Mitra Abbaspour is a specialist in art history of the Middle East, with a focus on the nineteenth through and twenty first centuries and the history of photography in the region. As the Haskell Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Princeton University Art Museum, the scope of her work encompasses a global approach to art of the last century and she has developed collecting and programmatic foci within that period on Indigenous North American Art, Latin American art, Asian and Asian American art, and Black art, among others. At Princeton, she has curated or co-curated at the Museum include Helen Frankenthaler Prints: Seven Types of Ambiguity (2019), Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking (2018), Making History Visible: Of American Myths and National Heroes (2017).
Prior to Princetion, she served as an Associate Curator in the Department of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art and an Assistant Curator at the California Museum of Photography, in addition to having served as a guest curator for a number of exhibitions at various institutions. At MoMA, she led the curatorial branch of an interdisciplinary research initiative that resulted in the print and digital publications Object : Photo: Modern Photographs 1909-1945. She has authored numerous essays on contemporary artists in this field, most recently contributing to monographs of Reza Aramesh, Lalla Essaydi, Dor Guez, Hassan Hajjaj, and Shirin Neshat and has also taught courses both in her specialization, the modern and contemporary Middle East and, general area specializations—Islamic art, modern art, and the history of photography—at The Cooper Union, Hunter College, and Brooklyn College.
“Ephemeral Utopias: Tarek al Ghoussein’s Al Sawaber series,” Tarek Al Ghoussein: Al Sawaber. Hatje Cantz (forthcoming, 2023).
Frank Stella Unbound: Literature and Printmaking, eds. Mitra Abbaspour and Calvin Brown. Princeton: Princeton University Art Museum (2018).
“Postrevolutionary Rococo,” Go West: Farhad Moshiri. Pittsburgh: The Andy Warhol Museum (2017).
“Reza Aramesh” At 11:57am Wed 23 OCT 2013. Tehran: Ab Anbar Gallery, 2016
“Home in the Eyes of the Beholder,” Shirin Neshat: The Home of My Eyes. Baku: YARAT (2015).
OBJECT:PHOTO. Modern Photographs: The Thomas Walther Collection 1909–1949, eds. Mitra Abbaspour, Lee Ann Daffner and Maria Morris Hambourg. New York: The Museum of Modern Art Book and digital humanities platform of The Museum of Modern Art. eds. Mitra Abbaspour, Lee Ann Daffner and Maria Morris Hambourg. Launched, December 8, 2014. www.moma.org/objectphoto
“Lalla Essaydi: Rooted in Morocco, Citizen of the World,” Lalla Essaydi: Crossing Boundaries, Bridging Cultures, ed. Dina Nasser-Khadivi. Baku: ACR Publications (2014).
“Studio & Street: Hassan Hajjaj’s Style Mash-Up,” By Hassan Hajjaj: Photography, Fashion, Film, Design. London: Rose Issa Projects (2013).
“Photographs, like a sort of embodied, physical subconscious”: Mitra Abbaspour in Conversation with Dor Guez,” 40 Days London: Mosaic Room (2013).
“A Hero and a Homeland for Armenians in America: Photography and the Construction of Cultural Memory,” International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 42 no.1 (February 2010), 13-16 (2010).