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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.")

September

Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria. Chief S.O. Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria showcases the photographs of Chief Solomon Osagie Alonge (1911-1994), one of Nigeria’s premier photographers and the first official photographer to the Royal Courts of Benin. Alonge’s historic photographs document the rituals, pageantry and regalia of the court for more than a half century and provide rare insight into the early history and practice of studio photography in West Africa. [Note: closing date is in 2015.] National Museum of African Art, Washington, D.C. September 17 through September 13.

Mali Now. Mali Now, a three-segment series, offers a look at contemporary Malian music, culture and politics. “Mali Now” includes two performances by Salif Keita, “The Golden Voice of Africa” and the longtime ambassador of Malian music, on Friday, September 19, and by Bassekou Kouyate, who “through technique, technology and open ears...hurls the ngoni [a traditional wooden string instrument] into the 21st century” on October 30.  The series also offers a three-part discussion with Henry L. Gates, who explores the issues and history of contemporary Mali and what the future holds for the cultural, architectural and intellectual treasures of West Africa. The talks focus on “Timbuktu Past and Present,” “Music, Culture and Conflict” and “Defining Mali through Women’s Voices.” Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York September 18 through October 30.

Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age. At its height in the eighth to seventh century BCE, the Assyrian Empire was the dominant power of the ancient Near East and the largest empire the world had yet seen, reaching from Assyria (present-day northern Iraq) to the Mediterranean. This landmark exhibition traces—through some 260 works of art on loan—the deep roots of interaction between the ancient Near East and the lands along the shores of the Mediterranean and their impact on the artistic traditions that developed in the region. Parallels are also drawn between works in the exhibition and those in the museum’s permanent collection of ancient Near Eastern art. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York September 22 through January 4.

October

Serendipity Revealed: Contemporary Sri Lankan Art. . Brunei Gallery, soas, London October 9 through December 20.

Wendell Phillips Collection. Wendell Phillips headed the largest archeological expedition to South Arabia (present-day Yemen) from 1949-1951. Accompanied by leading scholars, scientists and technicians, Phillips was on a quest to uncover two ancient cities—Tamna, the capital of the once-prosperous Qataban kingdom, and Marib, the reputed home of the legendary Queen of Sheba—that had flourished along the fabled incense road some 2,500 years earlier. Through a selection of unearthed objects as well as film and photography shot by the exhibition team, the collection highlights Phillips’s key finds, recreates his adventures and conveys the thrill of discovery on the last great archeological frontier. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. October 11 through June 7.

The Future Is Not What It Used to Be: The 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial. The Future Is Not What It Used to Be: The 2nd Istanbul Design Biennial considers “the manifesto” as a platform and a catalyst for critical thinking in design. It asks how 21st-century designers can use the manifesto not only in the production of texts but also through actions, services, provocations or objects with the goal of inciting inventive outcomes. Of 800 submissions from Turkish and international designers, curator Zoë Ryan selected 75 that imagine a new future and instigate change by building on and reinterpreting history. They include “LEPSIS: The Art of Growing Grasshoppers” by Mansour Ourasanah, which addresses the implications of a growing world population and imminent global food shortage, and “Alternative Bug Out Bags”—kits for short-term evacuation after a disaster—by Jessica Charlesworth and Tim Parsons. Galata Greek Primary School and other locations, Istanbul, October 18 through December 14. October 18 through December 14.

L’avenir (looking forward) . L’avenir (looking forward) shows work by 50 artists and collectives from 22 countries as BNLMTL 2014— La Biennale de Montréal. It combines a multi-site venue, a series of performances, film screenings, talks, tours, publications, conferences and other special events at the Musée d’art contemporain and other cultural institutions and public spaces throughout the city to examine how contemporary artists give form to the question of “what is to come?” Multiple locations in Montréal October 22 through February 4.

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 24 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.

Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 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. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco October 24 through January 18.

Adobe Restoration Project. Inspired by the renowned late Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy and necessitated by damage from unusually heavy rains, Adobe Alliance offers work-and-learn sessions devoted to adobe building and maintenance, with an emphasis on the restoration of two Nubian-style catenary vaults and the re-plastering of walls. Participants will be joined by artists, scholars, designers, architects and builders in the scenic town of Presidio, Texas, on the edge of the Chihuahuan desert. Beginning October 24 through completion. Lodging details and directions: www.adobealliance.org October 24.

Silver from the Malay World. Silver from the Malay World explores the rich traditions of silver in the Malay world. Intricate ornament drawn from geometry and nature decorates dining vessels, clothing accessories and ceremonial regalia. The exhibition features rarely seen collections acquired by three prominent colonial administrators in British Malaya at the turn of the 20th century. Victoria and Albert Museum, London through October 30.

