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Posts Tagged ‘Iranian Art’

Top 20 Asian artists June 2010: Art Radar Asia’s most-searched artists

Posted by artradar on July 26, 2010


TOP ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS

In January this year, we published the article, “Top 17 Asian artists 2009: Art Radar’s most-searched artists, listing Art Radar Asia‘s most searched for artists to the end of 2009. This was so popular with our readers that we have decided to publish these results again. This list below highlights artists searched for between 30 June 2009 to 30 June 2010.

Takashi Murakami

Takashi Murakami

Art Radar Asia receives an average of 27,000 page views a month. Our readers come to us in various ways: via links from other websites, from Twitter, facebook and other social media, from our email newsletter, from word of mouth referrals and, of course, via search engines.

Many readers find us by typing a specific artist name into Google or another search engine and finding a story written or image published by Art Radar Asia. Our analytics package tracks these search terms for us and we thought you might be interested in this data, too. The search terms used by readers when finding each artist are varied. For example, common search terms recorded for Japanese artist Takashi Murakami included: “takashi murakami”, “murakami”, “murakami takashi”, “takashi murakami art” and “takeshi murakami”.

Art Radar Asia‘s 20 most searched artists – the list

We can’t claim that this list is a reliable proxy for the most-searched Asian artists on the Internet overall (take a look at our notes at the bottom of this article). However, we do think the list throws up some fascinating data, particularly when compared with the 2009 results.

  1. Takashi Murakami – male Japanese anime painter and sculptor – 36,086  searches (34,000, December 2009)
  2. Shirin Neshat – female Iranian photographer – 4,532 searches (2,200, December 2009)
  3. Anish Kapoor – male British-Indian sculptor – 4,246 searches (3,500, December 2009)
  4. Marina Abramović – female New York-based Serbian performance artist – 3,092 searches (not listed, December 2009)
  5. Yoshitaka Amano – male Japanese anime artist – 829 searches (460, December 2009)
  6. Cao Fei – female Chinese photographer and new media artist – 672 searches
  7. Terence Koh – male Canadian-Chinese photographer, installation and multimedia artist – 634 searches
  8. I Nyoman Masriadi – male Indonesian painter – 625 searches
  9. AES+F – Russian photography and video collective – 521 searches
  10. Hiroshi Sugimoto – male Japanese photographer – 503 seaches
  11. Subodh Gupta – male Indian painter, installation artist – 417 searches
  12. Ori Gersht – male Israeli photographer – 408 searches
  13. Ronald Ventura – male Filipino painter – 393 searches
  14. Farhad Ahrarnia – male Iranian thread artist – 377 searches
  15. Farhard Moshiri – male Iranian painter – 363 searches
  16. Jitish Kallat – male Indian painter – 329 searches
  17. Gao Xingjian – male Chinese-French ink artist – 301 searches
  18. Bharti Kher – female Indian-British painter, sculptor and installation artist – 270 searches
  19. Shahzia Sikander – female Pakistani miniaturist – 264 searches
  20. Zhang Huan – male Chinese performance artist – 237 searches

How has the top 5 changed?

As with the last list, published at the end of 2009, Takashi Murakami is still holding the title spot with more than 36,000 searches. This is compared with 34,000 in 2009’s list. Shirin Neshat and Anish Kapoor have switched places since the previous list, although the difference between their numbers is somewhat insignificant. Yoshitaka Amano is new to the top 5, moving up to 5th place from 6th place in 2009, perhaps due to the 2010 announcement that he has established a film production company called Studio Deva Loka, in addition to directing a 3D anime named Zan. These announcements followed a small solo tour of his artwork. Marina Abramović has surged into the top 5 this time around, particularly notable as she did not appear on the 2009 list. This is most likely due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”.

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

Marina Abramovic, 'Happy Christmas', 2008, silver gelatin print, 53.9 x 53.9

How has the list changed since it was first published?

The following artists have returned since the 2009 list was published, but many have moved up or down by one or two places: Cao Fei (4, 2009); I Nyoman Masriadi (5, 2009); Ori Gersht (7, 2009); Terence Koh (8, 2009); AES+F (9, 2009); Ronald Ventura (10, 2009); Hiroshi Sugimoto (11, 2009); Farhad Moshiri (12, 2009); Subodh Gupta (13, 2009); Farhard Moshiri (12, 2009) ; Farhad Ahrarnia (14, 2009); Gao Xingjian (15, 2009); Jitish Kallat (16, 2009).

There are some new additions: Marina Abramović, perhaps due to her 2010 MoMA exhibition, “Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present”; Shahzia Sikander, whose medium has recently become popular with collectors and critics and who has herself surged into prominence with a win at ART HK 10 ; Bharti Kher, whose works are currently auctioning for large sums; and Zhang Huan, who has had a number of permanent sculptures installed in US cities this year, and whose company designed the permanent public sculpture for the US pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo.

Only Chinese ink artist Wucius Wong doesn’t reappear. His surge in popularity in 2009 may have been due to the retrospective exhibition, “Myriad Visions of Wucius Wong“, at The Art Institute of Chicago.

Preferred media of most-searched artists: miniatures and performance art rising in popularity

Most of the arists work in various media but in this list we have tagged them with the media they are best known for. Six of the artists are known primarily for painting, compared with only five in the 2009 list, and once again, this list is dominated by photographers, new media artists and sculptors. Miniature painting and performance art seem to be new topics of interest for readers.

Artist Age

Most of the artists were born in the 1960s and 1970s, as you would expect for a contemporary art website.

Interestingly, Shirin Neshat (Iranian photographer), Anish Kapoor (British Indian sculptor), Marina Abramović (Serbian performance artist), Yoshitaka Amano (Japanese anime), all born before 1960, were listed as number 2, 3, 4 and 5 respectively. Of course, due to their age and time spent working in the arts, they each have large bodies of work which are consistently being exhibited, collected and discussed.

Artist Gender

male 14 (13, 2009); female 5 (3, 2009); mixed collective 1 (1, 2009)

In the year to June 2010, there were more female artists on the list though men still dominated (approx. 75 percent). Those female artists who were on both lists appeared higher up this year than last.

Breakdown of artist nationalities

Chinese 4 (4, 2009); Indian 4 (4, 2009); Iranian 3 (3, 2009); Japanese 3 (3, 2009); Serbian 1 (not listed, 2009); Israeli 1 (1, 2009); Indonesian (1, 2009); Filipino (1, 2009); Russian (1, 2009)

As you can see, this result is almost identical to the previous result, with the edition of one Serbian artist (Marina Abramović, Serbian performance artist). Once again, artists from China and India are among the most searched nationality, despite fears the Indian art market would be slow to recover after the 2008-2009 global art market turndown.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Shahzia Sikander working on a mural in the USA.

Notes
This list is not a reliable proxy for the most-searched artists on the internet overall. Here is why: If we have not written a story on or tagged this artist, the search engines will not bring us traffic for this search term and it won’t appear on our traffic analysis stats page. As we have only been up for 18 months it is quite possible that we have not yet covered some higly-searched artists. And even if we have referenced an artist on our site and the artist is highly-searched, the searcher will not come to us unless we have a good page ranking for the story on the search engine.  For example if the story is, say, after page 4 of the search engine results, the searcher probably won’t find our story and will not appear in our stats. Despite these limitations the data is likely to be a reliable indicator for certain trends. Finally even if we have a story and the story is well-ranked, it may be that other stories on the same page are more alluring than ours and readers do not find their way to us.

KN/KCE

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Iran Inside Out review round up – 56 artist survey show in New York described as mesmerising, a privilege

Posted by artradar on September 3, 2009


IRANIAN ART SURVEY

56 contemporary Iranian artists are presented in the attention-grabbing and timely  Iran Inside Out exhibition at Chelsea Art Museum in New York (June 26 – Sep 5 2009).

Surprisingly – or perhpas not – only 35 artists in the show reside inside Iran and the other 21 dispersed outside Iran. Together they contribute 210 works of painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installation on themes such as gender, war, and politics. Complemented with forums and film screenings, theatre performances, music recitals, and panel discussions, Iran Inside Out is part of Chelsea Art Museum’s 2008-2009 “The East West Project”. 

In this round up, art experts and critics from the New York Times to the Huffington Post give their perspectives on this exhibition and report that they are enthralled, mesmerised and surprised.  In this rich and challenging show unexpected findings and themes abound. Be sure to scroll down and read Huffington Post’s Marina Bronchman who discovers a controversial new view of the veil and its effect on sexual and gender expression.

 

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery
Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell’s Puerto Rico Performance Still, Digital C-print 2008 copyright artist and courtesy Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller Gallery

 

 

Chelsea Art Museum: Curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath

The curators explain that Iran Inside Out defies the traditional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art:

An intimate look into the people, both inside and outside a country that is more complex than images of veiled women, worn out calligraphy and what a handful of other emblematic images would suggest…an examination of the means through which a young generation of artists is reconciling the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression…offers an unexpected insight into the artistic energy of a culture that is constantly evolving as Iranians living both in and out of the country, come of age living and working in contentious societies.

(Art Radar editor note: the curators of Saatchi’s Middle Eastern show ‘Unveiled’ (in which Iranian art predominated) earlier in 2009 also claimed to go beyond the ‘worn out’ to present a more nuanced and alternative view of art from the Middle East – this was hotly contested by some reviewers who were surprised to find that, on the contrary, bloodshed, repression and gender inequality were ubiquitous and courageously expressed. See related posts section below for the review round up of  Saatchi’s show).

 

Yet there are differences between insiders and outsiders say the curators:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references. Yet, within these disparities, one element stands strong: the recurrent references, sometimes ambiguous, at times emotional, often nostalgic and on occasion satirical and even tragic to Iran the country, Iran the past, the Iran which has been lost and that which could be found.

