Lecture, The Shiraz Arts Festival, 1967–77: When Iran Hosted the International Avant-Garde

Vali Mahlouji, independent curator, discusses the Shiraz Arts Festival, a magnet for experimental artists from across the globe that was held in the Iranian cities of Shiraz and Persopolis.

As impossible as it would seem in today’s cultural and political environment, the Shiraz Arts Festival, celebrated annually in Iran from 1967–77, was the most radical intercultural meeting of the performing arts in history. Shiraz brought experimental Western artists into contact with deeply traditional forms and with Asian, African, and Persian contemporaries. The festival came to an end with the Iranian revolution of 1979. Public discussion of the festival is forbidden in today’s Iran, where it is officially recalled as a symbol of pre-revolutionary decadence. London-based scholar Vali Mahlouji will give an overview of the Shiraz Festival’s project and archive, and will offer a critical consideration of the festival’s legacy within Iran and in a global context.

Copresented with the Yale School of Drama.