In his sculpture entitled Heech, Tanavoli translates Persian calligraphy into three-dimensional form. Although the Persian word heech means “nothing,” the work is not meant to express despair or emptiness. Instead, for Tanavoli, the heech might represent creativity itself—the void filled by the artist’s imagination. Tanavoli was a close friend and advisor to Abby Grey, who avidly collected his work. Her generous gift of modern Asian and Middle Eastern art works, along with an endowment, to New York University led to the founding of the Grey Art Gallery, which first opened its doors in 1975.