Iran General NewsBanned art in a show of revolt against mullahs

Banned art in a show of revolt against mullahs

-

The Sunday Times: A collection of art including works by Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Andy Warhol has gone on show in Tehran, more than a quarter of a century after Iran’s religious leaders banished it to a museum basement as immoral and “anti-Islamic”. The Sunday Times

Peter Conradi

A COLLECTION of art including works by Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec and Andy Warhol has gone on show in Tehran, more than a quarter of a century after Iran’s religious leaders banished it to a museum basement as immoral and “anti-Islamic”.

The 190 paintings, prints and drawings — among them a sexually charged triptych by Francis Bacon showing two men lying on a bed with “attendants” — are among 400 collected by Farah Pahlavi, the late Shah’s art-loving wife.

They have been put on display in the Museum of Contemporary Art in a parting shot by Ali-Reza Samiazar, its director, who has been forced to resign by the hardline new regime of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“If it was difficult to promote art under the reformist government of Mr Khatami (the former president), there was no chance it would work under the conservatives,” Samiazar said in an interview in the October edition of The Art Newspaper.

“We’ve had 2,000 visitors a day and it’s been the most successful show we’ve ever had. Although the show promotes western art, the authorities can’t close it because it’s just too popular.”

A local artist put it more directly: “This is Samiazar’s two-fingered salute to the authorities who gave him such a hard time.”

Samiazar, who plans to teach at Tehran’s Art University, fears the recent appointment of Hossein Saffar-Harandi, an ultra-conservative, as Ahmadinejad’s culture minister will snuff out what remains of cultural freedom in Iran. He predicted a shift to Iranian artists whose works embodied “revolutionary values”.

In the meantime, the exhibition has transformed the museum into one of Tehran’s most fashionable venues. “This is the best art exhibition Tehran has had,” said Sahar, a student. “I can’t believe we’ve been denied these paintings for so long.”

Most visitors are students or members of the wealthy north Tehran set in tight trousers and bright headscarves, but there is the occasional woman in a chador.

“Just because I’m wearing a chador doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate Picasso,” said one woman, who gave her name as Zahra. “He’s my favourite.”

There are limits to what Samiazar could get away with, however. Three works, including a Renoir portrait of a semi-nude girl, never made it out of the basement.

The Bacon made only a brief appearance. Visitors on the first day of the exhibition were startled to see two black-clad members of the Basij militia stride up to the triptych, take down the central panel depicting the sleeping men and walk off with it. Its fate is not known.

Latest news

Iranian People’s Resistance Changed the Appeasement Policy

Soon after the new US government started its obligations in January 2021, hand in hand with the European governments...

Khamenei’s Disgraceful Campaign Against Piranshahr and Javanrud, Who Will Be the Loser?

On the 67th day of Iran’s revolution, the Iranian regime attempted to put a halt to the protests in...

Iran: Expensive Medicine, Cheap Human Life

A look at the equipment and weapons that the Iranian regime has been using against its people to suppress...

Who Is Abolqasem Salavati Iran Regime’s Killer Judge?

Last week, it was announced that the case of several people who were arrested during the Iranian People's uprising...

Iran Revolution Characteristics

More than two months have passed since the start of the latest round of protests in Iran against the...

Iran’s Regime Is Unable To Eradicate Protests

Totalitarian governments, whether be it a monarchy or a clerical regime, and their international supporters are pursuing the same...

Must read

Iran boosts nuclear work in bunker-diplomats

Reuters: Iran is believed to be expanding uranium enrichment...

Iran behind terror attack in Bahrain – officials

London, 29 Jul - Bahrain's top officials are accusing...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you