Original program date: June 18, 2020. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, Arab countries were transformed through decolonization, the rise of nationalism, socialism, rapid industrialization, and wars and mass migrations. At the same time, artists were revitalizing their practices, finding inspiration in Arabic calligraphy, geometry and mathematics, and local topographies. Hannah Feldman, Associate Professor of Art History, Northwestern, focuses on abstract art in Algeria; and Alex Dika Seggerman, Assistant Professor of Islamic Art History, Rutgers University–Newark, on figurative art in Egypt. Moderated by Sarah-Neel Smith, Assistant Professor of Art History, Theory, and Criticism, Maryland Institute College of Art.
Original program date: June 4, 2020. Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor of History of Art, Cornell University, and Nada Shabout, Professor of Art History, University of North Texas, explore how the artists in Taking Shape “reterritorialized” the Arabic alphabet and made its aesthetic more accessible to the larger world, not only in detaching Arabic letterforms from Islamic calligraphy and religious history but also in liberating them from their semantic functions. In stripping Arabic letters of their former meanings, artists enabled them to signal modern (pan-)Arab identity and the decolonization of culture. Moderated by Pepe Karmel, Associate Professor of Art History, New York University.
Original program date: June 12, 2020. In response to the worldwide outcry against racial injustice, Art at a Time Like This presented a special program featuring Lynn Gumpert, director of the Grey Art Gallery at NYU, and Noel Anderson, artist and professor in NYU’s Department of Art and Art Professions. They discussed matters ranging from discrimination in education and the art world to teaching studio art remotely to the future of museum and university programming in the age of COVID-19.
Original program date: May 28, 2020. Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation, discusses this independent, UAE–based initiative, which he established in 2009 to study, preserve, and exhibit modern art from the Arab world, and to foster critical conversations about regional modernisms. Suheyla Takesh, a curator at Barjeel and co-curator of Taking Shape, discusses her role in organizing the exhibition, framing her investigation of modernism’s development in mid-20th century North Africa and West Asia within today’s rethinking of the canon of abstract art. Moderated by Lynn Gumpert, director of NYU’s Grey Art Gallery and co-curator of the exhibition.
Watch a virtual tour of the exhibition "Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s."
Original program date: May 11, 2020. NYU Grey Art Gallery’s Lynn Gumpert, Director, and Michèle Wong (Steinhardt ’80), Associate Director | Head of Exhibitions and Collections, discuss the highlights of NYU’s unparalleled and unique Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art.
Original program date: May 7, 2020. This online webinar reframes alt-text as a type of poetry, using language that is pared-down, yet expressive. Writers Amelia Bande, Candystore, and Kimberly Drew will describe artworks and event documentation images—those most often found on institutional websites—and have their texts workshopped, learning from one another’s strategy and techniques. Alt-text as Poetry creates an opportunity to rethink accessible visual content, inspiring thought, care, and playfulness.
Original program date: March 4, 2020. In conjunction with the exhibition Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection, Lynn Gumpert, Director of the Grey Art Gallery at NYU and Lisa Corrin, Director of the Block Museum of Art, held a conversation on this intrepid woman collector and the way that her legacy might inform global directions for contemporary collectors.
Opening Reception of Taking Shape at Grey Art Gallery, NYU | January 30, 2020 Film by Maxim Rowan The exhibition Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s-1980s held its opening reception at the Grey Art Gallery at New York University on January 30, 2020. Film by Maxim Rowan, courtesy Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE.