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Departments

Events & Exhibitions

The calendar that follows is updated bimonthly as of the 15th of each of January, March, May, July, September and November. Most institutions listed have further information available through the World Wide Web. Please reconfirm dates and times before traveling. Readers are welcome to submit information for possible inclusion in this listing through the Feedback page. (Please note in the subject line, "Events & Exhibitions.")

March

Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes. Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes. Archimedes—mathematician, physicist, inventor, engineer and astronomer—lived in the third century BCE. 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 conservation, imaging and classical studies. This exhibition tells the story of the resulting rediscovery of new scientific, philosophical and political texts from the ancient world. The manuscript demonstrates that Archimedes discovered the mathematics of infinity, mathematical physics and combinatorics—a branch of mathematics used in modern computing. Huntington Library, San Marino, California March 15 through June 8.

The Divine Comedy: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory Revisited by Contemporary African Artists. 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 interpretation of Dante’s Divine Comedy and for an esthetic approach to contemporary African art, exploring poetry and art as means of expressing the ineffable. 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, Frankfurt/Main March 21 through July 27.

Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World. Nur: 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 semiprecious 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. Dallas Museum of Art March 30 through June 29.

Helen Pashgian: Light Invisible. 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 immersive viewing experience that invites meditations on the nature of materials and light. Los Angeles County Museum of Art March 30 through June 29.

April

How Green Was My Valley. How Green Was My Valley presents the work of a new generation of artists for whom Palestine is thematic, and exposes worldviews unseen, voices unheard and a place unvisited by many. These works seek to change the way we see and make sense of the occupation of Palestine. The exhibition focuses on artists working in the face of intifadas, electronic walls, barriers and a shrinking landscape; they envision Ramallah, Jerusalem, Gaza, Hebron and other Palestinian cities as dual sites of ruin and potential, and point toward a landscape beyond the current occupation. WhiteBox Art Center, New York April 3 through April 27.

In Remembrance of Me: Feasting with the Dead in the Ancient Middle East. 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 bce; it commemorates an official 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 communication with the dead and different conceptions of the soul in ancient Egypt, Iraq and Israel/Palestine. Catalog. Oriental Institute Museum, Chicago April 8 through January 4.

Wise Men From the East: Zoroastrian Traditions in Persia and Beyond. Wise Men From the East: Zoroastrian Traditions in Persia and Beyond explains this ancient but living religion through objects and coins from Persia and beyond, including Islamic coins from Mughal India that follow the Iranian Zoroastrian calendar adopted by the emperor Akbar. Modern objects show the ongoing legacy of this ancient Iranian religion and its significance as a symbol of national identity for Iranians in modern Persia and beyond. British Museum, London through April 27.

Akram Zaatari: On Photography, People and Modern Times. Akram Zaatari: On Photography, People and Modern Times presents celebrated Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari, among the most influential artists of his generation, who has played a critical role in developing the formal, intellectual and institutional infrastructure of Beirut’s contemporary art scene. He is also a co-founder of the Arab Image Foundation, whose growing collection now includes more than 600,000 images and whose mission is to preserve and study vernacular and studio photography from the Middle East, North Africa and the Arab diaspora. WIELS, Brussels through April 27.

Qalam: Calligraphy and Islam from the Middle Ages to the Present. Qalam: Calligraphy and Islam from the Middle Ages to the Present exhibits historical and contemporary Arabic and Persian calligraphy and related material that offers a glance into one of the most poetic and spiritual art forms. The Qur’anic verses (96:1-5) that refer to God as the Creator who teaches “by the pen”—al-qalam—signal the esteem in which calligraphy is held in the world of Islam. The development of Arabic calligraphy, from its earliest linear forms in the eighth century to its standardization as a set of cursive scripts by a lineage of master typographers and calligraphers, evidences the shifting relative status of text and image throughout this history. The works in Qalam ask visitors to consider the relationship between calligraphy and Islam, as well as the continuing transformation and exhibition of this art form. The exhibition includes Qur’anic folios from the ninth through the 19th centuries; Persian and Iranian illuminated tales of love and mystical revelation; a Qing Dynasty (1644–1911) incense burner with Arabic inscriptions; traditional writing implements and materials from the collection of Darius Rejali; a documentary film of American Islamic calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya; and a body of contemporary calligraphy by renowned Iranian calligrapher and scholar Hamidreza Ghelichkhani. Reed College Library, Portland, Oregon through April 27.

