Besides being the economic and political hub of the country, Tehran city is also the cultural center of Iran. As a result of the consolidation of facilities in Tehran, it has become the leader in various cultural fields such as poetry and literature, cinema and theater, as well as visual arts. With regard to visual arts, Tehran has emerged as the country's art center thanks to the explosive development of art galleries, notably in recent years, and the holding of various auctions and festivals. New galleries opening with appropriate exhibition spaces, particularly in the center of Tehran, demonstrate that new resources are flowing into the visual arts. There are art galleries in Tehran that sometimes focus on only one field, such as photography or pursue their activities in various fields, such as painting, design, performance, digital art and sculpture.
Tehran's famous and best galleries
In recent years, the number of galleries opening in Tehran has been so large that it is more than ever important to rank them. The significance of this issue doubles when you know that some of these galleries remain not very professional and, for example, organize exhibitions in exchange for money paid by the artists and with no regard for quality. A number of these galleries are not active permanently or are closed for good after a short period of time.
However, there are galleries among them having a long history and playing a major role in introducing and promoting Iranian art and artists by holding proper exhibition space and taking part in significant foreign art fairs. This article will introduce some of the best, most famous and best art galleries in Tehran.
The history of art galleries in Tehran
Seihoun Gallery is the oldest gallery in Iran
When looking at the history of art galleries in Tehran, we will notice that before the 1920s, there were not many art galleries in Iran and Tehran, as well as famous artists and people didn't know a lot about new artists and their works. Back then, artists were in touch only with their colleagues.
The history of art galleries in Tehran goes far back to the past when their count, form and location were very different. In Iran, the first modern gallery was founded in 1961. Before then, artworks were generally displayed in cafés and places where people gathered. As Iranians traveled to Western and European countries, little by little, they began to become familiar with painting and art galleries and started thinking about establishing galleries.
There were very few galleries in Tehran in those years, with the gallery being commonly known as Negarkhaneh. Actually, the first person who mentioned the word gallery was the poet of the new Iranian style, Ali Esfandiari, known as Nima Youshij.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art
One of the most diverse and amazing attractions in Tehran, the Museum of Contemporary Art is frequently visited by many domestic and foreign guests daily. Today, the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art possesses the most extensive and prominent treasures of modern art from post-World War II to the 1980s outside Europe and North America, which includes important works from the movements of abstract sensationalism, pop art, minimalism, conceptualism, and photorealism.
The museum's permanent treasury houses a collection of over 4,000 valuable works by Iran's and the world's visual art elite, of which almost 400 are of outstanding value. It is estimated that the value of the museum's artworks is $2.5 billion. Most of these works were acquired in the 1970s during the supervision of Farah Pahlavi. The works in the museum include some very important works by Gauguin, Renoir, Picasso, Magritte, Ernst, Pollock, Warhol, Levitt and Giacometti. One of the assets of this museum is a very important collection of contemporary Iranian art and paintings by such artists as Sohrab Sepehri.
All in all, the Museum of Contemporary Art has 9 galleries, of which three house the precious works of the artists mentioned above and 6 temporary galleries are located on the way of visitors, making the visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art very simple and pleasant. Being one of the best art galleries in Tehran, inside here, there are artworks and sculptures by artists from different countries of the world. Of these works, the most famous is the figure of the "Therapist" by René Magritte, a Belgian painter.
Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art is located on North Kargar Street, between Keshavarz Boulevard and Fatemi Street, adjacent to Laleh Park. You can visit the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on all weekdays from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fridays. The Museum of Contemporary Art is only closed on annual official holidays.
Shirin Art Gallery
Of the many art galleries in Tehran, the Shirin Gallery is a famous name among art lovers. This gallery launched its operations in 2004 and has continued its activities in the fields of education, culture and art. Shirin Gallery is considered to be one of the most beloved galleries in Tehran. It has a very nice and clean building and one of the most active galleries in the capital. A variety of artworks, such as photography and painting collections and voluminous artworks, like a collection of sculptures and conceptual works by famous artists from Iran and all over the world, are on display in Shirin Gallery.
Shirin Partovi is the founder of this gallery. The purpose of establishing the Shirin Gallery was to facilitate the exhibition of works by young artists who were just starting their artistic activity, representing different styles of art. The second branch of the Shirin Gallery was opened in New York in 2012. Shirin Gallery is considered one of the most important art galleries in Tehran and is located at Karim Khan Zand St., Sanai St., 13 Alley, No. 5. It is closed on Mondays and open to visitors on other days of the week from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm and from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm on Fridays.
In case you prefer not to visit the gallery by car, you can get off at Shahid Mofateh or Shohaday-e Haftom-e Tir metro station on Line 1 to get to Shirin Gallery. Exit Haft-e Tir metro station on Karim Khan Zand Street and head west until you reach Sanai Street. Walking north, you will reach 13th Street and the Shirin Gallery. When you get off at Shahid Mofateh Metro Station, head west on Shahid Motahari St. and Takht Tavous until you reach Sanai Street. If you go south, you will reach 13th Street and Shirin Gallery.
Iranian Artists Forum
Located on the south side of the Honarmandan Park, the Iranian Artists Forum was built in 1999 and since then has become one of the most important cultural hubs in Iran and Tehran and is one of the best art galleries in Tehran. Featured artists like Morteza Momayez, Iraj Kalantari, Iraj Rad, Gholamhossein Nami and Mohammad Sarir have been among the founders of this gallery. One of the ideal destinations for art lovers, the Iranian Artists Forum is both a cultural and artistic center where a range of events are held. Among these artistic and cultural events are visual art galleries, film screenings and theater performances, in addition to music concerts and the sale of handicrafts and art works.
