Your monthly glimpse into the art world
A thoughtfully curated newsletter with articles, recommendations, and the latest art news in India.
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We come bearing exciting announcements and updates from the Indian art world. To begin with, the Bihar Museum in Patna has announced that it will host a hybrid Museum Biennale, the first-of-its-kind in the world. Also included are stories on the premier of KNMA's latest street art video series; the recognition of our country's indigenous artists in India and across the globe; the British Council's grants; the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival's new medium; and the meaning of new-age terms such as "blockchain" with regard to the art market.
We have turned 2! And to go with that, we have some other good news: cultural institutions can now reopen as per the ruling from the Ministry of Culture! All museums, galleries and institutions in the country have been shut since March this year, which has been detrimental to their existence and to the art community. We look at the work of Sunil Gupta, a documentary photographer; Lodhi Colony's latest mural; an upcoming cultural complex near Ayodhya that will celebrate the syncretic culture of Awadh; and an insight into the country's most lyrical school of miniature painting.
We begin with a tribute to the theatre doyen and patron of the arts, Ebraham Alkazi, who passed away last week. Alkazi's contribution to Indian theatre and art remains unparalleled! The other featured articles take a close look at an often overlooked Indian artist, a 300-year old Indian craft tradition, the contemporary reimagining of a feminist manifesto from the early 20th century, and the devastating explosion in Beirut. In our Lockdown Diaries section for this edition, we bring to you two interesting initiatives that are helping artisans during the pandemic and fostering feelings of kinship among people across the world.
With the country still in lockdown, the activity in the art world remains at a standstill. However, galleries and institutions are rising up to the challenge and adapting to newer forms of visual dissemination, a topic we explore within the issue. Furthermore, several initiatives have been taken up by the art community in India to help those in need, including contributions to the Covid-19 relief fund through online auctions, and social media engagements to support fellow artists during this time of uncertainty. It is indeed a pleasure to see the community coming together in times of need.
The art community in the capital city continues to buzz with great ongoing exhibitions that were a part of this year's IAF parallel programming. Catch up on all the missed viewings this month! The edition includes a view of the different generations of artists in the Dodiya family, an insight on the upsurge of private patronage of museums in the country, an introduction to the Goa Open Arts Festival, and interviews with Dr B.V. Doshi and Anuj Daga. Also included is information on the political controversy from the last day of IAF.
The Art Issue turns 1! We are thrilled to announce that it has been one year since we channeled our interest in the Indian art world to bring out monthly newsletters. We are indebted to all our readers for their continued support and engagement with The Art Issue. Since it is our love for art and the visual language that gave birth to The Art Issue, the current edition is a celebration of art and its multi-faceted display through reviews of different exhibitions around the country; and stories highlighting the rise of public art, and sensory installations.
From the debate over art being only for the elite, to methods of preventive conservation for newer mediums, to a need for museums to be diverse and inclusive: the edition uncovers some of the most pressing issues in the global art community today. A truly exhilarating start to a brand new season! We are always on the lookout for any such stories that would pique the interest of our readers, and keep them informed on all updates and discourses prevalent in the art world.
With the return of the India Pavilion, after an 8-year hiatus, at the 58th Venice Biennale 2019, the Indian art fraternity is surely living in interesting times! The articles in this edition throw light on the India Pavilion's theme and the curatorial director for this year's Biennale, along with reviews of new exhibitions and artists in the country. We have added a new feature to the newsletter that looks at the history and analyses of masterpieces of art, starting with a work by one of our favourites - Van Gogh.
With a host of exemplary exhibitions being held around the country, and another remarkable edition of the India Art Fair, it’s safe to say the year began on an inspiring note for all us art lovers! This month’s issue is focussed on celebrating the progress of Indian art and culture through interviews, new ventures, and thought-provoking artworks. Also included in this edition are some of our favourite works and artists from the art fair.
The medium of an artwork has always been a matter of great discussion amongst the art fraternity. Whether it is analysing the intent, or even evaluating the artwork – investigating the medium is almost always a starting point. Safe to say, it paints a pertinent portrait of the artist. This edition seeks to uncover the idiosyncratic creativity and expression that different mediums, such as printmaking, photography and even language, offer artists.
The last year brought about a barrage of changes for the art world, some perhaps for the better. We witnessed many galleries, museums and institutions across the country push their boundaries by embracing the digital format and really focus on reinventing for the future. We take a look back at the year that was in our first article! Also included are articles on two recent exhibitions of modern masters, new-age endeavours to preserve one of India's richest treasures, artworks that sparked excitement around the world, and the future of art writing and criticism.
