The Smiles are not Smiles


The project is based on events surrounding the inaugural exhibition at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery. This now very well established New York gallery began its life in Tehran in 1978.

In the 1970’s Tony Shafrazi, better known as the perpetrator of the graffiti attack on Picasso’s Guernica, was involved in the development of one of the great fantasy collections of the 20th century Western art. With the inflation in the oil price the Shah of Iran had become one of the wealthiest people on the planet. At the prompting of the Shahbanou, Farah Diba, the Shah’s 3rd wife an imperial art collection was quickly amassed expanding the power of the Peacock Throne into the art market. In Tehran a museum was built to house this collection. Being mainly Western art it epitomized the Shah’s vision for the modern Iranian state.