Bahar Behbahani's research-based practice approaches landscape as a metaphor for politics and poetics. Behbahani looks into cultural landscapes both historically and in a contemporary context, posing urgent questions that consider the ways in which people negotiate space and place. Through a range of media—such as painting, video, installation and performative talks—she excavates historiography to shift the inevitably violent interactions between knowledge and power in historic and imperial contexts to a poetic body of work.

Behbahani is a recipient of the Creative Capital Award for an anticipated project Ispahan Flowers Only Once, a community garden inspired by Persian garden design, philosophy, plants and flora, which will bring people together to take part and re-activate the unseen histories by gathering and gardening.

Born in Tehran, Iran, into an artistic family of writers, painters, musicians and puppeteers, Behbahani relocated to the US and currently works in Brooklyn, NY.


Education


1998
  • Master of Fine Arts in Painting, Azad University of Art, Tehran, Iran
1995
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting, Alzahra University, Tehran, Iran




Selected Solo Exhibitions


2022
  • Water binds me to your name, Trotter & Sholer, curated by Klaudia Ofwona Draber, New York, NY
  • Immigrant Flora: Rising Under, site-specific mural, The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at, Ursinus College, PA
2019
  • All Water Has a Perfect Memory, commissioned for Wave Hill Garden, Bronx, NY
2017
  • Let the Garden Eram Flourish, curated by Smooth Ugochukwu Nzewi, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
2016
  • Garden Coup, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
2015
  • The Garden of Heart's Delight, Etemad Gallery, Tehran, Iran
2013
  • The Short Films of Bahar Behbahani, curated by Michael Rush, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI
  • Hidden Camera, Causey Contemporary, Brooklyn, NY
2012
  • Video 2012, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY
2011
  • The Chronicle of Her Innocence, NYU AD, New York, NY




Selected Group Exhibitions and Biennales


2023
  • Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present, conceived by the late Okwui Enwezor and curated by the Foundation’s Director Hoor Al Qasimi, Sharjah, UAE
2022
  • Infinite Reminders, curated by Srinivas Aditya Mopidevi, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India
  • Mother River, online video series, Asia Society Museum, NY
2020
  • between the sun and the moon, 2nd Lahore Biennale, Lahore, Pakistan
2019
  • Otherwise Obscured: Erasure in Body and Text, Franklin Street Works Gallery, Stamford, CT
  • Trajectory: FiveMyles, FiveMyles, Brooklyn, NY
  • What's Love Got To Do With It?, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
  • Figuring The Floral, Glyndor Gallery, Wave Hill, Bronx, NY
  • Point of Departure: Open Sessions 15, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
  • Short Shadows (two-person show), EMPAC, Troy, NY
  • New Works, Arts Projects International, New York, NY
2018
  • (Up)rooted: A Study On Immigrant Flora (with Shamsy Behbahani), The Shed Space, Brooklyn, NY
  • re:home, For Freedoms exhibition, Minnesota Street Project, San Francisco, CA
  • Active Forms, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
  • Panorama Punjab, curated by Sarah Singh, Punjab, India
2017
  • In Between (Part II): So Far, Mana Contemporary, Jersey City, NJ
  • Clouds⇄Forests, 7th Moscow International Biennale of Contemporary Art
2016
  • Why Not Ask Again, 11th Shanghai Biennale, Shanghai, China
  • The 50 West Artist in Construction Residency Exhibition, Time Equities Inc.'s Art-in-Buildings, New York, NY
