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Current Exhibitions

Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden

Final Weeks!
Closing April 9, 2023

This is the first posthumous exhibition at an American museum for Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (1922–2019), one of Iran’s most celebrated and revered visual artists, known internationally for her geometric mirror sculptures that combine the mathematical order and beauty of ancient Persian architectural motifs with the forms and patterns of hard-edged, postwar abstraction.

The exhibition’s title is borrowed from Farmanfarmaian’s 2007 memoir, co-authored by Zara Houshmand, which evokes the visual splendor of the artist’s mirror-mosaic sculptures. Objects on view will include a selection of sculptures, drawings, textiles, and collages spanning four decades, from 1974 to 2019. The exhibition was inspired by the High’s 2019 acquisition of Farmanfarmaian’s cut-mirror sculpture Untitled (Muqarnas) (2012) as well as her 2014 drawing Untitled (Circles and Squares).

This exhibition is organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

Click on an image below to learn more.


Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian (1922–2019) is one of Iran’s most celebrated visual artists, internationally acclaimed for her mirrored sculptures that combine the precision and beauty of the Islamic decorative arts with modes of hard-edged abstraction. For almost fifty years, she produced a body of work inspired by her abiding interest in the intersection of her traditional and modern environs, through the lens of Sufi cosmology, mystical literature, poetry, nature, and the geometric patterns of Islam. In 1944, Monir moved to New York, where she studied at Parsons School of Design and befriended some of the most influential artists of the era, including Milton Avery, Joan Mitchell, and Andy Warhol. She returned to Tehran in 1957, married Abolbashar Farmanfarmaian, and began an exploration of Iran’s creative heritage. Over time, she assembled one of the largest collections of tribal and folk art, jewelry, and architectural fragments in the country.

Monir’s deep engagement with craft traditions led to a rich period of artistic discovery in her studio. She borrowed from Indigenous forms, such as rugs and nomadic tents, and, working in collaboration with master craftspeople, began creating mosaics of mirrored glass using a seventeenth-century decorative technique called ayeneh-kari.

In the winter of 1978, the Farmanfarmaians visited New York, where they found themselves exiled, losing their home and belongings to the Islamic Revolution. Monir finally returned to Iran in 2004 to establish a new home and studio.

Borrowing its title from the memoir coauthored by Zara Houshmand, Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden presents a selection of mirrored sculptures alongside rarely exhibited drawings, collages, assemblages, and selected works the artist made in Iran during the 1970s. The exhibition reflects the artist’s life and times while demonstrating her inexhaustible exploration of form through a synthesis of modern abstraction and the sacred geometry of her native land.

Image of Monir Farmanfarmaian

Organization and Support

This exhibition is made possible by

Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor

Delta logo.

Premier Exhibition Series Supporters
ACT Foundation, Inc.
Sarah and Jim Kennedy
Louise Sams and Jerome Grilhot

wish Foundation logo.

Harry Norman

Benefactor Exhibition Series Supporters
Robin and Hilton Howell

Ambassador Exhibition Supporters
The Antinori Foundation
Corporate Environments
The Arthur R. and Ruth D. Lautz Charitable Foundation
Elizabeth and Chris Willett

Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters
Farideh and Al Azadi
Sandra and Dan Baldwin
The Ron and Lisa Brill Family Charitable Trust
Mr. and Mrs. Robin E. Delmer
Marcia and John Donnell
Mrs. Peggy Foreman
Helen C. Griffith
Mrs. Fay S. Howell/The Howell Fund
Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones
Joel Knox and Joan Marmo
Dr. Joe B. Massey
Margot and Danny McCaul
Wade A. Rakes II & Nicholas Miller
The Fred and Rita Richman Fund
USI Insurance Services
Mrs. Harriet H. Warren

Patrons of Monir Farmanfarmaian: A Mirror Garden
Marlene Alexander
Burch and Mark Hanson
Mo Akbar and Ed Stephenson
Tony Conway and Steve Welsh
Sarah Eby-Ebersole and W. Daniel Ebersole
Jessica and James Freeman
Robin and Hilton Howell
Mary and Neil Johnson
Bahar Nia and Frank Nia
Rosthema Kastin

Generous support is also provided by
Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, and the RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund