Reconnecting East & West
Starts: Sat, 18 June 2011, 11:00 a.m.
Ends: Wed, 10 August 2011, 07:00 p.m.
Islamic Ornament in 19th-Century Works from the Dahesh Museum of Art and Syracuse University
Using English and Arabic text panels, Reconnecting East and West traces the remarkably rich documentation of Islamic ornament and design by European scholars, artists, and architects who traveled to the Middle East in the 19th century. The 45 works on view reveal the diversity of Islamic ornamental vocabulary and its application to a wide variety of buildings, books, textiles, and objects. Featured in the exhibition are a selection of spectacular color lithographs from Émile Prisse d’Avenne’s magisterial Islamic Art in Cairo, along with three original volumes that make up this compendium; individual plates from Owen Jones’s influential Grammar of Ornament and Alhambra are also shown alongside the original publications. In addition, there are paintings by Orientalist artists Rudolf Ernst, Ludwig Deutsch, and Federico Ballesio and prints after Jean-Léon Gérôme that reflect the ubiquity of these motifs in Orientalist art.
While these texts and images became a primary source of information for Western painters, architects, and decorators, they became—and remain—valuable records of many Islamic monuments and their decoration, some of which have disappeared over time. Reconnecting East and West closes with contemporary photographs of Dubai, a modern Islamic city, juxtaposed with the earlier, historical material to illustrate the continuity of traditional Islamic ornament in today’s ultra-modern cityscape.
To stimulate further conversations about the intersection of history, art, and the complex relationship between cultures over time, Reconnecting East and West is accompanied by a full-color booklet, in English and Arabic, with text and images from the exhibition, along with a list of suggested readings and a glossary of terms.