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Dialogue 8: Shirin Neshat


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Join us for Dialogue 8, our annual conversation on museums, diversity, and inclusion, featuring Shirin Neshat. A conversation with Omar Kholeif, Manilow Senior Curator at the MCA, follows the talk.

About the Speaker

Throughout her career, New York–based Iranian artist Shirin Neshat has produced work that explores the relationship between the personal and the political in relation to power and identity. Having first gained recognition for her striking photographic series of self-portraits—taken in the guise of a militant female revolutionary and hand-painted with Farsi poetry—Neshat transitioned to working in video, refining her poetic imagery while experimenting with multiscreen installations. Since then, her video works have probed cultural topics including diaspora, gender dynamics in Iran, courtship rituals in Laos, and Quranic myth. More recently she has merged her stunning aesthetic and political interests in a full-length film based in Tehran in 1953 and set against the backdrop of the CIA-organized coup that deposed democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and a photographic project that links the spirit of the Green Revolution in 2009 with the tenth-century Persian epic Shahnameh {bio: (Book of Kings). Her ambiguous and compelling visions of foreign worlds leave viewers to their own conclusions regarding our cultural differences and shared humanity.

Born in Iran in 1957, Neshat moved to the United States in 1974, and lives in New York. She has mounted numerous solo exhibitions at galleries and museums internationally, including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; the Serpentine Gallery, London; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; and the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. A major retrospective of her work was exhibited at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2013. Neshat was awarded the Golden Lion Award, the First International Prize at the 48th Venice Biennial (1999)}, the Hiroshima Freedom Prize (2005), and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize (2006). Neshat's first feature-length film, Women Without Men (2009), received the Silver Lion Award for Best Director at the 66th Venice International Film Festival. Neshat is currently working on her second feature-length film.


Lead support is provided by Helen and Sam Zell, Caryn and King Harris, Pamela Buchanan Miller and Marquis Miller, and Lois and Steve Eisen and the Eisen Family Foundation.

Generous support is provided by Susan and Lew Manilow, Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund, Dale Taylor and Angela Lustig, Pamela G. Meyer, Claire F. Prussian, and Donna Stone.