Imagine possessing paintings belonging to one of the world’s most famous artists, and not even knowing it. That’s exactly what happened to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. Since Iran’s 1979 revolution, its North American and European collections — including some of the world’s best postwar Western artwork — have been locked in a basement. Now, the museum is planning a major exhibition that will showcase, for the first time in decades, several major pieces that were recently rediscovered in the museum’s depths.
The exhibition, titled “Portrait, Still-life, Landscape,” will take place throughout the entire museum in February 2019. It’ll include up to 500 works from the museum’s collection, displaying Western and Middle Eastern art alongside one another. Dutch architect and show’s curator Mattijs Visser told the Art Observer, “I want to mix up everything so that people can really see something which they have never seen before.”
It’s the recent renovations to the museum that led to the discoveries in the storage facilities. While curators had previously known about two of Picasso’s works housed in storage, an additional ten were found, all of which will be on display during the February exhibition.
The “Portrait, Still-life, Landscape” exhibition will not travel to any other country. Though Visser doesn’t expect to face much censorship, he won’t display overtly political works, or feature any nudity.