“An in-depth look at the difference between ‘Islamic art’ and ‘Arab art’ and well as the inherent similarities. The book offers further examinations into Arab creativity, modernity and tradition, Arab Cultures, nationalism, the influence of Western art, globalization, and Orientalism, among other topics. This book should help encourage further investigations of this new and interesting art. Recommended.”—Choice

“An important achievement that should lead to further questions about modern art in the Arab world. A work of great interest that raises the bar for future studies of modern art and of cultural history in the Arab world.”—Middle East Journal 

“Nicely adorned visually with several score attractive and instructive illustrations, and deserves a place in library collections including global art holdings.”—Religion and the Arts


Based on extensive interviews with Arab artists, reviews of Arabic resources, and visits to numerous sites and galleries in the Arab world, Nada Shabout’s Modern Arab Art provides a much-needed introduction to a field that has been long neglected. Shabout recognizes the important distinction between Arabic art and Islamic art and views them as overlapping rather than synonymous subjects. With particular emphasis on production, reception, and the intersection between art and politics in Iraq and Palestine, she reveals the fallacy in Western fascination with Arab art as a timeless and exotic “other.”

Modern Arab Art makes exceedingly clear why our understanding of the subject is important not only in the history of art, but also for the present and the future.

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