"Invaluable ... Stimulating"
New York Times

Iran Modern is the first major museum exhibition mounted with loans from the United States, Europe, and the Middle East to focus on Iran’s dynamic modern art scene. The exhibition spans the three decades prior to the 1979 Revolution, a period of great economic, political, and societal change in the country. By the mid-1970s Tehran, its capital city, had become an important cosmopolitan destination. Artists found new patronage especially from the government for exhibitions and festivals, such as the annual Shiraz Arts Festival, and the creation of new museums such as the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, which was actively acquiring both Iranian and international art for its collection.

The exhibition is organized thematically across two floors to highlight the broad range of styles developed during this productive period. It is not a comprehensive overview but instead the works in the exhibition serve as key examples of the pluralism and innovative spirit of the time. The exhibition begins on the second floor by introducing artists associated with the Saqqakhaneh movement, the first culturally specific modernist group of note whose works were influenced as much by Shi'ite folk art, as by pre-Islamic art and international formal strategies. The exhibition also includes sections focusing on Abstraction, Calligraphy, and Politics. Within each section, monographic highlights will allow select artists’ work to be seen in greater depth. On the third floor a timeline and a selection of ephemera from the period provide greater context for the works on view.

Through the presentation of over one hundred works by 26 artists, the exhibition chronicles the conversation between tradition and modernity and puts forward the idea of modernism as a globally interconnected phenomenon. Iran Modern illuminates an overlooked time of artistic creation that continues to resonate with contemporary artists working both inside and outside Iran.

The guest co-curators of this exhibition are Fereshteh Daftari and Layla S. Diba.


Among the pluralist veins that define Iranian modernism Saqqakhaneh was one of its earliest manifestations. The term for this culturally specific art movement was coined in 1963 by the art critic Karim Emami. The motifs reminded him of Shi’ite iconography and objects adorning public water fountain structures, known as saqqakhanehs, found mostly in bazaars. Constructed in memory of the seventh-century Shi’ite martyrs who were denied access to water in the heat of the battle in Karbala, their decoration may range from a simple brass hand and drinking bowl to calligraphic texts, and objects such as padlocks or pieces of cloth knotted around the grillwork indicative of private devotion and prayers.

The Saqqakhaneh movement arose from a need to counter the direct imitation of western idioms and resulted in the creation of an art that was rooted in local popular culture, both secular and religious and, in certain cases, inspired by the art of the pre-Islamic era. In their work, the West as a a model was not imitated but fully assimilated.

The two major artists of the movement were Charles Hossein Zenderoudi and Parviz Tanavoli. Zenderoudi, who rummaged the bazaars and the less affluent suburbs and neighborhoods of Tehran for inspiration, created a private mythology articulated in a visual language influenced by numerology, amulets, apotropaic charms used to ward off evil, talismanic artifacts, astrolabes, props used in religious processions, prayers, zodiac signs, and more. While he was developing a new vocabulary for two-dimensional works, Tanavoli challenged himself to create, almost from scratch, a sculpture for modern Iran, filling the vacuum created by Islam’s ban on idolatry. With pre-Islamic art as a paradigm and with readymade, low-tech objects, such as locks, keys, faucets, and lavatory ewers as material, he forged a new direction for Iranian sculpture. Tanavoli’s interest in writing ranges from constructed pictographs to parodies of cuneiform inscriptions, and even a critique of the calligraphic script that has narrowly become synonymous with Iranian modernism. Mansour Ghandriz, Farmarz Pilaram, and Massoud Arabshahi are among the artists in Iran Modern also associated with saqqakhaneh, a modern movement anchored in local traditions of high art and popular culture.