The Crime Was Almost Perfect.. Although the link between art and crime can be traced back to ancient times, Thomas De Quincey explicitly theorized this connection in his notorious 1827 essay “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” Following De Quincey’s ironic proposal to analyze murder from an esthetic point of view, the exhibition brings together more than 40 artists, some from the Middle East, who cross the bridges linking art and the esthetics of crime and invoke the spirits of visual art, architecture, cinema, criminology and the modern crime genre, transforming the galleries into multiple “crime scenes.” Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam through April 27.

Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists. Echoes: Islamic Art and Contemporary Artists explores such questions as “What is Islamic art?” and “How do contemporary artists respond to Islamic art and culture?” through a series of visual conversations that make connections across cultures, geography and time. The exhibition juxtaposes historical objects and architecture with works by contemporary artists that employ traditional Islamic styles, materials and subject matter as their source, showing how they draw on their cultural and visual past to explore personal, political and esthetic concerns. “Echoes” is part of a citywide collaboration focusing on Islamic art and culture and featuring exhibitions, artists’ residencies and public programming at The Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Kansas City Artists Coalition and the Kansas City Public Library. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri through April 27.

View From Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art. View From Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography and Mixed Media Art is the theme of the Fotofest 2014 Biennial, which shows work by 49 leading contemporary Arab artists from the Middle East and North Africa in the first such large-scale presentation in many years. The multiple exhibitions are curated by one of the world’s leading experts on Arab art, Karin Adrian von Roques, and spotlight issues of identity, emigration, gender and religion. Concurrent events include a conference on Arab art (Museum of Fine Arts, Houston), March 29; a forum on Arabophobia (Rice University), April 2; and showings of Arab films (Museum of Fine Arts), throughout April. [email protected] Various venues in Houston through April 27.

Hiwar: Conversations in Amman. Hiwar: Conversations in Amman is the exhibition resulting from a program of residencies and talks that brought 14 artists from the Arab world, Africa, Asia and Latin America together in Amman. The program was born out of the necessity to promote exchanges between artists from the margins, not solely by juxtaposing their works in this exhibition but also by giving them the possibility of learning from each other’s practices and experiences. Also featured are works from the Khalid Shoman Collection by Abdul Hay Mosallam, Ahlam Shibli, Ahmad Nawash, Akram Zaatari, Amal Kenawy, Emily Jacir, Etel Adnan, Fahrelnissa Zeid, Hrair Sarkissian, Mona Hatoum, Mona Saudi, Mounir Fatmi, Nicola Saig, Rachid Koraïchi, and Walid Raad. Darat al Funun, Amman, Jordan through April 30.

May

In Focus: Ara Güler’s Anatolia. Throughout his career, acclaimed and prolific photojournalist Ara Güler, Turkey’s best-known photographer, took more than 800,000 photographs documenting Turkish culture and important historical sites. This exhibition reveals a selection of his never-before-shown works of Anatolian monuments, taking the viewer on a historical journey through the lens of one of the world’s legendary photojournalists. The 24 works on view also challenge Güler’s self-definition as a photojournalist rather than an artist, and engage visitors in a critical debate about whether photography is an art form or a means of documentation. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. through May 4.

Pinar Yoldaş: An Ecosystem of Excess. Pinar Yoldas: An Ecosystem of Excess focuses on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vortex in the North Pacific about the size of Central Europe made up of several million tons of plastic waste. Seeing this as a site of exchange between organic and synthetic matter, Yoldas creates a post-human ecosystem of speculative organisms and their imagined environment, a new biological taxonomy of the species of excess. Ernst Schering Foundation, Berlin through May 4.

Haroon Mirza: Random Access Recall. Haroon Mirza: Random Access Recall uses vintage furniture, used objects and disassembled instruments to create compositions that are esthetic, visual and auditory. Le Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire, France through May 4.

Kaveh Golestan: The Citadel. Kaveh Golestan: The Citadel features 45 photographs from the series titled “Prostitute,” taken between 1975 and 1977, which show Shahr-e No (“new city”), a walled red-light district of Tehran that was razed after the 1979 revolution. The photographs are the only surviving depictions of the area and the women who worked there, many of whom lost their lives either as a result of Shahr-e No’s destruction or in the executions that followed. The portraits produced by Golestan, a pioneer of street photography, are an intimate, humane gaze into the lives and personalities of the resident women. Golestan himself died in 2003 covering the Iraq war. Foam Photography Museum, Amsterdam through May 4.

Neighbours: Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond. Neighbours: Contemporary Narratives from Turkey and Beyond presents an extensive selection of contemporary artworks, examining common approaches to visual culture in 17 contiguous countries through the works of 35 artists. The exhibition brings together art by pioneering contemporary practitioners from places in the Balkans, Caucasia and the Middle East that share historical, political and cultural ties with Turkey, and addresses the themes of storytelling and travel—common denominators in the cultures and arts of the region—along with the notions of mobility, nomadism, migration and itinerancy and nuances of language, translation and cultural transmission. Istanbul Modern through May 8.