Delhi Government's announcement of the setting up of an advisory panel to promote arts and culture in the capital city is timely and essential, given the hardships the art community has faced over the past few months. In other news, we pay tribute to Kapila Vatsyayan, who passed away last month. The featured articles also focus on the Indian art market, the role and plight of museums in the current environment, and a significant collection amassed by a Danish couple living in India. For this month's section on art history's masterpieces, we take a deep dive into The Night Watch by the Dutch master, Rembrandt Van Rijn.
Included in the current edition is our section on art history's masterpieces; however, we decided to dive a little deeper this time. Focussing on Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer, the section includes different, and engaging, research perspectives for you to fully understand the artwork and the artist.
The edition also features stories on the Indian galleries that participated in this year's virtual Art Basel Switzerland, Bharat Sikka's new body of work, a recent controversy concerning the famous Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, and Van Gogh's latest "drive-in" exhibit in Toronto.
We begin the current edition with a tribute to Satish Gujral, the acclaimed Indian artist who passed away last month. Further, we explore Nalini Malani's exhibition, a never-seen before collection of botanical drawings, B. N. Goswamy's recent academic foray, and the digital future of the art market. The edition also includes an analysis of Diego Velázquez's Las Meninas , and a list of virtual exhibitions or museum tours to explore! Check our Lockdown Diaries section for a curated selection of art-related books, movies, and online courses.
The Indian art world has grown progressively in the last decade, with record-breaking sales of Indian artists, the establishment of new platforms to display art, and fresh channels of disseminating information in the industry. In this edition, you will find an article celebrating the vital decade of the 2010s, the centenary anniversary of Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan, as well as Christie's 25th year in India. As the industry mourns the death of one of India's leading modernist, Akbar Padamsee, we look back at the artist's legacy and his five-decade long career.
The edition features reviews of some of the latest exhibitions in the city, an analysis of art restoration, and yet another #MeToo scandal in the Indian art community. Successful auction results for Indian and international artists prove the art market is still steady. However, even with Banksy setting a new record and Gagosian selling out its entire booth within minutes of Frieze London's opening, what really is the future of the British-European art market in the wake of Brexit?
We, at The Art Issue, are always working hard to curate stories that please all art lovers: For the research enthusiast, we have articles on artists, an emerging art centre, as well as a compelling essay on street art in the country; for those in search of business news, we have details of recent notable sales and a peek at Sotheby's latest announcement; and finally, for those who just want to explore, we have a list of must-see exhibitions for the month. In addition, Serendipity Art Festival has an announcement that is bound to be of interest to all.
It's spring! A source of inspiration and a time to create. In this edition, we welcome new endeavours, opportunities and mediums, while celebrating curatorial practices of the past. Scroll to find out more about India’s participation at the prestigious Venice Biennale 2019, the Government’s first major auction, the latest collectible for history lovers, and a list of must-see exhibitions.
INDIA ART FAIR EDITION
The Art Issue's India Art Fair Edition! Expect to see a focus on South Asian art by various reputed galleries and institutions, some of which have been highlighted here. The art fair, from January 31 – February 3, 2019, also brings with it a host of exhibitions around the city, and we have handpicked our favourites for you! Also included is information regarding some insightful discussions and performances that will take place at the venue.
The inaugural edition brings to focus many enterprising developments in the Indian art community. Curatorial initiatives are on a rise, positioning the country as a global hub for art and culture. The articles in this issue provide latest news on upcoming ventures, emphasising that art experiences need not be confined to the traditional gallery space.
The virtual art season is in full bloom this December! Through the various launches and openings that are taking place across the country and the world, we have noticed a stronger role of technology in the art world. Many are now understanding the importance of weaving in new-age innovations to reinvent and rejuvenate the art world. From MAP, Bengaluru launching its digital museum this week to the virtual iterations of annual festivals, such as the India Photo Festival and the Serendipity Arts Festival, the Indian art scene has a lot to offer this month. Scroll through our newsletter for the full update!
The Kochi-Muziris Biennale is scheduled to open in December 2020, as originally planned, giving us all a sense of continuity in the art world. Safe to say, the pandemic has turned our lives upside down! It's a relief to see that the art community continues to forge through these uncertain times, building new partnerships. The other articles look at the motivations and tribulations of an unlikely Japanese collector of Indian modern art; conversations between Dayanita Singh and Jitish Kallat about their latest body of work; and the announcement of a much-needed biopic on Amrita Sher-Gil.
It can often be overwhelming as a viewer or reader to have so much available for consumption, so don't forget to take a moment for yourself to unwind and relax. The current edition delves into the artistic practices of Waswo X. Waswo and Farah Mulla - two contemporary artists working in completely different media. The issue also includes stories on collaborative platforms, new murals, and artistic representations of past pandemics. For those who are motivated to keep up with the Zoom sessions, we suggest Serendipity Art Foundation's How to... series. Scroll down to our Lockdown Diaries section for details.
