Press RoomPhoenix Art Museum presents an expansive exhibition of Islamic art from around the world and spanning a millennium

Phoenix Art Museum presents an expansive exhibition of Islamic art from around the world and spanning a millennium

Nov, 09, 2018

Exhibitions and Special InstallationsPhotographyModern and Contemporary ArtAsian ArtAmerican and Western American ArtEuropean ArtLatin American ArtSpecial Engagement Exhibitions

Phoenix Art Museum presents an expansive exhibition of Islamic art from around the world and spanning a millennium

Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place features more than 100 artworks from Asia, Africa, Europe, and North and South America, created from the ninth century through 2016

PHOENIX (November 9, 2018)
Phoenix Art Museum will present Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place, the first Islamic art exhibition at the Museum in more than two decades, from January 26 to May 26, 2019 in the Art of Asia galleries. The comprehensive exhibition, organized by the Newark Museum, will feature more than 100 artworks, including hand-written texts, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, photographs, and paintings, from across centuries and from nearly every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Unlike previous national and international exhibitions on Islamic art, Wondrous Worlds is organized around the Five Pillars of Islam instead of geography, time period, or material, offering a fresh perspective on a vast artistic genre.

“We are delighted to host Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place,” said Amada Cruz, the Sybil Harrington Director and CEO of Phoenix Art Museum. “This exhibition offers a unique and comprehensive view of Islamic art, and we are excited to share these extraordinary works with our community.”

Curated by a team led by Katherine Anne Paul, PhD, curator of the arts of Asia at Newark Museum, the exhibition is structured around the Five Pillars of Islam, considered the core beliefs and practices of the world’s second largest religion. The Five Pillars are shahada (declaration of faith), salat (five daily prayers), zakat (almsgiving, or charity), sawm (fasting for Ramadan), and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Each section of the exhibition showcases a range of objects from various countries and centuries, including works created in the service of Islam by Muslim artists for Muslim patrons, items created for purposes that are not explicitly religious, and objects by non-Muslim artists created for both Muslim and non-Muslim patrons. Featured works include books of poetry, woven prayer rugs depicting paradise, inscribed coffee pots, game boards, and musical instruments. These traditional examples of Islamic art are displayed alongside contemporary works, such as calligraphic Sufi poems and sculpture, to demonstrate how artists today continue to explore the intersection between art and Islam.

“Islam connected cultures across the Middle East, the Mediterranean world and as far as China; through travel, trade and faith,” said Janet Baker, Curator of Asian Art. “Its impact on the intellectual and scientific worlds was vast and long-lasting.”

By presenting Islamic artworks that span centuries and continents within the context of the Five Pillars, Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place provides Museum guests with the opportunity to experience the living legacy of Islamic art through an in-depth examination of the global reach of Islam and its rich artistic tradition. Over the course of the exhibition, the Museum will present various public programs inspired by the exhibition, such as public lectures featuring local Muslim leaders and family-friendly activities in the galleries, to help build awareness and engage the community in conversation about Islam and Islamic art, now the world’s fastest growing religion.

About the Exhibition

Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place will be on view from January 26 through May 26 in the Art of Asia galleries. The exhibition is organized by the Newark Museum. Its premiere at Phoenix Art Museum is made possible through the generosity of donors to the Museum’s annual fund. For more details about the exhibition, please visit

This special engagement exhibition is free for Museum Members, and for veterans, active-duty, and retired military and youth aged 5 and under.

General admission:

$23 — Adults

$20 — Senior Citizens (Ages 65+)

$18 — Students (with ID)

$14 — Children (Ages 6-17)

All special exhibitions are included with general admission. During voluntary-donation, free-access times when general admission is free of charge, admission to Teotihuacan is $5. Voluntary donation, free-access times include Wednesdays from 3 – 9 pm, the first Fridays of every month from 6 – 10 pm, and the second Sunday of each month from noon – 5pm. For a full breakdown of general admission prices and hours, please see

To request interviews and high-resolution photography, contact the Marketing and Communications Office of Phoenix Art Museum at 602.257.2105 or

Exhibition Programs

Circles Opening |Thursday, January 24, 6 pm 

Members of the Circles of Support of Phoenix Art Museum enjoy hors d’oeuvres, live music, and remarks from Janet Baker, PhD, the Museum’s curator of Asian art, followed by an exclusive preview of the exhibition. See more information as it becomes available here.

Members Opening Reception

January 26, 9:30 am to noon

Members are invited to view the exhibition early and to enter through Greenbaum or Palette. Only Palette, Steele Gallery, and the Museum store will be open. See more information as it becomes available here.

First Friday | Friday, February 1, 6 – 10 pm

Join us on First Friday to experience Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place and in-gallery programs inspired by the exhibition. This event is open to the public with voluntary-donation admission. See for event information.

Discount Tire Family Free Sunday

Sunday, February 10, noon – 5 pm

Don’t miss Wondrous Worlds: Art & Islam Through Time & Place during voluntary-donation times on the second Sunday of each month! Guests will also enjoy exciting activities, scavenger hunts, live performances, story time, free tours, and more. See for updates as information becomes available.

Getting to Know American Muslims and Their Faith   |  Saturday March 2, 2 pm

See for event information as it becomes available.

Family Workshop

Saturday March 30, 10:30 am and 2 pm

Youth ages 4 to 7 are welcome to participate from 10:30am to noon and ages 8 to 12 from 2 to 4pm in the Education Studio. See for event and ticketing information.

Muslim Contributions to Civilization – Art and Architecture  |  Saturday April 6, 2 pm

See for event information as it becomes available.

About Phoenix Art Museum

Phoenix Art Museum has provided access to visual arts and educational programs in Arizona for nearly 60 years and is the largest art museum in the southwestern United States. Critically acclaimed national and international exhibitions are shown alongside the Museum’s permanent collection of more than 19,000 works of American, Asian, European, Latin American, modern and contemporary art, and fashion design. The Museum also presents festivals, a comprehensive film program, live performances, and educational programs designed to enlighten, entertain, and stimulate visitors of all ages. Visitors also enjoy vibrant photography exhibitions through the Museum’s landmark partnership with the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona. To learn more about Phoenix Art Museum,, or call 602.257.1880.

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