  • Fireflies In The Night, video art screenings, curated by Barbara London, Robert Storr, Kalliopi Minioudaki Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center, Athens, Greece
  • MARKING 2: Drawings by Contemporary Artists from Asia, Art Projects International, New York, NY
2015
  • PULSE PLAY, Miami Beach, Miami, FL
2014
  • Vision of Three, Boom Gallery, Tehran, Iran
  • Chain of Fire, The Prologue Exhibition for the 2016 Honolulu Biennial, Honolulu, HI
  • Shortenin' Bread, A participatory installation in collaboration with Torkwase Dyson and Eyebeam, Governors Island, NY
  • Portraits: Reflections by Emerging Iranian Artists, New York, NY
  • Women: Experimental Films, The Shed Space, Brooklyn, NY
2013
  • Dangerous Beauty, Graffit Gallery, Varna, Bulgaria
  • Looks Like Torture, HERE Arts Center, New York, NY
  • The Time In Children's Arts Initiative, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY
  • Six Women, Prosjektrom Normanns, Stavanger, Norway
2012
  • all our relations, 18th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • Part of Me: mise en abyme, Cité International des Arts, Paris, France
  • Aftermath, curated by Basak Senova, Akbank, Istanbul, Turkey
2011
  • TVDinner, Immigrant Movement International, curated by Sandra Skurvida, Queens Museum, New York, NY
  • Iran Via Video Current, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
  • Abu Dhabi Art Fair, Waterhouse & Dodd Gallery, United Arab Emirates
  • She Devil 5, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rome, Italy
  • Sharjah Biennial 10: Plot for a Biennial, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
2010
  • Time After Time, curated by Taraneh Hemami, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
  • SanctionedArray, Whitebox, New York, NY
  • Exhaustion - The Jerusalem Show IV, Al-Ma'mal Foundation for Contemporary Art, Jerusalem, Israel
  • Handheld History, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY
  • Open End, Witzenhausen Gallery, New York, NY
  • The Stalking of Absence, curated by Shaheen Merali, Tokyo Gallery + BTAP Gallery, Tokyo, Japan
  • International Women Artists Video Exhibition, Antrepo, Istanbul, Turkey
  • Silverstein Photography Annual, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, NY
  • March Meeting, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
  • Leila Taghinia-Milani Heller (LTMH) Gallery, New York, NY
2009
  • Brooklyn Artillery, Brooklyn, NY
  • Masques of Shahrazad, Candlestar Gallery, London, England
  • Women Forward, Williamsburg Art & Historical Center, Brooklyn, NY
2008
  • Tribeca Film Festival (Official Selection: "SUSPENDED"), New York, NY
2007-08
  • Wishes and Dreams, Meridian International Center, Touring the US
2007
  • 13th Annual International Exhibition of Women's Art (Best in Show), SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY
2006
  • Experimental Media Series, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
2004
  • The 6th Painting Biennial, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Tehran, Iran
2003
  • Abim Group, Mimara Museum, Zagreb, Croatia
2002
  • Second Biennial of Contemporary Painting of the Islamic World, Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, Iran
  • Dena Group, Vigado Gallery, Budapest, Hungary
  • Dena Group, Palaise des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
  • Palazzo Reale di Napoli, Naples, Italy
  • Dena Group, Iranian Contemporary, Christie's, London, England
  • Fabian Gallery, Marbella, Spain
  • Asian Art Biennial, Bangladesh
  • Dena Group, Villa Del Cardinale, Naples, Italy
2000
  • The Silent Brush, the Ronald Reagan Building, Washington D.C.
  • Art in the World 2000, organized by Beaux Art Magazine, Paris, France




