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Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran Hardcover – March 23, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

A fantastic access point for those looking for an introduction to the styles, themes and forms of art from the Arab world… — Time Out Doha

About the Author

Saeb Eigner is a patron of the Arts, with a particular interest in modern and contemporary art of the Middle East. He was the British Museum's senior adviser for its landmark exhibition Word into Art: Artists of the Modern Middle East (2006 and touring 2008). Zaha Hadid is one of the world's most distinguished architects, and in 2004 became the first woman to be awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Merrell Publishers (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1858945003
  • ISBN-13: 978-1858945002
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 10.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,209,431 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Henry Berry on April 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Over 450 color photos abundantly illustrate that modern-day including much contemporary Middle East art has taken a place in the development of international art as well as the art market alongside that of China and India. The art scholar and advocate living in London Saeb Eigner mentions in his Introduction that such an overview cannot be comprehensive. But including over 200 artists, there cannot be anything worth noting left out. While all active artists worthy of note may not be included, all genres, regions, and styles of art are found.

The many photographs and artists are grouped by fields of art and themes. Since "[h]istorically, the art of Islamic countries has been dominated by supremely sophisticated forms of calligraphy," such calligraphy continues to be a feature. The priority given to text and calligraphy is highlighted by the first chapter being on Sacred Scripture. The second chapter too titled Literature reemphasizes this. In these chapters one finds not only books, but also paintings and drawings and some geometrical figures where calligraphy is the subject. The next chapter covers Music and Performance--i. e., paintings, photographs, and other visual art works in these areas. These first three chapters imply an approach to art different from that of Western cultures. One cannot imagine that any book on modern-day Western art would begin with chapters on calligraphy and decorative text and performing arts. While the subjects are predominant ones of Islamic art, the styles are plainly influenced by Western and international art. Besides being engaging and satisfying contemporary art, the many and diverse works mark a center of appropriation (though not simplistic imitation) and ferment in Islamic culture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Showcasing the work of more than two hundred contemporary artists, "Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran" is a superbly illustrated, 384-page compendium expertly compiled by Saeb Egner who provides an informative introduction and afterword to this coffee-table style art book that impressively covers diverse areas of Middle Eastern artistic contributions organized into chapters dedicated to Scared Scripture; Literature, Music and Performance; Politics, Conflict and War; History and Identity; Portraiture and the Body; Nature and the Land. Enhanced with succinct biographies of the featured artists, a bibliography of suggested additional readings, notes and an index, "Art Of The Middle East" is a seminal work, the product of exhaustive and meticulous research, and a strongly recommended acquisition for both academic and community library reference collections, as well as the supplemental reading lists of non-specialist general readers with an interest in contemporary Middle Eastern arts and artists.
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