NYT on Iran Modern: 'Invaluable,' 'Stimulating,' 'Terrifically Good-Looking'

Iran Modern
Asia Society Museum's landmark exhibition, Iran Modern, which runs through January 5, 2014, in New York, focuses on Iranian art created during the three decades leading up to the revolution of 1979. Learn more

The print edition of Friday's New York Times dedicated much of the front page of the Weekend Arts section, and an entire photo-rich interior page, to a glowing review of Iran Modern, the groundbreaking exhibition that opened today at Asia Society Museum in New York.

The Times' Holland Cotter called the show "invaluable educationally" and "also terrifically good-looking, threaded through with human drama and composed of work that is both cosmopolitan and, over all, like no other art."

Cotter noted that the show, which focuses on pre-revolution Iranian art from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and features more than 100 works by 26 artists, is "the largest museum display of its kind ever mounted outside of Iran and a sharp, stimulating way to crack open the fall art season."

Cotter's review is also useful for the way it summarizes the "politically volatile" history of Iran leading up to and including the time period covered in the show. He also introduces readers to the "sophisticated, local modernism" of an Iranian art movement spawned in the 1960s known as Saqqakhaneh, sometimes referred to as Spiritual Pop Art, several striking examples of which are featured in Iran Modern.

The online version of the story features a nine-photo glimpse inside the exhibition.

Earlier in the week, Judith H. Dobrzynski of The Wall Street Journal published an enthusiastic piece not only about Iran Modern but also Asia Society Museum's evolution beyond "Asia 101" under the leadership of director Melissa Chiu. Dobrzynski said Iran Modern is "sure to surprise" and offers attendees a much needed "different image" of Iran.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Dan Washburn

Dan Washburn is Asia Society's Chief Content Officer. The Financial Times named his book, The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, one of the best of 2014.