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Iran unveils Western art masterpieces hidden for many years

TEHRAN, Iran A few of the worlds most prized works of contemporary Western art have already been unveiled for the very first time in decades in Tehran.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric, rails contrary to the influence of the West. Authorities have lashed out at deviant artists for attacking Irans revolutionary culture.

And the Islamic Republic has plunged further into confrontation with america and Europe since it rapidly accelerates its nuclear program and diplomatic efforts stall.

But contradictions abound in the Iranian capital, where a large number of well-heeled men and hijab-clad women marveled at 19th- and 20th-century American and European minimalist and conceptual masterpieces on display come early july for the very first time at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

On a recently available August afternoon, art critics and students were delighted at Marcel Duchamps see-through 1915 mural, The Large Glass, long interpreted being an exploration of erotic frustration.

They gazed at a rare 13-foot untitled sculpture by American minimalist pioneer Donald Judd and something of Sol Lewitts best-known serial pieces, Open Cube, among other important works. The Judd sculpture, comprising a horizontal selection of lacquered brass and aluminum panels, is probable worth huge amount of money.

Establishing a show with this type of theme and such works is really a bold move that requires a large amount of courage, said Babak Bahari, 62, who was simply viewing the exhibit of 130 works for the fourth time because it opened in late June. Even yet in the West these works are in the center of discussions and dialogue.

Some of the world’s most prized works of contemporary Western art have been unveiled for the first time in decades in Tehran.
A few of the worlds most prized works of contemporary Western art have already been unveiled for the very first time in decades in Tehran. Vahid Salemi / AP

The federal government of Irans Western-backed shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and his wife, the former Empress Farah Pahlavi, built the museum and acquired the multibillion-dollar collection in the late 1970s, when oil boomed and Western economies stagnated.

Upon opening, it showed sensational functions by Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko, Claude Monet, Jackson Pollock along with other heavyweights, enhancing Irans cultural sitting on the planet stage.

But just 2 yrs later, in 1979, Shiite clerics ousted the shah and packed away the art in the museums vault. Some paintings cubist, surrealist, impressionist, even pop art sat untouched for many years in order to avoid offending Islamic values and catering to Western sensibilities.

But throughout a thaw in Irans hard-line politics, the art began to resurface. While Andy Warhols paintings of the Pahlavis plus some choice nudes remain hidden in the basement, a lot of the Warholcollection has been presented to great fanfareas Irans cultural restrictions have eased.

The ongoing exhibit on minimalism, featuring 34 Western artists, has captured particular attention. Over 17,000 folks have made the trip because it opened, the museum said nearly double the footfall of past shows.

Curator Behrang Samadzadegan credits a recently available renewed fascination with conceptual art, which first shocked audiences in the 1960s by drawing on political themes and taking art out of traditional galleries and in to the wider world.

The museums spokesperson, Hasan Noferesti, said how big is the crowds arriving at the exhibition, which lasts until mid-September, shows the thrill of experiencing long-hidden modern masterpieces.

In addition, it attests to the enduring appetite for art among Irans young generation. Over 50% of the countrys roughly 85 million folks are under 30 yrs . old.

Despite their countrys deepening global isolation, and fears that their already limited social and cultural freedoms could be further curtailed beneath the hard-line government elected this past year, young Iranians are increasingly exploring the international art world on social media marketing. New galleries are buzzing. Art and architecture schools are thriving.

They are good artwork, you dont desire to imitate them, said Mohammad Shahsavari, a 20-year-old architecture student standing before Lewitts cube structure. Rather, you obtain inspiration from their website.

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