Iran Inside Out: Influences of Homeland and Diaspora on the Artistic Language of 55 Contemporary Iranian Artists

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Iran Inside Out: Influences of Homeland and Diaspora on the Artistic Language of 55 Contemporary Iranian Artists
Curated by: Till Fellrath

556 W 22nd St.
New York, NY 10011
June 26th, 2009 - September 5th, 2009

Please note that the museum and bookstore are closed.
$8 adults, $4 students and seniors, members free


The Chelsea Art Museum is pleased to announce the opening of its upcoming exhibition Iran Inside Out. The groundbreaking exhibition features 35 artists living and working in Iran alongside 20 others living in the Diaspora. The result is a multifarious portrait of 55 contemporary Iranian artists challenging the conventional perceptions of Iran and Iranian art.

In Iran Inside Out, 210 works comprising painting, sculpture, photography, video and installation come together, in a rare moment which allows visitors an intimate look into the people, both inside and outside a country that is more complex than images of veiled women, worn out calligraphy and what a handful of other emblematic images would suggest.

Curated by Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath, Iran Inside Out is an examination of the means through which a young generation of artists is reconciling the daily implications of cultural and geographical distances with the search for individual artistic expression. The exhibition offers an unexpected insight into the artistic energy of a culture that is constantly evolving as Iranians living both in and out of the country, come of age living and working in contentious societies. While half of these artists such as Vahid Sharifian, Barbad Golshiri, Farideh Lashai and Jinoos Taghizadeh reside in Iran, the other half including artists such as Shirin Neshat, Shahram Entekhabi, Mitra Tabrizian and Shoja Azari have been interspersed in the Diaspora.

Iran Inside Out explores the process of deconstruction and reinvention of both, self and art that has resulted from this cultural schism, often swinging between openness and dialogue, or seclusion and separatism. Ironically, contrary to one’s expectations, the artists living abroad often draw more on their cultural heritage, while those on the inside focus more on issues of everyday life without much regard to what ‘the outside’ views as specifically Iranian references.

Yet, within these disparities, one element stands strong: the recurrent references, sometimes ambiguous, at times emotional, often nostalgic and on occasion satirical and even tragic to Iran the country, Iran the past, the Iran which has been lost and that which could be found.

Public Program


1. Dance Residency and Performances

In collaboration with acclaimed New York dance company Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet

Residency dates: Aug 24 - 31, 2009

Performances: September 1, 2 and 3 at 8:00 PM

Cedar Lake Ensemble dancers along with award winning composer/ instrumentalist Reza Derkshani from Tehran will devise a dance and music performance inspired by the art works in the exhibition. Open rehearsals (to be announced) are accessible by the public and the press.

2. Iranian Film Series

In collaboration with Rooftop Films and ArteEast

Opening screening: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 at 9:00 PM

Regular screenings: Every Wednesday at 9:00 PM from July 23rd till August 19th, 2009

On the newly inaugurated roof deck at the Chelsea Art Museum, a series of award winning features, documentaries and short films will be screened featuring titles such as Iran has no more Pomegranates and But You Speak Good English. Screenings will be followed by artists' talks.

The opening will feature a performance by the band Electric Black

3.  Music Performances, Panel Discussions and Artists' Talks

Hypernova: An Iranian indie-rock band based in Tehran

Date: June 27, 2009 at 9:00 PM on CAM's newly inaugurated roof deck

Sussan Deyhim: Acclaimed singer and composer of Iranian origin

Date: July 31st, 209 at 9:00 PM on CAM's newly inaugurated roof deck

Both events will be preceded by a panel discussion and artists talks earlier in the evening

4. Guided Tours

Date:   Every Saturday at 3:00 PM

Curator/Docent led tours. Additional tours can be scheduled upon prior request.




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