Modernisms

Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection

September 10–December 7, 2019

Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection

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Drawing from the esteemed holdings of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern art from the Abby Weed Grey collection, this show will include between 30 and 40 paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints from multiple countries, exploring nuances of heritage and identity. Among the artists included are Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu and Nevzat Akoral.

This bustling exhibition showcases works from the nineteen-sixties and early seventies, which she acquired on her travels to India, Iran, and Turkey. Grey was drawn to artists who, as she put it, “were breaking with the past to cope with the present” while maintaining their ties to tradition, whether this meant bridging local and global aesthetics or resisting Western influences.

Although the Grey Art Gallery’s exhibition Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection, is certainly not the first time its rare collection of postwar art has been on view in recent years, the modern art of these three countries is shown together for the first time to acknowledge the foresight of its major benefactor, as well as founder of the museum, Abby Weed Grey (1902-1983).

Grey Art Gallery’s “Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection” offered as much a sampling of global art practices during the 1960s and ’70s as it did a glimpse into the collector’s eye. Grey, the museum’s founder, notably sought out contemporary artists in those regions at a time when art discourse remained largely Eurocentric, with cross-cultural exchange as the primary tenet of her collecting efforts during the Cold War.

The gallery has exhibited works from the Grey collection before. Previous shows have largely stayed within the boundaries of national identity, particularly Iranian. With “Modernisms,” however, the gallery is creating a more expressly cross-cultural dialogue within its walls. Modern works from Iran, Turkey, and India will hang side by side, evoking in real space Grey’s original mission. Along with facilitating this dialogic end, the show also hopes to serve as a corrective to long-held Eurocentric views on modernism.

Drawing on its remarkable collection of modern Iranian, Indian, and Turkish art, the Grey Art Gallery at New York University presents Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish, and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection. Featuring approximately thirty to forty artworks from each country, the exhibition examines the artistic practices in Iran, Turkey, and India, from the 1960s and early ’70s via selections from the Abby Weed Grey Collection of Modern Asian and Middle Eastern Art.