Nada Shabout is a Regent Professor of Art History and the Coordinator of the Contemporary Arab and Muslim Cultural Studies Initiative (CAMCSI) at the University of North Texas. She is the founding president of the Association for Modern and Contemporary Art from the Arab World, Iran and Turkey (AMCA) and founding director of Modern Art Iraq Archive (MAIA). Her scholarship is centered on confronting, addressing and responding to the art historical neglect of modern and contemporary art from and of the Arab world and its absence from the art history canon. Concurrently her research has focused on modern Iraqi art. Complicated by the 2003 invasion and destruction of heritage, her work has aimed to historicize modern Iraqi art through documenting and protecting its visual cultural memory. In both, that includes research on women artists and their contributions to historiography.
She is a curator and author of numerous essays and books, including Modern Arab Art: Formation of Arab Aesthetics, 2007; coeditor of New Vision: Arab Art in the 21st Century, 2009; and coeditor Modern Art in the Arab World: Primary Documents, Museum of Modern Art, 2018. Notable among exhibitions she has curated: Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art, 2010; traveling exhibition, Dafatir: Contemporary Iraqi Book Art, 2005-2009; and co-curator, Modernism and Iraq, 2009. She is currently working on a new book project, Demarcating Modernism in Iraqi Art: The Dialectics of the Decorative, 1951-1979, under contract with the American University in Cairo Press. Shabout is on the Board of Directors, Visual Art Commission, Ministry of Culture, Saudi Arabia; the Board of The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII); and the College Art Association (CAA) Board of Directors (2020-2024). Shabout is the recipient of the 2020 Kuwait Prize for Arts and Literature from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences.
Research interests: Arab art, Modern Arab Art, WANA Art, Iraqi art