Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking

Installation view of photo works by Shirin Neshat and Keffiah by Mona Hatoum
NYT exhibition review

n ever–increasing number of artists, such as Mona Hatoum, Shirin Neshat, and Shahzia Sikander, have come from the Islamic world to live in Europe and the United States. Without Boundary brought together some of these major contemporary voices. The exhibition featured the work of artists of diverse backgrounds – Algerian, Egyptian, Indian, Iranian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Pakistani, Palestinian, and Turkish – across a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, video, animation, photography, carpet and textile, and comic strips.

The exhibition sought to emphasise diversity by questioning the use of artists’ origins as the sole determining factor in the consideration of their art. To examine the various ways in which these artists’ works diverge from popular expectations, the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue examined the visual treatment of texts and miniature painting on one hand, and issues of identity and faith or spirituality on the other. The intention is not to imply uniformity based on a collective identity but rather to highlight complex, idiosyncratic approaches. Works by Mike Kelley and Bill Viola, two American artists, are included to prevent simplistic conclusions based purely on origin. Other artists featured included Jananne Al-Ani, Ghada Amer, Kutlug Ataman, the Atlas Group/Walid Raad, Shirazeh Houshiary and Pip Horne, Emily Jacir, Y.Z. Kami, Rachid Koraïchi, Marjane Satrapi, Shirana Shahbazi, and Raqib Shaw.

In addition to the Soudavar Memorial Foundation, the exhibition was supported in part by The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art and by Sheila and Hassan Nemazee. Additional funding was provided by Nathalie and Amir Farman$ndash;Farma, Gulin Ongor, the Persian Cultural Foundation, Simin and Herb Allison, Judy and Steven Gluckstern, the Nazem Family Foundation, Ali Reza Rastegar, Rohit and Katharine Desai, Kashif and Sujatha Zafar, Ellie and Edgar Cullman, Jr., Estrellita and Daniel Brodsky, Dinyar S. Devitre, and Fereshteh Bekhrad.


Museum of Modern Art, New York