Politics & Iranian Modern Artists

At moments when a government is forcefully vigilant toward populist dissention, political references are manifest in a range of expressions from oblique or hidden allusions to dissent voiced underground or in diaspora. Iranian art is no exception. Throughout the exhibition allusions or political interpretations of seemingly apolitical works may be sought and found. Yet the present narrative would not be complete without a section dedicated to the more direct political content as well as more complex treatments of those themes, which presage and lead to the final images announcing the arrival of the 1979 Revolution. From Houshang Pezeshknia’s empathy for the proletariat in the 1950s to the anxieties and uncertainties reflected in Ahmad Aali’s Self-Portrait at the dawn of the Revolution, the images present concerns crossing beyond formal issues. Nicky Nodjoumi, in one instance, glorifies the image of an executed Marxist and in another he portrays the clandestine activities of the secret police (the SAVAK) in a chamber stained with blood. Nahid Hagigat’s woman seeks liberation from a patriarchal society in one print and in another the artist confirms fears of surveillance. Ardeshir Mohassess, regardless of the regime in power, be it the Qajar dynasty, the Pahlavis, or the clergy, has voiced his opposition to any form of repression and tyranny. Tanavoli’s Heech (Nothing) has been perceived as a decorative object whose politics have been disregarded. On one level by appropriating the language of calligraphy the artist denounces its widespread popularity and equates it with nothing, and on the other nothingness appears as a more philosophical-poetical-existential emblem of the times, an idea he has pursued to this day. Finally, Siah Armajani, an activist who left Iran in 1960 and became deeply engaged with democratic ideals in America and produced sculpture stimulating communication and social interaction, represents one more direction political art took among Iranians.


Calligraphy & Modernism

The art of calligraphy has a history of thousands of years in Iran and is one of the most important creative expressions of Iranian culture. Iranian calligraphers have been renowned for their skill in both angular and cursive script styles. Legible text was often used to communicate meaning but abstracted letters could also refer to religious symbols or signs. During the 1960s and 1970s Iranian artists successfully created an indigenous modern visual language by combining local writing styles with techniques and forms adopted and adapted from European modern art. The works featured in this section illustrate the striking and varied results of this cross-cultural experimentation.

Some artists identified with the Saqqakhaneh movement such as Faramarz Pilaram were not trained calligraphers and used stylized letters and words with other abstract forms to structure their compositions. Pilaram’s works of the early 1960s use a visual language similar to Charles Hossein Zenderoudi’s, while his later works focus exclusively on the aesthetic possibilities of script to create semi-abstract works.

Others, such as those of the Naqqashi Khat movement who were classically trained calligraphers who exclusively used text in their works, although the large scale compositions and oil on canvas technique differentiated their work from traditional calligraphy. Textual sources included celebrated Persian poets such as Hafez and Rumi or Qur’anic texts. Mohammad Ehsai’s work is characterized by flat forms composed of pure color and large-scale rhythmic compositions referencing mashq calligraphic exercises. Reza Mafi’s works encompass calligraphic compositions with encoded political messages; trompe l’oeil compositions referencing sixteenth-century manuscript folios; and shaped canvases inspired by colorful Persian tilework.


Abstraction & Modernism

In the era after World War II Iran strove to modernize its physical and economic infrastructure yet it remained socially and culturally conservative. In the field of high art, the dominant movements were academic realism and Safavid revival style miniature painting while large-scale paintings of religious and epic themes were favored in the popular milieu. When Western modernist art was introduced, primarily in the form of abstract art and cubism, it challenged the status quo and initially met with resistance. However, abstraction offered Iranian artists the possibility of a decisive break with tradition. During the 1960s and 1970s, Iranian modern art, characterized by cosmopolitanism, pluralism, and creative experimentation with indigenous culture, came to predominate. International travel, artistic exchanges, government support for the arts, the development of art criticism, and a flourishing gallery scene contributed to its success.

As seen in this section, the approach toward abstraction by postwar Iranian artists was both personal and original. Massoud Arabshahi and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian explored the abstract potential of Persian art through the appropriation of mystic themes and the stylization of ancient art and of geometric mirror-work respectively. Marcos Grigorian’s Iranian-inspired earthworks and mixed media works were concurrent with developments in American land art and pop art.

Other artists were resolutely international in style, reflecting the significant influence in their work of their training in Europe and the United States. Behjat Sadr’s geometric abstractions reference the process of painting and modern industrial materials, such as Levelor blinds and aluminum, while Mohsen Vaziri-Moqaddam produced geometric sand paintings and monumental sculptures with movable parts. Bahman Mohassess and Leyly Matine-Daftary merged figuration and abstraction to create a new genre particular to Iran. Mohassess focused on tortured, faceless figures, menacing birds, and mythological subjects in his paintings and sculptures, while Matine-Daftary produced minimalist portraits, landscapes, and still lifes emphasizing the flatness of the canvas.

