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 a puppeteer, 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
  • 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, generated@wavehill, 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
  • 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 Dormer (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