Siah Armajani: Follow This Line

Featuring nearly one hundred works made over the past 60 years, Siah Armajani: Follow This Line will be the first major U.S. retrospective of the preeminent Iranian-American artist Siah Armajani (b. 1939). While still a student and activist in 1950s Tehran, Armajani created collages that masqueraded as political broadsheets and presaged many of the concerns now associated with American conceptual art. The exhibition will include many never-before-seen and recently rediscovered works from the 1960s and 1970s, as well as the artist’s landmark series Dictionary for Building (1974–75), an installation originally composed of thousands of small-scale, architectural maquettes. By tracking Armajani’s development of an “aesthetic of exile,” the exhibition allows us to peer through his eyes and, ultimately, reimagine the role of public art in America today.

Siah Armajani is best known for his influential works of public art of the 1980s and ’90s: bridges, gazebos, gardens, and reading rooms located across the United States and Europe. Siah Armajani: Follow This Line situates these gathering spaces within a broader oeuvre that traverses cultural, disciplinary, and artistic boundaries; the exhibition delves into the artist’s longstanding preoccupation with the notion of exile and his interest in the relationship between the art object and performance. For the first time, the artist’s sculptures, installations, and drawings are understood and presented as stage props for public performances. Throughout the exhibition, Armajani’s works will be seen as supports for delivering a sermon, political speech, religious recitation, and broadcast radio program, as well as for magic spells, veiled calls for political activism, and poetry readings.

To coincide with the exhibition at The Met Breuer, the Public Art Fund will present a re-staging of Armajani’s seminal public art installation Bridge Over Tree (1970). The installation opens February 20, 2019, at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Empire Fulton Ferry lawn.

20 February to 2 June 2019
The Met Breuer
945 Madison Avenue
10021 New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Met