Published: October 7, 2008
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will present the first major United States exhibition devoted to contemporary photography and video art by Indian artists. Opening October 26, “India: Public Places, Private Spaces †Contemporary Photography and Video Art” features more than 100 works from 28 artists exploring the lives of India’s people. It will be on view till January 18.
The exhibition, which debuted at the Newark (N.J.) Museum, reveals the highly personal viewpoints found in this country of more than a billion people. It demonstrates the artistic vitality that has arisen from extreme economic and political shifts, the influence of the media, and cultural traditions competing with globalization. Among the featured artists are internationally renowned photographers Raghu Rai, the late Raghubir Singh, and emerging talents Tejal Shah and Shilpa Gupta, who has been dubbed “the Damien Hirst of India.”
The artists investigate identity as a social construct, engage with issues of gender and sexuality and explore the effects of population migration, among other themes. Bollywood blockbusters, rampant technology and caste conflict make appearances in this eye-opening exhibition.
“Each artist has used his or her medium to provide rich insight into the dynamics shaping the contemporary Indian psyche,” said Robert Jacobsen, chair of Asian Art and organizing curator for this exhibition at the MIA. “This colorful and thought-provoking exhibit of photography and video casts new light on India, an emerging Asian superpower and global player about which we know too little,” he said.
Artists represented also include Shahid Datawala, Anita Dube, Vijay and Samar Singh Jodha, Subodh Gupta, Sunil Gupta, Ranbir Kaleka, Jitish Kallat, Sonia Khurana, Gauri Gill, Shantanu Lodh, Anna Palakunnathu Matthew, Ram Rahman, Pushpamala N., Gigi Scaria, Manish Swarup, Vivan Sundaram, Surekha, Vivek Vilasini and Rajesh Vora.
“India: Public Places, Private Spaces” is the culmination of several years of research and coordination by co-curators Gayatri Sinha, an independent curator and art critic in India, and Paul Sternberger, an associate professor of art history at Rutgers University, Newark. The curators also contributed to the exhibition catalog.
Although this exhibition is the museum’s first to feature works exclusively by Indian artists, the museum has presented permanent displays and special exhibitions of traditional Indian art and culture in years past. Most recently, in 2006, three permanent galleries devoted to the art of South Asia were installed as part of the MIA’s expansion and renovation project.
Highlights of the collection include an elaborate circa 1000 sandstone relief of Shiva, god of destruction, and his wife, Uma-Mahaeshvara; a bronze Shiva Nataraja (Lord of the Dance) from the late Tenth Century; and a rare painting, circa 1525, of a meditative, cosmic diagram featuring Parsvanatha, one of the principal deities of the Jain religion. Gifts during the last several decades have expanded the collection to include ceramics, textiles, bronze artifacts, and everyday traditional arts of urban and rural India. The collection has approximately 200 objects.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is at 2400 Third Avenue South. For information, 612-870-3131 or www.artsmia.org .
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm