Art is relevant to ongoing life in the Middle East and, consequently, key to studying it. Cases from Egypt, Syria, and Palestine show that studying art can help you understand local society, politics, and processes because unpacking how art is made, identifying concepts people think through art, or tracking how people’s subjectivities form in art processes gives access to aspects of their lives that do not fit conventional maps, dictionaries, or teleologies. Categorical junctures found in art can alert us to ones that are imaginable, tangible, and motivating for the people we study, despite their “messiness.”