What’s so apparent from Iran Modern is the relative obscurity of Iranian art in galleries and institutions since the American collector Abby Weed Grey began buying art from Iran in the 1960s. With the largest collection of modern Iranian Art outside Iran, Ms. Grey established the Grey Art Gallery at New York University in 1974 to provide a greater understanding of non-Western art. Although her vision was realized in a major art fair titled One World Through Art that she helped organize in Minnesota in 1972, and her seminal exhibition Between Word and Image: Modern Iranian Visual Culture at the Grey Art Gallery in 2002 was well received, these works have received short shrift since then. Now, for the first time, Iran Modern at the Asia Society, alongside Modern Iranian Art: Selections from the Abby Ward Grey Collection at N.Y.U. at the Grey Art Gallery, which features some of Ms. Grey’s collection, and Calligraffiti: 1984 – 2013 at the Leila Heller Gallery, highlight salient features of Iranian modernism and its inspiration for current artists from the region.
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