What art can do for the Arab world, according to Taymour Grahne



Middle East art expert Taymour Grahne contemplates the role of art in the midst of unfolding Middle Eastern conflicts.

Art collector and gallerist Taymour Grahne provides insight into what art can do for the Middle East, what the market is like for Middle Eastern and North African art and his expectations for his eponymous gallery, in a Huffington Post interview published 17 August 2013.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Chasing the Butterfly', 2012, oil on canvas, 96 x 60 in. Image courtesy Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Chasing the Butterfly’, 2012, oil on canvas, 96 x 60 in. Image courtesy Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Critic James Scarborough spoke with gallerist Taymour Grahne for an interview published in The Huffington Post. In the article, Grahne is introduced as the author of the highly respectable and popular Art of the Mid East blog, holder of a Sotheby’s MA in Art Business, and one of the “50 Most Exciting Art Collectors Under 50″, as named by Modern Painters.

Nicky Nodjoumi, 'Inspector’s Scrutiny', 2012, oil on canvas, 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Nicky Nodjoumi, ‘Inspector’s Scrutiny’, 2012, oil on canvas, 85 x 130 in. Image courtesy Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Although Grahne is an avid collector of Middle Eastern art, his new gallery will exhibit work from all around the world. According to the interview, Grahne wants to take the regionalism out of Middle Eastern art appreciation.

… I think the most important thing that can be done for Middle Eastern artists today is to display their work alongside international artists and allow for the world to see them as strong artists with quality work, as opposed to simply regional artists.

Reza Derakshani, 'Searching for God!', 2013, oil, enamel, and glitter on canvas, 41.34 x 47.24 in (105 x 120 cm) . Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York

Reza Derakshani, ‘Searching for God!’, 2013, oil, enamel, and glitter on canvas, 41.34 x 47.24 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York

What art can do for the Middle East, according to Grahne

  • Combat regionalism

Grahne states he will exhibit works by Middle Eastern artists alongside international artists as a way to “break down the regional titles that are often attached to Middle Eastern artists.”

  • Break down walls

Grahne believes art is an agent of social change, saying “the arts can help break down misconceptions and barriers.”

  • Educate the public

Grahne also believes that artworks which “deal with specific social or political situations [...] can also help educate people on what is happening in these societies and cultures.”

Reza Derakshani, 'My Lovely Nuked Red Carpet', 2013, oil and glitter on canvas, 78.74 x 78.74 in (200 x 200 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Reza Derakshani, ‘My Lovely Nuked Red Carpet’, 2013, oil and glitter on canvas, 78.74 x 78.74 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Reza Derakshani, 'Fear and Faith', 2013, oil and glitter on canvas, 94. 5 x 78.74 in (240 x 200 cm). Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

Reza Derakshani, ‘Fear and Faith’, 2013, oil and glitter on canvas, 94. 5 x 78.74 in. Image courtesy the artist and Taymour Grahne Gallery, New York.

The interview ends with Grahne’s thoughts about the United States market for Middle Eastern and North African art, which he says is growing due to the support of major institutions like New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Grahne’s new gallery: an international art platform

Taymour Grahne Gallery will be an international platform for contemporary art, while it will highlight Middle Eastern and North African contemporary art. The Gallery will open in September 2013 in Tribeca, Lower Manhattan, in the building that was once home to the popular nightclub Area during the eighties.

The inaugural exhibition will be a solo show by Brooklyn-based American-Iranian artist Nicky Nodjoumi, from 7 September to 23 October 2013. The gallery also plans a range of programmes such as panel discussions, film screenings and talks, and artist and curator-led tours.

Susan Kendzulak

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Related Topics: Middle Eastern art, gallery shows, Arab artists

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