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Arts of Islamic Lands:


from the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait.

This newly expanded installation

more than triples the display to some

250 works that present an impres-

sive and comprehensive spectrum

of Islamic art. Objects made in

North Africa, the Middle East, Tur-

key, India, the Iberian Peninsula

and Central Asia from the eighth to

the 18th centuries demonstrate the

development of techniques, crafts-

manship and esthetics in Islamic

visual culture. Among the highlights

are a 16th-century Ottoman prayer

carpet; a glass mosque lamp from

14th-century Cairo; an extraordinary

earthenware bowl from ninth-cen-

tury Iraq that transcends its humble

function; early gold jewelry from

Afghanistan and Syria; and opulent

Mughal jewelry crafted in the refined


technique, including a bril-

liant bird pendant fabricated in late

16th-century India from gold, rubies,

emeralds, diamonds and rock crys-

tals. Museum of Fine Arts,



through January 30.

Images of Women in 19th-Century


demonstrates the centrality of

women in the artistic expression of

19th-century Iran and how they con-

tinue to inspire contemporary artists.

The most popular representations of

the Qajar era (1794-1925) have been

of male sovereigns, whose life-size

portraits exaggerate masculinity to

depict power. Yet this era also saw

a period of artistic modernization

in Iran, particularly in paintings and

photography in which depictions of

women became essential elements

of the scenes. Showcasing women

at the court and in private, along-

side images of female musicians

and aristocratic women, this exhibi-

tion explores rarely told narratives of

the Qajar artistic tradition. Museum

of Islamic Art,

Doha, Qatar

, through

January 30.


Pleasure and Pain

looks at the

extremes of footwear from around the

globe, presenting around 200 pairs of

shoes ranging from a sandal decorated

in pure gold leaf from ancient Egypt

to the most elaborate designs by con-

temporary makers. Victoria & Albert



, through January 31.

Abdelkader Benchamma:


sentation of Dark Matter.


Benchamma creates an astrological

vortex in his strikingly graphic, site-

specific drawing, rendered in intensely

black lines against a wall’s white sur-

face. The work depicts the solar

system’s complexity and its nearly

imperceptible dark matter. The physi-

cally expansive image resembles

scientific illustrations of the Big Bang

and alludes to explosive cosmic

forces. The installation gives form to

that which is infinitely large and per-

petually transforming. The Drawing


New York

, through March 1.

Egyptian Magic

is a fascinating jour-

ney into the world of magic in ancient

Egypt. Learn how, in a secret world

where the gods and the dead are

intrinsically linked to mankind, magic

can influence destinies. The exhibition

presents pieces from the largest col-

lections in the world. Produced in close

collaboration with Stichtin Rijksmuseum

van Oudheden, with contributions from

the Louvre Museum. Musée de la civili-


Quebec City

, through March 3.

Gold and the Gods:

Jewels of Ancient


draws upon the world-class col-

lection of jewelry from ancient Nubia

(located in what is now Sudan) accumu-

lated by the Museum of Fine Arts (



which constitutes the most comprehen-

sive collection outside Khartoum.


and the Gods

focuses on excavated

ornaments from an early 20th-century

expedition by


and Harvard Univer-

sity. Dating from 1700


to 300


, they

include both uniquely Nubian works and

foreign imports prized for their materials,

craftsmanship, symbolism and rarity.




, through May 14, 2017.



School of Islamic Geometric

Design—London Workshop.


Broug teaches how craftsmen in

the Islamic world have been creat-

ing beautiful and complex geometric

compositions, demonstrating tech-

niques and design rules that have

been used for centuries. Using doz-

ens of photos and illustrations of

Islamic art and architecture, Broug

enables participants to develop a pro-

found understanding of how patterns

have been made and utilized. School

of Islamic Geometric Design,



August 15.



