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Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection

modernisms
January 21-April 5, 2020

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection surveys art from three nations where unique and vibrant forms of modernism sprang forth in the 1960s and 1970s. Challenging histories of artistic modernism that too often begin and end in the West, “Modernisms” explores an under-recognized flowering of innovation and risk-taking in art beyond Europe and North America.

Influenced by local traditions, cultural exchange and the sights and sounds of modern life, artists in Iran, Turkey and India forged distinctive new modes of expression. From Iranian and Turkish artists who explored calligraphy and ornamentation through avant-garde abstraction, to Indian painters whose expressive canvases drew upon Hindu iconography, the 114 works in Modernisms reflect the lively dialogue between East and West, past and present. Folk dances and weavings inspired Turkish painters Mustafa Esirkuş and Adnan Turani, while Iranian artist Faramarz Pilaram freely translated Islamic architecture into glittering geometric forms. These works testify to both the continuity of culture and the disruption of modernity.

Organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, Modernisms draws from the collection of curator and patron Abby Weed Grey. Grey traveled widely in Asia and the Middle East, searching for art that brought the visual language of modernity into dialogue with non-Western heritages. With a robust collection of some 700 paintings, sculptures and works on paper, she founded the Grey Art Gallery in 1975, stimulating learning through cross-cultural exchange. Through her collection, this exhibition tells a story of “multiple modernities,” reflecting the diversity of formal and cultural responses to the changing world of the 1960s and 1970s.

The exhibition will be on view at Grey Art Gallery at NYU from Sept. 10 to Dec. 7, 2019 before coming to The Block. The exhibition is curated for The Block by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, associate director of curatorial affairs, and Michael Metzger, Pick-Laudati Curator of Media Arts.

Credits

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection is organized by the Grey Art Gallery, New York University, and is made possible in part by the generous support of Dalinc and Mehves Ariburnu; WLS Spencer Foundation; A. Alfred Taubman Foundation; Avid Modjtabai; Violet Jabara Charitable Trust; Charina Endowment Fund; Alaleh and Ariel Ostad; the Grey’s Director’s Circle, Inter/National Council, and Friends; and the Abby Weed Grey Trust. In-kind support is provided by ArtCareNYC Inc. The Block’s presentation of the exhibition is supported in part by a generous gift by Anu and Arjun Aggarwal.
Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Full Moon, 1961

Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu, Full Moon, 1961

Oil and glue on canvas, 50 7/8 x 42 in. (129.2 x 106.7 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.293
Nevzat Akoral, Porters, n.d

Nevzat Akoral, Porters, n.d

Woodcut on paper, 27 3/4 x 19 5/8 in. (71.1 x 50.2 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.271
Parviz Tanavoli, Heech, 1972

Parviz Tanavoli, Heech, 1972

Bronze on wood base, 22 1/4 x 12 x 8 in. (56.5 x 30.5 x 20.3 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.54 © Parviz Tanavoli
Faramarz Pilaram, Mosques of Isfahan, c. 1962

Faramarz Pilaram, Mosques of Isfahan (B), c. 1962

Ink, watercolor, and gold and silver paint on paper, 45 3/4 x 34 3/4 in. (116.2 x 88.3 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.110
Maqbool Fida Husain, Virgin Night, 1964

Maqbool Fida Husain, Virgin Night, 1964

Oil on canvas, 39 3/4 x 29 1/2 in. (101 x 74.9 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.158
Vivan Sundaram, Keep Slim, 1965

Vivan Sundaram, Keep Slim, 1965

Collage of ink and photographs, 11 1/8 x 9 in. (28.3 x 22.9 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.219
Siah Armajani, Prayer for the Sun, 1962

Siah Armajani, Prayer for the Sun, 1962

Oil on canvas, 48 1/4 x 32 in. (122.6 x 81.3 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.81 © 2019 Siah Armajani/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Francis Newton Souza, Trimurti, 1971

Francis Newton Souza, Trimurti, 1971

Oil on canvasboard, 30 x 24 in. (76.2 x 61 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.216
Prabhakar Barwe, King and Queen of Spades, 1967

Prabhakar Barwe, King and Queen of Spades, 1967

Oil and paper on canvas, 39 1/4 x 54 1/8 in. (99.5 x 137.5 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.188
Eren Eyüboğlu, Design for Mosaic, 1957

Eren Eyüboğlu, Design for Mosaic, 1957

Gouache and pencil on cardboard, 18 3/4 x 20 in. (47.6 x 50.8 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.246
Fahrelnissa Zeid, Composition in Red and Blue, n.d.

Fahrelnissa Zeid, Composition in Red and Blue, n.d.

Lithograph on paper, 30 x 22 in. (76.2 x 55.9 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.268
Abidin Elderoğlu, Six Lines of Abstracted Calligraphy, 1960

Abidin Elderoğlu, Six Lines of Abstracted Calligraphy, 1960

Watercolor, ink, and graphite on paper, 17 3/8 x 13 1/2 in. (44.1 x 34.3 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.240
Monir Farmanfarmaian, Flowers, 1965

Monir Farmanfarmaian, Flowers, 1965

Oil on canvas, 26 x 20 1/2 in. (66 x 52.1 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.91
Kamran Diba, Diver, 1967

Kamran Diba, Diver, 1967

Oil on canvas, 80 3/4 x 34 1/4 in. (205.1 x 87 cm). Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.86