Modern Iran: A Challenge to Cultural Perceptions, billed by the New York Times as “the first major survey of modern Iranian art in this country,” the Iran Modern exhibit at the Asia Society Museum in NYC promises to be a must-see.
Featuring more than one hundred works by twenty-six artists, this two-story exhibition includes three decades worth of pre-Islamic works from before Iran’s 1979 revolution. Not only does the exhibit offer some striking examples of Saqqakhaneh (sometimes referred to as Spiritual Pop Art, an Iranian art movement spawned in the 1960s), but it also includes sections focusing on abstraction, calligraphy, and politics.
Throughout the exhibition, there is a concerted effort made to demonstrate what the Iranian art scene looked like under a different regime:
…an era when Tehran was an open, cosmopolitan capital with its own Biennial, and Iranian artists exhibited widely and contributed to the development of global modernism. (The Daily Traveler)
Running through January of 2014, the exhibit’s opening weekend was complemented by a sold-out concert by Iranian musician Moshen Namjoo.
Exiled from Iran for displaying a provocative musical mix of tradition and modernity which offended religious extremists in his homeland, Namjoo now makes his home in Brooklyn and travels the country to promote cultural dialogue through sharing his music. Fortunately for those not fortunate enough to procure tickets but still interested in hearing his evocative music – described as a blend of Persian classical traditions with Western styles like rock and jazz – the New York Society webcast the performance.
With global tensions being what they are, and the chance of cultural misunderstanding higher than ever, the time is ripe for exhibitions that promote cultural understanding and seek to change perceptions. To that end, artists, art-lovers, and world citizens are encouraged to visit the Iran Modern exhibit.
Images from Iran Modern: Asia Society, NYC