Wednesday, 19 July 2006

V & A's Islamic gallery

The new Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art
The Brit. Art Establishment's mindless answer to Muslim Fundamentalism is to embrace Islamic "art". Yesterday, BBC London News showed a preview of the V & A's new Islamic Middle East Gallery, which is renamed The Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art. Art? Where? The imitation Moorish setting is excellent, but the arts and crafts on display were disappointing: an old carpet, various pots and pans and lots of those neurotic patterns that Islamic artists create in order to avoid making any artistic statement that might offend their local mullah. If the V & A expects these crafts to convey the wonders of Islamic art, it has another think coming. Why pretend? Islam's stranglehold on artistic expression is tighter than that of Medieval Christianity. European artists had to break free of religious oppression to create the fabulous art of the Renaissance and beyond.
The new gallery opens to the public tomorrow. If you find anything vaguely artistic that the BBC cameras missed, please let me know.


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