Visual Culture

This tag is associated with 12 posts

A Mural Erased: Urban Art, Local Politics, and the Contestation of Public Space in Mashhad

Municipal politics around beautification programs reveal the complexity of governance in Iran and shatter illusions about the monolithic nature of the Iranian state. By exploring how local actors express often-contradictory opinions about the nature and future of Iranian cities, a fuller picture of modern life and politics in Iran emerges — one that highlights the diffuse nature of power and local decision-making in the Islamic Republic. Continue reading »

Accelerating Beyond “Iran”? An Interview with Mohammad Salemy on Telecomputation, Digital Production, and Diaspora

While the theoretical problem of the local and global has been long exhausted by the globalization of Iranian cultural capital, the radical treatment of this binary in Mohammad Salemy’s curatorial practice through his engagement with Reza Negarestani’s brand of universal and rationalist philosophy is reenergizing the debate about the complex symmetry of the binary’s components. Continue reading »

Word As Image: Contextualizing “Calligraffiti: 1984-2013″ with French-Tunisian Street Artist eL Seed

This synthesis of linguistic signs and visual representation is explored by New York’s Leila Heller Gallery in their new exhibition entitled “Calligraffitti: 1984-2013.” The show features a substantial collection of text-based visual art created by artists such as eL Seed, Parviz Tanavoli, Hassan Massoudy, Hossein Zenderoudi, Shirin Neshat, and many more. The show’s titular portmanteau points to another unification: that between graffiti and calligraphy. Continue reading »

Marriage Contracts and the Mashhadi Jewish Community: Art as a Second Identity in the Nineteenth Century

During the 19th century, Mashhadi Jews cloaked their identities and lived their public lives as Muslims. As a result, major documents, such as marriage contracts, mimicked their Muslim counterparts. The language, art, and general presentation of the texts serve as clues towards better understanding the precarious position of the Mashhadi Jewish community, as well the preferred aesthetics of the period. Continue reading »

Ask Iran: Independent Cartoons and Graphic Novels Highlight A Nation Beyond Stereotypes

By showcasing Iran’s culture, history, and supposed ‘personality,’ Ask Iran is adding to the conversation by giving the Iranian people a voice needed during a time when sanctions are exacting a heavy price on Iranians and there is an ever-present fear of war. Her discourse is an extremely important contribution to the dialogue on Iran in the face of ‘othering,’ which is in line with Orientalist stereotypes of the Iranian people as being angry, backwards, and terrorists. Continue reading »

The Poster Arts of May Day: International Worker’s Day in Revolutionary Iran

During the Iranian Revolution, International Worker’s Day became an ideological battleground as competing political organizations— secular and religious— organized their constituents and articulated their interpretation of worker’s solidarity. Visual ephemera related to May Day, such as posters, are testaments to the pluralistic nature of the early years of the Revolution. By looking at various posters disseminated by organizations of the time, one can see how various political factions used similar visual motifs and iconography. Continue reading »

Polish Shi’ite Showbiz: Slavs and Tatars on Solidarność & the ’79 Revolution

Part I of III in a series on Slavs and Tatars‘ Friendship of Nations: Polish Shi’ite Showbiz– a multiplatform exhibition, lecture-performance, and publication looking at the unlikely shared story of Poland and Iran. The exhibition opens at REDCAT gallery at the Roy and Edna Disney Theater/Cal Arts in Los Angeles on February 9th and runs … Continue reading »

Taking Back the Streets: Iranian Graffiti Artists Negotiating Public Space

Co-written by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Shahrzad Ghadjar and Ajam Co-Editor Rustin Zarkar. Follow Shahrzad on Twitter @spooksvilla. On the eve of Iran’s 1979 Revolution, the Iranian public sphere was transformed into places where information could be exchanged verbally, textually, and visually. The walls came alive with opinions and the chants of the masses. After revolutionary … Continue reading »

Kolahghermezi’s Enduring Popularity: Humor & Solidarity in State TV Children's Programming

A guest post on contemporary Iranian pop culture from Maryam Momeni.  My first memory of children’s programming on IRIB (Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting) goes back to the early 1980s when I myself was a little girl. During the Iran-Iraq war years that lasted almost a decade we, “the children of wartime” as they would … Continue reading »

Politics of the Iranian Box Office: Mocking the Morality Police and Green Movement Conspiracies

Over the last few decades, Iranian cinema has burst onto the global stage, earning worldwide acclaim and, most recently, a Golden Globe and an Oscar. No major film festival is complete without at least one Iranian film these days, and it’s no longer hyperbole to suggest that the Iranian film vies against the Persian carpet … Continue reading »