Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Recap of a symposium on Indian art at Queens Museum

A symposium, titled ‘After Midnight: Indian Modern & Contemporary Art - 1947/97’, precursor to a group exhibition, an elaborate, full-scale exploration of many Indian artists and their rich legacy, just took place at the Queens Museum of Art.

The venue is set to host a show, entitled ‘The Rising Phoenix: A Dialogue Between Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’ in 2014-15. Curated by Dr. Arshiya Lokhandwala, it will offer a critical view of the key period. Here’s a quick recap of the symposium on the exhibition eve:

It contemplated and compared two key moments of Indian history. First, the period immediately following Indian independence in 1947, which sees the rise of the Progressive Artists Group, self-declared ‘moderns’ of Indian art.

Second, it examined the globalization of Indian art that picked up momentum in 1990s, and saw mid-career Indian artists exhibiting in large-scale international exhibitions, and biennales with 1997 as a critical year, which not only commemorated 50 years of Indian Independence, but also witnessed a significant rise in the number of Indian artist’s that year that exhibited all over the world. This moment represented a turning point in Indian art, from which a younger generation of artist’s were also presented with multiple opportunities to participate in the international art scene through scholarships, residencies and exhibitions. By 2000, Indian artists had entered an accelerated and emphatically global art scene.

The symposium examined these two moments in a jump-cut: modern/progressive and global/contemporary. It also drew from the interim space the sustained questions about modernity and globalization viewed from multiple perspectives, as opposed to western narratives, in the regions of Africa, East Asia and Latin America.

Participants included Dr. Rakhee Balaram, Visiting Scholar at Washington University, St Louis; Rina Banerjee, artist, New York; Dr. Rebecca Brown, Professor of Art History at Johns Hopkins University; Dr. Akeel Bilgrami, Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University; Luis Camnitzer, Professor Emeritus at SUNY Old Westbury/artist; and Doryun Chong, Associate Curator of Painting and Sculptures, MoMA.

It also included Iftikhar Dadi, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art, Cornell University; Parul Dave-Mukherji, Professor in Department of Visual Studies, School of the Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Dr. Salah Hassan, Associate Chair of the Department of History of Art and professor of African and African Diaspora, Art History and Visual Culture, Cornell University; Geeta Kapur, art historian/curator, New Delhi; and Dr. Saloni Mathur, Associate Professor of Art History, UCLA; Naeem Mohaiemen, artist, writer; among others.

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