Professor Pamela Karimi Publishes New Book with Stanford University Press

Alternative Iran offers a unique contribution to the field of contemporary art

Cover of Karimi’s book, Alternative Iran.
Cover of Karimi’s book, Alternative Iran.

Karimi’s second monograph was released in August 2022. Titled, Alternative Iran: Contemporary Art and Critical Spatial Practice, the book offers a unique contribution to the field of contemporary art, investigating how Iranian artists engage with space and site amid the pressures of the art market and the state's regulatory regimes. Since the 1980s, political, economic, and intellectual forces have driven Iran's creative class toward increasingly original forms of artmaking not meant for official venues. Instead, these art forms appear in private homes with "trusted" audiences, derelict buildings, leftover urban zones, and remote natural sites.

Karimi’s book featured in New York Review of Books.
Karimi’s book featured in New York Review of Books.

Drawing on interviews with over a hundred artists, gallerists, theater experts, musicians, and designers, Pamela Karimi throws into sharp relief the extraordinary art and performance activities that have received little attention outside Iran. Attending to nonconforming curatorial projects, independent guerrilla installations, escapist practices, and tacitly subversive performances, Karimi discloses the push-and-pull between the art community and the state authorities, and discusses myriad instances of tentative coalition as opposed to outright partnership or uncompromising resistance. Illustrated with more than 120 full-color images, this book provides entry into unique artistic experiences without catering to voyeuristic curiosity around Iran's often-perceived "underground" culture.

Karimi’s book launch has been scheduled at several universities, including Princeton University and the University of Toronto. Praised by several top scholars in the field, Karimi’s book was also featured in the fall 2022 issue of the New York Review of Books. More information about the book can be found here: www.sup.org/books/title/?id=26964

Karimi’s book featured in New York Review of Books.
Karimi’s book featured in New York Review of Books.


College of Visual and Performing Arts