Artists Make New York’s Guggenheim Site of Protest Against Killing of Mahsa Amini

The New York–based collective Anonymous Artists for Iran on October 22 staged a demonstration at the city’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in protest of the killing earlier this fall by Iranian “morality police” of Mahsa Amini. Members of the activist organization ascended to the top of the Guggenheim’s iconic spiral staircase and unfurled a dozen bright red banners bearing the likeness of the twenty-two-year-old Amini alongside the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom.” The action was concurrent with protests around the world supporting women’s rights in Iran, which were ignited by the murder of Amini, a Kurdish woman who reportedly died in custody in Tehran on September 16, three days after being severely beaten by officials for wearing her hijab improperly.

“Dismantling women’s rights is a global challenge, an issue we unfortunately face whether here in the West or in the Middle East. Mahsa will not be forgotten and the cruel injustice done to the women of Iran can no longer be ignored,” wrote the collective in a statement published in Hyperallergic. “The people of Iran are subjected to horrific violence and brutality on a daily basis. With restricted Internet access and minimal or false coverage by Western media, it is time to see them and hear them by shedding light on their fearless fight against a totalitarian system.”

The action is just one of many undertaken by artists in the weeks following Amini’s death, as protests, many led by women, raged in Iran and spread across the globe. On October 7, an anonymous artist/activist dyed the water in several prominent Tehran fountains blood red. Marjane Satrapi, whose graphic novel Persepolis limns her experience as a young girl growing up in Tehran, created a rendering of the country’s name bookended by a bareheaded woman holding her hijab aloft, and numerous Iranian artists and public figures took to social media in support of the cause, among them designer Aschal Farshchi, painter Farah Ossouli, sculptor Kamran Sharif, and video artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat, who posted a photo of the Guggenheim action captioned by the text, “Masha [sic] Amini emerged at the Guggenheim museum today!! Proud of a few brave Iranian artists [making] a surprise protest by hanging this beautiful display today, they are the conscience of the sleepy art world who cares little for Iranian women fighting for basic human rights and freedom.”


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