In the wake of Covid-19, we urge all our readers to stay calm, aware, and safe. The team at Art Issue is working hard to provide you the full experience of all you may miss during this period. The edition brings to fore lesser known stories of an artist and gallerist, interviews and reviews of recent exhibitions, and new endeavours that recognise the importance of art as a soft power in the country. Also included are notable sales from SaffronArt's auction of Nirav Modi's art collection and the latest updates from around the art world.
Come winter and the art community revitalises! There are new exhibitions to look forward to, festivals, fairs, and biennales to attend, and auctions to keep track of. The edition features a variety of articles, including an interview with Sumakshi Singh, a collector's essay on F. N. Souza, reviews of new exhibitions, and an interesting opinion on the effect of experience-based art on the commercial art market. There are also announcements by India Art Fair and Pantone, a recent notable sale, and a list of must-see exhibitions for the month.
The month of September heralds the start of a new season for the art community : one that promises a robust programming calendar, with curatorial engagements, critical discussions, festival openings, and exhibitions of emerging talent.
This edition features articles that celebrate the past, through India and Greece's attempts at reclaiming lost heritage, and also, initiatives based on sustainable models for the future of the global art market.
While the future of handicrafts and the "handmade" in India has always been a topic of discussion, recent initiatives and institutions suggest that the form of art is starting to regain prominence. The articles in this edition provide a closer look at the crafts industry in India.
We have also included a special section for the summer : a handpicked selection of often overlooked museums to visit during your travels around the world.
This edition is dedicated to highlighting and applauding the achievements of women artists, curators, and entrepreneurs in the industry. From Arpita Singh’s retrospective uncovering the artist’s extensive practice, Anita Dube’s feminist biennale providing a platform for numerous female artists, to rediscovering an extraordinary woman impressionist painter, Berthe Morisot, lost in the shadows of art history’s male stalwarts: there is a lot to soak in and review this month.
With its fair share of successes and failures, the past year was nothing short of eventful. The Kochi Biennale strengthened with its first female curator; an artist at Serendipity Festival, Goa, reimagined the ordinary charpai, while discourses of the confrontation between public spaces and contemporary art were reinforced at the Sculpture Park, Jaipur. The third edition brings to you views and reviews of all that caught our eye!
The Art Issue partnered with Serendipity Arts Festival 2019 to provide curated content for the fourth edition of SAF, which was held in Goa from December 15-22, 2019
To kick off our collaboration with the Serendipity Arts Festival, we present the first edition featuring the programming for this multi-disciplinary extravaganza. In this SAF special edition, we introduce the themes and details of the various exhibits and performances taking place across the beautiful city of Panjim. The disciplines at the festival this year will highlight an underlying theme of the impact of art and culture on society.
The second edition of our collaboration is focussed on special interviews with this year's appointed curators for Visual Arts, Photography, Craft, and a select few special projects. The interviews provide an in-depth understanding of the curatorial narratives of the exhibitions, and offer readers a glimpse of what to expect at the festival.
A list of books recommended in the previous editions
The Art of Rivalry
Sebastian Smee traces the fruitful, competitive and mostly symbiotic relationships of four celebrated pairs of artists. Through a delightful and compelling narrative, the book highlights often forgotten stories in the history of Western modern art.
The Short Story of Art
A simple guide to understand the complex world of art history! Highlighting some groundbreaking artworks, the book weaves an understanding around art movements and techniques, starting from prehistoric times up till discourses of the 1960s and 70s.
The first multidisciplinary analysis of the Mughal emperors, Shah Jahan and his father and predecessor Jahangir. With essays by 14 eminent scholars, it explores in detail the culture and politics of two of the most glorious reigns of the Mughal Empire.
The Mughal Empire from Jahangir to Shah Jahan
Peggy Guggenheim, a passionate art collector and patron, was known as the doyenne of the art world. The book is a wonderfully frank account of her life, of building an outstanding collection all on her own, and her journey as the "mistress of modern art".
Out of this Century: Confessions of an Art Addict
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni presents her retelling of the epic Ramayana, through the perspective of the female protagonist, Sita. By placing the demure, yet resilient Sita at the centre of her novel, Divakaruni transforms an ancient story into a compelling battle of wills.
The Forest of Enchantments
Parvati Sharma presents a bold, fresh, and conversational perspective on Emperor Jahangir's life and court. An ardent patron of art and literature, Jahangir is often overshadowed by the other emperors of the Mughal Empire. This book urges you to take another look.
Jahangir: An Intimate Portrait of a Great Mughal
John Berger's Ways of Seeing, written in 1972, offers a simplified and rather interesting approach to understanding art and visual culture. Light, witty, and thought-provoking, this book is a great read for all art enthusiasts!
Ways of Seeing
Hans Ulrich Obrist, an eminent curator and co-director of the Serpentine Gallery, London, recounts his journey and several memorable episodes that expanded his notion of "curation". A must-read for all emerging curators!
Ways of Curating
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