Istanbul. Istanbul is the third and most ambitious edition of The Moving Museum. With a three-month residency program for 40 international artists, it marks the largest coordinated influx of international resident artists in Istanbul’s recent memory. Among the artists are 12 from Turkey who will anchor the period of dialogue that features a public program of events, talks, workshops, lectures and performances. These will take place in the warehouse that will serve as residency headquarters and house a digital program directed by artists Jeremy Bailey, right, Joe Hamilton and Jonas Lund. Each artist has been commissioned to participate in local projects as well: While making an enduring impact on the city, they will also bring new influences to their current and future collaborators as well as themselves, furthering the museum’s focus of expanding local conversations to international audiences. At the end of October, the residency will culminate in an exhibition. Founded in 2012 by Aya Mousawi and Simon Sakhai as an independent, non-profit organization, The Moving Museum is a traveling program that aims to strengthen relationships among local art scenes and the global community of contemporary art. The word “moving” is not only attributed to the museum’s physical space, but is described as its “intention to advance contemporary art and its institutions.” Previous work includes exhibits in London and Dubai. Multiple locations, Istanbul. through October 31.

Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East. In 1862, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) was sent on an educational tour of the Middle East, accompanied by the British photographer Francis Bedford. This exhibition documents the journey through the work of Bedford, the first photographer to join a royal tour, and explores the cultural and political significance Victorian Britain attached to the region.  The display includes archeological material brought back by the Prince, including an Egyptian papyrus inscribed with the Amduat, a memorial text which describes the journey through the Underworld of Re, the Egyptian sun god. The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London October 31 through February 22.

Grand Parade: A Unique Art Installation by Jompet Kuswidananto. The Indonesian artist makes a unique presentation of his famous groups of parade figures. Rather than being retrospective of individual works, it serves as a new art installation, conceived as a dynamic whole. The assembly of life-size mechanical figures within the installation is modelled on the groups found in the Indonesian public domain during festive, ceremonial or political parades—with each figure wearing costumes, carrying musical instruments and coming into action through movement of hands, clapping and instrument playing. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam October 31 through March 22.

November

True to Life: New Photography from the Middle East. True to Life: New Photography from the Middle East is an exhibition of contemporary photographs by internationally acclaimed artists from the Middle East that encourages visitors to question the “authenticity” of what appears to be represented in photography and explore what is real, staged or imaginary. Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, UK through November 2.

Discovering Tutankhamun. Discovering Tutankhamun tells the story of one of the most significant archeological discoveries of the 20th century. The exhibit highlights the hunt for the tomb and the thrill of the discovery, and features Howard Carter’s original records, drawings and photographs relating to the finding of the pharaoh who ruled Egypt ca. 1336-1327 bce. Also on display are objects from Egypt’s Amarna Period (1350-1330 bce), with material from the archives of Oxford’s Griffith Institute. Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, Oxford through November 5.

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 23.

Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers: SeMA Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2014. Ghosts, Spies and Grandmothers: SeMA Biennale, Mediacity Seoul 2014 invokes the word “ghost” to call on spirits whose presence has been erased by dominant historical narratives. It uses “spy” to allude to the experience of colonialism and the Cold War in Asia. “Grandmothers” 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. 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 through November 23.

Places of Memory. Places of Memory at The Pavilion of Turkey at the 14th Venice International Architecture Biennale explores the biennale theme “Fundamentals”by departing from three areas of Istanbul that acted as thresholds during different stages of curator Murat Tabanlioglu’s life. This is the first year that Turkey is presenting at the International Architecture Exhibition in its new long-term pavilion at the Arsenale, Venice. Arsenale, Venice through November 23.

Ancient Lives, New Discoveries . Introduces visitors to eight people from ancient Egypt and Sudan whose bodies have been preserved, either naturally 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 individuals on display include a priest’s daughter, a temple singer, a middle-aged man, a young child, a temple doorkeeper and a woman with a Christian tattoo. British Museum, London through November 30.

Platform 007. Platform 007 is an online project space discussing the future of arts infrastructures and audiences across North Africa and the Middle East, sponsored by Ibraaz, the critical forum on visual culture. Initiated by the Kamel Lazaar Foundation in 2011, it publishes an online, biannual Platform with monthly rolling content, in both written and video formats. Platform 007 is a stage for the interpretation and dialogue around self-organized, socially engaged art practices and how they contribute to, and go beyond, a culture of institutional frameworks for art. www.ibraaz.org/platforms/, through November.  www.ibraaz.org/platforms/ through November 30.

Faith and Fortune: Visualizing the Divine on Byzantine and Early Islamic Coinage. Faith and Fortune: Visualizing the Divine on Byzantine and Early Islamic Coinage reveals epochal moments in the early histories of two of the world’s great religions—as illustrated by the currencies their followers created and circulated. The exhibition explores the origins, meanings and manufacturing processes of coinage in the neighboring Byzantine and early Muslim empires while also reflecting how attitudes to depicting religious subjects differ between Islam and Christianity. The relationship between these two empires was characterized by a constant dialogue of trade, intellectual exchange and military confrontation. This display examines how currency was used by each to assert cultural difference and promote its own concept of the divine. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, UK through November 30.

