Thursday, October 07, 2010

Collecting dust

We posted a while back on Michael Stevenson's mission to find the location of the gallery where Tony Shafrazi based himself in Teheran back in the 1970s. Shafrazi's plan was to sell high-end US art to the Shah of Iran and it worked, but only briefly as it was hidden away in Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art’s stores after the Shah’s fall from grace. 

Last year a catalogue of the collection was finally published. It is an unusual slice through twentieth century art. Most of the works were purchased under the patronage of the Shah and his wife Empress Farah between 1977 and 1979 and it turned out this was a good time (recession) for picking up cheapish international art. The collection includes some impressive works and their inaccessibility for 25 or so years has made for interesting gaps in the story of the exhibiting and publishing of contemporary US art.

As you will see from the image with our first post, unusual among the Warhols in the Shah's collection are eight large portraits of Mao. Takes one to know one.

Image: The catalogue and the Shah. Thanks R