Exhibitions

Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic TraditionFebruary 25 – June 17, 2018

Long, Winding Journeys: Contemporary Art and the Islamic Tradition presents a focused look at a group of artists of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent whose work engages the diverse forms of Islamic visual tradition to explore religion, culture, and socio-political issues today. It takes its title from Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ayad Akhtar’s essay, The Breath of Miraj, a response to artist Shahzia Sikander work, Portrait of the Artist. The text speaks to the manner in which Islam and its history can inspire creative life to become a “long, winding journey.” It simultaneously serves as a metaphor for the travel of a visual tradition through time and its ability to nimbly adapt to an ever-changing world.

Long, Winding Journeys brings artists’ voices to the fore as they mine links between the seemingly distant past and contemporary experience. The works in the exhibition draw from centuries-old forms—such as calligraphy, miniature painting, geometric patterning, textiles, and architecture—that have come to define historical Islamic art. Employing this lineage, the artists explore the intersection of visual traditions and other kinds of inherited histories: the rich meaning and complex constraints of religious and cultural customs; rituals of spiritual practice; political upheaval and violent conflict; and diaspora’s effect on identity and belonging. Art of the past acts as a lens through which to view present-day experience.

Artists include Anila Agha, Faig Ahmed, Ammar Al Attar, Noor Ali Chagani, Khadim Ali, Shiva Ahmadi, Ghada Amer, Afruz Amighi, Nazgol Ansarinia, Nasser Al Salem, Fereydoun Ave, Shoja Azari, Ala Ebtekar, Monir Farmanfarmaian, Shadi Ghadirian, Babak Golkar, Susan Hefuna, Shirazeh Houshiary, Pouran Jinchi, Hayv Kahraman, Baseera Khan, Hassan Massoudy, Jordan Nassar, Shirin Neshat, Hadieh Shafie, Shahzia Sikander and Ayad Akhtar, Kurosh ValaNejad and Peter Brinson, and Imran Qureshi.

This exhibition is organized by Guest Curator, Elizabeth Rooklidge, with research assistance from curatorial intern, Caitlin Monachino, and Assistant Curator, Olga Dekalo.

The exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of Janet Benton, the Kathwari Family Foundation, Robin Simon, the Howard and Maryam Newman Family Foundation, Betty Himmel, Yvonne Pollack, Marilyn Glass, Vanessa Diebold, Katherine Moore, and Ellen and Bob Grimes.

Exhibition programming sponsored by a Humanities New York Action Grant.

Homepage: Shadi Ghadirian, Untitled from the Qajar series, 1998, digital print, 9 15/16 x 8 1/16 in. © Shadi Ghadirian and Silk Road Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and Silk Road Gallery, Tehran, Iran.
Hassan Massoudy, untitled (“O friend, don’t go to the flower garden, the flower garden is within you.” –Kabir, 16th c.), 2005, ink and pigment on paper, 29 x 21 in. © Sundaram Tagore Gallery and the artist. Courtesy of the artist and Sundaram Tagore Gallery, New York.

Above: Ala Ebtekar, Zenith V, 2014, acrylic over cyanotype on canvas, four panels 60 1/4 x 30 1/4 in. each. © Ala Ebtekar. Courtesy of the artist and The Third Line, Dubai.

 

Mark di Suvero’s Monumental SculptureOngoing

Since fall 2016 the KMA is host to two of internationally renowned artist Mark di Suvero’s pioneering steel sculptures. Since the 1950s, di Suvero has transformed industrial materials such as wood timbers, tires, and scrap metal to create works that dynamize their setting. Visitors will find the space of the KMA’s South Lawn activated with Yoga (1991) and the Marilyn M. Simpson Sculpture Garden with Rust Angel (1995), works that exemplify di Suvero’s ability to imbue familiar sites with an original energy.

This project is supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in honor of Charles Bergman's many years of counsel and service. Additional Support for this exhibition is provided by Jon & Nancy Bauer, Victoria & Stephen Morris, the Donna & Marvin Schwartz Foundation, the Silverweed Foundation, and the Ohnell Family Foundation. Special thanks to Elizabeth & Samuel Sachs for their support and collaboration.

Header Image: Mark di Suvero, Yoga, 1991, Steel, stainless steel, 29’ 6 1/2” x 31’ 2” x 31’ 2”. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery, New York. Photograph © Margaret Fox Photography.
Image Above: Mark di Suvero, Rust Angel, 1995. Painted steel. Courtesy of the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery. Photograph © Margaret Fox Photography.

 

Lawrence McGarvey: Open MindOngoing

Beginning November 2017, guests will encounter a new sculpture perched steps away from the KMA entrance. Both figurative and abstract, literal and metaphor, Open Mind embodies the spirit in which the KMA hopes its guests will approach their museum experience.

Created by New York artist, Lawrence McGarvey (b. 1965), the sculpture comes to us on temporary loan from Paraphé Art, a new online contemporary art gallery launched by Susan Grissom, formerly of The Lionheart Gallery in Pound Ridge. The figure, a profile of a human head with a cloud-like hole cut-out in the place of its brain, allows the viewer to see the changing world through a cleverly-placed negative shape. The viewer’s mind penetrates the sculpture and opens up to the freedom of the space that flows through it. The sculpture is simultaneously emptied and filled and visually dependent upon the world that surrounds it. McGarvey explains that the sculpture is a monument to “freedom of thought“ as well as a lyrical homage to Rodin’s The Thinker.

Lawrence McGarvey, Open Mind, 2017.
Aluminum sculpture. Courtesy of the
artist and Paraphe.art.