Conferences | AMCA | Association for Modern + Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran + Turkey

Open to the Public

Date: May 22, 2016 – May 24, 2016
Time: 09:00am – 05:00pm
Location: NYUAD Campus, Conference Center View map

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Agenda

Our art historical account of modernism has long been rooted in an idea of dissatisfaction with representation, in a twentieth-century impatience with perceived distance from ‘real’ material, emotion, or knowledge. While Western scholarship privileges one network of European artists with the invention of abstraction in 1910, this dissatisfaction with representation permeated other disciplines as well. Modern architects ceased concerning themselves with historical styles as a métier, instead designing machines for living, and for knowing. By mid century, the methods of postwar sociology and planning shifted in the direction of producing data sets which, offering ways to manipulate experience apart from the singularity of good taste or the frame of the individual, became material to the art object (and its deconstruction) as well. At stake in these multiple abstractions was the dream of true being, as might exist outside the specificity of language or culture.

There is no monopoly on this dream. Nomenclature to describe the transcendence of the singularity of appearances in fact proliferates in translation – the Arabic word tajreed, the Persian entaze’e or the Turkish word soyutlama, and other names – to denote formal states beyond natural likeness such as a lasting structure or eternal concept. And yet, still tethered to the very word abstraction—as it is used in the narrow disciplinary frame of artistic modernism—is a concept of representation that has been formed within the particular historical context of the European tradition of illusionistic painting. Abstraction acquired its sense in reference to a lack, a pulling away from visual representation, an absence of the figure. If this is our disciplinary inheritance, what can be made of work with traditions that never placed emphasis on the icon, or never submitted to the representational limits of the painterly frame? How can we attend to the multiplicity of other artistic problems, or modes of creation, found in modernism writ large? To the many strands of Eastern mysticism and vitalist philosophy that provided an impetus to abstraction, on all shores? What history can we write for the artists who made their own mobility a ground for new abstractions, moving from discipline to discipline, and circulating around various cities and countries?

The fourth AMCA conference seeks to open the concept of abstraction up to inquiry across multiple disciplinary formulations, so as to probe both the frame of modern abstraction and its promise to unframe. Papers might engage a range of subjects, including and not limited to (1) critical accounts of the concept of abstraction; (2) case studies of artistic practice; (3) critical analyses of interactions between artists and architects, or art and calculation; (4) reinterpretations of global conditions for abstract art in the twentieth century. As a whole, the conference is intended to highlight transformations of abstraction in the non-West, including the Arab world, Iran, and Turkey, and the history of aniconic ornament in their spiritual landscapes. Equally it aims to take other impetuses into account: the abstract calculations of colonialism, economics, and planning that produced the modern condition, as well as ethical issues surrounding the abdication of the figure or the non-figure (such as sincerity of practice or lack thereof).

The conference will take place at two institutions: NYU-Abu Dhabi and the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah. By convening the conference in conjunction with a collection of art assembled outside national boundaries, and within a new institution of higher learning located between the Middle East and Asia, in which Europe is de-centered, we anticipate that our discussions in the United Arab Emirates will enable us to un-frame abstraction as an artistic process, goal, and critique. To that end, the conference will conclude with a day of “unconference”, when the questions raised in the conference may be applied to the collection of art in the Barjeel Art Foundation. This collection includes work by Etel Adnan, Mohammed Melehi, Mona Saudi, Hugette Caland, Shakir Hassan Al Said, Omar El Nagdi, and others may be viewed at  https://www.google.com/culturalinstitute/u/0/collection/barjeel-art-foundation.

All proposals to be submitted by Oct 31st 2015
to: info@amcainternational.org. Responses will be emailed on December 1st, 2015.

Conference participation of presenters will be fully subsidized by the generous sponsorship of Barjeel Art Foundation and NYUAD

Organizers:

Saleem Al-Bahloly (EUME Fellow 2014-2016, Forum Transregionale Studien)
Jessica Gerschultz (University of Kansas)
Anneka Lenssen (UC Berkeley)
Salwa Mikdadi (NYUAD)
Nada Shabout (University of North Texas)

In Collaboration with

Barjeel Art Foundation

 AGENDA

NYU ABU DHABI INSTITUTE

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Sunday, May 22: Day 1

9:00 – 9:30 AM Registration
Institute Conference Center
Meeting Room Foyer
9:30 – 9:45 AM Welcome Remarks & Introduction
Robert J.C. Young, Dean of Arts & Humanities,NYUAD
Salwa Mikdadi, NYUAD
Nada Shabout, AMCA
Sultan Al Qassemi, BAF
9:45 – 11:00 AM Panel I: Painting: Questions of the Liminal Space
Beyond Figuration: Exploring the space between the abstract and the figurative in Marwan’s painting
Charlotte Bank, University of Geneva
Sam Francis’s Polycentric Abstraction
Elizabeth Buhe, NYU
Discussant:
Anneka Lenssen, UC Berkeley
Q&A
11:00 – 11:30 AM
Break & Refreshments
Atrium
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM Panel II: Violence of Abstraction
 Clandestine Aesthetics: Abstracted Photography in Wartime Algeria
 Tina Barouti, Boston University
Part Flesh, Part Data: Permutations of Black Square
Sandra Skurvida, FIT-SUNY
Discussant:
Saleem Al-Bahloly, Forum Transregionale Studien
Q&A
2:00 – 3:30 PM   PANEL III: Anonymous Modalities
Understanding abstraction in artistic expressions in contemporary media of the Arabian Gulf 
 Maha Al-Saati, University of Dammam, Saudi Arabia
 Speculation and Spectacle: Oil and Modernization in Kuwait
 Michael Kubo, MIT
 Discussant:
 Jessica Gerschultz, University of Kansas
     Q&A
3:20 – 4:00 PM   Break & Refreshments
 Atrium
4:00 – 5:00 PM  Curatorial Tour: Diana al Hadid Exhibition
 Maya Allison,  NYUAD Chief Curator & Director
5:00 – 6:30 PM  Break & Refreshments
 Atrium
6:30 – 8:00 PM  PUBLIC PROGRAM 
NYUAD Conference Center (A6)
Middle Eastern Films Before Thy Gaze Returns to Thee—in Less than 1/24 of a Second
Jalal Toufic,  Director of the School of Visual Arts at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts (ALBA)
Immediately followed by a public reception

Monday, May 23 | Day 2

9:00 – 9:30 AM  Registration
 Institute Conference Center
 Lecture Hall Foyer
9:30 – 11:00 AM  PANEL IV: Painting: Choosing Abstraction
 Fahrelnissa Zeid Unbound: Inner Necessity and the Articulation of Abstraction with Representation
 Adila Laïdi-Hanieh, Independent Scholar
   Abstraction in Saudi Art:  one solution, various situations
 Eiman Elgibreen, The Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabi
 Discussant:
 Nada Shabout, University of North Texas
 Q&A

Tuesday, May 24: DAY 3

Barjeel Art Foundation

Hosted by Barjeel Art Foundation
Al Qasba Theater, Sharjah

9:30:00 AM   Welcome
 Sultan Al Qassemi, BAF
 Nada Shabout, AMCA
10:00  –  11:30 AM  PANEL V: National Narration: Abstraction in Place 
 Architecture-Art-Architecture: Constructing Baghdad’s Modernism
 Amin Alsaden, Harvard University
 Abstraction, ‘Iranian Modernism,’ and the Question of Global-Local Art
 Combiz Moussavi-Aghdam, Art University in Tehran
    Abstraction: Modernization Challenged, Representation Dismantled
 Ilhan Ozan, Research and Programs at SALT, Istanbul
   Discussant:
 Salwa Mikdadi, NYUAD
   Q & A 
11:30 – 11:50 AM   Break & Refreshments
 Al Qasabah Theater, Sharjah
11:50 – 1:00 PM   PANEL VI: Abstraction in Performance
   Dialogical Abstraction in Halim El-Dabh’s Expression of Zaar (1944)
 Delinda Collier, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
 Generative abstraction in the media artworks of Mounir Fatmi and Arthur Jafa
 Laura Marks, Simon Fraser University
   Discussant:
Anneka Lenssen, UC Berkeley
 Q & A
6:30-7:45 PM   Unconference: Abstraction Unframed 
 Sharjah Art Museum

