show-
ing the development of her work over
time, the exhibition shows connections
among the different fields in which she
is active. “You know there is some-
thing that links the different things.
It’s what we call our person,” she has
said. “There is a link that you don’t do
purposely; it’s there, it’s your sensitiv-
ity, it’s your identity, really. It’s one per-
son in different rooms.” Mathaf: Arab
Museum of Modern Art,
Doha, Qatar,
through July 6.
Mounira Al Solh:
All Mother Tongues
Are Difficult engages with the concept
of language as a mechanism of trans-
mission and traversal. The new work
shown here is informed by Al Solh’s
readings on language and the voice; she
uses language to examine a route and a
place of transition between the mother
tongue and the languages of immigra-
tion. She links the concept of dialects
navigating across boundaries with the
recent upsurge in refugees caused by
the current situation in Syria. Sfeir-Sem-
ler Gallery,
through July 19.
Gérôme and the Lure of the Orient
features paintings by the Orientalist and
academic painter Jean-Léon Gérôme
(1824–1904), along with a selection of
decorative objects that explore the inter-
section of eastern and western art pro-
duction. Like many artists of his time,
Gérôme was drawn to the Orient—
“always my most frequent dream”—
a term that included the lands of the
Middle East, North Africa and Asia
Minor. In 1853, Gérôme first visited
Istanbul, and between 1856 and 1880
he took regular trips to Turkey, Egypt
and Palestine, making artistic studies of
the people and places he encountered.
Back in Paris, he transformed his obser-
vations into highly polished pictures that
earned him great acclaim. Nelson-Atkins
Museum of Art,
Kansas City, Missouri,
through July 20.
Jewels That Enchanted the
World examines the legacy of 500 years
of Indian jewelry, from the 17th cen-
tury to the present day. More than 300
pieces of jewelry and jeweled objects
are brought together for the first time to
showcase the beauty of Indian crafts-
manship, the magnificence of gemstone
setting and the refinement of Indian
taste. Assembled from more than 30
museums, institutions and private col-
lections, the exhibition is the most com-
prehensive ever staged on the subject.
Its first section focuses on the jewelry
traditions of South India: monumen-
tal pieces crafted from gold, worked
in relief and decorated with gem-
stone flowers and birds. The second is
devoted to the jeweled splendor of the
courts of the Mughals, who came as
conquerors, ruled as emperors and, as
connoisseurs, patronized artists, archi-
tects, enamelers and jewelers. A fur-
ther section is devoted to the symbiosis
between India and European jewelry
houses and the cross-cultural influences
that resulted in the 19th and early 20th
centuries. It concludes with the work of
two of India’s leading present-day jew-
elry houses, The Gem Palace and Bha-
gat. Catalog in English and Russian.
State Museums of
through July 27.
The Divine Comedy:
Heaven, Hell,
Purgatory Revisited by Contemporary
African Artists converts three floors
of the museum—Hell, Purgatory and
Heaven—into the stage for a new inter-
pretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy and
for an esthetic approach to contempo-
rary African art, exploring poetry and
art as means of expressing the ineffa-
ble. Why Dante? Curator Simon Njami
answers, “Because the Divine Comedy
is first and foremost a human comedy.
And I am convinced that nothing human
can be alien to another human being.”
Museum für Moderne Kunst,
through July 27.
When the Greeks Ruled Egypt
explores the confluence of two cul-
tures through more than 75 art-
works. Gilded mummy masks, luxury
glass, magical amulets and portraits
in stone and precious metals demon-
strate the integration of foreign styles
while also paying tribute to the endur-
ing legacy of ancient Egypt’s distinctive
visual culture. Despite centuries of cul-
tural contact with Greece, the art and
architecture of the Egyptian kingdom
retained its distinct style, uninfluenced
by Greek tourists, traders, diplomats
and soldiers. So when Ptolemy, one
of Alexander’s generals, came to rule
Egypt, he found it wise to adapt to the
older culture, whose unique art forms
had persisted for more than 3000
years. He installed himself as “pha-
raoh,” built a new capital at Alexan-
dria, and united the two major gods of
each nation to form a new universal
deity, Zeus Amon. The era of Ptolemy’s
dynasty was an age of profound curi-
osity and rich experimentation, as the
Greeks, and later the Romans, met an
established culture far older than their
own and exchanged artistic, social and
religious ideas with it. Art Institute of
through July 27
Carpets of the East in Paintings
From the West.
Since biblical times,
an expensive textile underfoot was a
sign of power and/or sanctity; only the
wealthy could afford fine carpets, which
were traded as luxury goods from the
Islamic world to Europe and other parts
of the world. As early as the 14th cen-
tury, images of carpets made in the East
began to appear in European paintings.
This exhibition shows three mid-17th-
century Dutch paintings along with three
actual, corresponding rugs of the same
period. Metropolitan Museum of Art,
New York,
through July 29.
Design Motifs in Byzantine Art.
Many of the textiles found in Egypt, the
southernmost province of the Byzan-
tine Empire, were woven in linen and
wool and decorated with a great vari-
ety of motifs. Meant to be worn and
to decorate domestic and religious
spaces, the works on view in this exhi-
bition feature designs that generally
refer to abundance and prosperity. Met-
ropolitan Museum of Art,
New York,
through August 3.
Ordinary Lives:
Photography by Rania
Matar captures the mundane activities
of everyday life amid the political and
social turmoil of post-war Lebanon. The
energy and determination of Matar’s
subjects are dramatically conveyed in a
series of 28 images, which depict the
bond between mother and child, the
camaraderie of friends and the resilience
of ordinary people—and of their country.
Arab American National Museum,
born, Michigan,
through August 31.
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