Art And Culture

Cultural Diplomacy Has a Price Tag

Cultural Diplomacy Has a Price Tag Cultural Diplomacy Has a Price Tag

Cultural diplomacy comes at a price. Officials in Tehran are negotiating a fee of up to $3 million with their German counterparts for a planned exhibition organized by Berlin State Museums of works of modern art from the collection of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMoCA).

Last month, Rome’s museum of modern art, MaXXI, announced that it was next in line after Berlin to show paintings from the collection, which includes works by Picasso, Rothko, Pollock and Bacon, acquired just before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, reported. The director of the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC is also keen to stage a show, drawing on works acquired by the TMoCA at the end of the 1970s.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, which was among the first to start talks with Tehran, ended negotiations to borrow the entire collection. When the Musée Picasso in Paris lent works abroad to raise funds for its revamp, the loan fee was around $1 million per institution.

Berlin State Museums and MaXXI declined to comment on the possible lending fees for the TMoCA art treasures. A spokeswoman for the Smithsonian’s museum of modern and contemporary art says: “We are in early discussions on bringing these great treasures to the Hirshhorn—a first-time exhibition in the US. No loan fees have been discussed as yet.”

After the State Museums Berlin and the Hirschhorn Museum in Washington, DC, Rome’s Maxxi museum is the latest institution to enter into talks with the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art to display its world-class collection of modern art. According to the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera, the Tehran collection will go on show at the Rome museum in January 2017.

Giovanna Melandri, the president of the Fondazione Maxxi, signed the deal on November 29, during a two-day business forum between the two countries in the Iranian capital. The show will be organized by Bartolomeo Pietromarchi, the former director of Rome’s Macro museum and a former curator at Maxxi, who is currently in Tehran selecting the works.

 “I’m extremely happy with this deal: we have opened an extremely interesting communication line with Tehran which points to a renewed climate of cultural cooperation,” Melandri told Il Corriere della Sera.

 Tehran’s collection of modern art includes works by Bacon, Pollock and Warhol, among others, has not left the country since the revolution and is said to be the best collection of modern art held outside the West.