Accepted Paper:

Globalization and Precarization of the Art Milieu in Iran: Emergence of New Peripheries  


Amin Moghadam (Princeton University )

Paper short abstract:

Based on recent fieldwork conducted in Iran and several interviews conducted with Iranian artists, this presentation examines the impact of the globalization of the contemporary art scene in Iran and the emergence of a monopoly situation that have increased the precarity of artists 'careers.

Paper long abstract:

In Iran, the configuration of actors in charge of the visual arts sector, both as a cultural domain in the public interest and as a lucrative market, has evolved constantly over the past fifty years: From the Pahlavi monarchy, which made this sector one of the drivers of its international image-building to the revolutionary forces who hoped to make it a channel for broadcasting the ideology of the Islamic Republic.

Today in a broader neoliberal context, the Iranian state has delegated its responsibility in the field of contemporary art development to various private and semi-private actors. Art entrepreneurialism has reconfigured the role of public and private stakeholders in defining cultural policy and managing the relevant spaces. The legitimacy of the private and semi-private sectors is often built upon their access to various spheres of influence at the regional and international levels and on the absence of the constraints public stakeholders are often faced with. In addition, the outsourcing of the cultural sector coincides with the ambitions of individuals hoping to make new symbolic and financial capital out of a strategic rapprochement with the arts community. This situation has resulted in a monopoly situation that has increased the precarity of many artists' careers but also contributed to the emergence of new peripheries that challenge the current system. This presentation is based on recent fieldwork carried out in Iran and several interviews conducted with Iranian artists and entrepreneurs.

Panel P034
Cultural Professional Practice in the Age of Globalisation