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Etel Adnan’s career spanned several decades and encompassed a wide range of media—including painting, drawing, tapestry, film, ceramics, and leporello artist books—as it did traditions and locations. Adnan was first an author of poetry and prose, often addressing and protesting against the turmoil of the Vietnam War and the Lebanese Civil War.  Informing her writing and later her artwork as well, was the landscape, its own history and her emotional and physical response to it. For Adnan, the landscape is mingled with memory, especially a sentiment of displacement, as she was born and raised in Lebanon, but lived, studied, and worked in France and California throughout her life.  

In 2012, Adnan was included in Documenta (13) in Germany. Since then, numerous museums have presented solo exhibitions of the artist’s work, including the Guggenheim Museum, New York (2021); Pera Museum, Istanbul, Turkey (2021); Mudam Luxembourg – Musée d’art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg City (2019);

Aspen Museum of Art, Aspen, Colorado (2019); SFMoMA, California (2018); Zentrum Paul Klee, Switzerland (2018); MASS MoCA, Massachusetts (2018); Institute du Monde Arabe, France (2017); the Serpentine Gallery, England (2016); Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Switzerland (2016); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Ireland (2015); Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (2014-2015); and Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Qatar (2014). In 2024, Adnan's work was included in the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Stranieri Ovunque - Foreigners Everywhere, curated by Adriano Pedrosa. Adnan’s work is included in major public collections such as the British Museum, England; Centre Pompidou, France; Institut du Monde Arabe, France; National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; M+, Hong Kong, China; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, Tunisia; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Adnan was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1925. She died in Paris, France in 2021.

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