Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Talk Exclusively to Artdependence Magazine

By Dirk Vanduffel - Thursday, August 10, 2017
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Talk Exclusively to Artdependence Magazine

TMOCA is a fascinating museum in the heart of Tehran. It is thought to own one of the most important collections of art in the Middle East, although relatively little is known about the works that are currently in the collection. The museum is currently working towards showing their pieces outside of Iran - a generous offer that is unlikely to prove easy to manifest. Artdependence are very proud to have been offered the opportunity to speak to senior staff members at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art Talk Exclusively to Artdependence Magazine

A no can become a yes. After two years of requests for an interview with the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (“TMOCA”), my wish was finally granted. When one of the most difficult no’s turns into a yes, it feels fantastic.

TMOCA is a fascinating museum in the heart of Tehran. It is thought to own one of the most important collections of art in the Middle East, although relatively little is known about the works that are currently in the collection. The museum is currently working towards showing their pieces outside of Iran - a generous offer that is unlikely to prove easy to manifest. Artdependence are very proud to have been offered the opportunity to speak to senior staff members at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

Artdependence Magazine: Can you tell us a bit about TMCOA?

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art was inaugurated in 1977. It is set within a park of 7000 square meters in which sculptures by renowned international and Iranian artists are on display. The Visual Arts Center is a close affiliate of the TMOCA, which is one of the most prestigious museums in the Middle East. The museum owns the biggest modern art collection in the world outside of Europe and North America. There are more than 3000 works, including works by several Iranian as well as foreign artists such as Picasso, Rothko, Pollock and Bacon. Most of these works were acquired just before the Iranian Revolution in 1979. The works span across Impressionism, Surrealism, Pop Art, Op Art, Abstract expressionism, Minimal Art and Conceptual Art. They range across all fields including painting, sculpture, print and calligraphy.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA). Courtesy TMOCA.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA). Courtesy TMOCA.

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMOCA). Courtesy TMOCA.

AD: It seems evident that the TMOCA also owns the largest collection of Iranian art in the world. Who are the upcoming Iranian artists and are there major Iranian collectors?

We have some great collectors in Iran who are interested in buying and collecting Iranian works. There are also many great artists in Iran who have brilliant futures, but we are not able to say who the upcoming Iranian artists are.

AD: What exhibitions do you have coming up at the TMOCA?

The next exhibition at the museum is “the 7th International Sculpture Biennale”, which will be open on 6th September. After that, there will be a show of sculptures by Tony Cragg, which will be held on 24th October.

The museum has a policy of showing the works to the public as often as possible. Almost every year there is a temporary exhibition of works from the collection. This gives people an opportunity to visit less seen masterpieces from the TMOCA.

Our most recent exhibition was titled “The selected works of Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art; Berlin-Rome Travelers”. It showed 61 great works and several of the visitors were very pleased to see these pieces.

AD: Do you feel there is more and more interest in the Iranian art world from abroad?

There is definitely an increasing amount of attention in the Iranian art world. We are seeing Iranian artists being introduced to the international art world and becoming increasingly more prominent on the world’s art.

AD: Will there be a tour of the artworks in the TMOCA any time soon?

We hope to have a tour soon. As you may know, we did make efforts to have a tour last year, but due to some complicated internal problems, it did not happen.

As you may know the works are the national property of Iran and we need allowances from the government to loan the works to other museums around the world. The process is still in negotiation. We hope to solve it soon.

Mark Rothko, No.2 (yellow center), 1954

Max Ernst, Natural History, 1923

Pablo Picasso, Painter and his model, 1927 

Dirk defines the overall policy of ArtDependence Magazine, in addition to conducting interviews. He specializes in valuation and auctioning.

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Image of the Day

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

Museo Jumex (a private art collection based in Mexico City, Mexico) / David Chipperfield. Image © Simon Menges

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