Video: The Story Behind 'Iran Modern,' a Landmark Exhibition of Iranian Art

Just a generation ago, Iranian artists were connected to the rest of the world in a way that hasn't been possible since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s, works by Iranian artists were collected and displayed both at home and abroad, and there was a strong sense of artistic collaboration between Iran and the international art world. It is this heady period of time that is covered in Iran Modern, Asia Society Museum's first-of-its-kind exhibition that launches September 6 in New York.

In the video above, Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu shares with Asia Society Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski the backstory of this landmark exhibition that features a diverse collection of works, most of which have never before been made available to the public. After spending decades scattered in private collections across the globe, the pieces come together to offer a compehensive look at the Iranian art scene that thrived during the pre-revolution era.

Iran Modern is the cornerstone of three months of Iran-related programming at Asia Society New York, with related musical performances by singer, songwriter and setar player Mohsen Namjoo, as well as public lectures, panel discussions, and a film festival. The New York Times has linked Iran Modern to the tentative optimism surrounding Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, leaving open the possibility that this exhibition could potentially serve as a platform for encouraging constructive relations with Iran through the medium of art.

About the Author

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Sophie Feng is a contributor to Asia Blog. A native New Yorker, she studies Film and Health Sciences at Rice University.