New York Times: Holland Cotter

Holland Cotter elaborates on how Iranian cultural references run through the show in this 30th-anniversary year of the Iranian revolution. For this critic, whether inside or out, artists are in touch with their cultural history. 

Golnaz Fathi, who lives in Tehran, walks the line between calligraphy and abstraction in his paintings; so does Pouran Jinchi, who lives in New York. The heroic epic called “The Book of Kings” is given an action-hero update by Siamak Filizadeh of Tehran, but also in film stills by Sadegh Tirafkan, who spends part of his time in Toronto.

 

“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)
“Zaal arrives to help Rostam, ROSTAM 2 The Return” by Siamak Filizadeh(2008)

 

 

Female artists are  given the spotlight, too:

Alireza Dayani’s fantastical historical drawings; Newsha Tavakolian’s photographic study of a transsexual; Saghar Daeeri’s paintings of Tehran’s boutique shoppers; Shirin Fakhim’s sculptural salute to the city’s prostitutes. Abbas Kowsari documents cadet training for chador-clad female police officers in Tehran. Less interestingly, Shahram Entekhabi draws chadors in black Magic Marker on images of dating-service models.

However, not all of them advocate social causes. Some artists employ a less aggressive tone:

Ahmad Morshedloo’s tender paintings of sleepers, Reza Paydari’s portrait of school friends and the mysterious little films of Shoja Azari are in this category.

Nevertheless, ambiguity does not equate with absence of politics in these artwork: 

Repression both inside and outside Iran is under scrutiny in a piece by Mitra Tabrizian about the roles of both the West and Muslim clergy in Iran’s modern history. In photographs by Arash Hanaei, brutal scenes from the Iran-Iraq war and Abu Ghraib are played out by bound and gagged dolls.

Flavorpill New York: Leah Taylor 

 

Sara Rahbar, 'Flag #5', 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65x35 inches
Sara Rahbar, ‘Flag #5’, 2007. Textile/mixed media, 65×35 inches

 

Taylor praises Iran Inside Out as one of the timeliest exhibitions in history:

With violence and political unrest roiling in that country, this exhibit takes a closer look at its inherent contradictions, tradition, culture, identity, and struggle — especially as faced by its younger generation of artists. As gruesome descriptions and footage of the election-protest clampdown continue to slip through Iranian censors daily, having Iran Inside Out‘s creative insight into the country seems a privilege, indeed.

Huffington Post: Marissa Bronfman

Shocked and enthralled by the creative artwork at the exhibition, Bronfman comments: 

A sense of duality was apparent in all the various pieces I saw at the exhibit, and there is an interesting geographical duality influencing the artists as well. The artists still living in Iran must struggle with avoiding government censors while not compromising with self-censorship, and those living outside strive to assume an “unlabeled artist-status” within a West-centric contemporary art world. The museum reminds us of their important commonality, however, such that all 56 artists desire to “establish an individual artistic identity free from the stigma of “stereotype” and “locality.” 

She explains what draws her the most about the Tehran Shopping Malls by Saghar Daeeri:

 

Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran - Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).
Saghar Daeeri, Shopping Malls of Tehran – Acrylic (Aaron Gallery).

The paintings came to life with a stunning palette of vibrant colors and women depicted in a grotesque, almost fantastical rendering. Heavily made up faces, lacquered nails and peroxide hair instantly made me think these Iranian women were influenced by typical American ideals of beauty. However, Hanna Azemati, who works at CAM and presided over the show, offered a wonderful perspective that I hadn’t originally considered. She told me that, “Because of the compulsory veil, women express their femininity through venues that are allowed in exaggerated ways. They resort to excessive make-up, overdone highlighted hair, thin eyebrows, long colored nails and even suggestive behavior.” This dualism that Iranian women must grapple with, between veiling and self-expression, was communicated with profound contradiction and was really quite mesmerizing.

Contributed by Wendy Ma

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56 artist show Iran Inside Out – Will election unrest fan the debate about Iranian contemporary art?

Posted by artradar on June 30, 2009


IRANIAN CONTEMPORARY ART EXHIBITION US

New York’s Chelsea Art Museum is holding its “groundbreaking” exhibition Iran Inside Out (26 June to 5 September 2009) which features 35 artists living and working in Iran alongside 21 others living in the diaspora.

We are promised a “multifarious portrait of 56 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art”. However, do not be at all surprised if unfolding events in Iran and the very art itself will result in heated debate and deep schisms about this interpretation.

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

Pooneh Maghazehe, Hell's Puerto Rico Performance Still, 2008 copyright artist

The debate was ignited by ‘Unveiled’, a show of Middle Eastern art (half of it Iranian) at The Saatchi Gallery London in the early months of this year. The exhibition garnered plenty of critical attention but strongly divided views were expressed about the success of the organisers’ claim to overturn the cliched idea that the Middle East is synonymous with violence and intolerance.

According to Henry Chu of LA Times , “Unveiled is an exhibition which offers an alternate vision: the Middle East as a source of lively, stimulating contemporary art — informed by conflict, certainly, but not consumed by it.” Nonsense, says Dorment in The Telegraph who claims the show is replete with references to bombs, religious police and the denigration of women.

This debate will be fanned anew by recent political disturbances in Iran. Relations between foreign powers and Iran are now severely strained following the disputed re-election on 12 June of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

Click to browse Iran Inside Out catalogue

“Iran has repeatedly accused foreign powers – especially Britain and the US – of meddling after the 12 June election, which officially handed him a decisive victory” says the BBC while The New York Times gives us a specific quote:

President Obama, who made his most critical remarks of the Iranian leadership on Friday, when he called the government’s crackdown “outrageous” … said the prospects for a dialogue with Iran had been dampened.

…“Didn’t he say that he was after change?” Mr. Ahmadinejad asked. “Why did he interfere?”

Unfolding political events will challenge the New York show’s curators, artists and museum staff and test their courage. Even before the protests, in reference to Iranian art in ‘Unveiled’, the Guardian was saying:

It is still amazing how far into politics this art bravely goes and it is no overstatement to speak of bravery in this case. One of the artists represented here, who lives in Tehran, is muffled in the gallery’s publicity shot to conceal his identity. Another, the prodigiously gifted Tala Madani, has escaped Tehran for Amsterdam but still refused to have her face revealed in a photograph. Guardian

The museum’s website raises the interesting point – and this is perhaps the nub of it – that artists in the diaspora and at home in Iran choose different forms of expression:

Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references.

But, whereas the museum’s writers see the focus of home-based artists on the  ‘everyday’ as an act of choice, there are some who suggest it is an act of self-preservation. Time will tell whether the description of this show will be excoriated like that of the catalogue description of ‘Unveiled’:

In her catalogue introduction to .. ‘Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East’, Lisa Farjam airily dismisses European perceptions of the Middle East as a place synonymous with political oppression, religious intolerance, and terrorism as unthinking ‘clichés’ that prevent us from understanding the richness and diversity of Muslim societies.

All I can say in response is that the artists in this show profoundly disagree with her sunny take on this part of the world. The evils Westerners see from a distance are the everyday context in which many of these painters and sculptors make their work – and it was precisely to escape repression at home that so many of the best of them now live in New York or Paris.

Their art isn’t (like so much Western art) about consumerism or celebrity or art itself; it’s about suicide bombers, religious police, unending war, and the denigration of women in Islamic societies. While I admit I was surprised that those still working in Tehran feel able to treat the subjects of gender, sexuality, religion, and politics without risking imprisonment or death, among the photos of the artists displayed at the end of the show, I noticed that one, who still lives in Tehran, has taken the precaution of wearing a balaclava. Telegraph

Related links: Exhibition description on Chelsea Art Museum site

Catalogue

In a still unusual and much-appreciated move, the museum has put the show’s catalogue online. It is a glorious glimpse of a very active art scene. Text and works by artists sit alongside interviews with collectors and galleries. Buy the ‘Iran Inside Out’ catalogue here.

FEATURED ARTISTS:

Inside Iran (35)

Abbas Kowsari, Ahmad Morshedloo, Amir Mobed, Alireza Dayani, Arash Hanaei, Arash Sedaghatkish, Arman Stepanian, Barbad Golshiri, Behdad Lahooti, Behrang Samadzadegan, Bita Fayyazi, Daryoush Gharahzad, Farhad Moshiri, Farideh Lashai, Golnaz Fathi, Houman Mortazavi, Jinoos Taghizadeh, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Mahmoud Bakhshi Moakher, Majid Ma’soomi Rad, Mehdi Farhadian, Nazgol Ansarinia, Newsha Tavakolian, Ramin Haerizadeh, Reza Derakshani, Reza Paydari, Rokni Haerizadeh, Sadegh Tirafkan, Saghar Daeeri, Shahab Fotouhi, Shirin Aliabadi, Shirin Fakhim, Siamak Filizadeh, Siavash Nagshbandi, Vahid Sharifian

Outside Iran (21)

Ala Ebtekar, Alireza Ghandchi, caraballo–farman, Darius Yektai, Kamran Diba, Leila Pazooki, Mitra Tabrizian, Nazanin Pouyandeh, Negar Ahkami, Nicky Nodjoumi, Parastou Forouhar, Pooneh Maghazehe, Pouran Jinchi, Roya Akhavan, Samira Abbassy, Sara Rahbar, Shahram Entekhabi, Shahram Karimi, Shirin Neshat, Shiva Ahmadi, Shoja Azari

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Pockets of change in Asian art infrastructure – interview Leeza Ahmady director ACAW

Posted by artradar on May 12, 2009


ASIAN CONTEMPORARY ART WEEK NEW YORK 2009

Asian Contemporary Art Week director Leeza Ahmady talks about the ‘ incredible’ initiatives in India and Hong Kong which are helping to build an Asian art infrastructure, Indian collector Anupam Poddar’s first time purchase of art from Afghanistan and where to see exciting art from Central Asia, the Middle East and Iran at New York’s Asian Contemporary Art Week May 2009.

