Art from India

We have been collecting emerging art for years.  We not only enjoy the arts but am intrigued with the whole business of it.  Our friend, who grew up in Southern India is a collector of emerging Indian art as was her parents.  We spent Saturday going to 3 different galleries, meeting the owners, and hearing about the art world from India.  Very informative and interesting. 

First of all, Europeans have jumped on the Indian art band before anyone has really caught on in the US.  The art market in India has soared in prices over the past 10 years.  For instance, pieces that cost $60K ten years ago could now be selling for over a million dollars.  There are investment groups with capital speculating on art with hopes to turn around and sell the pieces a year later with profits generally around 20%.  In essence, the India art world has gone wild.  As always, there are some artists that have been pushed to prices that push them at a very young age into a market that is really high, then the gallery decides not to help nurture the artist and the price goes plummeting.  That is the bad news.  The good news is the galleries we saw were nurturing the artists a long the way and generally had galleries not only in NYC but also in India.  We are going to India at Xmas and thought we should educate ourselves before we went.

 We began at Bodhi Art.  Keep in mind that I forgot my camera and all these pictures are from my IMG00060
blackberry.  Alas.  The artist featured was N.S. Harsha.  On the floor was an installation which represented the meals served at the 3 day weddings that take place in India.  Each place setting had a banana leaf with food on it (plastic of course) with a piece of paper with the markings of a pair of feet.  Very clever.  The other piece which I have shown was a huge painting of people sitting in chairs from super hero characters to pregnant women to people doing yoga to people shoving each other and so forth.  The piece was called "come give us a speech".  In essence, all of these people were just waiting for the speech to begin.  The work was beautiful.  Waiting for a museum to buy this.  I can see why.  We had the opportunity to talk with the owner and see other artists in the back room. 

Next stop was the Talwar Gallery.  I was particularly impressed with the owner.  He really is involved withIMG00061
each of the artists that he carries.  Also, if you buy something from him, you sign a contract that if you resell the piece in 5 years, that you give him first right of refusal.  He is truly making sure the art he involved with  is priced in the market where it should be. I like that.  Up now is a set of drawing from the 1970's from the estate of Nasreen Mohamedi.  But it is what was in the back that I really enjoyed.  Allan deSouza who has captured photographs being on a plane from the run way to take off to flying over the area between LA and SF.  When he was sitting on a plane taking pictures, the passenger next to him got quite angry and said "as an American, I think you should stop taking these pictures".  Meanwhile, deSouza might be of Indian descent but he is an American.  Then the guy said to him "I don't care what you say, those are not tourist pictures".  Hence, that was what the exhibit was called.  He also took old family photos and blew them up and let them hang around in his house for an extended period of time while they collected dust, hair, dirt etc.  Very interesting conceptual work.  The last artist was A. Balasubramaniam who goes by Bala.  All sculptures that literally appear to be coming out of the wall.  Thought provoking.  From a hand pulling away the wall to hands holding up the corners to a face in the wall.  Loved it. 


Last stop was Aicon Gallery who is in the midst of moving down to Great Jones Street.  2 exhibits were up.  One from a Pakistani artist, Amjad ali talpur, that were all 3 dimensional.  Very whimsical and I thought over-priced, for what its worth.  What was really interesting is that they are having an opening of Sakti Burman in January.  He is a well known Indian artist, one of the original modern painters.  His work is colorful with obvious inspirations from Chagal.  Lots of religious IMG00067
references.  We basically got to see the majority of the show.  Oil and water colors.  It will definitely be a show worth seeing. 

All and all a really wonderful afternoon.  New, different, intriguing and interesting.  Looking forward to checking out more of the art scene in India and perhaps picking up a fantastic piece during our travels.

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Comments (Archived):

  1. ellen

    I hae been watching Indian (from India) art. lately. It has gone crazy since there are so many new minted multi millionaires in India. The gallery that has right of first refusal to buy back its artists is a great idea. That way if they have 20 pictures by the same artist it will keep the price up. This tactic is used many times at art auctions. A dealer will buy a picture at auction just because he has an inventory of that artist and doesn’t want to see the price faulter. You also got a taste of the back room tactic. “These are my extra special paintings that I am saving for my very SPECIAL colletors to see first..” I enjoy that one too.When you go to India you will see so much so it is a good thing to really do your homework now. Don’t forget to buy some mogul jewelry too. Lucky you!