Painting with a Needle. Painting with a Needle is a new temporary exhibition dedicated to embroidery, its symbolism and reflected meanings. Traditional patterns and motifs from the different regions of Central and Inner Asia are included. The Russian Museum of Ethnography, Moscow through November 30.

December

Concentrations 57: Slavs and Tartars. Slavs and Tartars is an art collective whose installations, lecture performances, 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 exhibition, the group presents new work from its current series, “Long Legged Linguistics,” 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 “alphabet politics”: the attempts by nations, cultures and ideologies to ascribe a specific 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. Dallas Museum of Art through December 14.

The Moving Museum. With a three-month residency program for 40 international artists, the museum marks the largest coordinated influx of international resident artists in Istanbul’s recent memory. Founded in 2012 by Aya Mousawi and Simon Sakhai as an independent, nonprofit organization, The Moving Museum is a traveling program that aims to strengthen relationships among local art scenes and the global community of contemporary art. The word “moving” not only is attributed to the museum’s physical space, but is also described as its “intention to advance contemporary art and its institutions.” Residency from August 1 through October 31; exhibition from October 27 Multiple locations, Istanbul. through December 15.

January

The Rainbow Behind the Black: 100 Years of Saudi Arabian Dress and Accessories. Brunei Gallery, soas, London January 1 through March 31.

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 through January 4.

Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait. Arts of Islamic Lands: Selections from the al-Sabah Collection, Kuwait comes to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) as a part of a longer-term collaboration with the cultural institution Dar al-Athar al-Islamiyyah. Founded by Sheikh Nazzer Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah and his wife, Sheikha Hussah Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah, this is one of the greatest collections of Islamic art in the world. It contains spectacular Mughal jewelry, illuminated manuscripts, exquisite ceramics and decorated ceiling panels from the eighth to 18th century, from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to the Middle East and Central Asia. MFAH, Houston through January 4.

February

Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India. Francesco Clemente: Inspired by India examines the Indian influences in Clemente’s work and how they relate to the artistic traditions and practices of various regions of India. In contrast to leading conceptual artists’ practices of the 1970’s, Clemente focused on representation, narrative and the figure, and explored traditional, artisanal materials and modes of working. The exhibition includes some 20 works, including paintings from the past 30 years and four new, larger-than-life sculptures. Rubin Museum of Art, New York through February 2.

Southeast Asia: 800 CE – Present. Southeast Asia: 800 CE – Present enables students to explore the arts and material culture of Burma, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and the island nations of Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia, all part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which represents a broad and complex sweep of landscapes, cultures, and religions. Temple architecture, sculpture, painting and manuscripts highlight the distinctive regional characteristics of religious practice and belief. Victoria and Albert Museum, London February 9 through March 23.

Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy. Nasta’liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy is the first exhibition to focus on nasta’liq, a calligraphic script developed in 14th-century Iran that remains one of the most expressive forms of esthetic refinement in Persian culture to this day. More than 20 works ranging from 1400 to 1600, the height of nasta’liq’s development, tell the story of the script’s transformation from a simple conveyer of the written word into an artistic form on its own. The narrative thread emphasizes the achievements of four of the greatest master calligraphers, whose manuscripts and individual folios were and still are appreciated not only for their content, but also for their technical virtuosity and visual quality. Sackler Gallery, Washington, D.C. through February 22.

April

Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum. Egypt’s Mysterious Book of the Faiyum is an exquisitely illustrated papyrus from Greco-Roman Egypt, one of the most intriguing ancient representations 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 through April 15.

June

Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World (San Francisco). Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World presents the arts of Islamic cultures from the point of view of authors and artists from historical Muslim societies, offering an alternative to impersonal presentations of Islamic art. Instead, the exhibition focuses on specific people and relationships among cultural tastemakers threaded together “as pearls on a string,” a Persian metaphor for human connectedness—especially among painters, calligraphers, poets and their patrons. The exhibition highlights the exceptional art of the Islamic manuscript and underscores the book’s unique ability to relate narratives about specific people. Through a series of vignettes, the visitor is introduced to the art inextricably linked to the men and women who shaped the Islamic past and contribute to its future. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco June 21.

July

India: Jewels That Enchanted the World. Examines the legacy of 500 years of Indian jewelry, from the 17th century 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 craftsmanship, the magnificence of gemstone setting and the refinement of Indian taste. Assembled from more than 30 museums, institutions and private collections, the exhibition is the most comprehensive ever staged on the subject. Its first section focuses on the jewelry traditions of South India: monumental pieces crafted from gold, worked in relief and decorated with gemstone 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, architects, enamelers and jewelers. A further 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 jewelry houses, The Gem Palace and Bhagat. Catalog in English and Russian. State Museums of Moscow Kremlin through July 27.

