Islamic art in Copenhagen

Cosmophilia: Islamic Art From the David Collection, Copenhagen explores for the first time the roles played by the lavish use of ornamentation, one of the most characteristic and attractive features of Islamic art. More than 120 of the finest pieces from the unparalleled David Collection are organized visually in five sections—figures, writing, geometry, vegetation and arabesque, and hybrids—that together comprise the visual arts of the Islamic lands. The objects range in medium from jewelry to carpets, in date from the seventh to the 19th century, and geographically from western Europe to East Asia; most have never before been displayed in the United States. The exhibition —one of the most comprehensive since Munich in 1910 and London in 1976— examines the various characteristics of Islamic arts: colour, repetition, symmetry, direction, juxtaposition, layering, framing, transferability, abstraction and ambiguity. Catalogue $50. Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, through May 20.