Contemporary Iranian Art in New York

This Saturday, I will be moderating a panel on contemporary Iranian art at the Arario Gallery in Chelsea. So stop by and watch me be brainy … it’s sexy, I swear.

The panel is in conjunction with the new exhibition, The Promise of Loss: A Contemporary Index of Iran, which is curated by Shaheen Merali.

Speaking about the show, Merali explains:

“The exhibition is a consolidation of many dashed hopes, a desire to build a shrine as well as to plant trees in the campus condemned to destruction. The artists enable both a reading of the situation and encouragement to cross the distance where the bitterness of loss reigns within the national moral.”

Artists in the exhibition include: Samira Abbassy, Iman Afsarian, Asgar/Gabriel, Masoumeh Bakhtyari, Shahram Entekhabi, Parastou Forouhar, Shadi Ghadirian, Babak Golkar, Peyman Hooshmandzadeh, Abbas Kowsari, Mandana Moghaddam, Amin Nourani, Sara Rahbar, Neda Razavipour, Behrang Samadzadegan, Rozita Sharafjahan, and Jinoos Taghizadeh.

I got a sneak peak of the show last weekend and it offers a portrait of Iran very different from the one we are accustomed to seeing in the media. Most of the artists maintain a connection to Iran or live there, which means that the show isn’t dominated by diasporan artists (which often happens in exhibitions like this). There is also a good mix of mediums and perspectives. One series I’d like to point out is the photographic series by Abbas Kowsari which depicts female recruits in an Iranian police academy (I’ve posted one of the images here). It is riveting, emotionally complicated and enlightening.

The show opens tomorrow (Thursday) night and I’ll be in attendence … stop by and say hi.

The Artist’s Talk I will moderate takes place Saturday, January 16, 3pm at Arario Gallery: 521 West 25th Street.

Three participating artists (Samira Abbassy, Asgar/Gabriel, and Babak Golkar) will discuss their practice in and out of the current political context in Iran. They will be accompanied by Layla Diba, Independent Curator of Islamic Art.

Arario Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10-6pm and by appointment. Contact for more information.

Image caption: Abbas Kowsari, “Women Police Academy #12” (2008), C-print on Kodak Endura Metallic paper, 105 x 70 cm, courtesy Arario Gallery

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