This is the second part of a 3 part interview

 

Gulnara Muratabek

Gulnara Muratbek

 

AR: If visitors to Asian Contemporary Art Week 2009 in New York want to learn more about Central Asia at Asia Contemporary Art Week, what can they see and where they can go?

LA: People can see some of the best artists from Central Asia and the Middle East at an exhibition titled: Tarjama/Translation I have co-curated with Iftikar Dadi and Reem Fada at Queen’s Museum produced by ArteEast. Many of them are internationally-renowned artists but for some reason they are not being exhibited in New York yet.

Akram Zaatari and Lara Baladi from Lebanon, Esra Ersen from Turkey and Sharif Wakid from Palestine are represented and Almagul Menlibayevaof Kazakhstan who is getting a lot of attention here in New York and now has a gallery representing her. We have specially commissioned a video work by her entitled “Queens”. It is an extraordinary work. Almagul has juxtaposed her signature style-using performance as a base revolving around ritual and the fantastic to captivate the Central Asian diasporas like the Bukharan Jews, the Samarkand Uzbeks and the Afghans living in Queens, New York.

Among the Iranian artists included in Tarjama/Translation, Farhad MoshiriI have heard is totally galvanising the art market which is very encouraging. Often these artists do well in the biennale or academic arenas but we do not see them in the market arena so there is a shift there as well.

There is a whole lot of fascination going on with Iran this year I have to tell you. Thomas Erben, one of the best galleries in my opinion for working with cutting edge artists from Pakistan and India, has just come back from Iran. So in honour of ACAW, he will be curating an exhibition of artists living and making art in Iran and he has been going through all kinds of hoops to get the work to New York. The Chelsea Museum is also organizing a large exhibition in June showcasing Iranian artists from the 60’s up to the present.

AR: What do you see in the future for Asian art? Will Asia continue to rely on Western art centres as a platform for international recognition or will it start to happen within Asia itself?

LA: The Western world is way ahead, years if not centuries, in having the institutions which help with not just showcasing but also maintaining, archiving and saving works of contemporary art. We can’t really have a conversation which compares the two because of that disparity. What I can say is that changes will not just happen in the future …. they are already happening.

Arts i  is the new 12,000 square foot art space of one of the largest investment companies in India. It is based in New Delhi and has launched the Religare Arts Initiative which acts as a corporate champion of art. Most galleries, auction houses and art funds operate art businesses but the Religare Arts Initiative tries to leverage business for art through a host of activities – exhibitions, residency programs, library, documentaries, art fund, seminars, documentation etc. The intention of the initiative is to have a 360 degree platform for art in India and really have it create change in society. It is not just a group of people but it wants to actually create an impact on society. I think that is incredibly novel.

Often it is easy for us to say that there is not enough expertise and not enough critical dialogue but the fact is if you really want to look there are some incredible things happening. In India another example is Devi Art Foundation started by a mother and son team who turned their private collection into a public venue. They opened a huge space last summer and already have had two or three critically-acclaimed exhibitions.

They are looking not only at promoting Indian art but also at what else is going on in the region. They reached out to me and we purchased two works by Afghan artists for their collection. This is very encouraging.

 To have come this far is wonderful. I want to acknowledge that there is a handful of us out there and it is changing. Another great example is Green Cardamom Gallery in London. They are contributing to the discourse by providing critical context through artist-generated collaborative exhibitions and writing projects.I cannot speak for China as I have never been there except for Hong Kong. But I have to say organisations like Asia Art Archive or your publication now, these are huge leaps forward in creating forums where critics can have space to say what they need to say.

AR: Do you have anything to say about the market for Asian art?

LA:  What has astonished a lot of people is that art from India and China has been successful because of locally-based collectors not just outside collectors. The whole market frenzy and speculation was accelerated by this local interest. In the long term this interest will continue to grow. What is happening in the Middle East is also incredible. For the first time in the last 2 years we are seeing auctions of contemporary art from the Middle East. Who would have thought it? And they did not do too badly at all.

AR: Perhaps it speaks about the quality and freshness of the work coming out of the Middle East, what do you think?

LA: That is true. It is fresh  because there is a cultural specifity which is very intriguing yet at the same time the art is universally relevant. For me when art tells me something specific but is still relevant whether or not I know where it is from or what it is about – if I can connect with it from that universal place – then it is good art. That is not to say that everything that is coming out of Asia is good of course! (Laughter) 

This is the second part of a 3 part interview

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28 Iranian women artists in 3 decade survey Masques of Shahrazad in London

Posted by artradar on February 12, 2009


Shadi Gadhirian, Nil Nil, 2008

Shadi Ghadirian, Nil Nil, 2008

FEMALE IRANIAN ART

The Masques of Shahrazad to 9-14 March 2009 at Candlestar GalleryEvolution and Revolution of three generations of Iranian women artists

An exhibition featuring work by 28 Iranian women artists runs at The Mall Galleries, London, 9 – 14 March 2009. Opening on International Women’s Day and thirty years on from the upheavals of the Iranian Revolution, the Masques of Shahrazad is an opportunity to survey the Iranian artistic landscape of the last three decades. It is a moment to celebrate established artists and to uncover the new names that will bear the standard for women’s art in Iran for decades to come.

