Sunday, 22 July 2007

Aga Khan Masterpieces

Incense Burner (Aga Khan Trust For Culture)The Aga Khan is still trying to persuade the West that Islam and Islamic art are wonderful. "Medieval" is the term I would use, in both thinking and artistic expression. Spirit & Life: Masterpieces of Islamic Art from the Aga Khan Museum Collection at London's Ismaili Centre proves my point with its primitive, pre-Renaissance "treasures". Yesterday's news is far more pertinent to this Londoner than the Aga Khan's propaganda. Italian police raided a mosque in Perugia and uncovered a bomb school for Islamic militants. Sheik Abdul Adid Palazzi, director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, told BBC News that 90% of mosques in Western Europe - including Britain - are controlled by extremist pro-terror organisations (CLICK). Wonderful!


At 23/7/07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your story on Coxsoft seems to be less about art and more about politics!

For more inspired (and frankly more weighty opinions) have a read of the any of following reviews of the Spirit & Life exhibition:

Times on-line - Waldemar Januszczak

BBC - Stephanie Holmes

Financial Times - Robert Irwin

Evening Standard - Nick Hackworth

Prince Charles on his web-site

At 23/7/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

I assume you're the Aga Khan's press officer. Hi.

I had noticed that the BBC item grovelled as best it could (Stephanie's piece). The UK Establishment has a long history of grovelling to the Aga Khan, because he is rich and powerful. Critics that grovel don't interest me.

As for Prince Charles, why should he upset one of his mates? He wants to represent all faiths, not just be head of C of E, and is well known for his pro-Islamic propaganda. He'll be a dead loss as a British king.

I don't grovel to the rich and powerful, so I can be objective. I value the art for what it is, and the items shown by the BBC were sadly medieval. The incense burner I showed looks like primitive ethnic art, and the paintings lacked perspective. Islamic art is stuck in a time warp, because most Muslim artists are frightened to step out of line. As historical artifacts, the exhibits have their value, but this isn't a history blog.

When I find a great Muslim artists, I praise his art. So far, I've only found one. I'll bet neither you nor the Aga Khan has ever heard of him: Iman Maleki from Iran. Check out this link and learn.

As for politics, it's the Aga Khan who has the clear political agenda: to promote his own Islamic sect (one of the two insane mobs that are blowing up each other's mosques in Iraq). The news item I added to this blog showed the reality behind the propaganda.

At 23/7/07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

> I assume you're the Aga Khan's press officer.

No - but thanks for the laugh :)

Thank-you for posting the other links. Some of your readers may appreciate reading the variety of views, as well as the historical context of some of the pieces such as the canon of medicine from which Europe learned so much.

It is quite wonderful that this particular exhibit has exceptional pieces from a variety of traditions from the diverse Islamic community!

At 23/7/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

You're welcome, Anon.

I always assume that whether I slang off an exhibition or not, I'm giving it a bit of welcome publicity and my readers will make their own minds up whether to visit it, and they'll decide what it's worth to them.

Yonks ago I saw an art exhibition at the Brit. Museum from the age of the Mogul Emperors. Again the art was European medieval in style, but it was great fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn't pretend to show masterpieces; it didn't have a rich backer who buys his own way; and it wasn't part of anyone's political agenda. It was simply a case of here's some rare old art from a different culture. That I can accept.

At 23/7/07, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While we're at it, just found a couple of clips on this exhibit. One from BBC TV and another from BBC Radio. Irrespective of any bias towards or against the BBC, these two definitely delve a pinch deeper into this exhibit.

BBC's Newsnight on 7 June 2007

BBC Radio 4's Today programme on 10 July 2007

At 24/7/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Thanks for the links. My old PC doesn't handle videos too well, and I haven't one of those MP3 player thingies. In fact my sound chip doesn't work, but hopefully someone will enjoy these links.

At 9/8/07, Blogger walli said...

I found this article particularly interesting (and amusing). Have a read:

The article is by Lucien de Guise, curator at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. Not only does he talk about the exhibit, he writes about how it contrasts with London on a hot day. You'll have a good laugh!

At 9/8/07, Blogger Coxsoft Art said...

Thanks, Walli. I'll have a look.


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