Ardeshir Mohassess


Before the Iranian Revolution, satiric artist Ardeshir Mohassess (b. 1938) often got himself in trouble with the Shah’s secret police; one of his ink drawings features a comically dilapidated aircraft crammed with soldiers who strafe praying citizens. Densely stippled smoke trailing from the machine gun and light cross-hatching for the whirling propeller are typical of the varying textures in these depictions of religious persecution, arrest, and execution. The artist came to New York in 1976 and remained here after the ayatollahs toppled the Shah’s government, using his pen to attack their cruelties in turn. A cartoonish line drawing from 2000, titled The Ruling Power, envisions rows of decapitated corpses laid neatly before seated mullahs. The exhibition also includes sketchbooks, collages, and reproductions of work confiscated or destroyed by the Iranian authorities. As Mohassess once said: “I do not believe in an ideal society. I do not need an ideal society either, as there is no need for me in such a society.”

Tuesdays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: June 26. Continues through Aug. 3, 2008