Other abstract artists whose works were grounded in nature include Manoucher Yektai, who absorbed the ideas of abstract expressionism and the School of Paris; Sohrab Sepehri whose semi-abstract compositions drew on imagery of desert landscapes from his native Kashanor; and Abolghassem Saidi known for his lyrical and sensuous style.




Iran Modern Sneak Peek: 57 Images in 30 Seconds



An Introduction to Iran Modern



In Conversation: Asia Society Museum Director Melissa Chiu



Art Talk: Co-Curator Fereshteh Daftari on Iran Modern



Unfolding the Vaziri-Moqaddam Sculpture



Iran Modern: A Showcase for 'Original Personal Visions'



Iran's Art World of the 1960s-70s



Goli Taraghi: 'Our Head and Our Tail Don't Match'



Highlights: 'Hamlet, Prince of Grief'



Sculptor Vaziri-Moqaddam: 'Nobody Understood Me'



Iranian Modernism: Infrastructure and Inspiration



Hajizadeh: 'I Was Born an Artist'





Generously illustrated, this volume provides a new understanding of global interconnectedness not yet addressed in art historical accounts. Ten essays by distinguished scholars of art and history elucidate the early development of Iranian artists, patrons, galleries, art schools, architects, and writers who influenced and participated in the dynamic decades of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The essays describe a time when Iran experienced an outpouring of original and creative modern art and when the country was very much a part of the international art world.

Purchase at AsiaStore

Related Programs

Mohsen Namjoo
Saturday, September 7

Join celebrated Iranian musician Mohsen Namjoo for a performance of his unique musical style — a mosaic of Persian classical poetry of Hafez, Rumi, and Saadi with Western rock, blues, and jazz influences.

Watch the complete concert

Tuesday, September 10

On the evening of the opening reception, join co-curator Layla S. Diba for an intimate and exclusive tour of the exhibition.

To join as a Patron, Friends of Asian Arts, contact the Patron office at 212-327-9395 or patrons@asiasociety.org.

Members-Only Lecture
Tuesday, September 10

On the evening of the opening reception, join cocurator Fereshteh Daftari for an insider's view of this groundbreaking exhibition.

Watch the complete program

Underground Music in Iran with Mohsen Namjoo
Thursday, September 12

Visionary musician Mohsen Namjoo lectures on the vibrant underground music scene in contemporary Iran.

Watch the complete program

The Shiraz Arts Festival: A Global Vision Revisited
Saturday, October 5

From 1967 to 1977, the Shiraz Arts Festival in Iran presented theater, music and dance. Western avant-garde artists such as Peter Brook, Robert Wilson, John Cage were joined by artists, both contemporary and traditional, from Iran and other parts of the world. This symposium offers a much-needed reconsideration of the legacy of the festival.

Videos, slideshow, and additional coverage

Iran's Art World: 1960s–1970s
Tuesday, October 22

Join art world figures, Bob Colacello, Layla S. Diba, and Nicky Nodjoumi, for an evening of conversation as we revisit the contemporary art world of Iran in the 1960s and '70s.

Watch the complete program

Iran: Art and Discourse
Saturday, October 26

A one-day symposium on the production and distribution of visual art in Iran with panels on curating, critics and arts organizations.

Co-presented by Asia Society and the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.

Complete videos and program notes

Goli Taraghi — The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons
Monday, October 28

Join the author on the publication of her new collection of short stories. Followed by a book sale and signing.

Watch the complete program

Hamlet, Prince of Grief
Thursday, October 31

Afshin Hashemi plays the tragic hero in this loose, Persian-language Shakespeare adaptation written by Mohammad Aghebati and directed by Mohammad Charmshir.

Watch the program highlights

Iranian New Wave 1960s-1970s
November 2013

Film series dedicated to Iranian New Wave films of the 1960s and '70s and contemporary additions that highlight cultural and social life of that period.

Complete series details

Kayhan Kalhor with Ali Bahrami Fard
Saturday, November 16

Master musicians Kayhan Kalhor and Ali Bahrami Fard perform music from their recent album I Will Not Stand Alone.

