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Dalloul Art Foundation

Modern Art from the Middle East

Published on Fri 24 February, 2017

Modern Art from the Middle East Modern Art from the Middle East

February 24 - July 16 2017

Curated by Mandy Merzaban

With Modern Art from the Middle East, the Yale University Art Gallery joins the campus-wide celebration of the 175th anniversary of Arabic studies at Yale and honors Edward Elbridge Salisbury, B.A. 1832, the first professor of Arabic and Sanskrit in the Americas. The installation presents a selection of paintings and sculptures by artists rarely exhibited in the United States. The objects are drawn from the Barjeel Art Foundation in the United Arab Emirates, founded by Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi to promote art from the Arab world through both local and international exhibitions. The works on view highlight the art movements that blossomed in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria in the second half of the 20th century and testify to the emergence of a unique aesthetic in these countries. Hovering between abstraction and figuration, the objects fuse modern elements with ancient sources and sociopolitical references. For information on the related symposium, organized by the History of Art Department, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Council on Middle East Studies, visit

“Writing/Curating the Middle East,” is organized by the History of Art Department, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Council on Middle East Studies, and takes place on Thursday and Friday, March 30–31, 2017. The symposium opens with a keynote lecture on Thursday, March 30, delivered by the celebrated Egyptian artist Wael Shawky, and sessions on Friday examine issues of national identity and diversity, bringing together curators and art historians who engage with the Middle East through research, publications, and exhibitions. Very often the cultural production of the Arab world and Iran is viewed solely through the lens of European and American modes of art theory. This symposium takes new avenues of research as a launching pad from which it examines entanglements and synchronicity, proposing a new discourse on art from the Middle East that illustrates both how it was inspired by and contributed to global modern art movements.

Symposium Organizers

Kishwar Rizvi
Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture

Pamela Franks
Senior Deputy Director and the Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Yale University Art Gallery

The symposium is sponsored by the Edward J. and Dorothy Clarke Kempf Memorial Fund and the MacMillan Center.


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