Glenn Lowry “In Between Places: Contemporary Art and the Middle East”

For nearly 20 years, art historian Glenn Lowry has directed New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the most influential modern art museum in the world. He came to MoMA as an acclaimed specialist in Islamic art. Lowry returns to his scholarly roots for this lecture. Contemporary art in the Middle East can be seen as the continuation of the historical tradition or as a radical break with the past; as a market driven phenomenon fueled by the wealth of a new Gulf-based clientele; or as a searing critique of the social and political conditions of the region often made by artists living in a diasporic condition. Dr. Lowry will explore how a number of artists from this region, including Wael Shawky, Shirin Neshat, Walid Raad, Rania Stephan, and Shahzia Sikander, navigate these complicated and highly charged issues through their varied practices that range from film-making and photography to painting and animation. Dr. Lowry became the sixth director of the Museum of Modern Art in 1995. He has significantly developed the Museum’s holdings in all mediums, adding entire collections of contemporary drawings, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, and the archives of Frank Lloyd Wright. A strong advocate of contemporary art and artists who are shaping art, he has overseen acquisitions by artists such as 2 Matthew Barney, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Serra, Gerhard Richter and Robert Rauschenberg. Dr. Lowry’s initiatives include the successful merger of The Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (now MoMA P.S. 1). He also established the Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives in a Global Age Initiative (C-MAP), a research program for the exchange of knowledge and ideas among arts experts around the world. He is currently leading a renovation and expansion project that will offer visitors a more welcoming and participatory experience and unprecedented access to MoMA’s collections and programming. Dr. Lowry received his B.A. from Williams College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in art history from Harvard University. He began his career as the first director of the Joseph and Margaret Muscarelle Museum of Art at the College of William and Mary. He was curator of Near Eastern Art at the Smithsonian Institution’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery and Freer Gallery of Art. He was also director of the Art Gallery of Ontario.