TRIBECA — When young TriBeCa art collector and blogger Taymour Grahne got fed up with the lack of contemporary Middle Eastern art in New York's galleries, he decided to start his own.
Grahne, 24, is opening an expansive 4,000-square-foot art space in his neighborhood this Saturday, focusing on Middle Eastern and North African works. The Taymour Grahne Gallery will launch with an exhibit by Iranian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Nicky Nodjoumi.
Grahne, who’s written a blog called Art of the Mid East for several years, said the two-level gallery at 157 Hudson St. will highlight some artists who have never shown their work in the United States, and it will also expand beyond the Middle East to feature works from Irish, Greek and Pakistani artists.
"We want to exhibit the works of Middle Eastern and North African artists in an international context, to showcase exciting great pieces alongside art from all over the world, and break down regional barriers," he said.
Grahne, who is of Lebanese and Finnish descent and grew up in Beirut, London and New York, said he has long been drawn to the unique creativity and passion of modern Middle Eastern and North African artists.
“I personally am interested in works that delve into the artist’s country’s history, politics and culture,” Grahne said. “I think showcasing the works of these artists, many of whom deal with the specific political and social situations in their cultures, can help educate and bring about a dialogue about these issues."
Grahne said that's a reason he chose 73-year-old Nodjoumi's work for the gallery's inaugural exhibit. Along with the powerful political and social messages embedded in the artist's large-scale paintings and drawings, Grahne said Nodjoumi, who has spent decades living in Greenpoint, holds the unique position of being both a New York and Iranian artist.
"For me, coming to New York has helped me achieve my dreams," said Grahne, who spent the past several years earning a master's degree in art business from Sotheby's Institute of Art.
"Nodjoumi's work is very much rooted in his home country, in Iran, but it's work that was created here, in this city."
The Taymour Grahne Gallery is slated to have its grand opening reception Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The gallery’s regular hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. Nodjoumi's work will be on display through Oct. 23.