Exhibition Archive

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.

Click here to download the exhibition brochure.

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.

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.


Blanche Dolmatch: Landscape as MetaphorApril 24 - June 17, 2018

Since the 1960’s, Blanche Dolmatch has created order out of incomprehension. The artist draws on immensely layered and complex settings that she reduces to formal language. Incessantly uncanny and psychologically unsettling, the majority of her unoccupied worlds portray empty homes, motels, stations, theaters, and camps. These scenes transpire similarly—in mood and feel—in the absence of architecture. Seascapes depicting isolated monuments of nature—be they glaciers or islands—mirror the compositions of Dolmatch’s human-made structures in their scrupulous creation of balance. Symmetry extends to all corners of the artist’s landscapes with a centering element occasionally presenting a human figure.

Blanche Dolmatch. Motel with Pool, 2005. Acrylic, oil on canvas; Swimmer, 2004. Acrylic, oil on canvas.
Images courtesy the artist..



Young Artists 2018January 21 – February 11, 2018

This annual exhibition of high school seniors' artwork from member schools, now in its 35th year, gives aspiring artists an opportunity to participate in all aspects of a museum exhibition. With guidance from professionals, the young artists organize, publicize, curate, and mount their own exhibition. Over 400 artworks from 40 local high schools across Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, and Fairfield will be on view. 

The Young Artists 2018 program is sponsored by Rebecca and Arthur Samberg.
The postcard artwork was designed by Kevin Lema of Peekskill High School at the Young Artists Graphic Design Workshop.



Object Out Loud: Arman and Nick CaveOctober 15, 2017 – January 7, 2018

Object Out Loud: Arman and Nick Cave —featuring two prominent artists separated by time and place—is designed as a visual dialogue. Incorporating work that is fundamentally sculptural and often political, the exhibition asserts the power of artists to transform everyday materials into symbolic relics replete with information and symbolism. Though emerging from vastly different moments and backgrounds, both Arman (1928-2005) and Nick Cave (b. 1969) share a love of the commonplace, from colorful sequins and chains to buttons and figurines. Through these diverse materials, often configured in dramatic standalone compositions, the artists reflect on their experiences, shaped by the reality of the world around them.

Arman’s bold appropriation of mass-produced objects was a form of realism that captured a new relationship to commerce exploding during the 1950s. Increasingly during this period, artists were moving away from the conventional materials of studio creation to draw their ideas from popular culture. Materials and themes once considered too low for the aims of fine art were embraced by Arman’s generation, which relished in turning highly familiar objects into fantastical and at times poetic artworks. Many of his objects have an aged patina, suggesting another time and use. Arman was the son of an amateur cellist and musical instruments appear frequently in his work, for example. So, too, does the cacophony of the street resound in the urban relics that crowd his compositions and infuse them with tactile energy.

Nick Cave is a multi-media artist whose work varies in scale and context from glittering installations to the iconic freestanding Soundsuits. A messenger and activist himself, his sustained interest in garments and their relationship to culture underlies his creation of sculptures built on themes of adornment, armor, and disguise. The first Soundsuit was made in response to the 1991 assault of Rodney King and the consequent uprisings in Los Angeles. At once ornately beautiful and powerfully political, Cave’s work often returns to conversations about society, justice, and black lives. Visually dense, they suggest the intricacies of life, threaded together by many different textures and histories. The result is a visual matrix that inspires the double meaning of the exhibition’s title, Object Out Loud. An object can refer to a tangible thing in the world, like sculpture. Yet the word can also be used as a verb—to object—to express disapproval and opposition. Here in this installation, these meanings are brought together in an animated dialogue spanning two visions and generations.

The exhibition is made possible in part by the generous support of Sara T. & Joshua Slocum, Agnes Gund, Judy & Tony Evnin, Sara Arnell, Lexann & Andrew Richter, Stephanie French, and Armand Bartos.

The organizers wish to thank the Arman Marital Trust, Corice Arman, Trustee, and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, for their generous assistance with the exhibition.

Nick Cave, Wall Relief (detail), 2012. Mixed media including ceramic birds, and metal flowers. © Nick Cave. Photo by James Prinz Photography. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

ARMAN, In Favor of Admission (detail), 1976. Plexiglas and metal collage. © 2017 Arman Marital Trust, Corice Arman, Trustee.

Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists July 9 – October 1, 2017

Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists studies some of the best contemporary art through the lens of craft: the woven carpet. Featuring seventeen artists from across the globe, the exhibition reveals carpets to be a powerful locus of meaning today, one that cuts across subjects of design, art, décor, production, and geopolitics. Wall to Wall proposes that artist-designed carpets play a role in modern art history as a critical form that is becoming increasingly popular in artistic practices.

The featured carpets embody a wide range of formal interests, from material, to color, to spatial composition. They represent diverse approaches to collaboration as well: artist and weaver, artist and designer, artist and producer, artist and commercial business. With range and depth, the exhibition reveals how and why artists are advancing contemporary art practice through this ancient yet persistent medium.

Artists include Polly Apfelbaum, Alan Belcher, Guillaume Bijl, Liam Gillick, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Joseph Kosuth, Ken Lum, Marilyn Minter, Sarah Morris, Paulina Olowska, Jorge Pardo, Richard Prince, Julião Sarmento, Rosemarie Trockel, Christopher Wool, and Heimo Zobernig.

The exhibition is organized by MOCA Cleveland and curated by Cornelia Lauf, independent curator.

Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists at the Katonah Museum of Art is made possible by the generous support of Vanessa Diebold, Lisa and Mark Schwartz, Old New House, Patsy Orlofsky, and an anonymous contribution.

Installation view, Wall to Wall: Carpets by Artists at MOCA Cleveland. Photo: Jerry Birchfield. (c) MOCA Cleveland 2016.


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