The Color of History in Contemporary Iranian Art

Lecture with Dr. Abbas Daneshvari

Thursday, April 18, 2019
7:00 – 8:30 pm

Frye Auditorium

If there is one dominant quality that defines postmodernism in contemporary Iranian art and makes this art distinct from Iranian modernism, it is the attribute of fantastic as banal and banal as fantastic. During the last three decades, Iranian artists have gravitated more radically toward the representations of the banal as fantastic and vice versa.

The fantastic as banal is, in one regard, a sign of knowledge as illusion. It is also a sign of ontological multiplicity and the absence of a metaphysical center. These work to reflect a universe of infinite interpretations and of multitudinous readings as they render reality as hyperreal and a construct of fantasy and imagination.

About the Presenter

Abbas Daneshvari is the former chair of the Department of Art and presently the FERP Professor of Art History at the California State University Los Angeles. He received his PhD from UCLA in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and taught at the University of Berkeley and California State University, Los Angeles. Daneshvari was a Fulbright scholar in Cairo, Egypt where he lectured at the American University of Cairo and Cairo University. His publications cover various aspects of Islamic and contemporary iconography as attested by his books Animal Symbolism in Warqa a Gulshah (Oxford University Press), Of Serpents and Dragons in Islamic Art (Mazda and the Persian Heritage Foundation) and most recently Amazingly Original, Contemporary Iranian Art at Crossroads and Contemporary Iranian Photography, Five Essays. Dr. Daneshvari is the author and editor of ten books and numerous monographs and articles on the arts of the Middle East and Contemporary European and American postmodernism.

Rokni Haerizadeh. Reign of Winter (still), 2012–13. Single-channel video (color, silent); 8:42 min. Courtesy of Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde and the artist.


Tickets to this program are free of charge, and our seating capacity is limited. Free tickets, limit 2 per person, may be reserved in advance, up to two days before the program. The reserved tickets may be picked up on the day of the program at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium. There is no late seating, so please arrive at least 15 minutes early. All unclaimed tickets (regardless of reservations) will be released to standby 10 minutes before the program!

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On the day of the program, pre-registered and standby tickets will be available at the desk in the foyer outside the auditorium.

  • Tickets for Members may be picked up beginning one hour before the program.
  • Pre-registered tickets for nonmembers may be picked up beginning 30 minutes before the program.
  • All unclaimed tickets (regardless of reservations) will be released to standby 10 minutes before the program.