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Amir H. Fallah: The Fallacy of Borders Debuts at The Fowler Museum at UCLA

Amir H. Fallah, “They Will Say a Collection of Untruths,” 2022; acrylic on canvas; Courtesy of the artist and Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles

The Fowler Museum at UCLA presents Amir H. Fallah: The Fallacy of Borders, the artist’s first museum exhibition in Los Angeles, from January 29–May 14, 2023. A celebration of Fallah’s vibrant maximalist style, more than 25 works of painting, sculpture, and stained glass contend with urgent themes of cultural inheritance and identity formation.

Born in 1979 in Tehran at the height of the Islamic Revolution, Fallah and his family moved several times before he arrived in the U.S. at the age of seven. Throughout his career, he has mined intimate aspects of his immigrant experience to forge an alternative portraiture, one that resists reductive characterization. This exhibition highlights the visual strategies and influences that underpin Fallah’s approach, which blends elements of his Iranian American heritage with those of other global traditions and their adaptations in Los Angeles’s diasporic communities.

The installation opens with an archive of Beautiful/Decay, the art and design magazine that Fallah founded, edited, and published from 1996 to 2013. The first-time exhibition of this publication and associated ephemera highlights his journey from graffiti artist to graphic designer to publisher— pursuits that sparked an autobiographical process of collaging found images. This longstanding practice of graphic remix has provided an expansive visual language to interrogate and transcend the boundaries and borders that separate people, cultures, and art practices.

Organized around eight thematic nodes, the Fowler presentation features collaborations, commissions, and long-standing series in a range of media. Commentary by Fallah, exhibition curator Amy Landau, award-winning graphic designer Willem Henri Lucas, and David Judson of Judson Studios can be heard via QR codes.

“This exhibition spotlights Fallah’s broad visual literacy, experimental drive, and creative receptivity—all anchored in his migrant experience,” said exhibition curator Amy Landau, director of interpretation and education at the Fowler. “He narrates from trauma and celebration, as well as his roles as a husband, father, and confidant, which lends a deeply humane aspect to his social critique.”

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