For this year’s The Armory Show, our selection of galleries is an exuberant mix of specialists. Leila Heller Gallery a well known Chelsea gallery specializes in presenting artists from the Middle East and America, whose works are continuously acquired by major national and international museums.
The gallery’s highlight this year is a video installation by the late Farideh Lashai. The video is a lush combination of Dejeuner sur l’herbe by Édouard Manet and its contemporary interpretation by Lashai.
Heller’s artists consider contemporary events like the Arab Spring and incorporate these themes into familiar art-historical imagery like Michelangelo’s Pietá. The gallery will present Ayad Alkadhi‘s paintings which tackle the subject of Arab Spring, and symbolize the human struggle in times that caused angst and despair, and led to questions on humanity. Reza Aramesh will present his rendition of the “Pietà”. Aramesh presents the emotions associated with the Biblical theme (the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus) through two soldiers. In this case, an Iraqi soldier will be shown cradling the body of the dying Iranian soldier. We are looking forward to seeing this intense and profound artwork.
The serious Arab Spring topic picked by the artist is offset by Hadieh Shafie‘s colorful frames embodying vivaciousness and joie de vivre of Turkmen-inspired jewelry. Thousands and thousands (in some cases 25,000 pieces of paper) of hand-written notes from Farsi poetry are painted and then rolled into miniature scrolls and then assembled like into a brilliant kaleidoscope. The artist, who began to work with squares and circles is now drawing inspiration from other mediums.
Also on view are works by Leila Pazooki and Rachel Lee Hovnanian who is preparing a brand new installation featuring her Motherboards and Reflections.
The interview with Leila Heller was like a window into the world of color and thought-provoking art.
Video interview transcript on page 2