Out near where the corn grows and the Herefords graze and the hogs fatten, that landscape oft-designated the American heartland, not far from Scott Air Force Base, where the war on terrorism is kept stocked and well armed, four heartland women are enjoying a rainy Tuesday afternoon appreciating an exhibition of contemporary art from Iran. None of them reveals any concern that these paintings, with their delightful displays of color, their interplay between traditional and modernist sensibilities, come from one of those nations denounced by President George W. Bush as part of the "axis of evil." They love the lush harvest golds in Mohammad Ali Taraghijah's paintings of horses and cocks and cloaked women at work in the fields. They gaze closely and appreciatively at the contemporary Persian miniatures of Mohamad Bagher Aghamiri, with their intricate gold borders like tapestries and colorful central panels with scenes of lovers or visions of heaven -- blue and purple skies, green cypress trees tapering to brushpoints, plump singing birds. They read the list of media and... More >>>