Opening Reception — Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art and Shangri La: Imagined Cities

DCA — Los Angeles Municipal Gallery

DCA’s LAMAG will showcase two exhibitions opening at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery: 

Doris Duke’s Shangri La: Architecture, Landscape, and Islamic Art  chronicles how tobacco heiress Doris Duke came to amass an impressive collection of Islamic artworks from throughout the Islamic world. Doris Duke’s Shangri La also showcases how she went on to commission architect Marion Sims Wyeth to build her Shangri La, the five-acre estate in Honolulu to house the collection. Organized by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Doris Duke’s Shangri La was masterminded by curators Donald Albrecht and Thomas Mellins, who interwove architectural documents and vintage photographs along with more than 60 objects from the collection including ceramics, textiles, jewelry, paintings, tile panels, and full-scale architectural elements, to demonstrate a distinct balance between the house and its collection. Interspersed among these artifacts are works by eight former artists-in-residence at Shangri La, who blend Islamic tradition and contemporary practices. A book of stunning new color photographs of the home and gardens taken by nationally recognized Los Angeles photographer Tim Street-Porter accompanies the innovative exhibition.

DCA-commissioned companion exhibition, Shangri La: Imagined Cities, curated by Rijin Sahakian, provides a critical juxtaposition to Doris Duke’s Shangri La through the presentation of contemporary works that produce a multiplicity of worlds, interpretations, and investigations without ignoring the implications of organizing around particular geographic or religious lines. Sahakian, who was born in Baghdad in 1978, was selected by DCA for her intimate knowledge of the contemporary art scene and pioneering work in the Middle East. Ms. Sahakian’s ambitious curatorial project, along with a companion catalogue, explores issues of travel, mobility, and collection making while reflecting on the journeys that inspired and ignited Doris Duke’s Islamic Art collection. The exhibition provides a powerful framework for discussions around the politics of production and acquisition, and the mechanisms of global capital, power, and violence in the circulation and “making of” individual identities and aesthetics. Imagined Cities artists and their respective works will explore these themes through the mediums of video, installation, and photography. Artists include: Haig Aivazian, Jananne Al-Ani, George Awde, Taysir Batniji, Charles Gaines, Mariam Ghani, Gelare Khoshgozaran, and Adrian Paci.

Image Credit (Left): Stonepaste bowl from 17th-century Iran. Photo by David Franzen, 2010; Courtesy of Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, Honolulu, Hawai‘i.

Image Credit (Right): Gelare Khoshgozaran, rial & tERROR, video still,Color, stereo sound, 16:27, 2011; Courtesy of the Artist.  

Sun 10.26 2PM – 5PM

this event is free

for more information visit

The Opening Reception on Sunday, October 26 from 2-5 p.m. will include public printmaking with Self Help Graphics Barrio Mobile Arts (BMAS)  and deejaying by Discostan.

From 1-2 p.m., a Curators' Talk with Thomas Mellins and Donald Albrecht (curators, Doris Duke's Shangri La) and Rijin Sahakian (curator, Shangri La: Imagined Cities) will precede the Opening Reception at LAMAG.

From 5-7 p.m., an Artists' Dialogue with visiting artists Mariam Ghani and George Awde will follow the Opening Reception at LAMAG. 


DCA's Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery

4800 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90027