I didn’t realize it was possible to have so many orientalist paintings on display without having at least aspects of the collection seem queer. Somehow this show pulled off the trick and felt, well, it felt like something dead, stuffed, and put in a museum.
The best thing on display were a handful of photographs by Lalla Essayed tacked on in the last room that used arabic script and mosaic patterns to flatten the space and merge the figures and ground.
UPDATE: I finally found the one photograph that I took walking through the exhibit. (I snap quick photos to help me make sense of my notes. So no photos often means nothing noted.) Here it is:
It really is a beautiful painting and it pairs nicely with Essayed’s photograph.