Major Indian, Iranian and Turkish modern art exhibition at Northwestern University, Illinois

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Prabhakar Barwe (Indian) King and Queen of Spades, 1967, Oil and paper on canvas, 39 1/4 x 54 1/8 in. Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection. Gift of Abby Weed Grey, G1975.188 (Photo: courtesy Northwestern.edu)

The Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University is the first to bring together modern art from India, Iran, Turkey. The goal is to expand Western perspectives of modern art.

“Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection” surveys art from three nations where unique and vibrant forms of modernism sprang forth in the 1960s and 70s, notes a Dec. 5, 2019 press release from Northwestern.

“Challenging histories of artistic modernism that too often begin and end in the West, “Modernisms” explores an under-recognized flowering of innovation and risk-taking in art beyond Europe and North America,” the University notes.

The exhibition will be on view Jan. 21 to April 5, 2020.

Organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, “Modernisms” draws 114 selected works from the what is considered an unparalleled collection of Grey Art Gallery founder Abby Weed Grey.

This is the first time that selections from its Iranian, Turkish and Indian modern art holdings have been presented together in a cross-cultural study, the University said. “In doing so, Modernisms sheds new light on how artists of the period created works that drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses,” the press release says.

“Drawing on a range of influences including local traditions and the sights and sounds of modern life, artists from these nations forged distinctive new modes of expression,” Block Museum Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs Kathleen Bickford Berzock, is quoted saying in the press release. “These artworks represent a wide range of responses to unique, regional histories and to a rapidly changing world in the mid-20th century. It is an extraordinary opportunity to have these works in one exhibition, allowing us to see with fresh eyes that global art is a central component of modernity.”

“Modernisms” premiered at NYU’s Grey Gallery Sept. 10 where it ran through Dec. 7. After its Jan. 21 to April 5, 2020 run at The Block, the exhibition will travel to the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery in fall 2020, the press release said.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 288-page catalogue, “Modernisms: Iranian, Turkish and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Weed Grey Collection,” co-published by Hirmer Publishers and the Grey Art Gallery, the press release said.

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