Accepted paper:

Articulating contemporary art in Iran: A view from two places


Leili Sreberny-Mohammadi (NYU)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper I outline some preliminary themes explored through discussion with two contemporary art spaces inside Iran.

Paper long abstract:

The art of Iran - and the Middle East more generally - has been making a steady impact on the contemporary art market, even while the region remains the focus of extreme political tensions both internally and internationally. Despite a repressive state that interferes not only in formal politics but in cultural expression more broadly, contemporary Iranian art reveals a plurality of images and styles and a growing recognition on the international stage (Brown & Hoole, 2001). In this paper I explore the possibilities of articulating contemporary art Iranian art. I focus on the practices of two art spaces in Tehran- one a project space, focused on performance and socially engaged arts practice, and the second a gallery exclusively dedicated to photography. Examining the transnational flows or artworks and art workers, I explore the ways in which these two spaces provide opportunity for artistic practice and dialogue inside Iran and the ways in which this is articulated in contexts outside of Iran both via digital and physical connections. It is at the point that I shall articulate the tensions around negotiating contemporaneity which is locatable in a variety of spaces and in a variety of artistic forms. I also explore the methodological implications this has an anthropological study of a multi-sited, unbounded field.

panel P19
Anthropology in the contemporary artworld