Watch the highlights video

Shattering the Stereotypes of Iran and Iranians Through Fiction
Wednesday, December 4 • 6:30 PM

Four Iranian-American writers — Salar Abdoh, Anita Amirrezvani, Persis Karim, and Dalia Sofer — offer a bracing counter-narrative to prevailing discourse about Iran. Moderated by writer and translator Nahid Mozaffari.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

Sound: The Encounter, New Music from Iran and Syria
Co-presented with the Aga Khan Music Initiative
Saturday, December 7 • 8:00 PM

Acclaimed Iranian musician and dancer Saeid Shanbezadeh will be joined by Syrian saxophone player Basel Rajoub, virtuoso percussionist Naguib Shanbehzadeh, and guest artists to perform a collection of newly-developed and arranged musical pieces inspired by the millennium-old musical legacy of the ancient Silk Route.

Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

All programs are subject to change. Visit AsiaSociety.org/NYC for the most up-to-date schedule and ticket information.

Ongoing support is provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art, as part of Asia Society's ongoing initiative Creative Voices of Muslim Asia. Additional support for Iran Modern programming is provided by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and the American Institute of Iranian Studies.


Major support for Iran Modern comes from The Julis Family Contemporary Art Initiative.

Additional support has been provided by National Endowment for the Arts; UAS Asset Management; Rockefeller Fellows for Arts, Culture, and Policy; American Institute of Iranian Studies; Stéphan Crétier and Stéphany Maillery; The Soudavar Memorial Foundation; and Dedalus Foundation, Inc.


Asia Society appreciates the support for Iran Modern provided by The Iran Modern Leadership Committee: Simin and Herb Allison, and Minoo and Faraj Saghri, Co-chairs; and Leadership Committee members: Mahshid and Jamshid Ehsani, Maryam Eisler, Hart and Nancy Fessenden, Roya and Massoud Heidari, Vahid and Mahshid Noshirvani, and Kambiz and Nazgol Shahbazi.

Support for Asia Society Museum is provided by Asia Society Contemporary Art Council, Asia Society Friends of Asian Arts, Arthur Ross Foundation, Sheryl and Charles R. Kaye Endowment for Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, Hazen Polsky Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.



Guest Curators

Fereshteh Daftari received her Ph.D. in art history from Columbia University. Currently an independent curator and scholar, she was previously a curator in the department of painting and sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York (1988–2009). While there she curated, among others: Readymade Identities (1993); Paul McCarthy (1995); Projects 70: Banners (1999–2001); and Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking (2006). She has also served as curator for Between Word and Image, Grey Art Gallery, New York (2002); Iran Now: Performance Art, Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2012); and Safar/Voyage: Contemporary Works by Arab, Iranian, and Turkish Artists at the Museum of Anthropology at the UBC, Vancouver (2013). Her publications include The Influence of Persian Art on Gauguin, Matisse, and Kandinsky (1991), Another Modernism: An Iranian Perspective (2002); Introduction to Artist’s Choice: Mona Hatoum Here Is Elsewhere (2004), Islamic or Not (2006), and Passport to Elsewhere (2013). Daftari is currently working on a book on Iranian modern and contemporary art.

Layla S. Diba is an independent scholar, art advisor, and curator. She has been director and chief curator of the Negarestan Museum in Tehran (1975–79), art advisor for the Private Secretariat of Queen Farah Pahlavi, and Hagop Kevorkian Curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art (BMA). While at the BMA, Diba curated and organized the first major international exhibition on eighteenth and nineteenth-century Persian art and culture, Royal Persian Paintings: The Qajar Epoch (1785–1925). In 2006, she was invited to develop programming and strategy for the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum and subsequently continues to advise the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on cultural policy issues. Her current publications include Turkmen Silver: Jewelry and Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn Wolf Collection (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011). Diba holds a B.A. from Wellesley College and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.


Asia Society Museum Staff

Melissa Chiu, Museum Director and Senior Vice President, Global Arts and Cultural Programs
Marion Kocot, Director, Museum Operations
Nancy Blume, Head of Museum Education Programs
Leise Hook, Museum Publication Coordinator
Kelly Ma, Manager, Museum Special Initiatives
Clare McGowan, Senior Registrar and Collections Manager
Laili Paksima, Manager, Global Events and Special Initiatives
Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art
Jacob Reynolds, Registrar
Donna Saunders, Executive Assistant
Kevin Stapp, Installation Manager
Michelle Yun, Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art


"Terrifically good-looking, threaded through
with human drama and composed of work
that is both cosmopolitan and, over all,
like no other art … A sharp, stimulating way
to crack open the fall art season."

