Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents Contemporary Iranian Art Installation

Metropolitan Museum of Art Presents Contemporary Iranian Art Installation

Seven works by six Iranian artists from three generations comprise the installation Contemporary Iranian Art from the Permanent Collection, on view at The Metropolitan Museum of Art through September 3, 2012. Of the six artists-Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Parviz Tanavoli, Y. Z. Kami, Shirin Neshat, Afruz Amighi, and Ali Banisadr-four live and work in the United States, while two continue to work in Iran. Although the works demonstrate the diversity of concepts, styles, techniques, and modes of expression seen in Iranian contemporary art, the artists consider themselves to be members of the global artistic community whose work is primarily intended to convey universal messages. Nonetheless, each work reflects an intrinsic connection with Iran and addresses issues of identity and gender, political and social concerns, nostalgia for and pride in a rich artistic and cultural heritage.

All of the works are from the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where Iranian contemporary art has been collected since 1993, first by the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art and, since last year, by the Department of Islamic Art as well.

The exhibition is made possible by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund.

Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (b. 1924) is one of Iran's pioneering women artists. In a career spanning more than five decades, she has worked in both her native Iran and the United States. She combines traditional reverse-glass painting, mirror mosaics, and principles of Islamic geometry with modern concepts of minimalism. Flight of the Dolphin-a reflective kaleidoscope of hundreds of mirror fragments-creates the effect of moving ripples on a two-dimensional surface.

One of the founders of the Saqqakhana School, which focused on the intersection of contemporary practices with traditional Persian folk art forms, Parviz Tanavoli (b. 1937) began to create his legendary heech sculptures-sculptural renditions of the Persian word for "nothing"-in the early 1960s. These sculptures are rooted in Rumi's mystical poetry, visualizing the Sufi belief that God creates everything from nothing. Poet Turning into Heech is a whimsical and anthropomorphic rendition of "nothing" as it envelops a poet.