Symposium looks at Islam, art

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A major symposium, "Dis[Locating] Culture: Contemporary Islamic Art in America, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Andy Warhol Museum, followed by a reception. It is co-sponsored by the Michael Berger Gallery, which opens an exhibition of the same title this weekend, and the Pittsburgh Middle East Institute.

The keynote speaker, Reza Aslan, is a Muslim American scholar of religion and the internationally acclaimed author of the best-seller "No god but God: The Origins, Evolution and Future of Islam." He is a contributing editor at the Daily Beast who has appeared on CNN, "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," "The Colbert Report" and "Real Time With Bill Maher." Born in Iran, he is associate professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and lives in Los Angeles. He holds degrees in religion from Santa Clara University, Harvard University, and the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Other panelists will be artist Sandow Birk, whose exhibition "Sandow Birk's American Qur'an" is at The Warhol; New York-based artist Negar Ahkami; Reem Alalusi, author, scholar and co-curator of the Berger Gallery ehxibition; and Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller, art critic and owner of LTMH Gallery, New York.

Tom Sokolowski, scholar and curator of contemporary art who originated the Word of God series while director of The Andy Warhol Museum, will moderate. Seating is limited and tickets ($35, students and members $25) may be purchased by calling 412-237-8300.

Sunday discussion

Mr. Aslan will also participate in a discussion of Islam and building interfaith understanding from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Sunday at Temple Sinai, 5505 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill. The free public event will be followed by a book signing of "No god but God," which has been translated into 13 languages.


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