Register for this Event here

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Joint Conference of School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCU, Qatar)
Date: 7 – 9 October 2015
Venue: School of Art Design & Media, Nanyang Technological University, 50 Nanyang Ave, 639798

In October 2015, the School of Art, Design, and Media at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore will bring together designers, artists, architects, and academics for a multi-disciplinary conference on contemporary Islamic art, design, and architecture. Although each discipline has its own practice and methodology, when collectively grouped under an Islamic identity, we are forced to redefine the term “Islamic.” While new forms, spaces, images, typographies, symbols, colors, and materials of contemporary Islamic art, design, and architecture share distinct cultural narratives from individual geographies, it remains essential to address how comparative and connective perspectives reorient our understanding of contemporary Islamic visual communication. This three-day conference, scheduled to take place October 7-9, is an unprecedented forum dedicated to convening professionals and scholars from throughout Asia, Europe, and America who share an investment in contemporary Islamic art, design, and architecture.

The conference will focus on two primary issues:

  1. How might we define contemporary art, design, or architecture as Islamic? Is it an aesthetic, through the faith of the maker or patron, geography, a connection to the historical period of Islamic art? Or, is it a combination of these factors?
  2. How might the dimensions and dynamic of cross-cultural dialogue in today’s globalized world effect the broader field of contemporary Islamic art, design and architecture?

Organization Committee: Gül İnanç, Peer Sathikh, Nada Shabout, Sarah Rogers and Dina Bangdel

More information…

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Third Annual Conference of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Turkey and Iran
October 18-19, 2013
Kevorkian Center, NYU”

Video Watch the conference videos

On Likeness and Difference: Modern Art of the Middle East and the Confines of Modernism

 

Friday, October 18NYU Abu Dhabi 19 Washington Square North11:00-1:00

Writing the History of Art outside Art History 

Historicity processes and art histories in Tunisia and Algeria
Gillet-Ouhenia Fanny & Annabelle Boissier, EHESS, Paris
The New Art History of Turkey – An Analysis of Turkish Contemporary
Art Historiography
Ceren Özpınar, University of Leeds
Interior/Exterior: Institutional Critique and the Iranian Institution of Art
Kamal Zargar, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

Ottoman and Qajar Modernisms: A Comparison that Provincializes
Europe
Staci Gem Scheiwiller, CSU Stanislaus
Discussant: Kirsten Scheid, American University of Beirut

2:30-4:30

The Construction of Difference

Cosmopolitanism and the Roots of Moroccan Modernism
Holiday Powers, Cornell University 
Architecture after Independence: Decolonization, Modernity and the
Search for Selfhood in Housing Projects of Tunisia, 1956-1970
Nancy Demerdash, Princeton University

The Art of Transdifference. Ornamental Patterns in Modern and Contemporary Egyptian Art
Judith Bihr, a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School of Humanities, Cologne

Nation and Difference in Early Twentieth Century Egyptian Art
Elizabeth Miller, Maryland Institute College of Art 

Discussant: Arindam Dutta, MIT

Saturday, October 19Hagop Kevorkian Center at NYU 255 Sulllivan Street10:00-12:00

The Problem of the Modern in Iran

Re-examining the ‘Modern’ in Mohammad Ehsaei’s Naqqashi Khatt
Roshanak Keyghobadi, Artist/Independent Scholar 
Gauging the ‘Iranian-ness’ of Modern and Contemporary Iranian Art:
Three Artists, Three Generations
Maryam Ekhtiar, Metropolitan Museum of Art 

Issues of Plagiarism and Authenticity in Early Modern Art of Iran:
‘Judgment for the Public’ as Visual Art Criticism
Hengameh Fouladvand, Center for Iranian Modern Arts

‘Iranian or Not?’ That Indeed Might Not Be the Question
Talinn Grigor, Brandeis University 
Discussant: Pamela Karimi, UMass, Dartmouth

