“Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s”

“Tracing the development of regionally distinctive forms of abstraction, the show presents a wider-ranging view of global modernism than that offered by Eurocentric art histories of the past.” 

Grey Art Gallery, New York, January 14–April 4, 2020; Block Museum of Art, Evanston, IL, April 28–July 26, 2020; McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College, January 25–June 6, 2021; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, June 25–September 19, 2021

Co-organized by the Grey Art Gallery and the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, this exhibition draws from the Barjeel’s holdings in modern and contemporary Arab art. The show comprises some seventy-five paintings and sculptures from the Middle East and its diaspora, including contributions from such pioneering artists as Etel Adnan, Huguette Caland, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Rachid Koraïchi, and Hassan Sharif, among others. Tracing the development of regionally distinctive forms of abstraction, it presents a wider-ranging view of global modernism than that offered by Eurocentric art histories of the past.

Ahmed Cherkaoui (Morocco), Les miroirs rouges (Red Mirrors), 1965, oil on jute, 9 1/4 x 11 1/4 inches. Collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE. Image courtesy Grey Art Gallery, New York University.