The New York Times

"Iran Modern is sure to surprise."

The Wall Street Journal

"The Asia Society turns up the volume
on the polyphonic chorus
of global modernism in this standout show."

The New Yorker

Press Release

Contact: Elaine Merguerian 212-327-9271, elainem@asiasociety.org



New York, July 29, 2013 — Asia Society Museum presents Iran Modern, the first major international loan exhibition of Iranian modern art created from the 1950s to 1970s. It will be on view in New York from September 6, 2013 to January 5, 2014.

Showcasing more than 100 works by 26 artists, the exhibition illuminates Iran’s little known pre-Islamic Revolution era when Tehran was a cosmopolitan art center, artists were engaged with the world through their participation in the Venice Biennale and other international art festivals, and their work was collected by institutions inside and outside of Iran. The paintings, sculpture, works on paper and photography included in the exhibition are organized thematically to map the genesis of Iranian modernism and argues that the development of modernist art is inherently more globally interconnected than has been previously acknowledged.

The exhibition comprises loans from public and private collections from the United States and eight countries in Europe and the Middle East. These rich holdings illustrate the extent to which collectors outside of Iran were engaged with the work of Iranian artists during this period. Lending institutions include The Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection, JPMorgan Chase Art Collection, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate, London.

“To understand contemporary Iranian art, one must understand this period when artists laid the foundations for modernism,” says Asia Society Museum Director, Melissa Chiu. “Against the backdrop of the current global political climate, exhibitions like Iran Modern are essential to fostering a better understanding of Iran’s history."

The exhibition comprises works by the following artists: Ahmad Aali, Abbas, Massoud Arabshahi, Siah Armajani, Mohammad Ehsai, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Mansour Ghandriz, Marcos Grigorian, Ghasem Hajizadeh, Nahid Hagigat, Bahman Jalali, Rana Javadi, Reza Mafi, Leyly Matine-Daftary, Ardeshir Mohassess, Bahman Mohassess, Nicky Nodjoumi, Houshang Pezeshknia, Faramarz Pilaram, Behjat Sadr, Abolghassem Saidi, Sohrab Sepehri, Parviz Tanavoli, Mohsen Vaziri-Moqaddam, Manoucher Yektai, and Charles Hossein Zenderoudi.

Iran Modern is curated by independent scholars Fereshteh Daftari and Layla S. Diba. Daftari was a curator with The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York from 1988 to 2009 and curated Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking (2006) at MoMA, among others. She was a curator of Between Word and Image (Modern Iranian Visual Culture) (2002) at the Grey Art Gallery, which was an important first effort to document the period. Diba was Hagop Kevorkian Curator of Islamic Art at the Brooklyn Museum of Art at which time she curated The Qajar Epoch: Royal Persian Paintings 1785¬1925. She also served as the director and chief curator of the Negarestan Museum in Tehran from 1975 to 1979. Asia Society Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art Michelle Yun is the in-house curator for the exhibition.

The exhibition is organized thematically into the following sections: Saqqakhaneh—looking at the neotraditional style inspired by Iranian folk art and culture—abstraction, and calligraphy, with a monographic focus on selected artists within each section. An archive room will provide background on the history, politics and culture of the period, including primary source documents, posters, ephemera and a timeline of key political and cultural events.

A richly illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition with essays by leading scholars of Iranian art, modern art and cultural criticism. The 256-page book is published by Asia Society Museum and distributed by Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

Related programs
In conjunction with Iran Modern, Asia Society is presenting a series of programs providing additional background on the exhibition and Iran’s modern period including art talks, performances, films, symposia and discussions.

