Friday, 7 January 2022


After having been sat at home and felt sorry for myself all week, today it was finally time for an outing! My friend Kathleen and I went up to NYU to visit their exhibition 'Modernisms', showcasing Iranian, Indian and Turkish highlights from the Abby Weed Grey collection at NYU, founded in 1974.

Abby Weed Grey was an American art collector that traveled the world for 15 years during the 1960s and 70s, collecting art that reflected a more global vision. This exhibition represents only a small part of all the prints, paintings and sculptures Grey collected during her trips, from countries as diverse as (apart from Turkey, India and Iran) also Japan, Pakistan, Nepal, Thailand and Israel.

This is a piece by Krishen Khanna from India called Vijay (Victory) from 1965. This black-and-white abstraction is inspired by the Japanese tradition of 'sumi-e', black ink on paper.

I loved the colours of this painting below by Prabhakar Barwe (King and Queen of Spades, 1967). Barwe worked at the Ministry of Textiles in India, which often inspired him to use solid colours with a lot of contrast, like in this piece.

Abby Weed Grey's interest in the modern art of non-Western cultures has significantly contributed to a wider understanding of these largely understudied areas. This exhibition is an amazing opportunity to study these artworks and get to experience what a force art can be in uniting people across cultural and geographical barriers.

Colt 45, 1968, by Iranian painter and calligrapher Faramarz Pilaram. The artist has used letters and numbers as decorative elements rather than semantic devices, something that we could connect to some of the current pieces at the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

This was another piece that really caught my attention. It is influenced by Iranian folklore and myths, and it reminded me a bit of viking runes. This is Lost Poet of Iran by Parviz Tanavoli from 1962.

Tanavoli is one of the most important artists in Iran, his works often questions the relationship between image and word. Like this sculpture, Heech from 1972.

The Grey collection includes around 200 works by Iranian artists, which is the biggest collection of Iranian work outside of Iran.

This exhibition is on view, for free, at the Art Gallery on the NYU campus until 5th of February. I strongly recommend you to visit.

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