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Philbrook To Present Major Exhibition of Islamic Art This Summer

Wondrous Worlds opens Sunday, June 23, 2019

May 24, 2019 (Tulsa, Okla.) Bringing together both historic and contemporary objects from the deep collection of the Newark Museum—Philbrook Museum of Art’s summer 2019 exhibition will showcase the history and breadth of Islamic art.

Unknown artist from India. Illustrated portions of the Khamsa Nizami: Iskandar Nama and Makhzan al-Asrar
written in Farsi language with Nasta’liq script, 1526–1857. Leather, ink, colors, and gold, 14 ½ x 9 ¼ x 1 ¾”. Newark Museum, Gift of the Society for Foreign Mission Welfare, 1955, 55.270.

Featuring more than 150 works from over 1200 years, Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam through Time & Place reflects aspects of the faith, culture, and everyday lives of Muslims across the world and throughout the ages. This exhibition was organized by the Newark Museum and opens Sunday, June 23, 2019.

The exhibition features works in a wide range of media, including textiles, clothing, furniture, metalwork, paintings, photographs, and calligraphy.

Objects in the exhibition reveal both mastery and depth of materials and also the integration of faith into everyday life. For example, elaborate jewelry and portraits on ivory show how artists incorporated symbols of faith into adornment for the body. Ceramics from China and Iran as well as vibrant textiles from Africa underscore the importance of trade and the history of Islam across the world.

“Philbrook is proud to present the largest show of Islamic art ever shown in Oklahoma,” said Philbrook Director Scott Stulen. “In these divisive times, when our differences often dominate the headlines, this exhibition makes clear that we have far more in common, while providing an invaluable opportunity to bring the community together and create lasting connections.”

Lalla Essaydi (b. 1956, Morocco; active in the United States and Morocco). Harem #1, 2009. Chromogenic print mounted to aluminum, 40 x 30”. Newark Museum, Purchase 2011 Alberto Burri Memorial Fund established by Stanley J. Seeger, 2011.7.1A-C.

The first section of Wondrous Worlds introduces the Five Pillars of Islam—Declaration of Faith, Daily Prayers, Charity, Fasting for Ramadan, and the Hajj Pilgrimage—to provide context and a distinctive view into the function and cultural histories of the objects on display.

“In Wondrous Worlds, we glimpse artistry from places as diverse as Morocco, Turkey, India, China, Burkina Faso, and the United States–locations tied together by the Islamic faith,” said Philbrook Curator Susan Green. “The mastery and exquisite craftsmanship of the objects draws us in, and through these objects, we can discover stories of faith, use, and culture that can help us understand our world today.”

Throughout the run of the exhibition, Philbrook will present a wide variety of programming, partnering with the local community groups for talks, tours, lectures, and more.


Title: Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam through Time & Place

Dates: June 23 – October 6, 2019

Location: Philbrook Museum of Art (2727 S. Rockford Rd.)

About Philbrook

Rooted in the beauty and architecture of an historic home gifted by the Phillips family 80 years ago, Philbrook Museum of Art has grown to become one of the preeminent art museums across the central United States. Highlights of the Museum’s permanent collection include Renaissance and Baroque paintings from the Kress Foundation, one of the greatest surveys of Native American art anywhere, and growing modern and contemporary collections. The Philbrook American art collection includes, among others, works by William Merritt Chase, Alexandre Hogue, and Asher B. Durand.

The Philbrook main campus spans 23 acres of grounds and formal gardens, and features an historic home displaying the museum’s permanent collection, as well as an architectural addition with auditorium, restaurant, library, and education studios. The satellite location in downtown Tulsa showcases Philbrook’s modern and contemporary art collections, as well as the Eugene B. Adkins Collection and Study Center of Native American art.

Philbrook Museum of Art is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, Philbrook Downtown, 116 E. M.B. Brady St., is open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday. Philbrook admission runs $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and university students; Philbrook Members and youth 17 and younger are always free. Philbrook Downtown admission runs $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and university students; Philbrook Members and youth 17 and younger are always free.