Planned programs to date follow:
• PERFORMANCE: Mohsen Namjoo, artist, songwriter, singer and setar player, on Saturday, September 7 at 8:00 p.m.
• ART TALK: Fereshteh Daftari, cocurator of Iran Modern, on Tuesday, September 10 at 6:30 p.m. (Asia Society members only)
• DISCUSSION: Underground Music in Iran with Mohsen Namjoo, on Thursday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m.
• SYMPOSIUM: The Shiraz Arts Festival: A Global Vision Revisited with artists, critics, historians and a number of festival participants, as well as rare archival footage from the festival, on Saturday, October 5.
• ART TALK: Iran’s Art World: 1960s–1970s, gallerists and artists revisit the contemporary art world of Iran in the 1960s and 1970s, on Tuesday, October 22 at 6:30 p.m.
• SYMPOSIUM: Iran: Art and Discourse, a one day symposium on the production and distribution of visual art in Iran and the U.S., with discussions on curating, criticism, and arts organizations, on Saturday, October 26. Co-sponsored by The Center for Global Communication Studies, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania.
• MEET THE AUTHOR: Goli Taraghi discusses her new collection of short stories, The Pomegranate Lady and Her Sons, followed by a book sale and signing, on Monday, October 28 at 6:30 p.m.
• PERFORMANCE: Kayhan Kalhor, composer and master of classical Kurdish and Persian music, on kamancheh (spiked fiddle) with Ali Bahrami Fard on santour (hammered dulcimer), on Saturday, November 16, at 8:00 p.m.
• FILM SERIES: Iran on Screen: 1960s–1970s. November 2013.
• PERFORMANCE: New Music from Iran and Syria with Saeid Shanbehzadeh; Najhib Shanbehzadeh; Kinan Azmeh; Basel Rajoub; and Jasser Haj Youssef. Presented in conjunction with the Aga Khan Music Initiative. Saturday, December 7 at 8:00 p.m. For program updates and ticketing information, please go here.

Exhibition support
Critical support for Iran Modern comes from The Julis Family Contemporary Art Initiative. Major support has been provided by National Endowment for the Arts; Rockefeller Fellows for Arts, Culture, and Policy; American Institute of Iranian Studies; The Soudavar Memorial Foundation; and Dedalus Foundation, Inc.

Additional support has been provided by a leadership committee for the exhibition, co-chaired by Simin N. and Herb Allison and Minoo and Faraj Saghri, and including: Mahshid and Jamshid Ehsani; Maryam Eisler; Hart and Nancy Fessenden; Roya and Massoud Heidari; Mahshid and Vahid Noshirvani; and Kambiz and Nazgol Shahbazi.

Support for Asia Society Museum is provided by Asia Society Contemporary Art Council, Asia Society Friends of Asian Arts, Arthur Ross Foundation, Sheryl and Charles R. Kaye Endowment for Contemporary Art Exhibitions, Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller Fund, National Endowment for the Humanities, Hazen Polsky Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

About Asia Society Museum
Asia Society Museum presents groundbreaking exhibitions of Asian and Asian American art and artists. The Museum is proud to be one of the few U.S. institutions whose mission includes a focus on Persian arts and culture. Asia Society Museum has held discussions with artists such as Parviz Tanavoli and Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, and convened a panel of experts for a discussion of Iran’s modern period. The Museum has also organized major exhibitions such as Hunt for Paradise: Court Arts of Iran, 1501–1576 and Glass, Gilding, and Grand Design: Art of Sasanian Iran (224–642), as well as solo shows of work by artists Ardeshir Mohassess and Shirin Neshat.

The Asia Society Museum presents a wide range of traditional and contemporary exhibitions of Asian and Asian American art, taking new approaches to familiar masterpieces and introducing under-recognized arts and artists. The Asia Society Museum Collection comprises a traditional art collection, composed of the initial bequests of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd, and a contemporary art collection.

Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonprofit nonpartisan educational institution headquartered in New York with new state-of-the-art cultural centers and gallery spaces in Hong Kong and Houston, and offices in Los Angeles, Manila, Mumbai, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Sydney, and Washington, DC.

Asia Society Museum is located at 725 Park Avenue (at 70th Street), New York City. The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M. and Friday from 11:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M. Closed on Mondays and major holidays. General admission is $12, seniors $10, students $7, and admission is free for members and persons under 16. Free admission Friday evenings, 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M. The Museum is closed Fridays after 6:00 P.M. from July 1 through Labor Day. AsiaSociety.org/museum

Free Audio Guide

Enjoy Asia Society's free audio guide for Iran Modern, just look for the audio icon next to select artworks in the exhibition. Each segment can be downloaded and this guide is also available via the Soundcloud app which is available for free on iTunes and Google Play.

Can't access the guide on your mobile device?  Try this alternate mobile link. A Guide by Cell audio tour is also available in the galleries.


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