The Cultural Politics of Art in Iran

Modernist Iranian art represents a highly diverse field of cultural production
deeply involved in discussing questions of modernity and modernization
as practiced in Iran. This book investigates how artistic production
and art criticism reflected upon the discourse about gharbzadegi (westoxification),
the most substantial critique of Irans adaptation of Western
modernity, and ultimately proved to be a laboratory for the negotiation of
an anti-colonial concept of an Iranian artistic modernity, which artists and
critics envisioned as a significant other to Western colonial modernity. In
this book, Katrin Nahidi revisits Iranian modernist art, aiming to explore a
political and contextualized interpretation of modernism. Based on extensive
fieldwork, interviews, and archival research, Nahidi provides a history
of modernist art production since the 1950s and reveals the complex
political agency underlying art-historiographical processes. Offering a
key contribution to postcolonial art history, Nahidi shows how Iranian
artistic modernity was used to flesh out anti-colonial concepts and ideas
around Iranian national identity.
Katrin Nahidi is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Graz. She
has taught at the University of Graz, the University of Osnabrück, and the
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Her articles on Iranian modernism
have been published in academic journals, including kritische berichte,
Stedelijk Studies, and Artl@s Bulletin.