August

Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation. Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation elaborates on the history and contemporary experiences of Indian Americans as they have grown to be one of the more diverse and well-recognized communities in the us. Photographs, artifacts, videos and interactives trace arrival and labor participation in the early 1900s; achievements within various economic industries; and many contributions in building the nation. The exhibition also reveals how they have kept and shared their culture and organized to meet the needs of the under-served. Asian Pacific American Center, Washington, D.C. through August 26.

September

Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World (Doha). Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World presents the arts of Islamic cultures from the point of view of authors and artists from historical Muslim societies, offering an alternative to impersonal presentations of Islamic art. Instead, the exhibition focuses on specific people and relationships among cultural tastemakers threaded together “as pearls on a string,” a Persian metaphor for human connectedness—especially among painters, calligraphers, poets and their patrons. The exhibition highlights the exceptional art of the Islamic manuscript and underscores the book’s unique ability to relate narratives about specific people. Through a series of vignettes, the visitor is introduced to the art inextricably linked to the men and women who shaped the Islamic past and contribute to its future. Museum of Islamic Art, Doha, Qatar September 1.

October

New Threads Staged Reading Series. Golden Thread’s staged reading series returns, introducing five new plays from and about the Middle East to Bay Area audiences. This year’s lineup includes Middle East America Honorable Mention winners Ismail Khalidi and Daria Polatin, a hit from London by Hassan Abdulrazzak, and a work-in-progress presentation of a new work by Artistic Director Torange Yeghiazarian. The series launches with a sneak peek at the short plays selected for the ReOrient 2015 Festival. Audiences will have an opportunity to ask questions and engage the artists in conversation after each reading. Thick House, San Francisco through October 31.

November

The Invisible Hand. “The Invisible Hand,” a work by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar, will be presented in the 2014-2015 season of the New York Theatre Workshop. The play is about an American stockbroker kidnapped by Islamic militants; his perspective on his captors evolves as he negotiates for his release. New York Theatre November 1 through December 31.

December

Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: Benjamin-Constant in His Time. Marvels and Mirages of Orientalism: Benjamin-Constant in His Time presents an acclaimed painter of the Belle Époque in a major exhibition of Orientalist art. The artist’s huge, spectacular canvases, now traveling for the first time, conjure up fantasies of a dreamlike Orient, viewed through the prism of folklore, ethnographic pretext and the erotic imagination. Benjamin-Constant’s dazzling color palette was greatly influenced by his trips to Andalusia and Morocco. Perspective is provided by paintings by artists of his time, from Delacroix to Gérôme, and reactions to his work by contemporary artists. Montreal Museum of Fine Arts through December 1.

Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt. Presents 30 artworks selected from the museum’s extensive Egyptian collection: feral and tame cats, stone or bronze cats, small or large cats, domestic 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 royalty and valued for their ability to protect homes and granaries from rats and mice. On public view for the first time is a gilded leonine goddess dating from between 770 and 412 BCE that entered the Brooklyn collection in 1937. Brooklyn Museum, New York through December 31.

March

Abdelkader Benchamma: Representation of Dark Matter. Abdelkard Benchamma creates an astrological vortex in his strikingly graphic, site-specific drawing, rendered in intensely black lines against a wall’s white surface. The work is a depiction of the solar system’s complexity and its nearly imperceptible dark matter.  The physically 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 perpetually transforming. The Drawing Center, New York through March 1.

Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World. Pearls on a String: Art and Biography in the Islamic World presents the arts of Islamic cultures from the point of view of authors and artists from historical Muslim societies, offering an alternative to impersonal presentations of Islamic art. Instead, the exhibition focuses on specific people and relationships among cultural tastemakers threaded together “as pearls on a string,” a Persian metaphor for human connectedness—especially among painters, calligraphers, poets and their patrons. The exhibition highlights the exceptional art of the Islamic manuscript and underscores the book’s unique ability to relate narratives about specific people. Through a series of vignettes, the visitor is introduced to the art inextricably linked to the men and women who shaped the Islamic past and contribute to its future. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland March 19.

December

CULTURUNNERS. On the occasion of the UN’s International Day of Peace on September 21, the Rothko Chapel, in partnership with Art Jameel, hosts the launch of Edge of Arabia’s multi-year us tour of this independent artists’ expedition. In the spirit of the chapel’s mission to inspire people to action through art and contemplation and to provide a forum for global concerns, the event enables pioneering artists, scholars and community groups to cultivate new perspectives on cultural collaborations beyond identities defined by culture, religion, nation, citizenship, economic status, profession, gender or age. Rothko Chapel, Houston through December 31.