This exhibition takes its cue and inspiration from Shahrazad, or Sheherazade, as the heroine of A Thousand and One Nights is often called. Like the legendary storyteller, these artists have had to adopt feints and stratagems, beguiling, charming and evading authority to sustain their artistic endeavours.

The Masques of Shahrazad includes work by celebrated Iranian artists such as Pariyoush Ganji, Maryam Javaheri, and Mansoureh Hosseini as well as Farideh Lashai, Golnaz Fathi, and Farah Ossouli, alongside younger artists who are beginning to register on the international art scene, namely Samira Alikhanzadeh, Shadi Ghadirian and Tahereh Samadi Tari.

Samirah Alikhanzadeh, The Orange Raquet Team, 2008

Samirah Alikhanzadeh, The Orange Raquet Team, 2008

The exhibition illustrates themes that range from time, a constant yet fragmented notion as depicted here, to politics. Each generation of artists deals with these themes in very different ways, but there is a shared sense of identity and heritage, expressed through reinterpretations of the Iranian creative vernacular.

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2008

Golnaz Fathi, Untitled, 2008

Fariba Farshad, Director of Candlestar and joint curator of the exhibition, says: ‘Gradually, Iran’s female artists have engineered a shift in the limitations and barriers that constrained their predecessors, and have cleverly turned their weaknesses into strengths. Each of the three generations of artists we have selected for this show have had to evolve their own strategy to circumvent authority and express themselves, overcoming their fears and showing things that other people are afraid of expressing. Their works are sharp, subtle and perhaps subversive, without appearing to be any of these things; this is the genius of the masque. And a strange thing has happened: the decision to be an artist is no longer frowned upon. Many of the parents of this new generation of artists know what Shahrazad knew – that in the making of art there lies a path to a kind of liberation.’

Shirin Neshat click to buy book

Shirin Neshat click to buy book

The exhibition is produced by Candlestar, in association with the Day Art Gallery, Tehran.

Source: Candlestar Gallery press release

Masques of Shahrazad Artists: Mania Akbari, Azadeh Akhlaghi, Samira Alikhanzadeh, NahidArian, Bahar Behbahni, Fataneh Dadkhah, FatemehEmdadian, Yasmine Esfandiary, Golnaz Fathi, Pariyoush Ganji, Shadi Ghadirian, Yassi Golshani, Shahla Habibi, Mansoureh Hosseini, Maryam Javaheri, Shila Kalamian, Delaram Kia, Farideh Lashai, Farah Ossouli, Raziyeh Poursalari, Azadeh Razaghdoost, Tahereh Samadi Tari, Zahra Shahamatpour, Delbar Shahbaz, Maryam Shirinlou, Shideh Tami, Gizella Varga Sinai, Maryam Zandi.

Related links: Candlestar Gallery

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Posted in Feminist art, Gallery shows, Identity art, Iranian, Islamic art, London, Middle Eastern, Painting, Photography, Political, Surveys, UK | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Latest update on market for Iranian art – New York Times

Posted by artradar on December 8, 2008


Mohammad Ehsai

Mohammad Ehsai

 

 

IRANIAN ART

The New York Times has written a useful summary survey about art from Iran, the market for it over the last two years and what has been happening in recent auctions.

Artists worked in relative obscurity until about two years ago when an eager market for their work developed. Iranian artists dominate auctions of Middle Eastern art held by the international auction houses which set up in Dubai in 2006. Auction results were hit hard in October/November 2008 but there is still interest.

 

“Prices for art in the October and November auctions dropped drastically. Mohammad Ehsai, who sold one piece for $1.2 million in April, for example, sold a piece in October for $482,000. Still, 40 of the more than 70 Iranian pieces that were offered were sold, Christie’s said.”

 

The number of galleries has mushroomed despite the recession

New galleries have sprung up in Tehran, even after oil prices began to plummet, and gallery hopping has become something of a hobby in the capital.Since the loosening of restrictions in 1998, the number of art galleries in Tehran has increased to 60 from 8. At least three of those new galleries opened in October and November. .

and collectors swarm to auction house sales dominated by Iranian works.

