“The Conference of The Birds” at Shirley Fiterman Art Center
The 12th-century Sufi masterpiece from which this sprawling group exhibition derives its title charts follows 30 birds on a mission to persuade the phoenix-like Simorgh to become their king. Coming to the mythical bird’s purported habitat, all the pilgrims discover is a deserted lake in which they see their own reflections. Attar of Nishapur, its author, played upon a pun between Simorgh and the Persian word for “thirty”: each of the birds represents a human obstacle to enlightenment. This exhibition curator Brenda Zlamany couldn’t resist the temptations of an extra half dozen artists but with such a stunning array of variations on themes ornithological, who is counting?