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DePaul University Art Museum Offers Rare Glimpse into Iran with "Iran Inside Out"
Newsha Tavakolian, Maria, 2007. Photo: courtesy of Aaran Gallery, Tehran.

CHICAGO, IL.- The turbulence and complexity of present-day Iran and its relation to the West will be explored in the groundbreaking exhibition “Iran Inside Out,” which opens Sept. 24 at the DePaul University Art Museum.

The exhibition, which runs through Nov. 22, features recent works by 36 artists living in Iran and in diaspora. Images range from paintings to video, from the stridently political to the lyrical; together they are a window into the daily life and imagination of one of the most volatile nations in the world.

The work is organized in five sections based on subject matter and issues of concern to the artists: “War and Politics” addresses Iran’s status in the world and the Iranian political order and religious hierarchy; “Street Life” reflects self-presentation and daily life in public places; “Culture as Commodity” draws on the commercial use of cultural stereotypes; “Reinventing Traditional Art Forms” shows the reworking of older Persian and Islamic calligraphic and decorative motifs; and “Representations of Gender” engages the complex intersection of gender, identity and religion.

“Together, the work is strikingly diverse in medium, in subject and in tone,” Museum Director Louise Lincoln said of the exhibition. “Much of it reflects direct anger at Iran’s status in the world, at the United States and its hegemonic power, and at the political order and the religious hierarchy in Iran.”

Organized by the Chelsea Art Museum, home of the Miotte Foundation in New York, the exhibition attracted rave reviews in its first showing this summer in New York. The Wall Street Journal described it as “a subtle, brave, often funny act of protest by both expatriate and resident artists.” Its Chicago venue is curated by Laura Fatemi, assistant director of the DePaul Art Museum.

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