artist / participant
Farhad Moshiri. Go West
October 13, 2017–January 14, 2018
Go West is the first solo museum exhibition of Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri. Encompassing several bodies of work created over decades, this mid-career survey focuses on Moshiri’s varied Pop subject matter, deft use of language, and wide-ranging materials and methods.
Moshiri’s interest in Pop art and kitsch resonates throughout his work. Many of his visuals are pulled from cartoons, films, comic strips, children’s books, and advertisements, while phrases appropriated from classical poetry, soap operas, and pop songs blur the lines between art and cliché. By selecting ambiguous source images that reference both American and Iranian popular culture, Moshiri takes a complex look at how we define our own cultural identity.
The artist transforms mundane materials such as plastic pearls, glass beads, acrylic paint, crystals, knives, and machine-made Persian rugs into intricate, laborious works of art. While they function as a response to modern Iranian society, they are also strangely familiar to most Western viewers. Comprised of kitschy keychains, Mountains & Rivers is a pictorial representation of mountains along with the word “rivers” spelled out in cursive. Originally commissioned as a window display, Once Upon a Time resembles a lush white layer cake with frosted borders and decorative toppings. Using an old frosting set, Moshiri applied thick acrylic paint to the canvas, much in the way a pastry chef might. Close inspection also reveals the elaborate beadwork used to construct a menagerie of images sourced from vintage postcards: sweethearts in love, domesticated animals, and exotic flower arrangements.
The exhibition brings together paintings and sculptures that have never been displayed together, many of which are traveling to the United States for the first time. Highlighting Moshiri’s artistic techniques and the subtle transformations unfolding in his work, Go West reveals his evolution as both a painter and a sculptor.
The exhibition is curated by José Carlos Diaz, The Warhol’s chief curator.