Iran’s impressive collection of Western art


NSAYS BEFORE The hard-line priest Ebrahim Raisi won the Iranian presidential election in June, and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was opened to the public after a long renovation. It became a strange juxtaposition. Raishi celebrates the decline of American influence. His Minister of Culture opposes the “deviation and secularism” of the Iranian art scene. Nevertheless, the museum welcomed visitors with a retrospective exhibition of American pop artist Andy Warhol.With fashionable men Chador-The dressed woman stared at the portrait of the blonde seducer Marilyn Monroe and the mocking rendition of Chinese dictator Mao Zedong (pictured from an old exhibition).

Warhol was a favorite of Fara Pafflavi, wife of the late Shah Muhammad Reza Pafflavi. The old administration partially built a museum to increase Iran’s height. When it opened in 1977, it exhibited works by Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko, purchased under the supervision of Mrs. Paflavi during the Iranian oil boom.

For years after Shah was banished by clergy in 1979, billions of dollars worth of collections were in the vault. Warhol’s portrait of Mrs. Pahlavi was cut off with a knife, but most of the paintings were neither damaged nor sold.And the museum says “Women III, By Willem de Kooning, a rare volume of the ancient Persian poetry collection “Shaname”. Paintings that were too dangerous for the authorities were later sold for $ 138 million.

Many of the museum’s works are not without controversy and have been published in recent decades. Francis Bacon’s “Two People Lying in Bed with Attendant” panel was removed because it was considered unpleasant in a gay tone. Today, museum officials say anything is fine, except for museum nudes (such as Pierre Auguste Renoir’s “Gabriel with Open Blouse”) and Warhol’s Pahlavi dynasty portraits. There are two works by Henry Moore in the sculpture park, and there is also an exhibition by Alexander Calder. This took place at the same time as the exhibition of works by American sculptors in Israel.

Culture Minister Mohammad Esmaili has never hit his eyelids in Warhol’s retrospective, officials say. Newspapers loyal to the administration even praised it. Some observers say governments facing an economy struggling with covid-19 don’t have time to do such trivial things. Some want to prove that Iran’s cultural life is comparable to that of Gulf countries such as the United Arab Emirates ()United Arab Emirates), Building world-class arts and cultural facilities.

There are many arts and architecture schools in Iran, most of them female students. Tehran’s new private gallery is crowded with young people. However, a license is required for the exhibition. Curators are often summoned for cross-examination. When the Tehran Museum opened 44 years ago, “Iran was the most progressive country in Asia and Dubai. [part of the UAE] There were only two Iranian-owned supermarkets, “says Kamlandiva, an exiled architect and museum founder. “Look at them now — and look at Iran.”

This article was published in the printed Middle East and Africa section under the heading “Andy Warhol and Ayatollah”.

Iran’s impressive collection of Western art

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