Iran Hides Western Masterworks
SOURCE: NYT (10-31-07)
Paintings by van Gogh, Picasso, Renoir, Monet and Gauguin are among an estimated $5 billion worth of Western art locked in a basement beneath the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, The Guardian of London reported. Acquired in the 1970s, the collection includes “Mural on a Red Indian Ground,” one of the most valuable Jackson Pollock paintings, as well as Andy Warhol portraits. There are no plans to display them. All paintings the museum does exhibit are by Iranian artists. Habibollah Sadeghi, director of the museum, expressed his opposition to the “cultural socialism” of Western globalization, saying, “We are opposed to an aggressive, dominant culture.” But he attributed the failure to display the Western art to a lack of space, not politics. However, his predecessor, Alireza Samir-Azar, said the museum was accommodating an anti-Western political climate and suggested including the Western art in shows with themes like Impressionism or Expressionism.