Geoffrey Fox

Reflections & Inquiries

In Iran — unexpected art


This is a continuation of the series, “10 Days in Iran,” on our 12-person tour with The Nation magazine. For the earlier notes, click on “Previous” at the bottom of this page or go to Day 1 here. Before continuing our travels (from Kashan we’ll be heading to Isfahan), here’s a note on a magnificent collection that we saw on Day 2, September 9. I hadn’t mentioned it because it seemed incidental to the purpose (my purpose, anyway) of this trip, which was to discover Iran, not a collection of modern art by artists we are familiar with in other collections. But, really, it is relevant, as a reminder of how deeply engaged with global, western culture and its values was the Iranian elite prior to the 1979 revolution. And curiously, the new Islamic elite has left it intact — which suggests some interesting contradictions in their ideological vision. They don’t really want to leave the globe.

As our printed itinerary put it:

« Morning visit to the Niavaran Palace and Museum, the last home of Mohammad-Reza Shah and his family located in the north-east part of the city. The complex boasts two palaces, a pavilion, Persian gardens, a museum and a smaller gallery. »

Don’t miss this  BBC report with examples from this small but exquisite collection.


Female visitors view The Melody Haunts My Reverie by American Pop Artist Roy Lichtenstein, on display at the TMOCA in 1999 (Credit: Getty Images)