The local art scene is busier than ever. Visitors from abroad are flooding Iran, and the anticipated opening up of relations has inspired confidence, hope and a flourish in the arts. Like anything else, the normalization process is complex and will take time, but for now, artists in Iran are seizing the day. Anahita Amir Azodi, a former Sotheby’s intern now based in Tehran, sends the following news:

The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA) is holding an exhibition that runs from 15 September till 6 November called Comprehensive Mentality, curated by Ehsan Aghaei, featuring 26 works from 23 influential international artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock and Mark Tobey. The opening day saw one of the highest attendance rates ever, with the presence of Stefania Giannini, the Education Minister of Italy (according to the press link, she visited the exhibition and the museum’s vault few days after opening) who expressed her appreciation of the richest collection of artworks in the region. Mr Majid Mollanorouzi, head of the Culture Ministry's Visual Arts Dept and Director of TMOCA says, "In recent years many commercial galleries have been inaugurated in Tehran, showing the work of Iranian artists. This is a chance to exhibit the works of international artists held in the museum's permanent collection."


A VIEW OF THE TEHRAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART EXTERIOR. COURTESTY OF: @mammadoo.

In other news, 27 high value paintings that had been taken without permission from the Culture Ministry's Visual Art Dept have now been restored to TMOCA.  These works by such artists as Bahman Mohassess, Reza Mafi, Farideh Lashai, Hossein Zenderoudi, Ardeshir Mohassess, Parvaneh Etemadi, Mehdi Vishkai, and Alireza Espahbod, were sold to galleries and art dealers over a period of time. Currently all the artworks have been found and reclaimed from their buyers. A three-day exhibition showcasing these pieces has been organised to celebrate the return of the works to their original home. 


ENTRANCE HALL AT TEHRAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART (TMOCA). COURTESY OF TMOCA.

Some of the main Tehran art galleries are showing un-missable exhibitions: Maryam Heidarzadeh at Shirin Gallery, Naghmeh Ghassemlou at Aaran Gallery, a large group show at Mah Art Gallery, and Shahin Norouzi, as well as Melika Shafahi at Etemad Gallery. Ab/Anbar, as always, will also feature an exciting show, with more planned down the road, making Tehran a serious art destination for those interested in the art and culture of our region. (Ab/Anbar upcoming exhibition: Mahmoud Bakhshi and Arash Hanaei exhibition 2-22 October, 2015)


A MASTERPIECE BY JACKSON POLLOCK AT TEHRAN MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DURING EXHIBITION TITLED COMPREHENSIVE MENTALITY.
PHOTO BY BAHARE ASADI VIA HONARONLINE.IR.