” The artists are benefiting from a surge in interest in their work in Iran itself that began after the international auctions lifted the value of their work. At an auction in Dubai in October, the newfound enthusiasm for Iranian art was obvious. About 2,000 art collectors gathered at the fancy ballroom of Emirates Tower Hotel in Dubai for the Christie’s auction of International Modern and Contemporary Art, featuring Arab, Iranian, Turkish and Western Art. Despite the show’s name, the walls were dominated by Iranian pieces and the auction room was filled with Persian speakers.”The auctions always have more Iranian works, by number of lots but also by total sale amount,” said Ali Bagherzadeh, the director of the Xerxes Fine Arts gallery in London.”

Mohammad Ehsai

Mohammad Ehsai

Political events in Iran  influenced the subject matter of artworks:  artists struggled with new restrictions introduced by hard-line religious authorities after the 1979 revolution. Depictions of the human body were banned for example. But there was some political support for art between 1979 and 2005

“the artists benefited from the years when Mohammad Khatami, a reformist president, was in power (from 1997 to 2005) and the government began to actively promote artists, rather than controlling them as it did right after the revolution.

Although the rules have tightened somewhat again under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranians have responded as they often do – occasionally breaking the rules in private. Some artists, for instance, have depicted politically touchy subjects, but sell those works from their homes or abroad.”

Iranian art currently on the market is divided into two eras : modern (pre-revolution) and contemporary (post-revolution). The moderns include sculptor Tanavoli who was part of the Saqqa-Khaneh  (drinking fountain) school which is concerned with Iranian culture and the Shiite faith and are known for abstract calligraphy works. Contemporary artists, such as Rokneddin Haerizadeh,  have developed individual styles and are inspired their physical surroundings and the political events of their time: eight years of war with Iraq and three decades of political suppression.

New York Times

In an increasingly parched global economy though the auction houses continue to focus on the Middle East as a bright spot despite the recent sales busts in Dubai. Sotheby’s announced that it

 will be holding what they describe as “the first ever major international auction series held in the Middle East.”

Artmarket Monitor

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First UK survey of Iranian women film, photography artists in London to January 2009

Posted by artradar on November 11, 2008


iran

Shadi Ghadirian Be Colourful

IRANIAN ART PHOTOGRAPHY FILM WOMEN 27 September 2008 – 10 January 2009

30 Years of Solitude is a survey show of photography and film by some of Iran’s most talented women artists and is the first exhibition in the UK featuring artists who all live and work in Iran.

Curated by architect Faryar Javaherian and artist Haleh Anvari the exhibition focuses on the feelings of anxiety, isolation and the sense of loss that Iranian society has experienced in the last 30 years.

Thirty Years of Solitude came about after the art critic Edward Lucie-Smith was struck by the quality of the work coming out of Iran, and persuaded the president of New Hall, Anne Lonsdale, to consider mounting an exhibition. New Hall, one of two all-women colleges in Cambridge, is a long-time supporter of women artists and displays the world’s second-largest collection of women’s art on its college walls.

Lonsdale then booked herself on an anonymous tourist holiday to Iran – “I didn’t want to get anyone into trouble” – to sound out Javaherian, a Harvard-educated architect, about the possibility and saw immediately that it would be worth doing. “These directors and photographers deserve to be better known,” she says. “Let’s hope this is part of an increasing dialogue between Britain and Iran.”

Maryam Kia

Maryam Kia

 

For younger artists, who cannot remember pre-revolutionary Iran, restrictions are simply a fact of life. Farzaneh Khademian is Iran’s leading woman photojournalist, whose work appears regularly in news magazines around the world. She has covered everything from battles in Beirut to sex-change operations and says “you can do almost everything you like, only sometimes you have to do it more quietly.”

Her photographs in the exhibition show veiled women kayaking and kick-boxing, although normally, she points out, the women would be doing this in sports clothes. “It was only because I was there, they had to put on their scarves.” She is aiming for a full set of sportswomen, from golfers to skiers, to show how fully Iranian women live their lives, but has given up for the moment because “you ask and ask for permission and nothing happens, and then you get tired, and you think you will just put it down for a year and go back to it later.”

Iranian women’s lives are full of contradictions. They do not have he same rights as men, and their testimony in a court of law is worth exactly half of a man’s. Yet they drive, travel and do jobs of all kinds. “People think that we are living like the Arabists (sic),” says Khademian, “but it is not like that. Women are far more active now than they ever were before the revolution. They are studying, working, doing everything they want to do.”

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Top three Middle Eastern art show treats in Dubai winter 2008

Posted by artradar on November 3, 2008


MIDDLE EASTERN ART

A quick glance at three interesting shows in Dubai this autumn throws up a plethora of talent.

 

Huda Lutfi

Huda Lutfi

Huda Lutfi at The Third Line 13 November – 4 December 2008

One of Egypt’s most notable contemporary artists, Huda Lutfi presents her exhibition Zan’it Al-Sittat, an exploration into the city of Cairo, and more specifically, the visibility of women in Egyptian culture and society.

Both historian and artist, Lutfi is a bricoleur. She collects disparate images and manipulates them to re-invent her personal vision of Cairo, its histories and events. In doing so, Lutfi simultaneously comments on the political relevance of her home country, lifting old feminine icons from history and giving them new life by re-contextualising historic time lines, creating hybridised, timeless female figures.

