When Iranian artists Neda Razavipour and Shahab Fotuhi proposed an installation in a downtown Tehran apartment building, the government’s Office of Beautification told them “The condition of permanence must be taken into account.” As in, for art to be good, it must last. That’s a surprising position in a theocratic state in which human fallibility and impermanence is enshrined so that Allah might be better glorified. But state theology isn’t as simple as it seems – Razavipour and Fotuhi won their permit by arguing that the “event” of their work, an installation of giant, illuminated photographs of eyes in some of the building’s windows, would leave a lasting impression. Their artwork is fascinating, as is the site on which Jinoos Taghizadeh’s interview with them appears, Tehran Avenue. There is almost nothing explicitly “religious” in any of its coverage of the Iranian arts & culture scene. A reflection, no doubt, of a bohemian elite’s frustration with the restrictions of theological law – and, in the thoroughness with which it erases Islam from the art of the Islamic Republic, a fiercely theological statement of its own. More…