In Iran, An Underground Art Scene Becomes Mainstream

Homegrown artists are fueling a dynamic market for contemporary work

The Wall Street Journal has recently published an article written by Joshua Levine about the Iranian contemporary art scene that features Dastan. Click here to read the full article.


The article writes:

Hormoz Hematian, who owns both galleries, opened it six years ago as a kind of minor league for emerging artists and new collectors. The work is uneven, but there’s a lot of it, some of it very good and all of it priced to move.

“It’s like an audition room. We did 40 shows last year, and if three get picked up, we’re good,” says Hematian, a young Tehrani who received a master’s in civil engineering from the University of British Columbia, discovered he hated the field and then made a radical course correction. In 2015, Hematian opened Dastan +2 for promising artists from the Basement who were ready to move upstairs. His first space was in an elegant gray-brick building that used to house the Belgian Consulate. Art galleries in Tehran often pop up and disappear overnight. More than a few are started by the children of wealthy parents, who use them to speculate on rising prices, or often just for bragging rights on Fereshteh.

Dastan has managed to sink more solid roots here, but Hematian is under no illusions about what drives the market. The original Dastan +2 shared a building with a showroom for sleek designer furniture and a fancy landscape architect. Hematian somewhat sheepishly concedes that many of his customers came there for the luxury one-stop shopping, not connoisseurship. As far back as the Achaemenids, Persians enjoyed a reputation—among the ancient Greeks, anyway—for self-pampering.

March 23, 2018
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