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Distributed for Hirmer Publishers

Taking Shape

Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s

Taking Shape traces the emergence and development of abstraction in the Arab world through paintings and sculpture dating from the 1950s through the 1980s. Drawn from the collection of the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this book features nearly ninety works by a diverse group of artists whose creative visions stretched beyond the boundaries of representation.

Taking Shape explores how twentieth-century abstraction developed and played out across the Arab world. Including artists working in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates, this collection reveals the truly global reach of abstract art. This book sheds light on a number of abstract movements initiated by artists’ collectives and individual practitioners, both in the region and among the Arab diaspora. Taking Shape also examines how these artists moved away from figuration and naturalistic depictions of reality toward investigations into the expressive capacities of line, color, and texture. Placing the featured artists and their works within larger cultural and global contexts, Taking Shape contributes to the burgeoning field of scholarship on art from the Middle Eastern and North African regions, establishing global art as a central component of modernity.

256 pages | 162 color plates | 8 1/2 x 11

Art: Middle Eastern, African, and Asian Art


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Reviews

"...an extraordinary opportunity to see an impressive collection of works, mostly paintings, drawings, and prints, by some of the region’s most prominent artists. "

CAA Reviews

"Presenting original scholarship by highly regarded contributors, this beautifully illustrated and meticulously researched catalogue features dozens of abstract paintings produced between 1955 and 1987. Masterfully edited and formatted, the book underscores the significance of West Asian and North African abstraction by framing it within the discourse of nationalism, identity politics, pan-Arabism, decolonization, and spirituality and Sufism."

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