Asia Society Museum presents Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection, an exhibition of works by more than 20 Iranian-born artists and one German-born artist, reflecting a dynamic and thriving contemporary arts scene. The exhibition, illuminating the multifaceted experiences and identities of artists spanning three generations who are working inside and outside of Iran, probes subjects such as gender identity, war and peace, politics and religion, and spirituality.
Drawing from the collection of financier and philanthropist Mohammed Afkhami, the exhibition comprises paintings, sculptures, photographs, and videos. Of the 23 participating artists, over a third live in Iran, over a third live outside of Iran, and five live in New York City. These established, mid-career, and emerging artists are working from unique vantage points, informed by a rich cultural heritage as well as more recent extensive social and political unrest in Iran. Referencing “contemporary Persians,” the exhibition’s title evokes an ancient culture that is still very much alive today.
This is the exhibition’s first presentation on the East Coast of the United States, following its premiere in 2017 at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, Canada, and subsequent showing at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The exhibition is on view at Asia Society Museum from September 10, 2021 to May 8, 2022.
Independent curator and scholar Dr. Fereshteh Daftari is the curator for Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Daftari and Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak and with a preface by Mohammed Afkhami. The catalogue was published by the Aga Khan Museum, Toronto, and Black Dog Publishing Limited, London.
Rebel, Jester, Mystic, Poet: Contemporary Persians—The Mohammed Afkhami Collection continues Asia Society’s ongoing commitment to showcasing the vibrant arts and culture of Iran, from historic shows of the Safavid and Sasanian empires, to the Iran Modern exhibition of 2013–14, to monographic presentations of contemporary artists.