The Iranian Artists Forum has different parts, such as theaters, galleries, restaurants and conference halls. This gallery's theaters are named as Jalil Shahnaz Hall, Fereydoun Naseri Hall, Gholamhossein Amirkhani Hall and Ezzatullah Entezami Auditorium. All of the halls except Amirkhani Hall can accommodate more than 100 people, and they host many graduation ceremonies, meetings and important events.
Morteza Momayez Gallery, Gholam Hossein Nami Gallery, Seyed Hadi Mirmiran Gallery, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter Galleries are some of the galleries of this Iranian Artists Forum, with the largest of them being Morteza Momayez Gallery which covers an area of 152 square meters and has one big hall and two small halls. The galleries of the Iranian Artists Forum have been hosting many art workshops and very important exhibitions, such as the cartoon and photo exhibition on the global fight against terrorism.
"Nabshi Center" launched its work in the summer of 2017 in downtown Tehran, on South Villa St. While focusing on archival and research projects, hosting exhibitions, publishing book collections, and designing and presenting cultural and artistic products in the Nabshi Store spaces, Nabshi Gallery is trying to welcome the people of the city to observe and study art, architecture, and design in a collaborative approach. What Nabshi represents is a private museum that deals with contemporary Iranian art and history from a cultural sociology perspective.
Dedicated to offering a flexible and dynamic central space for the exploration of visual arts in the context of the city, Nabshi Gallery blurs the boundaries between art, architecture, and design in a highly collaborative approach towards expanding urban horizons through the publication of a collection of books and the staging of exhibitions, workshops, meetings, and interdisciplinary events.
As one of the best art galleries in Tehran, Nabshi Center is located in Karim Khan St., Villa St., Khosrow Alley, No. 51, and except for Saturdays, you can visit it from Sunday to Thursday between 11:00 am and 7:00 pm and on Fridays from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm. And we should also mention that visiting this gallery is free of charge.
The O Gallery, originally established in 2014 by Orkideh Daroodi, is located in the heart of Tehran in a 1960s three-story building converted into two separate showrooms and private exhibition space. Boasting a diversified roster of twenty-two artists, O Gallery has developed into a prominent and leading force over the seven years since its launch with a vibrant program of events.
Recognized as one of the best art galleries in Tehran and an art incubator for both young and rising talent, O Gallery also exhibits works by prominent and established artists of all mediums from Tehran and elsewhere in Iran for the local and international market. O Gallery has gradually evolved into one of the most popular and frequently visited galleries in Tehran.
This gallery's schedule also involves major pop-up exhibitions hosted in other cities to broaden the scope of the program beyond the traditional white cube. By collaborating with prominent curators and public intellectuals, this gallery is also actively engaged in educational programs to further spark discussions in the region's contemporary art field. The O Gallery has launched its own series of monographs as an integral part of its outreach program and to further encourage its artists, of which three titles have been published to date.
Silk Road Gallery
Located in Tehran, Silk Road Gallery is the first Iranian art gallery exclusively and professionally dedicated to exhibiting beautiful photographic works. Since its establishment in 2001, this gallery has played a significant role in the development of the new artistic movement in the field of photography, in particular in the last decade, and has displayed the works of famous photographers such as Bahman Jalali and Shadi Qadirian. The mentioned gallery is focused on the modern trends of photography and has no commercial goals. It has had the honor of taking part in major international art exhibitions such as the Dubai Art Exhibition, Arco, Paris Photo Exhibition and a host of other cultural and artistic events.
This art gallery, which is without a doubt one of the best art galleries in Tehran as acknowledged by many art lovers, is located at No. 210, Keshavarz Blvd. in Techno Ajar Building, Laleh Park, Tehran. The Silk Road Gallery welcomes art visitors of Tehran from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, excluding Saturdays.
Aaran Art Projects
Among art galleries in Tehran, Aaran Art Projects Gallery is famous. Aaran Art Projects Gallery is located in Noufel Loshatu street and has a pleasant atmosphere. This gallery is among dozens of the most interesting and spectacular art galleries in Tehran. The works of contemporary artists in the fields of painting, lithography and other works are displayed in this gallery.
There is a very nice environment in Aaran Art Projects Gallery, where you feel really comfortable. The Raya Cafe is located on the top floor of the gallery, and after visiting it, you can have a delicious meal and drink in there and chat with your friends. Both the architecture of the Aaran Art Projects and the Raya Cafe are very attractive.
Aaran Art Projects Gallery represents one of the most important and best art galleries in Tehran and is located in Hafez St., Noufel Loshatu St., not far from the French Embassy, in Lolagar Alley, No. 5. This gallery welcomes visitors from Sunday to Thursday from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm and on Friday and Saturday from 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm.
If you do not feel like driving to this gallery, you can use the Metro to get to Aran Projects Gallery. To get there, simply exit at the Ferdowsi station or at the Valiasr intersection on line four of the Metro. Head down Enghelab Street to Hafez Street and then Noufel-Loshatu Street to Lolagar Alley to get to the Aaran Art Projects Gallery. Also, you can take the buses from Baharestan Square-Medan Jomhoori and get off at Hafez Station. After walking north on Hafez Street, you will reach Noufel Loshatu Street, Lolagar Alley and Aaran Art Projects Gallery.
Conclusion: Best Art Galleries in Tehran
In this article of Navaran magazine, we introduced seven of the best art galleries in Tehran, which were also some of the modern art galleries in Iran. As one of Iran's cultural and artistic hubs, the city of Tehran has some wonderful art galleries. If you are looking for things to do in Tehran and you are passionate about the world of art, and visiting art galleries is one of your favorite things to do, then paying a visit to one of these galleries we have introduced in this article can be a wonderful experience for you.
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