Grants and Awards


2022
  • Sandra Kahn Alpert Visiting Artist Fellowship, Syracuse University, School of Art, NY
2020
  • Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant
2019
  • Creative Capital Award 2019, New York, NY
  • Artist in Residence, EMPAC, Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer, Troy, NY
2018
  • Open Sessions 2018-2020, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
  • The Brown Foundation Fellows Program, based at the Dora Maar House in Ménerbes, France
2017
  • MacDowell, Peterborough, NH
2016
  • Akrai Residency, Sicily, Italy
2015
  • Time Equities' Art-in-Buildings Residency, New York, NY
2014
  • Miranda Arts Project Space Residency, Port Chester, NY
2013
  • Casa dell'Arte International Art Residency Programme, Bodrum, Turkey
  • Art Omi International Artists Residency, Ghent, NY (Made possible by The Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant)
2011
  • Art and Culture Network Program Grant, Open Society Institute, Budapest
2010
  • Eyebeam, Finalist, New York, NY
  • BRIC Media Fellowship, Brooklyn, NY
2007
  • Best in Show - 13th Annual International Exhibition of Women's Art, SOHO20 Chelsea Gallery, New York, NY




Selected Teaching and Pedagogical Lectures


2022
  • The Impact of Public Art on the Urban Landscape, a panel discussion with artists Rico Gatson & Bahar Behbahani and MTA director of Art & Design Sandra Bloodworth, moderated by Lolita Cros, Bronx, NY
  • Dialogues in the Diaspora: Bahar Behbahani and Farsad Labbauf, Asia Society Museum, NY
  • The Sandra Kahn Alpert Visiting Artist, Studio Atelier, Spring 2022
  • Visiting Artist Lecture Series, Department of Art - Studio Art, Queens College, CUNY, NY
  • NAEA National Convention, National Art Education Association, New York, NY
  • Water in a Shared World: Artist Perspectives (practice or action), In Collaboration with Asia Society and the NYU Brademas Center
  • Lecture Series, Syracuse University: Visual and Performing Arts, School of Art
  • Artist in Residence at The Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, Collegeville, PA
  • NYC Crit Club, Guest Speaker, New York, NY
  • Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Drawing, Painting), CUNY, New York, NY
2021
  • WAVE: Workshops on Activism and Visuality in Europe, in collaboration with visual critic Nicholas Mirzoeff and political sociologists, philosophers, activists, and artists
  • Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY (spring semester)
2020
  • Visiting Artist, Smith College Department of Art, Northampton, MA
  • Meet at The Shed: Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates with Artist Bahar Behbahani; The Shed, New York, NY
  • Adjunct Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY (spring semester)
2019
  • Artist Lecture, Smith College Department of Art, Northampton, MA
  • Visiting Critics, MASSART, Studio for Interrelated Media, Boston, MA
  • Artist Lecture, Department of Art and Art History, University at Albany / SUNY, NY
2018
  • A Scholars' Day on The Wagner Garden Carpet from the Burrell Collection, Scotland; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
  • Visiting Critics, MASSART, Studio for Interrelated Media, Boston, MA
  • Visiting Critics, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2017
  • Student Workshop, The Well School, Peterborough, NH
  • Student Workshop, ConVal Regional High School, Peterborough, NH
2016
  • Conversations and Connections: An Afternoon with Artist Bahar Behbahani, Hood Museum of Art; Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
  • Garden Coup, Conversation with Shiva Balaghi, Thomas Erben Gallery, New York, NY
  • Women Artists Panel, St. John's University, Queens, NY
2015
  • Visiting Critic, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
  • Saffron Tea, Screening and Q&A, East Bay Media Center, Berkeley, CA
  • Visiting Curators and Critics, Graduate Student Studio Visits, Parsons School of Design, New York, NY
2014
  • Watchers Watching, talk and screening, moderated by Karol Szafraniec at Galeria Sztuki Współczesnej, BWA Sokół, Nowy Sącz, Poland
  • The Arts in New York City, Macaulay Honors College Seminar, Baruch College, New York, NY
  • Panel Discussion, Portraits: Reflections by Emerging Iranian Artists, New York, NY
  • Critical Dialogues: Bahar Behbahani, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
2013
  • Political Photography: Satires, Cartoons, Statements-Staged Photography and Digital Collages, Left Forum 2013, Pace University, New York, NY
  • The Short Films of Bahar Behbahani, Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, East Lansing, MI
2012
  • Video 2012, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY
2011
  • Visiting Artist, Video Art, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, NY
  • The Chronicle of Her Innocence, conversation with Sam Bardaouil, NYU Abu Dhabi, New York, NY
2010
  • Leila Cancelled Due to Bad Weather, March Meeting, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE
2009
  • Art in Exile Round Table, New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
2003
  • Persian Art from Past to Present, University of Texas, Dallas, TX




Selected Publications and Press


2022
  • Aliza Edelman, “Suspended: Bahar Behbahani’s Displacement and Longing in the PersianGarden,” in Transnational Belonging and Female Agency in the Arts, ed. Basia Sliwinska and Catherine Dormor (Bloomsbury Academic, 2022), forthcoming (peer-reviewed)
2021
  • Wendy S. Walters, "Art Matters Now — 12 Writers on 20 Years of Art: Wendy S. Walters on Catastrophe, 2020, and the Work of Alan Ruiz and Bahar Behbahani," Los Angeles Review of Books
2020
  • Shailaja Tripathi, “Artist Bahar Behbahani uses landscapes as a metaphor for politics and poetics,” Stirworld
  • Nadia Kurd, “Lahore Biennale 02: between the sun and the moon,” Journal of Curatorial Studies – Volume 9 Number 2, University of Alberta Museums
  • Klaudia Ofwona Draber, “Culture and Climate in the Work of Artist Bahar Behbahani.” J'aipur Journal
  • Yuko Hasegawa, “A New Ecology and Art,” GA Journal vol.1, Graduate School of Global Arts, Tokyo University of the Arts
2019
  • Lilly Wei, “Like a River Flows,” in All water has a perfect memory, Wave Hill Garden (brochure, Wave Hill Garden)
2017
  • Dr. Shiva Balaghi “Surrounded by Quiet Nothingness: On Bahar Behbahani’s Paintings,” in Let the Garden Eram Flourish, Hood Museum of Art, (brochure, Dartmouth College
  • Ugochugwu-Smooth C. Nzewi Ph. D., “History as a Context of Artistic Practice,” in Let the Garden Eram Flourish, Hood Museum of Art, (brochure, Dartmouth College)




Public Collections


  • Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH
  • Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
  • Queensland Museum, Brisbane, Australia
  • NYU Langone Art Program and Collection, New York, NY
  • Columbia Hospital, New York, NY
  • The Visual Arts Museum of Pasargad Bank, Tehran, Iran


Download CV
CLICK HERE