Friday, December 25, 2009

How the year was for moderns and contemporaries?

Summing up the year gone by, The Business Standard art expert Kishore Singh has just written a comprehensive column. Here are some of his sharp views on artists – moderns and contemporaries – as far as the year 2009 is concerned.

* The Dodiyas, both Atul and Anju, have did not have such a great year, but the talent is still there. So Watch out for their next moves.

* Late Souza surprised many with the prices he fetched in the recent Saffronart auction. India’s artist with ‘the most chutzpah’ is never out of fashion.

* Subodh Gupta continued to remain India’s face of contemporary art, especially in the West. You may criticize the cliché that his utensils have become, but he has proved that his work is more than capable of outlasting the meltdown as well as the potentially embarrassing situation arising from collectors who paid substantially more at a hype-inflated peak.

* M F Husain, in or out of India, continues to make news and court controversy. Whether or not he makes it to the India Art Summit, collectors were still willing to pay top-rupee for the of India’s most consistently selling artist’s works.

* London’s Anish Kapoor, India’s great export has never shown in India. But at the India Art Summit this year, we got a glimpse of two of his show-stoppers. One of them sold for a reported Rs 1 crore at least.

* Jagannath Panda at one point was the artist selling fast. He was criticized for repeating himself, but his re-invention this year is less than inspired. But is it a new beginning? Manjunath Kamath, meanwhile, is someone you need to look out for. Also, watch out for Rashid Rana with his explosive talent.

* This is the last year S H Raza spent in France. He hopes to shift back to India now and he continues to remain a favorite with collectors. Prices for Manjit Bawa, as many had predicted peaked.

* Sculpture had its outing with two major shows — Paresh Maity’s in Mumbai where the artist surprised many of us with motorcycle parts as his medium and K S Radhakrishnan’s in Delhi where most loved and some said they were tired of his teeming world of figures.

* The highly talented artist, Tyeb Mehta, passed away. No one else has probably painted as minimally but with as much intensity and emotion as this great master. His prices, and few canvases, are bound to be blockbusters.

* Chintan Upadhyay refuses to go away. His unsettling 'babies' stay with you long after you’ve seen them at a show. T Vaikuntam, the Hyderabad-based artist, redeemed himself by painting much larger than before. Prices moved up accordingly.

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