Tehran Museum unveils masterpieces of Western artwork hidden for many years Iran


A number of the world’s most prized masterpieces of latest Western artwork have been unveiled in Tehran for the primary time in a long time.

The Iranian president, Ibrahim Raisi, a staunch cleric, is towards the affect of the West. Authorities have condemned the “distracted” artists for “attacking Iran’s revolutionary tradition”. And the Islamic Republic has plunged additional into confrontation with the US and Europe because it more and more ramps up its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts.

However contrasts abound within the Iranian capital, the place 1000’s of women and men exhibited for the primary time this summer time on the Tehran Museum of Up to date Artwork, showcasing American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

On a current August afternoon, artwork critics and college students noticed Marcel Duchamp’s see-through 1915 mural The Giant Glass, which had lengthy been interpreted as an exploration of erotic despair.

Additionally on show was a uncommon 4-metre (13 ft) untitled sculpture by American minimalist pioneer Donald Judd and considered one of Sol Levitt’s most well-known serial items, the Open Dice, amongst different essential works. The Jude sculpture, a horizontal array of lacquered brass and aluminum panels, is estimated to be value hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

Works by German artists Bernd and Hila Beecher. Picture: Wahid Salemi/AP

“Establishing a present with such a theme and such works is a daring transfer that takes a whole lot of braveness,” mentioned Babak Bahari, who has seen 130 works showcased for the fourth time since opening in June. “Within the West additionally these works are on the middle of debate and dialogue.”

The federal government of Iran’s Western-backed Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his spouse, former Empress Farah Pahlavi, constructed the museum and bought the multibillion-dollar assortment within the late Seventies, when the oil increase and Western economies stagnated .

Upon opening, it featured the works of Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock and different huge names, enhancing Iran’s cultural standing on the world stage.

Portrait of Marilyn Monroe by American artist Andy Warhol on display at the museum.
Portrait of Marilyn Monroe by American artist Andy Warhol on show on the museum. {Photograph}: Abedin Taherkenreh/EPA

However simply two years later, in 1979, Shia clerics eliminated Shah and positioned the artwork within the museum’s vault. Some work – Cubist, Surrealist, Impressionist, Pop Artwork – had been neglected for many years to keep away from offending Islamic values ​​and catering to Western sensibilities.

However throughout a thaw in Iranian politics, artwork started to re-emerge. Whereas Andy Warhol’s Pahlavi work and a few nudes are nonetheless hidden within the basement, a lot of the artist’s assortment has been dropped at nice fanfare as Iran’s cultural sanctions are eased.

The continuing exhibition on minimalism that includes 34 Western artists has attracted explicit consideration. The museum mentioned greater than 17,000 individuals have seen the works since launch, which is sort of double the variety of earlier exhibits.

Frank Stella's singly variation number 1-5 (1977) first appeared in the Iranian capital.
Frank Stella’s singly variation quantity 1-5 (1977) first appeared within the Iranian capital. Picture: Wahid Salemi/AP

Curator Behrang Samadzadegan credit the lately renewed curiosity in conceptual artwork, which first shocked audiences within the Sixties by drawing on political themes and taking artwork from conventional galleries to the broader world.

Museum spokesman Hassan Noferesti mentioned the dimensions of the crowds visiting the exhibition, which ends in mid-September, exhibits the fun of experiencing long-hidden fashionable masterpieces.

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It additionally testifies to the enduring urge for food for the humanities amongst Iran’s youthful era. Greater than 50% of the nation’s 85 million individuals are below the age of 30.

Regardless of her nation’s deep world isolation, and fears that her already restricted social and cultural freedoms could also be additional curtailed below a authorities elected a yr in the past, younger Iranians are exploring the world of worldwide artwork on social media. are. The brand new galleries are buzzing. Artwork and structure faculties are thriving.

“These are positive artistic endeavors, you do not wish to copy them,” mentioned 20-year-old structure scholar Mohamed Shahsavari, standing in entrance of Levitt’s dice construction. “Quite, you get inspiration from them.”


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