Christian Marclay: The Clock. Christian Marclay: The Clock is a 24-hour single-channel montage constructed from thousands of moments of cinema and television history depicting the passage of time, excerpted and edited together to create a functioning timepiece synchronized to local time wherever it is shown. The result marks the exact time in real time for the viewer for 24 consecutive hours. SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul May 9 through May 29.

Mona Hatoum: Turbulence. Mona Hatoum: Turbulence brings to the forefront the diversity of Mona Hatoum’s work over the last 30 years. The exhibition’s premise builds on the artist’s topical work “Turbulence” (2012), a 4 x 4-meter square composed of thousands of glass marbles laid directly onto the floor. Placed exactly at the center of the exhibition, this installation lies at the heart of a linear but non-chronological trajectory whereby a number of unexpected juxtapositions echo the complexity through which the artist has managed to challenge, and at times disturb, our experience of the ordinary. Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar through May 18.

Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq. Court and Craft: A Masterpiece from Northern Iraq examines one of the most rare and beautiful objects in the collection: a precious metalwork bag made in northern Iraq around 1300. Decorated with a courtly scene showing an enthroned couple at a banquet as well as musicians, hunters and revelers, it ranks as one of the finest pieces of Islamic inlaid metalwork in existence. The exhibition explores the origins, function and imagery of this little-known masterpiece, as well as the cultural context in which it was made, probably in Mosul. The exhibition also includes rare contemporary manuscripts in which similar bags are depicted, a life-size display evoking the court banqueting scene on the lid and related metal objects. Courtauld Gallery, London through May 18.

Nilima Sheikh: Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams. Nilima Sheikh: Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams features nine banners painted by revered Indian-born artist Nilima Sheikh for a series focusing on the magical history and contentious present of Kashmir. Completed between 2003 and 2010, these scroll-like works, once scattered across India and Southeast Asia, have been brought together in Chicago alongside two additional works that Sheikh will create especially for this installation. The exhibition’s title is derived from a line in the poem “I See Kashmir from New Delhi at Midnight” by the Kashmiri–American poet Agha Shahid Ali. His work initially inspired Sheikh’s interest in Kashmir, a region she has visited since childhood. Sheikh’s scrolls combine Ali’s poems with excerpts from myriad sources—from medieval poetry to Salman Rushdie’s books. Her image references are just as wide-ranging: miniatures, wall paintings and magical Kashmiri folktales. While the paintings focus on the cosmopolitanism of the ancient Silk Roads that linked Kashmir to Central Asia and China, they are also imbued with a contemporary perspective that encourages viewers to reflect and think afresh about this contested territory. Art Institute of Chicago through May 18.

Charles Atlas: MC9. Charles Atlas: MC9 is a nine-channel synchronized video work with sound, featuring clips from 21 collaborative works between filmmaker Charles Atlas and choreographer Merce Cunningham. This immersive installation encompasses the entire 40-year working relationship between these two visionary artists. Together, they developed a radical new way of incorporating the camera into live performance, which they referred to as “media dances.” Rather than using it as a static recording device, they allowed the camera to play an active part in the choreography. SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul through May 25.

June

Don’t Embarrass the Bureau. Don’t Embarrass the Bureau is a group exhibition featuring artists who question 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 economic life and inspire us to rethink how we perform our roles as citizens. Lunds [Sweden] Konsthall through June 1.

Sacred Scenes: Icons of the Orthodox Church. 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 us pieces, which he is completing at the Basilica of St. Mary in Livonia, Michigan, the exhibition explores the establishment and growth of Arab–American Orthodox communities. Arab American National Museum, Dearborn, Michigan through June 1.

Perspectives: Rita Bannerjee. Perspectives: Rita Bannerjee draws on the artist’s background as a scientist and her experience as an immigrant. Her richly textured works complicate the role of objects as representations of cultures; by juxtaposing organic and plastic objects, she concocts worlds that are both enticing and subtly menacing. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. through June 8.

Cleopatra’s Needle. Cleopatra’s Needle celebrates the Central Park Conservancy’s upcoming conservation of the obelisk of Thutmose III, popularly known as “Cleopatra’s Needle,” 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 presentation shows the significance of this ancient architectural form in western culture. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York through June 8.

Lost and Found: The Secrets of Archimedes.. Archimedes—mathematician, physicist, inventor, engineer and astronomer—lived in the third century bce. In 10th-century Constantinople, a scribe copied Archimedes’s 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 conservation, imaging and classical studies. This exhibition tells the story of the resulting rediscovery of new scientific, philosophical and political texts from the ancient world. The manuscript demonstrates that Archimedes discovered the mathematics of infinity, mathematical physics and combinatorics—a branch of mathematics used in modern computing. Huntington Library, San Marino, California through June 8.

