Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art

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Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
موزه هنرهای معاصر تهران
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art 1 edit.jpg
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is located in Tehran
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
Location within Tehran
Established 1977
Location Laleh Park
Coordinates 35°42′40″N 51°23′25″E / 35.7112°N 51.3904°E / 35.7112; 51.3904Coordinates: 35°42′40″N 51°23′25″E / 35.7112°N 51.3904°E / 35.7112; 51.3904
Type Art Museum
Director Majid Mola-Nourozi
Website www.tmoca.com/home/

Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, (Persian: موزه هنرهای معاصر تهران), also known as TMoCA, is among the largest art museums in Iran. It has collections of more than 3000 items that include 19th and 20th century's world-class European and American paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures. TMoCA also has one of the greatest collections of Iranian modern and contemporary art.

The museum was inaugurated by Empress Farah Pahlavi in 1977, just two years before the 1979 Revolution.[1] TMoCA is considered to have the most valuable collections of modern Western masterpieces outside Europe and North America.[2]


The museum was designed by Iranian architect Kamran Diba, who employed elements from traditional Persian architecture, it was built adjacent to Laleh Park, Tehran, and was inaugurated in 1977.[3] The building itself can be regarded as an example of contemporary art, in a style of an underground New York Guggenheim Museum.[4]

Spiraling walkway

Most of the museum area is located underground with a circular walkway that spirals downwards with galleries branching outwards.[4] Western sculptures by artists such as Ernst, Giacometti, Magritte and Moore can be found in the museum's gardens.[4]

Garden of Sculptures, near the museum

After the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Western art was stored away in the museums vault until 1999 when the first post-revolution exhibition was held of western art showing artists such as Hockney, Lichtenstein, Rauschenburg and Andy Warhol.[4] Now pieces of the Western art collection are shown for a few weeks every year but due to conservative nature of the Iranian establishment, most pieces will never be shown.[4]

It is considered to have the most valuable collection of Western modern art outside Europe and the United States, a collection largely assembled by founding curators David Galloway and Donna Stein under the patronage of Farah Pahlavi.[5][6] It is said that there is approximately £2.5 billion worth of modern art held at the museum.[7] The museum hosts a revolving programme of exhibitions and occasionally organises exhibitions by local artists.

A touring exhibitions was planned for autumn 2016 in Berlin, Germany, consisting of a three-month tour of sixty artworks, half Western and half Iranian, the show was to run for three months in Berlin, then travel to the Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Arts in Rome for display from March through August.[8] However, the plan has been indefinitely postponed because the Iranian authorities have failed to allow the paintings to leave the country.[9] Also in 2017, a larger touring exhibition is planned for the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C.[4] It is hoped that revenue from these tours will allow the museum to upgrade the infrastructure as well as purchase new art, something it hasn't done for over forty years.[4]


Purchasing expensive art work and opening the contemporary art museum in Tehran by the empress was a controversial topic at the day in 1977, as social and economic inequalities were rising and the government was a dictatorship not tolerating the rising opponents. Le Monde art critic André Fermigier wrote an article called "A museum for whom and for what?", "questioning the link between an Iranian child and a Picasso or a Pollock".[10]

Permanent collection[edit]

This is a list of artists featured in the permanent collection at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.

At Eternity's Gate by Vincent van Gogh, lithograph, 1882, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art: The Crown Jewel, The Harpers Bazaar Arabia
  2. ^ Iran Has Been Hiding One of the World’s Great Collections of Modern Art, Bloomberg
  3. ^ Kaur, Raminder; Dave-Mukherji, Parul (2015). Arts and Aesthetics in a Globalizing World. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 304. ISBN 9780857855473. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Waldman, Peter; Motevalli, Golnar (23 November 2015). "The Greatest Museum Never Known". Bloomberg Businessweek. pp. 50–55. 
  5. ^ Dehghan, Saeed Kamali. “Former queen of Iran on assembling Tehran's art collection.” The Guardian. 1 August 2012: Print.
  6. ^ Iran Keeps Picassos in basement. LA Times. Kim Murphy. 19 September 2007.
  7. ^ https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/oct/29/artnews.iran
  8. ^ Nayeri, Farah (2016-12-28). "Berlin Cancels Rare Show of Modern Art from Tehran Museum". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  9. ^ Dehghan, Kate Connolly Saeed Kamali (2016-11-25). "Iran pulls the plug on Tehran art exhibition in Berlin". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  10. ^ Vassigh, Alidad. "Seeing Warhol In Tehran? The Saga Of Iran's Modern Art Museum". Retrieved 2017-03-26. 
  11. ^ a b "At Eternity's Gate", vggallery.com. Last Retrieved 19 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Paul Gauguin". Retrieved 6 October 2015. 
  13. ^ Olsen, Kelly (2012-05-02). "Jackson Pollock's Splashes of Paint From Iran". WSJ. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  14. ^ Kim Murphy (19 September 2007). "Picasso is hiding in Iran". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  15. ^ Alberto Giacometti, Standing Woman, tmoca.com.
  16. ^ Alberto Giacometti, Walking Man 1, tmoca.com.
  17. ^ Max Ernst, Capricorn, tmoca.com.
  18. ^ René Magritte, The Therapeutae, tmoca.com.
  19. ^ "Masterpiece Basement". The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia. 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  20. ^ Dehghan, Saeed Kamali (2012-08-01). "Tehran exhibition reveals city's hidden Warhol and Hockney treasures". the Guardian. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  21. ^ "Mural on Indian Red Ground, 1950 by Jackson Pollock". 
  22. ^ Henry Moore, Two–Pieces Reclining Figure, tmoca.com.
  23. ^ Henry Moore, Three–Pieces Reclining Figure, tmoca.com.
  24. ^ http://www.tmoca.com/section14/page11.aspx?lang=Fa
  25. ^ http://www.grafjo.ir/gonagon/295.html
  26. ^ Parviz Tanavoli, Sanctified 1, tmoca.com.
  27. ^ Union, Ajax (2012-08-05). "Exclusive: Secret Iranian Art Collection Features Work from Iconic Israeli Artist Yaacov Agam". Algemeiner.com. Retrieved 2015-10-06. 

External links[edit]