PRINT March 1976

Islamic Art: The Met’s Generous Embrace

THE METROPOLITAN’S NEW ISLAMIC GALLERIES give us the gorgeous East we always hoped to find. Could any audience fail to be awed by the McMullan carpets and charmed by the Houghton miniatures? Art, we know, comes in many flavors, and we learn that Islamic is just as delicious as the rest.

We may not learn much more, for the installation is nondidactic, except for the rooms containing finds from the Metropolitan-sponsored dig at Nishapur. This section is gratifyingly crowded with words, fragments and things. Here you will find almost all the Metropolitan’s stuccos on view and better labels than elsewhere. Otherwise, no garish slide show ticks away, nor are we confronted with giant textual expositions of geography or history. Almost everything about the spacious Islamic galleries proclaims this art as a feast, a come-as-you-are party that requires no special effort.

In the Metropolitan installation,

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