July

Gérôme and the Lure of the Orient. 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 intersection of eastern and western art production. Like many artists of his time, Gérôme was drawn to the Orient, a term that included the lands of the Middle East, North Africa and Asia Minor. In 1853, Gérôme first visited Constantinople, and between 1856 and 1880 took regular trips to Turkey, Egypt and Palestine, making artistic studies of the people and places he encountered. Back in Paris, he transformed his observations into highly polished pictures that earned him great acclaim. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri through July 20.

When the Greeks Ruled Egypt. When the Greeks Ruled Egypt explores the confluence of two cultures through more than 75 artworks. Gilded mummy masks, luxury glass, magical amulets and portraits in stone and precious metals demonstrate the integration of foreign styles while also paying tribute to the enduring legacy of ancient Egypt’s distinctive visual culture. Despite centuries of cultural 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 “pharaoh,” built a new capital at Alexandria 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 curiosity 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 Chicago through July 27.

October

Unraveling Identity: Our Textiles, Our Stories. Unraveling Identity: Our Textiles, Our Stories unites textiles from across the globe to explore expressions of individual, cultural, political and social identity through the ages. In all times and places, clothing, adornments and other fabrics have articulated self and status, from ethnicity and occupation to religious belief. The exhibition, the first in the museum’s new venue, features more than 100 pieces that span 3000 years and five continents. Textile Museum, Washington, D.C., Fall 2014. through October 1.

Saturated: Dye-Decorated Cloths from North and West Africa. Saturated: Dye-Decorated Cloths from North and West Africa celebrates the dyer’s art from North and West Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Cameroon. The exhibition presents 11 dye-decorated cloths produced by traditional techniques and worn as garments or accessories. Before the introduction of European-made printed textiles to Africa in the 19th century, textile designs were made with natural dyes on plain homespun cotton, wool, raffia or other materials. Women were most often the dyers, and dye-decorated cloth was a major form of feminine artistic expression. Dallas Museum of Art through October 12.

Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (San Franciso). Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. An eye-opening look at the largely unknown ancient past of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this exhibition draws on recently discovered archeological material never before seen in the United States. Roads of Arabia features objects excavated from several sites throughout the Arabian Peninsula, tracing the impact of ancient trade routes and pilgrimage roads stretching from Yemen in the south to Iraq, Syria and Mediterranean cultures in the north. Elegant alabaster bowls and fragile glassware, heavy gold earrings and Hellenistic bronze statues testify to a lively mercantile and cultural interchange among distant civilizations. The study of archeological remains only really began in Saudi Arabia in the 1970’s, yet brought—and is still bringing—a wealth of unsuspected treasures to light: temples, palaces adorned with frescoes, monumental sculpture, silver dishes and precious jewelry left in tombs. The exhibition, organized as a series of points along trade and pilgrimage routes, focuses on the region’s rich history as a major center of commercial and cultural exchange, provides both chronological and geographical information about the discoveries made during recent excavations, and emphasizes the important role played by this region as a trading center during the past 6000 years. Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 18 through March 9; Nelson Atkins Museum, Kansas City, April through July 2014; Asian Art Museum of San Francisco October 17 through January 18.

Jerusalem Show VII (‘Ala Abwab Al Janna). Jerusalem Show VII (‘Ala Abwab Al Janna) encompasses exhibitions, film screenings, performances, talks, walks and workshops showcasing works of Palestinian and international artists, presented in the Old City of Jerusalem in various indoor and outdoor venues. Jerusalem October 24 through November 7.

November

Kader Attia. Kader Attia, the renowned French–Algerian artist, unveils a new site-specific 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 scientific measuring devices to books by such authors as Descartes and Alfred Russel 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, London through November 30.

April

Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum. Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum is an exquisitely illustrated papy-rus from Greco-Roman Egypt, one of the most intriguing ancient representa-tions of a place ever found. The papyrus depicts the Faiyum Oasis, located to the west of the Nile, as a center of prosperity and ritual. For the first time in over 150 years, major sections owned by the Walters Art Museum and the Morgan Library & Museum, separated since the manuscript was divided and sold in the 19th century, will be reunited. Egyptian jewelry, papyri, statues, reliefs and ritual objects will illuminate the religious context that gave rise to this enigmatic text, which celebrates the crocodile god Sobek and his special relationship with the Faiyum. Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Germany, Spring 2015. Reiss-Engelhorn-Museen, Mannheim, Germany through April 15.