Saturday, June 15, 2013

‘The Rising Phoenix’ proposed at QMA

A proposed exhibition of Indian art, entitled ‘The Rising Phoenix: A Dialogue Between Modern and Contemporary Indian Art’, at The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) sure is set to become one of the most comprehensive explorations of Indian artists and their rich legacy at any cultural institution in America in the last several decades.

Following ‘Out of India: Contemporary Art of the South Asian Diaspora’ (1997-98); ‘Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India’ (2005); and ‘Fatal Love: South Asian American Art Now’ (2005), this will be another significant QMA project that focuses on modern & contemporary art. It looks to contemplate and compare Indian history’s two critical moments - the post-Independence phase, witnessing the rise to prominence of the Progressive Artists Group (PAG), involving MF Husain, FN Souza and S H Raza apart from Ram Kumar, VS Gaitonde, Krishen Khanna, Akbar Padamsee and Tyeb Mehta.

‘The Rising Phoenix’ carefully explores and examines the pivotal formation of India’s modern art movement in India.  Second, it will look into the globalization of Indian art scene, which gathered momentum in mid-1990s, when several mid-career artists from the country featured in ambitious international biennales and exhibits, with 1997 as a key year. It not only marked 50 years of India’s freedom but also saw a number of artists being exhibited across the globe, representing a defining phase in Indian art.

Upcoming, talented artists became an integral part of the international art scene through residencies and scholarships. Tracing this transition, the exhibition intends to reflect on this ‘moment of the Indian zeitgeist’, which inhabit different spaces including popular, personal, the global/local, and technological by engaging in video, performance, film, painting etc, comprising existing pieces as well as new work commissioned for it.

Curated by Dr. Arshiya Lokhandwala, ‘The Rising Phoenix’ undertakes a dialogue between the Progressive/ modern vis-à-vis contemporary Indian artists that through a comparison narrative of critical questions and observations between the two periods will lead to a deeper insight into Indian art and its history.

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