Negar Ahkami: Fantasy Will Set You Free

On View: April 14 – June 2, 2018

Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery

Negar Ahkami creates expressive, tactile paintings inspired by Iranian art and the many global visual traditions that intersect with Iran’s rich art history. Ahkami’s emphasis on rhythm and viscerality over virtuosity is inspired by NYC street art of the 1980s, German expressionism, and urban street life and dance club culture. The imagined dancers in Fantasy Will Set You Free invoke dance floors from the artist’s youth, from New York City night clubs, to parties organized by Ahkami’s parents for the growing Iranian immigrant community in the 1980s and 1990s. The work in Fantasy Will Set You Free places Iranian art and humanity in a broader, joyful context, continuing Ahkami’s longtime engagement with Orientalism and stereotype subversion. Above all, the exhibition is an impassioned escape from depressing news, for the viewer as well as the artist. Ahkami relives the spirit of the dance floor in her studio, by getting lost in spontaneous gestures, flamboyant poses, and a riot of rhythmic patterns.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Negar Ahkami was born in Baltimore and raised in the New York City area. She attended The Art Students League of New York in her formative years, received her BA from Columbia University in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures, and her MFA from School of Visual Arts, NY. She has participated in Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Residency and Governor’s Island Residency, and AAC’s Long-term Artist Residency since 2016. She has had three solo exhibitions in New York at Leila Heller Gallery and LMAK Projects. Her work has been included in group exhibits in museums and galleries, and is represented nationally and internationally in public, corporate and private art collections, such as The New Britain Museum of American Art, Depaul University Art Museum, and the Farjam Collection (UAE). Her work has been reviewed and written about in The New York Times, ArtNews and in various art books such as Talinn Grigor, Contemporary Iranian Art: From the Street to the Studio (Reaktion, 2014), Different Sames, New Perspectives in Contemporary Iranian Art (Thames & Hudson 2009), and others.


RELATED EVENTS

Opening Reception: April 14, 6–9pm
Gallery Talk: June 2, 1-3pm

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Press Release
Exhibition Catalog

Call for Artists

Submit your work for a chance to be exhibited

Support the Museum of Contemporary Art Arlington

Make a Donation

An Adventure of Being

Extended to February 11, 2024

Smith & Meyer Galleries
Featured Artists: Vincent Cy Chen, Nicki Cherry, Jeremy Olson, and Stephanie J. Williams

An Adventure of Being explores blurred boundaries, physical breakdown, and states of in-between-ness. The painting, sculpture, and installations included in the exhibition incorporate materials and forms that bring to mind living beings.

2024 Art Classes for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

Register now! Classes begin January 21!

Whether you are giving the gift of creativity this year to a friend or family member, or you plan to set a new year’s resolution to get back into creating, sign up today to secure your spot in one of MoCA’s wonderful programs! From drawing and painting to ceramics and mixed media, you are sure to find an inspiring art class.

Zaq Landsberg: Reclining Liberty

August 5, 2023 - July 28, 2024

Front Lawn
MoCA Arlington and Arlington Public Art are thrilled to co-sponsor the installation of Zaq Landsberg’s celebrated Reclining Liberty on the Museum’s front lawn.

CLOSE