Wednesday, October 9, 2019
5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute
111 Thayer St.
Free and open to the public
In the mid-twentieth century, the contours of artistic practice in Tehran were shifting dramatically as the city expanded to the north and new cultural institutions were built in the urban center. An ink drawing on butcher paper executed by Hossein Zenderoudi (b. 1937, Iran) in this period doubles as a rudimentary map of Tehran’s evolving artistic hub: an area that housed the College of Fine Arts (est. 1940), the College of Decorative Arts (est. 1960-61), and recently opened galleries of modern art. Nearby, but beyond the borders of Zenderoudi’s handmade map, lay southern Tehran and its famous bazaar: an area increasingly identified at the time with a religious and socially conservative merchant class, the production of traditional arts and crafts, and political opposition to the shah.
This talk explores how the evolving topography of Tehran and its navigation by artists shaped avant-garde practices of the late 50s and early 60s. Davies argues, specifically, that a new generation of artists identified themselves with political networks and public religious rites based in the historic city, even as official and artist-run spaces for the arts multiplied elsewhere.
Photo credit: Charles-Hossein Zenderoudi (b. 1937, Iran), Untitled, c. 1962-64. Watercolor and ink on wax paper, 90 x 60 cm.