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Nationalgalerie releases guide to modern Iranian art


The volume examines the development of Iranian art in the second half of the 20th century and its cultural-historical context.

Modern art in Iran in the 1960s and 70s is the subject of a conference which is being hosted by the Goethe-Institut and the Neue Nationalgalerie. The conference also sees the launch of the Nationalgalerie‘s new book on modern Iranian art.

The exhibition The Teheran Collection: The Teheran Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin, planned for the end of 2016/ beginning of 2017, could not take place. The Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz terminated the cooperation agreement with Iran because the authorities refused to issue an export licence for the artworks from Teheran. Nevertheless, our cultural exchange with Iranian colleagues in the field of culture and the arts is to continue.

Without claiming to reflect developments in anything like their full complexity, this book is therefore an invitation to engage with the modern art of Iran. The volume opens with contributions by two important contemporary eye-witnesses; architect and museum director, Kamran Diba and chief curator, David Galloway, who record their personal perspectives on the genesis of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Other texts are devoted to the legendary Shiraz-Persepolis Festival of Arts, to the ‘Islamic’ in present-day Iranian art, and to the  Saqqakhaneh School and other stages in the development of Iranian painting in the 20th century. A timeline with the key events of 20th-century Iranian history helps with orientation.

Interspersed between the texts are photographs by the married couple, Bahman Jalali and Rana Javadi. The pair have documented the politics and everyday life of Teheran over many decades, at the same time establishing photography as a form of artistic expression in Iran. The pictures included in the book therefore convey an impression of the country from the 1960s to the present day.

Die Teheran Moderne. Ein Reader zur Kunst im Iran seit 1960 / The Tehran Modern: A Reader about Art in Iran since 1960, published in 2017 by the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz (ISBN 978-3-88609-785-2), priced €19.95, is available via our Webshop.