1:30-3:30

Similarity and Difference: the Case of Cubism

The Case of Faiq Hassan: Imitative or Innovative? The Limits of the
Comparative Method
Tiffany Floyd, University of North Texas 
Cubism in Turkey, 1933-1953: Belated? Bergsonian? Bektashi?
Wendy M K Shaw, Universität Bern

The Phantasm of Picasso: Jewad Selim,, Yahya al-Wasiti, and the
Founding of Modern Art in Baghdad
Saleem Al-Bahloly, UC Berkeley
Discussant: Caroline Jones, MIT

4:00-5:00

Open discussion

By Ceren Ozpinar (*)
*Participation support for the conference with Ceren Özpınar is generously provided by SAHA Association.www.saha.org.tr
saha

Watch the conference videos:

Sponsored by the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU and NYU Abu Dhabi

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June 1-2, 2012
Bathish Auditorium, West Hall,
American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon

Please click on playlist above to navigate to a specific paper

1967 Fall Exhibition booklet, Syria
Image: 1967 Fall Exhibition booklet, Syria (graphic design by Abdel Kader Arnaout)
Organized by the Association for the Study of Modern & Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA) and held in collaboration with the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut

Free and open to the public

Conference sponsored in collaboration with the Department of Fine Arts and Art History at the American University of Beirut, supported by a generous donation from Rana Sadik and Samer Younis, and the Provost and Dean of FAS at AUB. Special thanks to Saleh Barakat.

Participants:

Saleem Al-Bahloly is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. He is writing a dissertation about modern art in Baghdad during the 1950s and 1960s.

Bassam el Baroni is an independent curator and art critic from Alexandria, Egypt. He is the co-founder and director of Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF).

Saleh Barakat is a leading expert in contemporary Arab art and founder of the Agial Art Gallery in Beirut, 1991. He has curated several pan-Arab exhibitions, including the IXth Francophone Summit in Beirut, the 2003 World Bank Summit in Dubai, and co-curated the first national pavilion for Lebanon at the 52nd Venice Biennale.

James Casey is a Ph.D. student in the History Department at Princeton University. His research interests focus on Syria and Lebanon under French Mandate, waqf, masculinity, modes of violence in the nineteenth and twentieth century Arab Middle East.

Clare Davies is a doctoral candidate and Erwin Panofsky Fellow at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her dissertation focuses on art practice in Egypt prior to 1952. She lives in Cairo.

Angela Harutyunyan is Assistant Professor of Art History at the American University of Beirut. She publishes internationally on issues related to conceptual art practices in the former Soviet Union and cultural politics in the Middle East. She is the Associate Editor of Art Margins journal published with MIT Press.

Patrick Kane is Instructor of History in the Humanities Department at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture from the State University of New York at Binghamton.  He is author of The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt:  Aesthetics, Ideology, and Nation-building (IB Tauris – In Print, August 2012).

Elizabeth Suzanne Kassab is a Visiting Professor in the Humanities at Brown University. Her overall interest is the philosophy of culture, both Western and non-Western, with a particular focus on postcolonial debates on cultural malaise, authenticity and critique. Her latest book, Contemporary Arab Thought. Cultural Critique in Comparative Perspective, published by Columbia University Press in the fall of 2009, is an examination of critical thinking in Arab and postcolonial (mainly African and Latin American) debates on culture in the second half of the twentieth century.

Anneka Lenssen is a Ph.D. Candidate in History, Theory, and Criticism of Art and Architecture and the Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at M.I.T.  She is completing a dissertation entitled, “The Shape of the Support: Painting in Syria’s Twentieth Century.” She is treasurer of AMCA.

Salwa Mikdadi is a curator and art historian whose work spans over thirty years in the field of Arab art and museums. Her publications and exhibitions focus on gender and politics, Palestinian art, Arab museums and art institutions. She is currently the Head of the Arts and Culture Program at the Emirates Foundation in Abu Dhabi. She is a founding member of AMCA.

Holiday Powers is a graduate student in art history at Cornell University (Ithaca, NY). Her research focuses on modern and contemporary art in Morocco and postcolonial theory. She is currently based in Casablanca.

