Iran: Art and Discourse

The symposium examines political economies of contemporary art within Iran and abroad—its production and distribution, the mechanisms of circulation in Iran and the United States, and how ideologies and their attendant policies shape transfer of knowledge and praxis from one context to another.

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

Convened by Sandra Skurvida

October 26, 10 am – 6 pm

10 am – 11:30 am

Welcome and Introductory Remarks:

Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society; Monroe Price, Director of Center for Global Communication, University of Pennsylvania; and Sandra Skurvida, Symposium Convener

Keynote: Hamid Keshmirshekan (Tehran), Art Practice and Dissemination in Contemporary Iran: Discourses and Mechanisms

Coffee break

11:30 am – 1:00 pm

Panel on the Discursive Text:

Shiva Balaghi (Brown University), Exhibiting the West in Iran and Iran in the West

Babak Elahi (Rochester Institute of Technology), The Critic as Activist: Cultural Commentary in Iran’s Digital Transnational Aesthetic Sphere

Sohrab Mahdavi (Tehran Avenue), Artistic Statement: An Instrument to Get Closer or Become Ethereal

Lunch break

2:00 – 3:30 pm

Panel on the Curatorial:

Fereshteh Daftari (Independent Curator, NYC, co-curator of Iran Modern), Representing Modern and Contemporary Art by Iranian Artists: A Curatorial Perspective

Azar Mahmoudian (Independent Curator, Tehran), Politics of Display: Reflections on International Exhibitions of Iranian Art

Anna Vanzan (University of Milan), Posht-e Paedeh, Behind the Painting: Women Gallerists in Contemporary Iran

Coffee break

4:00 – 6:00 pm

Panel on Art Praxis:

Roxanne Varzi (University of California, Irvine), Facing the Future: The Artistic and Diasporic Afterlife of the Iran-Iraq War

Slavs and Tatars, Al-Isnad or Chains We Can Believe In

Sohrab Kashani (Artist and Producer, Tehran), Alternative(s) in Tehran: Art Space and Practices

Endnote: Hamid Dabashi (Columbia University)

Poster image: Barbad Golshiri, Distribution of the Sacred System, 2010

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Reception at Lion Court, Asia Society

Iran Video Vote 2013

STILL LIVES & SELECTED ACTS June 21-26, 2013, at Dastan’s Basement, Tehran

Curated by Sohrab Kashani and Sandra Skurvida

This video exhibition reflects on the present state of being in Iran. It is ambivalent, as voices of hopeful anticipation alternate with implicit societal tensions and a deep-seated stagnation. Still Lives & Selected Acts conveys social affects of the recent past and glimmers of near future via recourses to nature and inner states—as in “still life,” depicting mostly inanimate subject-matter and commonplace objects. Substitution of facts with their signifying objects allows recognizance and negotiation of the meanings of acts affecting our lives.

Mehraneh Atashi, Study in V/2, 2013, 0:57
Farid Jafari Samarghandi, My Boat Is Broken, 2009, 02:27
Samira Eskandarfar, Happy Birthday, 2009, 9:24
Farhad Kalantary, Underline, 2012, 03:24
Simin Keramati, Music & Flower, 2011, 08:13
Nosrat Nosratian, Fall, 2009, 06:56
Jinoos Taghizadeh and Behzad Nejadghanbar, Numbers, 14 June 2012

Image courtesy Mehraneh Atashi (video still)