Where Bhupen Khakhar rubs shoulders with Georgia O'Keeffe

Where Bhupen Khakhar rubs shoulders with Georgia O'Keeffe
The next India Art Fair (IAF) is scheduled to take place in Delhi from February 2 to February 5, 2017. Founded in 2008, IAF has gained recognition as one of South Asia’s leading platforms for modern contemporary art. Founding director Neha Kripal and MCH Group’s Angus Montgomery have recently announced co-ownership of stake in IAF by the MCH Group. While the present IAF team will continue to remain on board, we can expect that the product portfolio will become more international in the coming years.

With Indian art becoming more popular internationally, museums and art galleries abroad have begun to feature many Indian artists. Bhupen Khakhar, for instance, was chosen as one of the artists to be represented at the opening of Tate Modern’s Switch House extension. Interestingly, the new extension located next to glass fronted neighbouring flats, offers visitors more than art on their visits. Needless to say the residents are upset with their loss of privacy, but on this subject Tate Modern director Nicholas Serota has had the last word, suggesting that residents use lace curtains to solve this problem.

Another important exhibition that opened the Tate Modern Switch House was a retrospective of the work of American female artist Georgia O’Keeffe that continues to draw crowds. It offers a rare opportunity to see over 100 remarkable paintings by this pioneer of 20th century art. O’Keeffe is best known for her paintings of magnified flowers and New Mexico landscapes. The exhibition has brought together some of her most important works, including Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1, painted in 1932 — which has the distinction of being the most expensive painting by a female artist ever sold at an auction.

A must-see exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, is Abstract Expressionism, curated and arranged by David Anfam, that is on till January 2. It features 150 works in various media by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, each artist is being allotted a separate gallery. This is an exhibition that requires a lot of time on your hands: No matter how familiar one may be with abstract expressionism, it needs more than one visit to imbibe and appreciate the works on display.

British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, who lives in London, is known for his interesting work that uses brightly coloured fabric and explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism. Physically disabled — one side of his body paralysed — Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction. His work is presently on display at the Yale Centre for British Art till December 11. Also on is his exhibition Paradise Beyond at the Gemeentemuseum in Helmond, which coincides with a textile exhibition by a factory that produces the Dutch wax batik fabric that Shonibare often uses in his work. For his upcoming show at Stephen Friedman Gallery (September 28 to November 5) the artist will exhibit sculptural creations inspired by Michelangelo’s David, Venus de Milo and others.

Back home, in Delhi there’s an interesting exhibition Titled In Between Heart and Mind and launched by Art Konsult gallery, it features Gurmeet Marwah. The artist bases his innovative creations on narratives at two levels, the personal and the social. With desire as a rather fundamental aspect, he uses animals and other objects to represent a rather satirical view of our world.

In his images we can see the docile cow resting on waste created by society, a donkey representing obstinacy against odds and an owl symbolising legacy. The works are in acrylic, oil, water colour, charcoal, lithograph, etching, linocut and woodcut, which is one of his favourite mediums. The exhibition is worth seeing for its unique use of subjects and objects and will be on till October 15.

(The writer is an author and a former art gallery owner)

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