Dina A Ramadan is Assistant Professor of Arabic at Bard College. She is a senior editor of the Arab Studies Journal and a founding member and secretary of AMCA. Her research has focused on the development of the category of modern art in early 20th century Egypt, and the intersection between the discourses on education and the role of artistic production.

Sarah A. Rogers received her doctorate from the Department of Architecture at M.I.T in 2008 with the dissertation, “Postwar Art and the Historical Roots of Beirut’s Cosmopolitanism.” She is currently editing a collection of essays on the Khalid Shoman Private Collection in Amman, Jordan. She is a founding member and President-Elect of AMCA.

Alexandra Dika Seggerman is a Ph.D. candidate in the History of Art department at Yale University. She is currently a U.S. Department of State ECA fellow at the American Research Center in Egypt, where she is conducting research for her dissertation, entitled, “Revolution and Renaissance in Modern Egyptian Art, 1880-1960.”

Nada Shabout is an Associate Professor of Art History and the Director of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Institute (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas, and the Director of Research and a long-term advisor at Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha. She is a founding member and President of AMCA.

Tammer El-Sheikh is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Conference Schedule

Day 1: June 1

10:00-10:15 Coffee
10:15-10:45

Opening Remarks

Patrick McGreevy, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, American University of Beirut
Nada Shabout, AMCA President

10:45-12:00

Panel I

Genealogies of Rupture: 1967 and Modern Egyptian Art

Patrick Kane, “The 1967 War in Egyptian Artistic Discourse and Practice”

Alexandra Dika Seggerman, “Gazbia Sirry and the Fading Figure”

Discussant: Dina Ramadan

12:00-1:15 Lunch Break
1:30-3:00

Panel II

On Withdrawal and Its Horizons

Clare Davies and Angela Harutyunyan, “On Withdrawal and Its Horizons: An Introduction”

Tammer el-Sheikh, “Theatricality, Repetition and Withdrawal in Some Works by Hassan Khan”

Bassem el-Baroni, “The Trajectories of Edification in Art and its Institutions: The Case of Egypt”

3:00-4:00

Keynote Discussion
Elizabeth Kassab

Day 2: June 2
10:15-10:30 Coffee
10:30-12:30

Panel I

The Longer View: Beyond Narratives of Rupture

Saleem Al-Bahloly, “The Freedom Of Despair”

Anneka Lenssen, “The Plasticity of the Syrian Avant-Garde, 1964-1970”

Holiday Powers, “Re-Inserting 1967 into the History of the Casablanca School: Souffles and Palestinian Solidarity in Morocco”

James Casey, “Distant Origins of Collapse: Artistic Reflections on Decadence and (Re)locating the Naksa in a Post-Ottoman Landscape”

Discussants: Nada Shabout and Sarah Rogers

12:30-1:30 Lunch Break
1:45-2:45

Panel II

The Year in Art: An Overview

Saleh Barakat, “1967: A Selected Panorama”

Discussant: Salwa Mikdadi

3:00-4:00

Keynote Discussion
Elizabeth Kassab


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December 16-17, 2010

This, our first AMCA conference, brought together established and emerging scholars working throughout the world to present research and think through the intellectual problems shaping the field of modern Arab art today. It was hosted in collaboration with Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar and took place in conjunction with the museum’s inaugural events and exhibition openings.

Papers were given by: Raja Adal, Jessica Gerschultz, Sarah-Neel Smith, Sharif Mahmoud Sharif, Elizabeth Miller, Patrick Kane, Sonja Mejcher-Atassi, Cynthia Becker, Anneka Lenssen, Sarah Rogers, Holiday Powers, Saleem al-Bahloly, Chad Elias, Karin Zitzewitz, and Samah Hijawi.

Chairs and Discussants included: Wijdan el-Hashimi, Tina Sherwell, Salwa Mikdadi, Kirsten Scheid, Kamal Boullata, Stephen Sheehi, Charbel Dagher, Hannah Feldman, Nasser Rabbat, Iftikhar Dadi, Suad Amiry, and Arindam Dutta.
To view video footage of presented papers, see: http://www.youtube.com/user/mathafmodern (There are 23 parts).

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