Powers on Rogers and Van Der Vlist, ‘Arab Art Histories: The Khalid Shoman Collection’ | AMCA | Association for Modern + Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran + Turkey

Powers on Rogers and Van Der Vlist, ‘Arab Art Histories: The Khalid Shoman Collection’

Author: Sarah A. Rogers, Eline Van Der Vlist, eds.
Reviewer: Holiday Powers

Sarah A. Rogers, Eline Van Der Vlist, eds. Arab Art Histories: The Khalid Shoman Collection. Amman: Khalid Shoman Foundation, 2014. 464 pp. $45.50 (paper), ISBN 978-90-821484-0-4.

Reviewed by Holiday Powers (Cornell University, Department of History of Art and Visual Studies)
Published on H-AMCA (August, 2015)
Commissioned by Berin Golonu

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Darat al Funun, which translates into “a home for the arts” in Arabic, is a platform for visual art in the Arab world that Suha Shoman opened in 1993 in Amman, Jordan. Its multiple buildings, devoted to art studios, research spaces, and exhibition spaces, host a wide variety of arts programming. In spring 2015, for example, beyond a group show featuring artists such as Adam Henein and Etel Adnan, Hamdi Attia presented an installation documenting the results of a workshop with youth and teens, Emily Jacir selected a series of films to be shown, and cultural consultant Dr. Faisal Darraj invited a guest speaker to discuss the role of the intellectual. Darat al Funun is intrinsically intertwined with the Khalid Shoman Collection, a collection started by Khalid and Suha Shoman devoted to contemporary art in the Arab world. The collection is built along the patrons’ personal interests, and shows a particular devotion to Palestinian artists and artists that have been interested in Palestine, although it also attests to the breadth of contemporary creation across the Arab world. In 2002, Darat al Funun was incorporated into the Khalid Shoman Foundation, a nonprofit established in memory of its patron. Arab Art Histories is devoted to the Khalid Shoman Collection and uses the collection as a jumping-off point to consider possible art histories that cross national lines, while also bringing together the personal recollections of the large community of artists, arts administrators and curators, and researchers who have worked at Darat al Funun, sometimes on extended residencies, and been inspired by the site.

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