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Weintz Art Lecture Series: Margaret Graves

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Stanford Department of Art & Art History's J. Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz Art Lecture Series presents Margaret Graves, Adrienne Minassian Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture at Brown University.

Fictions of Capital: Forgery and Finance in a Colonial Market

Historical ceramics from the Islamic world are now held in elite collections worldwide. Many migrated westward during the late 19th-/early 20th-century heyday of Islamic art collecting, when craft skills in the Middle East were being redirected towards a new market generated by the colonial project's fanatical harvesting of artifacts: the faking, forging, and fictionalizing of antiquities. This lecture re-encounters ceramics faking and forgery in the Middle East as a local form of highly skilled craft participation in modern global capitalism. The fictionalized objects of Islamic ceramics collecting marry manual and cerebral ingenuity to create new objects of delight for elite collectors, in an environment where the structures of antiquities collection derive ultimately from colonial-era resource extraction and international banking.

Margaret S. Graves is Adrienne Minassian Associate Professor of Islamic Art and Architecture in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University. She is a specialist in the art of the Islamic world, with a primary research focus on the plastic arts of ceramic, metalwork, and stone carving in the medieval era. Her 2018 monograph, Arts of Allusion: Object, Ornament, and Architecture in Medieval Islam (OUP), won the 2019 book prize of the International Center of Medieval Studies and the 2021 Karen Gould prize from the Medieval Academy of America. She is also editor, co-editor, and co-author of books on the art of the Islamic world and beyond, most recently the co-authored Ceramic Art (Princeton University Press, 2023).

This lecture series is made possible by a generous grant from J. Fred Weintz and Rosemary Weintz.

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