LACMA presents “In the Fields of Empty Days”

May 6, 2018

September 9, 2018

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

Event Description

In the Fields of Empty Days explores the continuous and inescapable presence of the past in Iranian society. This notion is revealed in art and literature in which ancient kings and heroes are used in later contexts as paradigms of virtue or as objects of derision, while long-gone Shi‘ite saints are evoked as champions of the poor and the oppressed. Beginning in the 14th century, illustrated versions of the Shahnama or Book of Kings, the national epic, recast Iran’s pre-Islamic kings and heroes as contemporary Islamic rulers and were used to justify and legitimize the ruling elite. Iran’s adoption of Shi‘ite Islam in the early 16th century also helped to fix the past irrevocably in the present through the cycle of remembrance of the martyrdom of Shi‘ite Imams. Both of these strands—olden kings and heroes, and martyred Imams—carry forward, even sometimes overlap, in contemporary Iranian art, rendered anachronistically as a form of often barely disguised social commentary.

The exhibition will examine this appropriation of the past, largely in the context of the present, by assembling 125 works of art in a variety of media—photography, painting, sculpture, video, posters, political cartoons, animation, and historical illustrated manuscripts. In focusing on the intersection of past and present, In the Fields of Empty Days will offer new scholarship and a novel approach to viewing anachronisms in Iranian art. In bringing together so many beautiful, historically significant, and varied works of art, the exhibition will demonstrate not only that Iranian culture is multidimensional, but also that in evoking the past, Iranian artists continue to create new visual metaphors to describe the present.

This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Visited 283 times, 1 Visit today

Related Events

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036

August 20, 2017 To February 19, 2018

Referencing the title of a genre-bending collection of stories by Jorge Luis Borges, A Universal History of Infamy uses multiple venues across Los Angeles to present new… Read more…

5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

September 25, 2016 To January 2, 2017

11:00 am To 7:00 pm

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is pleased to announce Toba Khedoori (September 25, 2016–January 2, 2017), a major museum survey of Khedoori’s oeuvre over… Read more…

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, California 90036

December 4, 2016 To May 17, 2017

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), with Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City (MPBA), presents Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time. Read more…