Based in Vienna, art collector and curator Amir Shariat brings a unique thematic touch to his exhibitions, often pairing new pieces alongside the works of postmodern masters. The son of an art dealer, Shariat grew up surrounded by paintings from the Renaissance through the 19th century, setting the stage for a lifelong relationship with the art world. As an adult, Shariat migrated toward contemporary motifs and began collecting pieces by lesser-known artists, a practice to dovetail his work investing in undervalued capital markets. In time, his collection came to encompass a broad oeuvre that reflects both his aesthetic preferences and the evolution of art from the late 20th century to the present day. Whether valuable or simply thought-provoking, the individual pieces of Shariat’s collection reveal a deep-seated passion that transcends monetary investment.
As a natural extension of that passion, Shariat now curates exhibitions at galleries across Europe, the U.S., and beyond. His first, “Bass! How low can you go?”, opened in spring 2013 at Leila Heller Gallery in New York. The show featured works by up-and-coming artists such as Anthony Pearson, Raphael Danke and Sheree Hovsepian next to revolutionary pieces by Lucio Fontana, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol, among others. Shariat organized Bass! to highlight the prevalence of sampling and remixing one’s influences in contemporary art. As Public Enemy’s seminal “Bring the Noise” sampled James Brown, countless musicians went on to sample “Bring the Noise” in their own songs. Much like hip-hop, visual artists take similar approaches to their work, recycling bits and pieces of their forefathers into fresh, original pastiche.
On the heels of Bass!, Amir Shariat joined ARNDT Berlin to bring U.S. artist Amir Nikravan to the abc berlin contemporary art fair. Shariat has since curated “Eye Know”, a group exhibition that combined the talents of young L.A. and Vienna-based artists; “TALKlikeSEX”, a New York group show featuring pieces from original Italian Zero members and current artists influenced by that movement; and “I Know You Got Soul”, a diverse group exhibition of contemporary American artists, held at ARNDT Singapore.