Samira Alikhanzadeh’s Woman with Red Shoes, 2008.

NEW YORK - What is it about September in New York? Of all the cities in the world, it seems to be the one that ushers in the new ‘working year’ with the most aplomb and energy, particularly when it comes to Middle Eastern and Iranian art.

Dedicated co-curators Roya Khadjavi Heidari and Massoud Nader have chosen this period of time to launch an extensive exhibition, Portraits: Reflections By Emerging Iranian Artists, promoting the art of young and emerging Iranian artists, with a catalogue featuring acclaimed scholar and co-founder + editor of the bilingual magazine TehranAvenue, Sohrab Mahdavi. Five years ago this very month, New York’s Chelsea Museum launched the ground-breaking exhibition Iran Inside Out, followed last year by the equally seminal Iran Modern exhibition at Asia Society. These highly-acclaimed, well-attended exhibitions bore testimony to the fact that Iran’s artistic heritage and output is far from being just the by-product of a terrorist society. Khadjavi and Nader are using the momentum created by the success of those past exhibitions to bring a further array of works that will undoubtedly impress and engage in their forthcoming exhibition.

Dadbeh Basir’s Untitled, 2005-2006.

Well-known names such as Ahmed Morshedloo, Morteza Pourhosseini and Samira Alikhanzadeh with an established following and sold at auction, mix with newer figures such as Babak Bidarian, Arash Sedaghatkish, Dadbeh Bassir, Jinoos Taghizadeh and Nasser Bakhshi whose Portraits of Generations presents an intriguing rear-side glance at expressive seated characters. These and many others will be the voices to demonstrate the remarkable breadth of art production amongst Iranian artists today, and bear witness to how these talents test the limits of acceptability within their operative environments. A wide range of offerings – from painting to sculpture, photography to mixed media – will engage viewers with the exchange between past and present, and the departure from western artistic vernacular towards a more vigorous fusion of styles. The exhibition is sponsored by ArteEast, ArtTable, City Gallery & Framing, Iranian-American Women’s Foundation, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), patrons and collectors Anahita Rahimzadeh + Amir Khajehnouri, Rogue Space Chelsea, The Committee, and AKArt Advisory.

Jinoos Taghizadeh’s Rock, Paper, Scissors series, 2006.

If you are anywhere in the New York area, a visit to the Rogue Space Art Gallery at 508 W. 26th Street in Chelsea from September 17­–29 would be highly recommended.