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‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum Ocula Report ‘An Opera for Animals’ at Rockbund Art Museum 19 Jul 2019 : Penny Liu for Ocula

An Opera for Animals was first staged at Para Site in Hong Kong between 23 March and 2 June 2019, with works by over 48 artists and collectives that use opera as a metaphor for modes of contemporary, cross-disciplinary art-making. The exhibition's second iteration takes up a large portion of the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai (22 June–25...

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Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity Ocula Conversation Mandy El-Sayegh: Productive Ambiguity

Moving across installation, painting, drawing, and writing, Malaysia-born and London-based artist Mandy El-Sayegh explores the political, social, and economic complexities of humanity, using a mosaic of information—from advertising slogans and pornographic imagery to newspaper articles—that she subjects to processes of layering,...

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Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House Ocula Report Get Up, Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House 5 Jul 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Get Up Stand Up Now: Generations of Black Creative Pioneers at Somerset House in London (12 June–15 September 2019) surveys more than half a century of black creativity in Britain and beyond across the fields of art, film, photography, music, design, fashion, and literature.Curated by Zak Ové, works by approximately 100 intergenerational black...

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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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