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Portraits: Reflections by Emerging Iranian Artists

Curated by Roya Khadjavi Heidari + Massoud Nader

Rogue Space Chelsea, New York, NY

September 17 – 29, 2014


On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the opening of the exhibition Iran Inside Out at the Chelsea Museum in 2009 and on the first anniversary of Iran Modern, which debuted at the Asia Society in 2013, curators Roya Khadjavi Heidari and Massoud Nader announce Portraits: Reflections by Emerging Iranian Artists, a groundbreaking group show which will further shed light on, and explore, Iran’s contemporary art scene by showcasing work by over 20 young Iranian artists who were raised, educated, and born there. The exhibition will be on view from September 17 to September 29, 2014 at Rogue Space Gallery, located at 508 West 26th Street, New York, New York.


With a catalogue featuring acclaimed scholar and Co-founder  + Editor of the bilingual magazine TehranAvenue, Sohrab Mahdavi, the exhibition highlights paintings, photography, sculpture, mixed media, and video works by artists including Mohsen Ahmadvand, Samira Alikhanzadeh, Mojtaba Amini, Reza Azimian, Nasser Bakhshi, Dadbeh Bassir, Bahar Behbahani, Babak Bidarian, Majid Biglari, Hossein Edalatkhah, Sara Ghanbari, Dariush Gharahzad, Sepanta Ghassemkhani, Naghmeh Ghassemlou, Mohammad Hamzeh, Farsad Labbauf Mehdi Mirbagheri, Alishia Morassaie, Ahmad Morshedloo, Amir Mousavi, Jason Noushin, Morteza Pourhosseini, Amirhossein Radaie, Leyli Rashidi, Arash Sedaghatkish, Jinoos Taghizadeh, and Sadegh Tirafkanmany of whose works have never before been exhibited in the United States. 


Sponsored by ArteEast, ArtTable, City Gallery & Framing, Iranian-American Women’s Foundation, Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), patrons and collectors Anahita Rahimzadeh + Amir Khajehnouri, Rogue Space Chelsea, The Committee, and AKArt Advisory, the Host Committee includes Azita Aghravi, Maryam Ayromlou, Sanam Akhlagh, Negin Baradari, Iman Bacodari, Jeyran Ghara, Marjan Ghara, Tamilla Ghodsi, Laya Khadjavi, Nazgol Saati, and Nassrin Iromloo Zahedi.


 “Despite all it’s societal and political challenges of the past thirty years, which led the country into isolation, Iran has experienced an artistic revival that has defied all expectation, yet the work of most emerging artists is still unknown in the United States,” said Heidari and Nader in a statement. “It is for this reason that we began this project with the hope of bringing awareness to our U.S. audience, and to familiarize them with this new body of work.”
“The multidisciplinary nature of the show, with its emphasis on various artistic styles and techniques, demonstrates exactly the remarkable breadth of Iran’s artistic community. The current generation of Iranian artists is not afraid of experimentation—they often test the limits of acceptability in their own land.”
“The works in the show diligently create a dialogue between contemporary art on one hand and the rich cultural influence of Iran’s past on the other,” said Heidari and Nader. “Indicative of the tactful intelligence of this young generation, this exchange provides a departure from strictly western artistic styles.”
According to Heidari and Nader’s curatorial vision, “The emphasis on emerging Iranian art does not aim to ghettoize the artists either geographically or philosophically. Rather, by holding such a show in New York City—the epicenter of the global contemporary art market—we hope to highlight the talent of these seldom-recognized artists and to celebrate their courage, stamina, and love of their craft.”
About Roya Khadjavi Heidari
A highly respected executive with a history of spearheading successful strategic planning, business development, and marketing initiatives for leading fashion, art, education, and non-profit institutions, Heidari’s love of art has led her into collaborations with artists, art consultants, and galleries on various projects. She currently supports young Iranian artists, promoting them in exhibitions and events in NYC. She also collaborates with Gallery R’Pure on contemporary design, promoting young French and American designers and is a marketing consultant for Kreëmart. Previously, she served on the board of the Lycée Français de New York school. She has been honored with the Women’s Global Leadership Award by the Institute of International Education, and the Chevalier dans L’ordres des Palmes Academiques, by the French Minister of Education for her pioneering efforts to advance, support, and promote international education. Before that, Heidari was VP of Sales & Marketing for luxury fashion house Yves Saint Laurent, and VP and Divisional Merchandise Manager for Lord & Taylor. In addition to her professional accolades, Heidari is a proud member of Asia Society’s Art Acquisition Committee and a member of the steering committee of their recent blockbuster exhibition Iran Modern. She was Co-Founder of the Institute of International Education’s Iran Opportunities Fund, and currently serves on the Board of Art in General, the Advisory Board of Mission Restore, and is a Member of the Guggenheim Middle Eastern Circle. She holds a BA in Political Science and French Literature from Wellesley College and is fluent in French, Farsi, and English.
About Massoud Nader
Massoud Nader is an art dealer residing in New York. He began his career in the mid 1980s selling the art of the Islamic world and by the late 1990s—with the emergence and public interest in Middle Eastern Contemporary Art—he started representing a few young Iranian artists. His first foray was in 2002, when he exhibited Sadegh Tirafkan’s photographs in New York. With the success of the show, he explored working with other artists, and today Nader & Nader represents a group of 30 artists, whose work includes photography, sculptures, paintings, and mixed media. He has exhibited works by Mojtaba Tajik in New York and Doha in 2005, and photographs by Sadegh Tirafkan at Lehmann Maupin Gallery. He also organized several group shows in Los Angeles and Dubai with Courtyard Gallery, and in November 2013—in collaboration with art patrons Maryam Panahy Ansary and Nader Ansary—he unveiled Morteza Pourhosseini’s first international solo exhibit at the Bohemian National Hall in NYC, entitled The Circus. Pourhosseini’s works were recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and successfully auctioned at Sotheby’s Middle Eastern Contemporary Art sale in London in 2011. Nader works closely with museums in the U.S., Europe, and the Middle East and has placed many of his artists’ works—including that of Siamak Filizadeh, Amir Moussavian, Naghmeh Ghassemloo, Ahmad Morshedloo, Arash Hanaie, and Sadegh Tirafkan—in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, LACMA, and Brooklyn Museum of Art. Many works by these artists have been successfully auctioned at Christie’s Dubai, Sotheby’s London, Bonham’s London, and Bonham’s New York. Nader holds a BSC degree from Leeds University, UK and an MBA from Columbia University.

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Preview: September 17, 2014

Press Preview 5-6pm [Press RSVP HERE]

Vernissage 6-9pm 


Exhibition: September 18 - 29



Panel Discussion: September 21, 2014, 4-6pm

Anne Barlow, Executive Director, Art in General

Bahar Behbahani, Artist

Layla S. Diba, Independent Curator and Art Advisor

Mahnaz Fancy, Executive Director, ArteEast


Artist Talk: September 28, 2014, 1-3pm

Farsad Labbauf, Artist 



Rogue Space Chelsea

508 West 26th Street, NYC


Media Contact 
Ricky Lee, The Committee


Sponsorship + Partnership Contact
Amy Kisch, AKArt Advisory

Lizzie Jones, AKArt Advisory


Sales Contact

Roya Khadjavi Heidari


Massoud Nader, Co-Curator 

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