Internationally acclaimed photographer, videographer, and filmmaker Shirin Neshat first came to prominence in the mid-1990s when she exhibited her series the Women of Allah, an extraordinary body of work exploring women in Islamic culture. Since then, the Iranian-born artist has continued to explore difficult subjects: the boundaries between East and West, men and women, the sacred and the profane, exile and belonging. Her work is marked by its graphic boldness and stirring imagery: photographs of women cloaked in black veils with excerpts of Farsi poetry inscribed across the surface; videos of clans of men and women in barren landscapes chanting or groups of men and women listening to rousing moralistic sermons in a public hall; and, as in her most recent projects, magical realist works in which women fly or plant themselves in gardens to ensure their fertility.
Renowned art critic and historian Arthur C. Danto explores the entirety of the artists rich and varied oeuvre, from the earliest photographs to her latest work, the film Women Without Men. Her first feature film, for which she was awarded the prestigious Silver Lion for Best Director at the Venice Film Festival, is based on the novella of the same name that was banned in Iran; it has taken nearly seven years to complete. In addition to the important essay by Danto, the book includes a foreword in the form of a letter by artist Marina Abramovic and commentaries for each series of work by Neshat herself, allowing a glimpse into the creative process of one of the most unique artists of her time.
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