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Priceless Islamic Art, Architecture from ‘Shangri-La’ Estate of Heiress Doris Duke to be Exhibited

Doris Duke’s Hawaiian residence dubbed ‘Shangri-La’ housed prodigious collection of Islamic art treasures.

American historians know Shangri-La as a long-retired name for the presidential retreat in Frederick County, Maryland, now known as Camp David. Music buffs know the Shangri-Las as the girl band that popularized the songs “Remember (Walking in the Sand)” and “Leader of the Pack,” and was named for a New York City restaurant the members frequented — British music buffs might also know “Shangri-La” as the title of a Kinks song. In the art world, however, Shangri-La is known as the Hawaiian residence of Doris Duke, the exceedingly wealthy heiress and philanthropist who used it to house her prodigious stock of Islamic art.

By exhibiting “Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art,” New York’s Museum of Arts and Design will give residents of the continental U.S. a rare opportunity to see one of the Western world’s most accomplished and diverse collections of art and architecture from the Muslim world.

In addition to decorative objects from Turkey, textiles from Egypt and the former Ottoman Empire, jewelry from Northern India, and inlaid wood and mother of pearl furniture from Syria, Iran, and Spain, the exhibition will also include revealing sketches, photographs, and plans from the Shangri-La estate, an immense compound of terraces and gardens near Diamond Head, just outside of Honolulu.

This will be in addition to contemporary Islamic art from Shangri-La, including scupltures by the Iranian artist Afruz Amighi, a video installation by the Turkish artist Emre Hüner, and calligraphic works by the Arab American Mohamed Zakariya, an artist best known for the stamps he designed for the U.S. Postal Service in honor of Muslim holidays.

Read more: Art Info


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