Anthologies are tricky projects to undertake. They are by their nature exclusive, as their purpose is either to further a canon's creation without challenging it, or to shatter boundaries and call for re-definitions and new critical perspectives. Either way, the vast majority of contributors to the anthologized media will be left out. Modern Women: Women Artists at the Museum of Modern Art is self-consciously trying to create both kinds of compilations at the same time. The book being about modern art specifically further complicates the viewing of these artists and their work—the editors are attempting to define and redefine a genre created to define and redefine. So it goes without saying that Modern Women is a pretty metaphysical literary and artistic experience.
A photograph from Shadi Ghadirian's "Qajar" series.
I planned to write only about Sara Rahbar today, but in researching her and her work I found a few more amazing Iranian artists highlighted in the Saatchi Gallery's 2009 exhibition "Unveiled: New Art From the Middle East". This post will only feature Rahbar and Shadi Ghadirian, but I urge you to check out the work of Shirin Fakhim, Tala Madani, Laleh Khorramian and the other very talented artists from that exhibit.