Frist Art Museum / 919 Broadway May 30 - August 25th

Shahpour Pouyan

The Frist Art Museum presents Shahpour Pouyan: Winter in Paradise, a multimedia exhibition of architectural drawings, ceramic sculptures, and an ambitious new virtual reality experience. Organized by the Frist Art Museum, the exhibition will be on view in the Frist’s Gordon Contemporary Artists Project Gallery from May 30 through August 25, 2024.

In contemplative works that are astonishing for their beauty and sophistication, Shahpour Pouyan critiques political power and expresses a poetic melancholy about the human condition. Born in Iran in 1979, Pouyan now divides his time between Tehran and London, and his work is in the permanent collections of the British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Victoria and Albert Museum.

Winter in Paradise is the artist’s largest solo museum exhibition to date. “Conceived as a triptych in three galleries, the exhibition explores the architecture of power and its fragmentation and destruction,” writes Frist Art Museum curator at large Trinita Kennedy. “Three major projects from the past decade show Pouyan’s extraordinary mastery of a range of traditional and new media and his engagement with history and contemporary events.”

Politics and the weight of history have been inescapable forces throughout Pouyan’s life. Born during the fateful year when Iran’s last royal dynasty was overthrown in the Islamic Revolution, he grew up in Isfahan, a jewel-like city famous for its domed mosques and grand palaces built when it was the capital of the Seljuk and Safavid empires.

While planning for this exhibition, the Frist was one of only six American art museums invited by the Foundation for Contemporary Art to submit a proposal for the prestigious Ellsworth Kelly Award. Kelly, a prominent American painter who died in 2015, recognized the transformative power of a solo museum exhibition in an artist’s career, and this prize was set up in his memory. The Frist received the 2022 award, which enabled Pouyan to realize this project.

Supported in part by The Ellsworth Kelly Award, made possible by The Ellsworth Kelly Foundation and the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

With additional support from Blevins, Inc., Clay Blevins, the Gordon CAP Gallery Fund, and the Friends of Contemporary Art.

The Frist Art Museum is supported in part by The Frist Foundation, Metro Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image Credits

1. Shahpour Pouyan. Muqarnas Dome, 2022. Glazed ceramic; 15 x 4 3/4 x 4 3/4 in. Courtesy of the artist

2. Shahpour Pouyan in the studio, 2021. Photo: Anne-Katrin Purkiss and Kenneth Armitage Foundation

3. Shahpour Pouyan. Still from Winter in Paradise, 2024. Virtual reality installation; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist