In her mesmerizing films and photographs, Shirin Neshat (Iranian-American, b. 1957, Qazvin) examines the nuances of power and identity in the Islamic world--particularly in her native country of Iran, where she lived until 1975. Shirin Neshat: Facing History is the companion volume to the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum exhibition of the same name. This beautiful volume presents an array of Neshat's most compelling works and illuminates the points at which cultural and political events have inflected her artistic practice. Included are the "Women of Allah" photographs that catapulted the artist to international acclaim in the 1990s; lyrical video installations that immerse the viewer in imagery and sound; and the photographic series "The Book of Kings"--including its latest chapter, Our House Is on Fire, created in the aftermath of the recent Egyptian revolution. Hirshhorn curator Melissa Ho provides an introduction to Neshat's deeply humanistic art, and executive director of the Foundation for Iranian Studies Mahnaz Afkhami contributes a cultural and political history of Iran to contextualize Neshat's work. Commenting on freedom and loss, the art of Shirin Neshat is at once personal, political, and allegorical, and this book is a testament to its enduring power.
MELISSA HO is a curator at the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, where she organized the exhibitions Salvatore Scarpitta: Traveler, Barbara Kruger: Belief+Doubt, and, with Evelyn Hankins, At The Hub of Things: New Views of the Collection. She has contributed to numerous publications, including Color Chart: Reinventing Color 1950 to Today and Barnett Newman.