Shahpour Pouyan announced as the recipient of the 2022 Ellsworth Kelly Award

Frist Art Museum will present Shahpour Pouyan exhibition in the summer of 2024

Lawrie Shabibi is proud to announce that Shahpour Pouyan has been selected as the recipient of the 2022 Ellsworth Kelly Award by the Foundation For Contemporary Arts. 

In the summer of 2024, the Frist Art Museum (FAM) in Nashville, Tennessee will present an in-depth exhibition of Iranian-born artist Shahpour Pouyan. The 2022 Ellsworth Kelly Award will support this first U.S. solo museum exhibition of the artist’s work, organized by FAM Senior Curator Trinita Kennedy.

Conceived as a triptych, Pouyan’s exhibition will be installed in three galleries, each housing a major work or series. The first gallery will be dedicated to Monday Recollections of the Muqarnas Dome, thirty-nine mixed-media drawings on paper created in 2015. The second will show We Owe This Considerable Land to the Horizon Line, a large group of ceramic sculptures in architectural forms made in 2017. The third will present the artist’s first virtual reality installation, premiering at FAM: an immersive sensory experience evoking a fictional mosque based on several historically significant mosques in Iran. Instead of being full of light and beauty, it will be cold and gloomy, with snow falling from the ceiling, and the temperature in the room will drop to create a chilling effect.

Pouyan and FAM see this exhibition as an opportunity to create cross-cultural exchange. Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic relations since 1980, and in many American cities, including Nashville, there are few opportunities to learn about Iranian culture. “Pouyan’s work is astonishing for its intense beauty, sophistication, and virtuosity,” said curator Trinita Kennedy. “While his art is political, Pouyan never announces his agenda, leaving the door open for dialogue and understanding.”


Since opening as the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in 2001, the Frist Art Museum has gained international recognition for its exhibitions and programs. A non-collecting institution, FAM’s mission is to present and originate high-quality exhibitions with related educational programs and community engagement activities, and its vision is to inspire people through art to look at their world in new ways. FAM programming includes international and national exhibitions, as well as shows devoted to regional and local artists.

July 13, 2022