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Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide Ocula Conversation Sunjung Kim’s Real DMZ Project Interrogates the North and South Korea Divide

Ongoing since 2012, the Real DMZ Project interrogates the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea through annual, research-based exhibitions that bring together the works of Korean and international artists. Sunjung Kim, the independent curator behind the project, conceived the idea of exploring the DMZ while curating Japanese artist...

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Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See Ocula Report Frieze Week Lowdown: London Shows to See 20 Sep 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

London's galleries and museums are gearing up for a lively October, with Frieze London and Frieze Masters running between 3 and 6 October 2019 at Regent's Park, along with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, taking place across the same dates at Somerset House; and the tenth anniversary of the Sunday Art Fair, showcasing new and emerging artists...

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Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum Ocula Insight | Video Mark Bradford’s Call for Unity at Shanghai’s Long Museum 16 August 2019

Mark Bradford walks through Mark Bradford: Los Angeles Mark Bradford: Los Angeles at the Long Museum West Bund in Shanghai (27 July–13 October 2019) is the artist's largest solo exhibition to date in China. In this video for Ocula, Bradford and Diana Nawi, curator of the show, walk through selected works that convey the artist's concerns with...

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Art Underground: An Ocula Report from Tehran Ocula Report Art Underground: An Ocula Report from Tehran 26 Oct 2015 : Susan Acret for Ocula

With the recent nuclear rapprochement, Iran is on the brink of the end of sanctions. This, along with new-found freedoms that arrived with the government of Hassan Rouhani in 2013, has fostered a sense of optimism. It seems a fortuitous time to visit and I am keen to see how the city’s artists are depicting this shift. Our trip has been...

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Iran's Unstoppable Art Scene Related Press Iran's Unstoppable Art Scene Billionaire : 10 April 2017

In 2016, Tehran Auction, Iran’s biggest auction, held two sales of classic and modern Iranian art, and contemporary Iranian art, smashing record prices to reach US$7m and US$3m in sales, respectively. One month into 2017, US President Donald Trump included Iran in a list of seven countries subjected to extreme vetting regarding entry to the US,...

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Francis Bacon and gay Iranian artist Bahman Mohasses shown in Tehran Related Press Francis Bacon and gay Iranian artist Bahman Mohasses shown in Tehran The Guardian : 10 March 2017

A remarkable collection of modern western and Iranian art that had been gathering dust in the cellar of a Tehran museum and blocked from being shown in Europe has gone on display in Iran’s capital.The collection features works by two prominent gay artists, Francis Bacon and Bahman Mohasses.

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A look at the splendid, politically charges pieces at the Aga Khan Museum's massive new Iranian art exhibition Related Press A look at the splendid, politically charges pieces at the Aga Khan Museum's massive new Iranian art exhibition Toronto Life : 10 February 2017

The Aga Khan Museum's new exhibit, Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians, features 27 contemporary works by 23 Iranian artists, on loan to the museum from Iranian business consultant and art collector Mohammed Afkhami. The show was a mammoth undertaking: it took curator Fereshteh Daftari two years to organize, and she spoke to many of...

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MoMA Takes a Stand: Art From Banned Countries Comes Center Stage Related Press MoMA Takes a Stand: Art From Banned Countries Comes Center Stage The New York Times : 3 February 2017

President Trump's executive order banning travel and rescinding visas for citizens of seven majority-Muslim nations does not lack for opponents in New York — from Kennedy Airport, where striking taxi drivers joined thousands of demonstrators, to the United Nations, whose new secretary general, António Guterres, said the measures 'violate our...

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Iran Has Been Hiding One of the World's Great Collections of Modern Art Related Press Iran Has Been Hiding One of the World's Great Collections of Modern Art Bloomberg : 17 November 2015

Inside the rotunda of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, a circular walkway spirals down from the street level, like an underground version of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum in New York. A series of galleries branches out from there, giving up astonishing secrets from one of the finest—if forgotten—collections of 20th century art in the...

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Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Studio, Tehran Related Press Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Studio, Tehran Freunde von Freunden : 20 August 2015

Read More on Freunde Von Freunden Tehran is a bright, whirling, magnificent wilderness. The air blows hot and heavy from the desert and brings with it some form of scorched earth residue; dust from another place where people are scarce and the moon hangs low, like a luminous stamp above stretches of sand and rocky outcrop. Through built-up...

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Suddenly, Tehran’s Mayor Becomes a Patron of the Arts Related Press Suddenly, Tehran’s Mayor Becomes a Patron of the Arts The New York Times : 11 May 2015

The mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, is well known in Iran as a former Revolutionary Guards commander, retired pilot and the loser of two presidential elections. This week he added one more title - patron of the arts - as he directed all of the city’s 1,500 billboards fitted out with copies of famous works of art, including many by...

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About Tehran

As well as being the capital of Iran, Tehran is also the country's most secular and liberal city, and its main financial hub. As the nation's dynamic beating heart, Tehran is home to a booming art scene, with many excellent museums, cultural centres, and institutions, and a large number of commercial galleries scattered around the vast and unique metropolis.

The three decades before the 1979 revolution saw the opening of many of Iran's major art museums, cultural centres, institutions, and commercial galleries. During these formative decades, the Iranian art scene began to become recognised globally, and artistic collaborations boomed through Iran becoming the cultural hub of the region, regularly holding events and festivals, and attracting the most well-known and influential artists, collectors, and art patrons from around the world. Many of Tehran's most important cultural centres—such as Vahdat Hall, which was once home to the Tehran Opera Company and the Iranian National Ballet Company, and remains home to Tehran's Symphony Orchestra; and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, still home to some of the world's most important and finest Iranian and Western art—were built during this time.

The revolution of 1979 opened a whole new chapter in the history and direction of Iranian art. Even though it put the breaks on the Modernist and subversive artistic movements of the pre-revolution Iran, it ultimately gave birth to a whole new era of socially and politically engaged art.

Today, Iranian art is a powerhouse of Middle Eastern art and one of the most unique forces within the global art scene. Despite the country being home to many active art centres, museums, and government-funded institutions, it is dominantly the privately funded galleries and institutions that discover and promote the best of contemporary Iranian art, carry out quality presentations and exchange programmes, collaborate worldwide, and develop and fund cultural ideas. For some of the best exhibitions in town check the programmes of Assar Art Gallery, Ab-Anbar, AG Galerie, Dastan, Etemad Gallery, Homa Art Gallery, Mohsen Gallery, O Gallery, Seyhoun Art Gallery, Silk Road Gallery, and Shirin Gallery.

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