Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.
“The best way to learn about Islamic geometric design is to try it out for yourself,” writes Eric Broug in the Islamic Design Workbook, recently released by Thames & Hudson. Broug is behind the School of Islamic Geometric Design, and believes that learning to draw the striking patterns of mosques, kasbahs, mausoleums, and madrasas encourages a better appreciation of Islamic visual culture.
Islamic Design Workbook could be written off as another example of the plague of adult coloring books. Although coloring is involved in the included worksheets, it’s more about engaging with the same problem solving as a 15th-century craftsperson, who would have employed just a compass and ruler to form these infinitely repeatable patterns. The 48 featured designs represent real places, often centuries-old, from India, Iran, Spain, Morocco, Iraq, Egypt, Turkey, and other countries with Islamic heritage.
“Every single geometric composition in Islamic art and architecture is created the same way, using a grid of construction lines,” Broug explains in an introduction. “Islamic geometric compositions also share another characteristic: they all have the same starting point — a circle.” That circle is then divided into parts, which are then used to create intersections that determine the rest of the pattern, which can continue limitlessly over a surface.
The fusion of mathematics with visual expression in these designs has had its influence on work outside Islamic art, such as M. C. Escher’s tessellations. And a tactile understanding of their careful planning and workmanship also reinforces the connection between the spiritual and the scientific in many of these structures. As Broug writes of experimenting with the designs, they will “reward you, every now and then, by revealing the harmony of geometry and symmetry.”
Poussin and the Dance is a valiant attempt to break into Poussin’s staunchly academic oeuvre and provide a relatable point of entry, highlighting the exciting elements of revelry and movement despite impenetrable and unemotional rendering.
Anarchist illustrator N.O. Bonzo produces decentralized media in a highly bureaucratic cultural landscape. Their illustrations, murals, and literature emerge in unexpected places, from the streets of Portland, Oregon, to the far ends of Reddit and Twitter, addressing relations of labor and identity in the workplace and on the streets. Growth and care are central themes…
This exhibition explores how images of the human body were used to provoke profound physical and emotional responses in viewers from the 15th through 18th centuries.
With scavenged materials, Amanda Maciel Antunes constructs a motherland.
Where are the directors taking the stage to acknowledge workers’ demands today?
The collaborative handmade paper- and printmaking center at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts publishes new works by Liz Collins and Sarah McEneaney.
There is a debate whether the memory of Little Syria should be seized upon to tell truthful and positive stories about Arabs in the US, or whether any conflation between its history and contemporary politics is inappropriate.
The profile includes works by Egon Schiele, Amedeo Modigliani, Peter Paul Rubens, and a prehistoric Venus of Willendorf figurine.
These horrifying dolls definitely won’t murder you in your sleep.