Saudi Aramco World: May/June 2014 - page 50

the museum’s extensive Egyptian col-
lection: feral and tame cats, stone or
bronze cats, small or large cats, domes-
tic or divine cats. The exhibition explores
the role of cats, lions and other felines
in Egyptian mythology, kingship and
everyday life, where they were revered
for their fertility, associated with roy-
alty and valued for their ability to pro-
tect homes and granaries from rats
and mice. On public view for the first
time is a gilded leonine goddess dat-
ing from between 770 and 412
entered the Brooklyn collection in 1937.
New York,
December 31.
In Remembrance of Me:
Feasting with
the Dead in the Ancient Middle East
explores how the living and the dead
interacted to commemorate ancestors
in the ancient Middle East. More than
50 artifacts document how food and
drink were regularly offered to nourish
the dead in the afterlife and how two- or
three-dimensional effigies preserved the
memory of the deceased. The exhibition
was motivated by the 2008 discovery
of a stela in eastern Turkey that dates to
about 735
; it commemorates an offi-
cial named Katumuwa. The lengthy text
carved on it reveals that, in that region,
the soul of the deceased was thought to
actually dwell in the stela, and needed to
be cared for by the living. Other exhibits
examine commemoration of and com-
munication with the dead and different
conceptions of the soul in ancient Egypt,
Iraq and Israel/Palestine. Catalog. Orien-
tal Institute Museum,
through January 4.
Ancient Lives, New Discoveries
introduces visitors to eight people from
ancient Egypt and Sudan whose
bodies have been preserved, either nat-
urally or by deliberate embalming. Using
the latest technology, the exhibition
builds up a rounded picture of their
lives, their health, their occupations and
how they died, all in the Nile Valley over
a span of 4000 years—from ancient
Egypt to Christian Sudan. The individu-
als on display include a priest’s daugh-
ter, a temple singer, a middle-aged man,
a young child, a temple doorkeeper and
a woman with a Christian tattoo. Brit-
ish Museum,
May 22 through
November 30.
Empire, Faith and War:
The Sikhs and
World War One tells the story of the
disproportionately large role played by
Britain’s Sikh community in “the Great
War.” Though Sikhs were only two per-
cent of the population of British India
at the time, they made up more than
20 percent of the British Indian Army
in 1914, gaining commendations and a
reputation as fearsome and fearless sol-
diers. Brunei Gallery,
9 through September 28.
Concentrations 57:
Slavs and Tartars.
Slavs and Tartars is an art collective
whose installations, lecture perfor-
mances, sculptures and publications
result from an unconventional, research-
based approach. The group identifies
the “area east of the former Berlin Wall
and west of the Great Wall of China
known as Eurasia” as the focus of its
multidisciplinary practice. In this exhibi-
tion, the group presents new work from
its current series, “Long Legged Lin-
guistics,” an investigation of language
as a source of political, metaphysical
and even sexual emancipation, using its
trademark mix of high and low culture
to address the thorny issues of “alpha-
bet politics”: the attempts by nations,
cultures and ideologies to ascribe a spe-
cific set of letters to a given language.
The exhibition includes original works
in Persian, Russian, Turkish, Georgian
and English presented in a series of
sculptures, installations, textiles and
printed matter.
Museum of Art,
July 27 through December 14.
Dye-Decorated Cloths From
North and West Africa celebrates the
art of the dyer, exhibiting 11 exam-
ples of cloths produced by traditional
methods in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria,
Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon
and worn as garments or accesso-
ries. Before the introduction of Euro-
pean manufactured printed textiles in
the 19th century, textile designs were
made with natural dyes—among them
henna and indigo—on plain-wove nat-
ural cotton or on wool, raffia or other
materials. Women were most often the
dyers, and dye-decorated cloth was a
major form of feminine artistic expres-
Museum of Art, August 16
through October 12.
Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers:
SeMA Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2014
invokes the word ghost to call on spir-
its whose presence has been erased by
dominant historical narratives. It uses
spy to allude to the experience of colo-
nialism and the Cold War in Asia. Grand-
mothers are living witnesses who have
endured the ages of ghosts and spies
and who demonstrate once again that
women bear the brunt of the harm
caused by colonialism and war. Under
that title, the biennale views Asia as a
moving target, a cognitive lens and a
region that is much more complex than
its stereotypes, and includes work by
artists from Arab and western countries
as well as Korea. Seoul Museum of Art
and Korean Film Archive,
Seoul, Korea,
September 2 through November 23.
Francesco Clemente:
Inspired by India
examines the Indian influences in Clem-
ente’s work and how they relate to the
Saudi Aramco World
String of Pearls:
Traditional Indian
Painting presents manuscript paintings
from different parts of India and sur-
rounding regions and highlights their
interrelationships, analogous to pearls
on a string. The paintings were inspired
by musical and literary sources, his-
torical events and various religious tra-
ditions; viewed together, they offer
a glimpse into the richness of Indian
painting during the 17th, 18th and 19th
centuries. The exhibition bursts with
figures bedecked with precious gems,
often including spectacular garlands of
pearls; besides personal ornamenta-
tion, such decoration often contained
symbolic meanings to communicate
either specific ideas or messages
from the wearer to the beholder. Harn
Museum of Art,
Gainsville, Florida,
through September 14.
Princely Traditions and Colonial Pur-
suits in India.
South Asian artistic tra-
ditions were dramatically transformed
by the political, social and economic
changes that accompanied India’s tran-
sition from local to colonial rule in the
19th century. Artists formerly patron-
ized by Indian princes came to work for
English officials and merchant elites,
adjusting their practices to suit their
new patrons’ tastes. English artists and
expatriates introduced new genres and
pictorial styles to India, while foreign
demand for Indian luxury items brought
about esthetic transformations in tex-
tiles, silver and other goods. The exhibi-
tion explores a complex and fascinating
visual history.
Los Angeles
Museum of Art, through October 12.
November and later
Kader Attia,
the renowned French–
Algerian artist, unveils a new site-spe-
cific commission. The work revisits the
biblical story of Jacob’s Ladder with a
towering floor-to-ceiling structure of
rare artifacts and books. Hidden inside
this library is a cabinet of curiosities
filled with items ranging from old sci-
entific measuring devices to books by
such authors as Descartes and Alfred
Russell Wallace. At the center of the
work, a beam of light shines up to a
mirrored ceiling. Attia’s multimedia
installations reflect on anthropology,
politics and science and are rooted in
history and archival research. His works
explore ideas around identity in an age
of globalization. Whitechapel Gallery,
through November.
Divine Felines:
Cats of Ancient Egypt
presents 30 artworks selected from
Blue and white bowl with radial
design, 13th century, Kashan, Iran.
Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World explores the use and
significance of light and demonstrates that nur—which means “light” in both the physical
and metaphysical sense—is a unifying motif in Islamic civilizations worldwide. The
exhibition spans more than 10 centuries and includes 150 objects whose provenance
ranges from Spain to Central
Asia. It is organized into two
major sections: one includes gold-
illuminated manuscripts, luster-
glazed ceramics, inlay metalwork
in silver and gold and objects
made from precious and semi-
precious stones. The second shows
such objects as equatorial sundials,
astrolabes and anatomical
instruments. The exhibition also
highlights Spain’s role as a bridge
between Europe and the Islamic
world, and notes the idea of light
as a metaphor shared by Muslim,
Christian and Jewish cultures.
Explanatory talks on April 3, April
18 and May 8.
Museum of
Art, through June 29.
(ISSN 1530-5821)
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