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Nicky Nodjoumi

Brooklyn-based artist Nicky Nodjoumi was born in Kermanshah, Iran in 1942. Earning a Bachelor’s degree in art from Tehran University of Fine Arts before relocating to the United States in the late 1960s, Nodjoumi received his Master’s degree in Fine Arts from The City College of New York in 1974. Returning to Tehran to join the faculty of his alma mater, Nodjoumi joined his politically galvanized students in their criticism of the Shah’s regime, designing political posters inspired by the revolutionary spirit sweeping the country, only to be exiled once more in the aftermath of the revolution. 

 

This political engagement has continued to the present day. His nuanced figurative paintings engage in political discourse with a light, satirical touch, layering his personal heritage and lived experiences in Iran and the United States into scenes that resonate beyond specific historical contexts or geographical boundaries. Nodjoumi’s works are conceived of as theatrical stages, where compositions of figures both serious and ridiculous, in the words of Phong Bui, “house meanings without irony, narratives without stories, humor without morality, above all creating a space that heightens the awareness of old and new history.” Serious in subject matter and witty in execution, these rich and diverse characters enliven Nodjoumi’s narratives and allude to collective experiences underpinned by socio-political struggles, articulating the full spectrum of feelings from aggression to victimhood. 

 

Nicky Nodjoumi's works have been acquired by prominent institutional collections worldwide, including: the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the British Museum in London, LACMA in Los Angeles, the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi, the Grey Art Gallery at New York University in New York, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, among others. In 2014, Nicky had a solo exhibition at the Cleveland Institute of Art titled The Accident, and in 2019 a solo exhibition at the Kansas City Art Institute, titled The Long Day. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn. His shows have been reviewed by major publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Brooklyn Rail, and the Boston Review, among others.