هنر معاصر - ملکه هنر ایران

ملکه هنر ایران

نویسنده :solmaz nilineshan
تاریخ:شنبه 6 اسفند 1390-ساعت 23 و 31 دقیقه و 52 ثانیه

Life Through a Kaleidoscope: Iran’s Queen of Arts

“Iran was a very peaceful country before the revolution” says Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian who at 87, still has the art world shimmering.

Against the backdrop of the Second World War and the Iranian Revolution, Iranian born Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian has led a colorful life, to say the least.  At our meeting place in a London hotel lobby, she sits surrounded by an entourage. As two generations of family members—who have travelled with her from America to show support during her stay—are thoughtfully introduced, one by one, an added reason for Farmanfarmaian’s widespread appeal becomes apparent.

A veteran of the 1950s New York art scene, Farmanfarmaian’s charm secured her the close friendships of the likes of Andy Warhol and Milton Avery, among numerous other contemporaries. Today she still displays those strong Persian features, at that time an exotic look that captured the imagination of many—including the sculptor Alexander Calder who once trailed around after her at a party in his impatience to meet her. “Finally he said ‘I am following this young lady for 15 minutes nobody has introduced me to her—Introduce to me to this girl!’ So I was introduced to this fat and white haired man and he was … ho ho ho… laughing like this” she reveals mischievously.

Now 87, Farmanfarmaian, still adventurous as ever, quoted as saying that she is on a “constant quest for the new,” is enjoying a renewed prominence. Widely recognized as one of Iran’s most influential working artists, with a permanent collection in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA), she was this year among ten contemporary nominees for London’s Victoria and Albert Museum’s (V&A) Jameel prize. Simultaneously she released her second book Monir Farmanfarmaian: Cosmic Geometry, a first, extensive monograph of her work ( published on 31 October 2011, Damien Editore & The Third Line). With one of her pieces having soared past bidding expectations at the UK’s Sotheby’s October 2011 auction of Arab and Iranian contemporary art, she is certainly maintaining her exhaustive mission.

Well-earned prestige and an intimidating repertoire of friends does nothing to prevent one from feeling at ease around Farmanfarmaian, whose art, as an imitation of life, is distinctive in its captivating use of colors and dazzling mirror work. She has grandmotherly warmth, a contagiously husky giggle—and is unexpectedly unassuming. Recalling her time in New York in the 1940s as a young woman straight out of Iran she says: “I became very friendly and very popular to the social life of art in America because I was very…” her companion has to interject “…beautiful, young, exotic!” And relaying a rather frosty meeting with Jackson Pollock, she says: “once, we talked and he thought most likely I’m very stupid and ignorant, and left”—but freely declares her admiration for his art.


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