Scholarly Seminar: Collecting & Exhibiting the Middle East - The Met

23 Oct 2018 -
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 5th Ave, New York
NY 10028

Seminar: Collecting & Exhibiting Art in the Middle East

The Met hosted a special scholarly seminar exploring how encyclopedic museums today collect and exhibit modern and contemporary art from the Middle East.

Providing a space for invitees to share ideas and learn from other experts in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East, the event marks an important step towards establishing a robust conversation amongst curators, artists and scholars in the field, serving as a foundation for future programming.

The seminar aimed to address the following questions:

How is the topography of collecting work from the Middle East shifting, and what role should an encyclopedic museum such as The Met play in this context?

How is modern and contemporary art from the Middle East positioned within encyclopedic museums such as The Met, The British Museum and The Victoria & Albert Museum?

What are the benefits and drawbacks of placing works of modern and contemporary art from the Middle East in art institutions outside of the region?

Participants included: Sultan AlQassemi, Founder and Director, Barjeel Art Foundation, UAE; Mohamed Elshahed, Modern Egypt Project Curator at the British Museum, 2016-2017; Salma Tuqan, Curator, Contemporary Arab Art and Design, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Mohammed Melehi, Artist, Clare DaviesAssistant Curator, Modern and Contmporary Art, Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Featured Artists


The Arab Art & Education Initiative connects contemporary Arab culture with diverse audiences across the five boroughs of New York City. Delivered by a coalition of artists, foundations, and major institutions, the city-wide, year-long program aims to build greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world. Programming for the AAEI is guided by a commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of 17 global goals set forth by the UN and world leaders in 2015 to realize a better world by 2030.

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