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CMA announces contemporary exhibition by SC based artist

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Columbia Museum of Art is honored to organize and present the first retrospective exhibition of the art of Steven Naifeh. Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh opens on Friday, May 17 and remains on view through Sunday, September 1, 2013.

The 26 large-scale works of modern art reflect Naifeh’s personal taste, preferences and attitudes about geometric abstraction that developed over the span of 40 years. It is hardly surprising that Naifeh’s childhood in the Middle East educated his eye to the rigorous forms of Arab and Islamic art. The artist was born in Iran, the son of American diplomats. He spent his childhood in a succession of Foreign Service postings spread across three continents in the Islamic world. Enriched by his Lebanese heritage and his time living in the Islamic and Arab worlds, Naifeh has shown an extraordinary ability to integrate the influences of these distant and timeless cultures into the global culture of today. This exhibition inspires visitors with a deeper understanding of the art of the Middle East, Northern India, and Northern Africa. In his art, Naifeh achieves a synthesis of West and East as well as old and new, a blending of cultures recognized early on in the art he made here in America. His work represents universal harmony and attains this geometric symmetry beautifully with intellectual discipline, rigorous skill and authentic joy in the process of communication.

Found in Translation is destined to inspire our community and open doors to understanding cultures beyond our own. It shows visitors that what we share culturally is perhaps greater than what separates us. Abstract art is capable of expressing complex ideas like unity and continuity.

"We all need to understand more about the world in which we live, and Naifeh's exhibition is a smart, vibrant way of encountering Middle Eastern ideas," CMA Chief Curator, Will South, said.

About Steven Naifeh
Naifeh has exhibited work throughout the Islamic world including Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Pakistan and the Muslim cities of Kano and Kaduna in Nigeria. He studied art with the Nigerian artist Bruce Onobrakpeya. He also studied contemporary art with Sam Hunter, former curator of the Museum of Modern Art and the Jewish Museum, and he studied Islamic art with Oleg Grabar and Cary Welch.

With his co-author, Gregory White Smith, he has also written 18 books, including five New York Times bestsellers. Recently, they published the biography, Van Gogh: The Life, which was recently featured on CBS 60 Minutes. The book was featured on several best book lists for 2011 in The New York Times, The Economist, The Washington Post and was the Sunday Times of London’s Best Art Book of the Year. The CMA hosted Naifeh for a lecture and book signing in January 2012.

Exhibition Sponsors
Exhibition Presented by: Mrs. Joyce Martin Hill

Supporting Sponsors: Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Dr. Gregory J. Wych, Dr. Suzan D. Boyd and Mr. M. Edward Sellers, Mrs. Carol C. Saunders, Dr. Carolyn Kressler-Greenburg and Dr. Stanley H. Greenburg, The Clarion Hotel
Education Sponsor: The Hilliard Family Foundation, Inc.

RELATED PROGRAMS & EVENTS

Exhibition Catalogue
A full-color, 135-page catalogue complements the exhibition and features a conversation between the artist and CMA Chief Curator Will South. This publication is designed to enhance your CMA experience and provide insight on some of the artist’s most famous works. The catalogue is available for purchase in the Museum Shop and online at columbiamuseum.org.

Book a Tour and Save on Admission
Gather your friends and make a reservation to enjoy a docent-led or self-guided tour of the exhibition to save on admission. Hungry? Choose the tour with a lunch or enjoy wine and cheese after your tour. Details at columbiamuseum.org.

Family Gallery Guide
This free family-friendly gallery guide is your source to family fun with insider information about some of the works and a gallery hunt to discover shapes and patterns. Ask for it at the admission desk.

Fun Backpacks for Kids
Our free backpacks are full of fun and imaginative ways to engage any child in the exhibition Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh. The backpacks include binoculars to zoom in on shapes and patterns, a sketchbook to illustrate your discoveries, flashcards to learn about shapes and three-dimensional shapes to build temporary mini sculptures. Ask to check out a backpack at the admission desk.

Geometric Visions
On view in the Interactive Education Gallery
June 11 - August 11
Inspired by the exhibition Found In Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh, Eau Claire community members, CMA Passport to Art participants and CMA Spring Workshop students created paper and tile mosaics based on the concepts of simple geometry. Their works are on view beginning Tuesday, June 11.

Gallery Tour: Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh
Every Saturday | 1:00 p.m.
A guided tour of the exhibition, Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh, offers insight into the artist’s background and his work. Free with membership or admission.

**PRESS PREVIEW
Tuesday, May 14 | 11:00 a.m.
Members of the working press are invited for an exclusive sneak peek of the exhibition before it opens to the public. Photography, videography and interviews with artist Steven Naifeh are encouraged at this event. For more information or to schedule an interview, call 803.343.2170.

Members’ Exhibition Opening Celebration: Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh
Sunday, May 19 | 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Join us for the members only exhibition opening celebration featuring a book signing and lecture with artist Steven Naifeh at 2:30 p.m. To become a member visit columbiamuseum.org.