Third Line Gallery

Khosrow Hassanzadeh at B21 11 November to 12 December 2008

Born to an Azerbaijani family in 1963 in Tehran , Khosrow Hassanzadeh spent most of his childhood in museums and cinemas – a refuge from the busy streets of Tehran , where he sold bananas to tourists near the National Museum of Iran. As a teenager he volunteered to fight on the Iran-Iraq front, not expecting that he would stay as a recruit for several years. When he came back from war, having escaped death, he chose a discipline that he always dreamt about: painting and poetry. Since then, Hassanzadeh has exhibited worldwide in leading art galleries and his works adorn the walls of several public collections such as the British Museum , London , The World Bank in Washington DC and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

Faisal Samra at XVA Gallery 27 October – 13 November 2008

‘I started out experimenting on another shape, another support on which to paint.’ Saudi artist Faisal Samra has pulled out pieces that he produced back in 2001 for this latest show. Moving away from a traditional canvas stretched two-dimensionally flat, Samra wraps his canvas around a wire mesh. The canvas itself wrinkles into a leathery skin-like form and, when hung, it takes on the slightly unnerving shape of a human torso. 

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Iranian cartoonist Ardeshir Mohasses dead at 70 – New York Times

Posted by artradar on October 28, 2008


IRANIAN ARTIST

Ardeshir Mohassess, an Iranian artist long resident in America who pushed the art of the cartoon to almost Surrealist satire of his native land in work both popular and profound died of a heart attack on Oct. 9 in Manhattan. He was 70.

He was a caricaturist often compared with Saul Steinberg for the bite and style of his cartoons, but he also drew inspiration from masters like Daumier and Picasso, as well as from Iranian religious art of the 16th and 17th centuries.

Mr. Mohassess’s target was broader than any single government, although he fled to New York in 1976, after Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, who ruled Iran from 1941 to 1979, took exception to his work. His anti-shah cartoons used settings and costumes of the Qajar dynasty of 1794 to 1925 – a misdirection that fooled nobody.

After the Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in the Islamic revolution of 1979, Mr. Mohassess took more direct aim from his American exile at the new religious government.

His images were preternaturally disturbing. A turbaned figure draws a picture of his own amputated feet; they rest on pedestals created by his own surreally upturned lower legs. Captions were acidly caustic: “The convict’s execution coincided with the king’s birthday ceremonies,” one said.

Ardeshir Mohassess was born on Sept. 9, 1938, in Rasht, in northwest Iran. At 3, he began drawing characters from his mother’s bedtime stories. He published his first cartoon in 1951, The Iran Bulletin (now named Iran Bulletin – Middle East Forum) reported.

He next began to draw cartoons for the daily newspaper Keyhan. He was at first unpaid, but made one demand, that the newspaper not make any modifications whatsoever in his work. He began to get good reviews and published his first anthology in 1971.

His popularity provoked interest by Savak, the shah’s secret police. With his jobs drying up, Mr. Mohassess settled permanently in New York in 1977, where he was soon published in The New York Times, The Nation, Playboy and elsewhere. He also exhibited in galleries and drew the attention of critics fascinated by his eclectic influences, which included centuries-old Shiite art depicting eye-popping violence.

Despite having Parkinson’s disease, he worked almost until his death. Earlier this year the Asia Society had a major exhibition of his work. A gallery in Tehran showed his work in each of the last three years, with brisk sales each time.

See

full obituary in New York Times, Asia Society

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Tate Museum acquires video of Lebanese artist Akram Zaatari at Frieze Art Fair 2008

Posted by artradar on October 21, 2008


MUSEUM ACQUISITIONS

Acquired as a gift by The Outset /Frieze Art Fair Fund to benefit the Tate Collection:
Akram Zaatari born 1966
Nature Morte, 2008
Video projection
11 minutes
Dimensions variable
Ed 2/5 + 1 AP
Galerie Sfeir-Semler, Hamburg
Akram Zaatari is a video artist and curator who lives and works in Beirut. Author of more than 30 videos, and video installations, Zaatari has been exploring issues pertinent to Lebanese postwar condition, particularly the mediation of territorial conflicts and wars through television.
Each year, two prominent international curators are invited to work alongside Tate curators to select works. This year, the international curators were Thelma Golden (Director and Chief Curator at The Studio Museum in Harlem) and Sabine Breitwieser (independent curator and General Secretary of CIMAM).

The Fund is organised by Outset which was founded in 2003 as a philanthropic organisation dedicated to supporting new art. The charity focuses on raising private funding from its supporters and trustees for public museums, galleries and art projects.

With Tate’s annual government funding for its acquisitions effectively frozen since 1982, and now worth a small proportion of its original value, the Fund helps provide a much needed contribution towards Tate’s ongoing campaign to develop its Collection. A significant number of works acquired through the Fund are currently on display at Tate Modern.

See:

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