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Andy Warhol Takes Over The Tehran Museum Of Contemporary Art

Andy Warhol’s iconic tins of soup and Marilyn Monroe portraits have gone on display in Tehran, delighting art lovers in the Islamic Republic of Iran, where colorful pop exhibitions are a rarity.

Tehran, Oct 24 (EFE).- The Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA) is the custodian of the works at the exhibit that concluded Sunday. The popularity of the exhibition was noticeable on Saturday — a working day in Iran — as the museum’s rooms filled up with visitors, most of them young and many of them women.

“I loved the exhibition,” Arghawan, a 21-year-old student, told Efe. “First of all because I love art, and secondly because we don’t get a lot of opportunities to enjoy modern artists in Iran.”

Arghawan said she hoped the museum would organize modern art exhibitions more often. It is something the museum is capable of, considering it has works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Francis Bacon, Paul Gauguin, Mark Rothko, and Vassily Kandinsky in its vaults.

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Anahita Tahen, a 36-year-old theater director, also enjoyed the exhibition. “It’s interesting how he deconstructs famous people. In a way he destroys their image to create another,” she told Efe.

Kamran Bagherzadeh, an aspiring movie director, said he was left speechless with emotion. “I knew Warhol, of course. But it’s different to see his work in person.”

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The exhibition first opened in June but had to close in August when the Covid-19 situation worsened. The museum’s spokesman Hasan Noferesti commented on the apparent irony of the showcase’s success given the Iranian government’s sour relationship with the United States.

“Warhol is American, but that’s not the reason why people like him here. It is his art that attracts the visitors.” 

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The TMoCA was founded by Fara Diba, the wife of Iran’s last Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1977, two years before the Islamic Revolution put an end to the monarchy.

After Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power, the museum’s collection was kept in its vaults for decades. In recent years the museum has put on a number of temporary exhibitions but some critics say that pressure from the authorities limits its activities. The museum insists that much of its works remain in storage due to the lack of space.

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Text and images courtesy of EFE

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