On August 11, 2023, the Iran 1400 Project had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Hamid Keshmirshekan about his book The Art of Iran in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries: Tracing the Modern and the Contemporary. Dr. Keshmirshekan analyzed the modern and contemporary art of Iran from the mid-twentieth century to the present, analyzing the presentation of the discourse of art and artistic movements. During the Q&A session, he discussed what institutions provided an arena for these discourses, his contributions to scholarship on the Saqqa-Khaneh school, and the new-orientalist approach to art and its long term effect on the contemporary art of Iran.
This book deals with the exploration and theorisation of Modern and Contemporary art of Iran through the examination of art movements and artistic practices in relation to other cultural, social and political discourses during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. It focuses on discourses and their impact on art movements and practices and aims to selectively explore certain prevailing debates in action during this time. To come to grips with the way that artistic trends in Iran can be traced within the intellectual and political landscape of the country mainly from the 1940s to the present, Keshmirshekan articulates new ideas for relating art to its wider context – whether social, cultural or political – and to bring together critical and historical evidence in order to provide an insight into current artistic concerns. The book explores these underlying themes and discourses through a series of case studies, including through close scrutiny of works of artists.