Overshadowed by revolution, sanctions, and outdated notions of the Modern, Iran's vibrant postwar art scene is coming into focus at the Asia Society...
the Asia Society Museum in New York, who describes the era as transitional, influential, and overlooked. In September the museum hopes to change the equation with “Iran Modern,” an international loan show uniting more than 100 objects from the ’50s to the ’70s. Curated by Fereshteh Daftari and Layla Diba, it’s the most ambitious survey of Iran’s prerevolutionary art to be staged outside Iran. Spread over two floors of the museum, the exhibition will explore the ways these lesser-known Middle Eastern modernists forged their own version of an international style, borrowing liberally from Western-art traditions as they inventively updated their own.
Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian
Seeing the Shah Cheragh Shrine in Shiraz, which she visited with Robert Morris and Marcia Hafif in 1966, was transformative for Farmanfarmaian, who in this untitled work from the mid-’70s infuses traditional forms with geometric and gestural abstraction..
Parviz Tanavoli belongs to Saqqakhana group of artists who, according to the scholar Karim Emami, share a common popular aesthetic. He has been influenced heavily by his country's history and culture and traditions, he was once cultural advisor to the Queen of Iran. In 2005, he created a small piece of sculpture called Heech in a Cage to protest the conditions of the American-held prisoners at Guantanamo Bay detainment camp and in 2006 began work on his piece to honour the victims of the Israeli-Lebanon war.
"Modernism Blooming in Iran, New York Times... A bit of back story comes in handy. It’s useful to know that during the 20th century, several nations — Britain, Germany, Russia, the United States — big-footed their way in and out of Iran, eliciting decidedly mixed feelings toward Western culture and inspiring Iranian artists to shape a modernism of their own. At the same time, the country was politically volatile, swinging from democracy to monarchy to theocracy, with the atmosphere for art changing accordingly."