Armajani unites art and architecture, Persian calligraphy and abstract expressionism, American vernacular architecture and Russian constructivism
In Tehran, children walking home from school would scrape their pencils against the walls, tracing their paths through the city and chanting "follow this line." Siah Armajani (born 1939) recounts that this simple gesture speaks to the desire to mark one''s presence in space. Siah Armajani: Follow This Line asks visitors to follow the artist across a shifting terrain, first within the context of pre-revolution Iran, and later, postwar and present-day America. Though Armajani is best known today for his works of public art—bridges, gazebos, reading rooms—located across the United States and Europe, this groundbreaking exhibition argues for a thoughtful reexamination of his studio as the site of a rich and generative practice. His works engage a range of references: from Persian calligraphy to the manifesto, letter and talisman; from poetry to mathematical equations and computer programming; from the abstract expressionist canvas to American vernacular architecture, Bauhaus design and Russian constructivism.
Published to accompany Armajani''s first major US retrospective, this catalog is his most comprehensive publication to date. Developed in close collaboration with the artist, it offers new scholarship on his six-decade-long career and also includes previously unpublished texts. Contributions by Nazgol Ansarinia, Sam Durant, Barbad Golshiri and Slavs and Tatars speak to Armajani''s influence on a younger generation of artists based in the United States, Europe and the Middle East.