Artist Salon Series: Chuck Ezell
Friday, May 24 | Noon
The Artist Salon Series features gallery talks, led by working artists, about a wide range of subjects, topics and disciplines. Chuck Ezell, chief fabricator for Steven Naifeh’s studio, leads a talk through the exhibition Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh. Free with membership or admission.

Film: Islamic Art – Mirror to the Invisible World
Thursday, June 6 | Noon
This new film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. Narrated by Academy Award winning performer Susan Sarandon, this dazzling documentary reveals the variety and diversity of Islamic art. It provides a window into Islamic culture and brings broad insights to the enduring themes that have propelled human history and fueled the rise of world civilization over the centuries. The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. 90 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

Film: Islamic Art – Mirror to the Invisible World
Saturday, June 8 | 1:00 p.m.
This new film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. Narrated by Academy Award winning performer Susan Sarandon, this dazzling documentary reveals the variety and diversity of Islamic art. It provides a window into Islamic culture and brings broad insights to the enduring themes that have propelled human history and fueled the rise of world civilization over the centuries. The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. 90 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

Passport to Art: Shaping Up
Sunday, June 9 | Noon - 3:00 p.m.
This drop-in studio program encourages families to create shapely masterpieces inspired by the exhibition Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh. Free.

Family Gallery Tour
Sunday, June 9 | 1:00 p.m.
This free, 45-minute guided and interactive tour explores the world of art in a way that can be enjoyed by all family members. Discover the CMA in a new way and learn how to talk about art with your children. Supported by SCE&G.

Summer Camp: Art Express: Silly Shapes and Laughing Lines (ages 4-7)
Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21 | 9:00 a.m. – noon
Discover fun patterns and focus on color, shape and line while touring the exhibition Found in Translation and the CMA’s collection. In the studio, paint, stencil and create geometric art. $135 / $108 for Kids Plus! members and above.

Summer Camp: Geometric Gardens (ages 8-12)
Monday, June 17 – Friday, June 21 | 9:00 a.m. – noon
Explore the elements of art — shape, color, line, texture, space, value and form — in the exhibition Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh and the CMA’s collection. Use a variety of materials like concrete, wire and glass tile to create garden sculptures. $160 / $128 for Kids Plus! members and above.

Found in Translation: A presentation by Steven Naifeh
Tuesday, June 18 | 7:00 p.m.
SC based artist Steven Naifeh discusses the relationship between Western and Middle Eastern Art and his own process of conceiving and creating art. Q&A session follows the discussion. This program is presented in part by The Humanities Council SC. $12 / $10 for members / $5 for students.

Film: Islamic Art – Mirror to the Invisible World
Saturday, June 23 | 1:00 p.m.
This new film takes audiences on an epic journey across nine countries and over 1,400 years of history. Narrated by Academy Award winning performer Susan Sarandon, this dazzling documentary reveals the variety and diversity of Islamic art. It provides a window into Islamic culture and brings broad insights to the enduring themes that have propelled human history and fueled the rise of world civilization over the centuries. The film explores the richness of Islamic art in objects big and small, from great ornamented palaces and the play of light in monumental mosques to the exquisite beauty of ceramics, carved boxes, paintings and metal work. It revels in the use of color and finds commonalities in a shared artistic heritage with the West and East. 90 minutes. Free with membership or admission.

Summer Camp: Teen Academy: Metal Works (ages 13-18)
Monday, July 8 – Friday, July 12 | 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Learn the fundamentals of metal working as you design and fabricate wearable works of art. Teens explore tools like saws, files, drills and dapping blocks, and work with semi-precious metals like copper, brass and nickel silver. $190 / $152 for Kids Plus! members and above.

Lecture: Symbolism as Seen in Geometry of Islamic Art
Friday, July 19 | Noon
Mana Hewitt discusses how Islamic art reveals a preference for surface patterns composed of geometric forms. These complex designs create the impression of unending repetition, which is said to encourage the viewer to contemplate the unlimited nature of God. Hewitt is the current Undergraduate Director and McMaster Gallery Director at the USC Department of Art. Free with membership or admission.

Lecture: The Adornment of Geometry: Image, Text and Form
Friday, August 9 | Noon
Dr. Akel Kahera explores the major issues of image, text and form by inviting participants to examine the adornment of geometry in Islamic visual expression. Dr. Kahera is the Associate Dean of the College of Architecture, Art and Humanities at Clemson University. Free with membership or admission.

Dinner and a Movie with Steven Naifeh
Sunday, August 18 | 5:30 p.m.
Spend an evening with Steven Naifeh enjoying a cocktail hour, gallery tour and BBQ dinner. Afterward, stroll down to the Nickelodeon Theater to enjoy popcorn, desserts and drink while learning and watching how Naifeh’s book on Jackson Pollock became the film, Pollock. $100 / $75 for CMA and Nickelodeon members. Couples tickets available: $175 per couple / $125 per couple for members.

Artist Salon Series: Will South
Friday, August 23 | Noon
The Artist Salon Series features gallery talks, led by working artists, about a wide range of subjects, topics and disciplines. Join CMA Chief Curator, Will South as he leads a tour of Found in Translation: The Art of Steven Naifeh. Free with membership or admission.



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