Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Farhad Moshiri: Go West Opens October 13 at the Warhol

Iranian Artist Farhad Moshiri Courtesy Photo

The Andy Warhol Museum announces Farhad Moshiri: Go West, opening October 13, 2017. This exhibition, the first solo museum exhibition of Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri, addresses contemporary Iran’s traditions and historic isolationism while simultaneously acknowledging the powerful appeal and influence of Western culture in his homeland. He spent a portion of his formative years in the United States during the Iranian Revolution, returning years later as a young adult and artist. Encompassing several bodies of work created over decades, this mid-career survey focuses on Moshiri’s varied Pop subject matter, deft use of language, and wide-ranging materials and methods.

Farhad Moshiri, Once Upon a Time (detail), 2011, courtesy of The Third Line, Dubai, photographed by Christopher Pike

Tranquility 2017 Gallerie Perrotin Credit: Claire Dorn
Moshiri’s interest in Pop art and kitsch resonates throughout his work. Many of his visuals are pulled from cartoons, films, comic strips, children’s books, and advertisements, while phrases appropriated from classical poetry, soap operas, and pop songs blur the lines between art and cliché. By selecting ambiguous source images that reference both American and Iranian popular culture, Moshiri’s work takes a complex look at how we define our own cultural identity.

"It is important that The Warhol continue cultural exchanges with artists from diverse backgrounds. This exhibition introduces Farhad Moshiri to new audiences and presents him as one of the most important contemporary artists based in Iran," says José Carlos Diaz, chief curator.

Tranquility (detail) 2017 Gallerie Perrotin Credit: Clair Dorn

The artist transforms mundane materials such as plastic pearls, glass beads, acrylic paint, crystals, knives, and machine-made Persian rugs into intricate, laborious works of art. While they function as a response to modern Iranian society, they are also strangely familiar to most Western viewers. Comprised of kitschy keychains, Mountains & Rivers is a pictorial representation of mountains along with the word "rivers" spelled out in cursive. Originally commissioned as a window display, Once Upon a Time resembles a lush white layer cake with frosted borders and decorative toppings. Using an antique cake decorating kit, Moshiri applied thick acrylic paint to the canvas, much in the way a pastry chef might. Close inspection also reveals the elaborate beadwork used to construct a menagerie of images sourced from vintage postcards: sweethearts in love, domesticated animals, and exotic flower arrangements.

The exhibition brings together paintings and sculptures that have never been displayed together, many of which are traveling to the United States for the first time. Highlighting Moshiri’s artistic techniques and the subtle transformations unfolding in his work, Go West reveals his evolution as both a painter and a sculptor.

"Having an exhibition at The Warhol museum is like being invited to the Warhol family house," says Moshiri.

Born in 1963 in Shiraz, Iran, Moshiri studied art and filmmaking at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) before moving back to Tehran in 1991. His work has been acquired by many collections including The British Museum, London; the Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha, Qatar; the Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, UAE; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; and the François Pinault Foundation, Venice. Moshiri currently lives and works between Tehran and Paris.

Moshiri has had solo exhibitions with galleries in New York, Hong Kong, Salzburg, Paris, Brussels, London and Dubai. His upcoming solo exhibition, Snow Forest, will be on view at Perrotin gallery in New York, New York from November 4 – December 30, 2017.

 Farhad Moshiri Crash, 2011 Courtesy of the Farjam Collection, UAE

The Farhad Moshiri: Go West exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue which includes essays by contemporary art history scholars, Dr. Shiva Balaghi and Mitra M. Abbaspour, and an interview with the artist by José Carlos Diaz, chief curator. The 120-page volume is richly illustrated with full-color illustrations of the works in the exhibition as well as documentary photographs of the artist at work. The publication will be available at The Warhol Store; call 412-237-8303.

Exhibition-related public programs will be announced at a later date.

The exhibition is curated by The Warhol’s Chief Curator, José Carlos Diaz.

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