An anonymous collective of Iranian artists ascended the Guggenheim Museum’s famous spiral ramp this Saturday, October 24 and dropped 12 banners with the words “Woman, Life, Freedom” and the face of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini.

On September 16, 22-year-old Amini was killed at the hands of Iran’s “morality police” after incorrectly wearing her hijab. Her death sparked widespread ongoing demonstrations in Iran, with women leading the movement.

In a statement, the New York City-based artist collective Anonymous Artists for Iran called the Guggenheim protest “a call for action to support the current revolution in Iran.” As the group hung banners at the Upper East Side museum, massive protests took place in cities across the globe on Saturday, including marches in Washington, DC; Los Angeles; and Berlin.

“Dismantling women’s rights is a global challenge, an issue we unfortunately face whether here in the West or in the Middle East,” the collective wrote. “Mahsa will not be forgotten and the cruel injustice done to the women of Iran can no longer be ignored.”

In a video shared on social media, people can be heard clapping and cheering as the bright red, ribbon-like banners unfurled from the museum’s top floor.

Activists have long used the Guggenheim atrium as a protest site. Most recently, artists and activists flew 350 paper planes calling for a no-fly zone over Ukraine in March. In a famous 2019 action, PAIN (Prescription Addiction Intervention Now), founded by artist Nan Goldin, displayed red banners calling out the museum’s affiliation with the Sackler family, dropped fake prescriptions, and staged a “die-in.”

As protests have swept Iran and the globe, artists have continually voiced their support for the Iranian women leading the charge, making work to honor Amini and demanding freedom from the Iranian regime.

“The people of Iran are subjected to horrific violence and brutality on a daily basis,” reads the collective’s statement. “With restricted Internet access and minimal or false coverage by Western media, it is time to see them and hear them by shedding light on their fearless fight against a totalitarian system.”

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Elaine Velie

Elaine Velie is a writer from New Hampshire living in Brooklyn. She studied Art History and Russian at Middlebury College and is interested in art's role in history, culture, and politics.