A Factory of Facts

This NY Times piece in yesterday’s paper is more than just an art review. While focusing on some current NYC exhibitions of Islamic art and decoration, Holland Cotter veers off and goes on to explain (in layman’s terms) why you should find yourself in front of these objects.

What can be learned from seeing these works with your own eyes;
what can be garnered from learning about this culture:

For Westerners not fluent in Arabic, which is most Westerners, one of Islam’s defining aesthetic achievements must always stay at a certain remove: it’s as if you can see the written word but you can’t quite hear it, can’t viscerally feel it’s pulse, its vibration.

Intrigued, I realize I haven’t been to a single art museum recently, for all the chaos.

“To the jumpy, channel-surfing Western eye, these apparently symmetrical patterns, which can be extended forever and have no goal, give an impression of stasis, of nothing happening. But if you pay attention — and Islamic art requires attention and time — you start to see that that “nothing” is not only subtly varied and modulated but also constantly refashioned and revised to fit different forms and surfaces.”

Islamic architecture via ArtKrush.