First Look:

Collecting Contemporary at

The Asian

is an exhibition of contem-

porary highlights from the museum’s

collection, including painting, draw-

ing, photography, baskets, ceramics

and video—infusing traditional themes,

media and cultural history with the

urgency of present-day ideas. It fea-

tures artists from Asia and the


. Yako

Hodo abstracts the traditional art of

basket weaving, while Yang Yongliang’s

“The Night of Perpetual Day” and Xu

Bing’s “The Character of Characters”

push Chinese ink painting into new

media. Their stunning videos appear

beside early innovators of Chinese ink,

connecting fresh ideas to their formal

roots. The exhibit also features Bay

Area favorites like Hung Liu and Zheng

Chongbin and several exciting debuts,

including Ahmed Mater’s “Illumina-

tion Waqf”

(2013)—a diptych print in

the form of an Islamic manuscript with

decorated borders. Asian Art Museum,

San Francisco

, September 4 through

October 11.

Egypt’s Sunken Secrets


293 artifacts from different Egyptian




peoples of this region have shared one

predominant faith: Islam. The works

on display represent the three princi-

pal media for artistic expression in the

Muslim world: architecture (religious

and secular), the arts of the book (cal-

ligraphy, illustration, illumination and

bookbinding) and the arts of the object

(ceramics, metalwork, glass, wood-

work, textiles and ivory). The works

date from the ninth to the 17th cen-

turies. On view are brass bowls and

candlesticks, folios from the Qur’an,

earthenware and ceramics, and paint-

ings representing the traditions of Iran,

Iraq, Syria, Egypt and other parts of

North Africa, Turkey, Afghanistan and

Uzbekistan. Freer Gallery of Art,


ington, D.C.

, through January 3.

Silk Road Luxuries from China.


before Marco Polo sparked European

interest in Asia, the Silk Road con-

nected Mediterranean ports in the

West to centers of production and

trade in China and beyond. For more

than 2,000 years this vast network of

caravan trails has linked oasis settle-

ments across the Central Asian desert,

and many of those ancient over-

land routes are still in use today. The

Silk Road enabled the long-distance

exchange of luxury goods—colorful

silks, silver and gold objects, delicate

glass and even the legendary peaches

of Samarkand—as well as the sharing

of ideas, customs and religious beliefs.

The impact of foreign imports on the

arts of China reached exceptional

heights during the Tang dynasty (618–



), when craftsmen explored new

materials, forms and decorative pat-

terns introduced from the West. The

flourishing young empire, supported

by effective government administra-

tion and strong armies, expanded into

Central Asia, and its capital Chang’an

(modern Xi’an) became the largest city

in the world. Its cosmopolitan soci-

ety sought fresh ideas and expensive

goods from afar. Traders and artisans

from the ancient kingdom of Sogdi-

ana, located in southern Uzbekistan

and western Tajikistan, were espe-

cially active in this exchange, and

their ancient Iranian language was

the primary basis of trade for centu-

ries. Communities of Sogdian traders

extended from Anatolia to India and Sri

Lanka and on to East Asia. Their inter-

action with China remained strong until

755, when a Sogdian led an unsuc-

cessful rebellion against the emperor.

By the time of the Mongol invasion

in the 13th century, the Sogdians had

disappeared. Freer Gallery of Art,

Washington, D.C.

, through January 3.

Light Show

explores the experiential

and phenomenal aspects of

light by bringing together

sculptures and installations

that use light to shape

space in different ways.

The exhibition showcases

artworks created from

the 1960s to the present

day, including immersive

environments, freestand-

ing light sculptures and

projections. From atmo-

spheric installations to

intangible sculptures that

one may move around—

and even through—visitors

can experience light in all

its spatial and sensory forms. Individual artworks explore aspects of light, such as color,

duration, intensity and projection, as well as perceptual phenomena. They also use light to

address architecture, science and film using a variety of lighting technologies.





, September 19 only.

Anthony McCall,

You and I Horizontal

, 2005, installation view.



(ISSN 1530-5821)

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