In 1988 Fereshteh Daftari obtained a Ph.D. from Columbia University in art history. Her dissertation, Influence of Persian Art on Gauguin, Matisse, and Kandinsky , was published by Garland in 1991. She worked at The Museum of Modern Art from 1988 until 2009, a period during which at first she helped Kirk Varnedoe and Robert Storr organize major retrospectives, such as Cy Twombly and Chuck Close. In the context of MoMA’s prestigious Projects series, Daftari exhibited works by artists such as Paul McCarthy, Diana Thater, Ann Hamilton, Shahzia Sikander, Xu Bing, Janine Antoni, and Kara Walker. For the first time in the history of Projects, contemporary Iranian artists such as Shirin Neshat and Y.Z. Kami were included by her in the series. In 2003 she collaborated with Mona Hatoum on Artist’s Choice: Mona Hatoum, Here Is Elsewhere. In 2006, with the exhibition Without Boundary: Seventeen Ways of Looking, she introduced MoMA’s public to an exhibition devoted to artists from the Islamic world living in the diaspora. The featured artists included Ghada Amer, Kutlug Ataman, Janane Al-Ani, Emily Jacir, Mona Hatoum, Shirazeh Houshiary, Rachid Koreïchi, Walid Raad, , Marjane Satrapi, Shahzia Sikander , Shirana Shahbazi, and Y.Z. Kami. Outside the Museum of Modern Art, she has juried, and curated exhibitions for non-profit organizations, including an exhibition on Iranian modernism at New York University’s Grey Art Gallery in 2002. For the publication of this exhibition, she wrote the first scholarly essay on modern art in Iran. Throughout her career, she has lectured on art, most recently on Iranian contemporary art at LA MOCA (2011) and Columbia University (2011).
In October 2009, she left MoMA in order to focus on her interest in Middle Eastern and, most particularly, Iranian modern and contemporary art. Her recent publications include essays on Ali Banisadr (Paris: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, 2010), Mahmoud Bakhshi (London: Saatchi 2010), Shiva Ahmadi (CANVAS Magazine 2011), Raqib Shaw (London: White Cube 2011). She is currently working on a book project concerning Iranian modern and contemporary art. She is curating Iranian Performance Art (Iranian Arts Now, Paris 2012), Safar/Voyage (Vancouver: MOA 2013), and co-curating Iran/ Modern (New York: Asia Society 2013).
Media Farzin is a New York-based critic and PhD candidate in art history at the City University of New York. She received her BFA in Painting from Tehran University and MA in Curatorial Studies from Columbia University. She is the author of numerous monographic essays on artists, and a regular contributor to Bidoun and Art-Agenda.
An ongoing art project with artist Alessandro Balteo Yazbeck on cultural diplomacy and its modernist artifacts has traveled numerous venues since 2007. She is a lecturer at the City College of New York, and instructor at the Museum of Modern Art.
Hamid Severi studied History of Art at Santa Barbara University and has been teaching theoretical courses at universities and private institutions. He also writes articles for different magazines. The educational deputy at The Art and Architecture Faculty of Azad University in Tehran and the head of the research centre of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art are some of the posts which he has held in the past. He has curated many photography and video art exhibitions and has directed many conferences. He was chosen as Ottawa’s Distinguished Visiting Professor for 2011. He is currently on the editorial board of Art Tomorrow Magazine.