Beth Citron

  • Left: Architect Rajiv Saini and artist Shilpa Gupta. (Except where noted, all photos: Beth Citron) Right: Artist-Curator Sudarshan Shetty and his daughter in front of Pyramid of Exiled Poets. (Photo: Ashiesh Shah)
    diary December 19, 2016

    Apt Pupil

    “YES, IT IS A MONDAY” noted the sly public invitation to the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. “That just means it’ll be a great start to the week.” But in the days prior to the December 12 opening, the extended family of India’s art world had already begun to gather in Mumbai for Subodh Gupta’s blockbuster-scale exhibition—his first in the city in nearly a decade, hosted by Delhi’s Nature Morte—and an excellent show of Dayanita Singh’s photography and portable museums in books, boxes, and suitcases at the Bhau Daji Lad Museum.

    By Sunday the Mumbai–Kochi air route had become a fashionable

  • S. H. Raza, 2015. Photo: Vadehra Art Gallery.
    passages September 07, 2016

    S. H. Raza (1922–2016)

    WHEN THE PAINTER Sayed Haider Raza passed away on July 23, 2016, he was ninety-four years old and the last surviving founding member of the Progressive Artists’ Group and the exceptional community that it animated in Mumbai (then Bombay) in the immediate postwar, postindependence period. This included the patronage of European émigrés in India Walter Langhammer, Emanuel Schlesinger, and Rudolf von Leyden, and the visionaries Kekoo and Khorshed Gandhy, close friends of Raza’s who founded Gallery Chemould, the city’s first commercial art space.

    Born in a small village in India’s heartland of Madhya

  • Two stills from M. F. Husain’s Through the Eyes of a Painter, 1967, TK mm, black-and-white, 17 minutes 35 seconds.

    M. F. Husain’s Through the Eyes of a Painter

    IN A RADICAL AND SHORT-LIVED initiative in the 1960s, India’s national Films Division (established as a documentary unit just after independence in 1947) invited artists and filmmakers to develop their own experimental projects. Under the direction of visionary chief advisor Jean Bhownagary, this was a major undertaking for a country with a fledgling infrastructure to support even conventional art forms; ironically, it led to experimental cinema in India emerging with the government’s funding and at its insistence rather than in opposition to it. In 1967, this gave prominent painter Maqbool Fida

  • Zarina Hashmi, Shadow House, 2006, cut Nepalese paper, 69 x 39".

    “Zarina: Paper Like Skin”

    Since the early 1960s, Indian-born American artist Zarina Hashmi has developed a minimal artistic language that balances materiality with themes of home, displacement, and memory.

    Since the early 1960s, Indian-born American artist Zarina Hashmi has developed a minimal artistic language that balances materiality with themes of home, displacement, and memory. Her first retrospective—long overdue—features approximately sixty pieces from the past five decades and includes prints, paper-pulp casts, and sculptures. While the influence of Zarina’s studies of mathematics and architecture are evident across her oeuvre, rarely seen early relief prints such as In the Woods I, 1971, manifest the importance and impression of nature in her practice,

  • Sudarshan Shetty, Untitled, 2006, prosthetic hands, steel pipe, motor mechanical device, 59 x 2 1/2".

    “HomeSpun”

    Though conceived to survey notions of domestic space, “HomeSpun” features some of South Asia’s leading globe-trotters, including Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, and Sudarshan Shetty, among more than two dozen others.

    Though conceived to survey notions of domestic space, “HomeSpun” features some of South Asia’s leading globe-trotters, including Subodh Gupta, Rashid Rana, and Sudarshan Shetty, among more than two dozen others. Drawn from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar Collection, the show’s works are divided into three sections. The first explores the double edge of security and anxiety that today marks the physical and emotional dimensions of “home.” The second—billed as an “apartment on acid”—riffs on the quirky banalities of daily life. And the last situates art in a succession of

  • Sandeep Mukherjee, Untitled, 2010, acrylic, acrylic ink, embossed drawing on Duralene, 60 x 126”.
    picks September 22, 2010

    Sandeep Mukherjee

    Six stories above the noisy bustle of Chinatown, Sandeep Mukherjee’s first solo exhibition in New York (and the inaugural show of Brennan & Griffin) offers a quiet and beautiful respite. Manipulating various combinations of acrylic and embossed drawing on Duralene, the Los Angeles–based artist presents a suite of fine abstractions that evoke organic landscapes and natural phenomena. But beyond the likeness to dense forests and impressive mountain ranges, or any other suggestive symbolism, Mukherjee’s works are a serious exploration of pure form. They also evince a rigorous and laborious technical

  • Liz Magic Laser, Michael Wiener as Jeraiah Jip (a private in the British Army) in Man Equals Man at the 52 Broadway Branch of Amalgamated Bank, NY, NY, June 14th, 2009. Jip finally finds his comrades and they act like they don’t know him in Scene 11, 2009–10, color photograph, 12 x 18”.
    picks May 27, 2010

    Liz Magic Laser

    In her exhibition “chase,” Liz Magic Laser renders a contemporary, layered interpretation of Bertolt Brecht’s 1926 play Man Equals Man––a harsh, if comedic, parable about the perils of capitalist greed. Laser’s show features a full-length film shot in various ATM vestibules, an installation of costumes and other paraphernalia used in the production, and a quasi-theatrical set, which served as the stage for “The Elephant Calf,” a live performance that occurred halfway through the exhibition’s opening night. Brecht wrote “Elephant Calf” as a satirical intermission for Man Equals Man in which the

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Any Number of Preoccupations, 2010, oil on canvas, 63 x 78 3/4”.
    picks May 02, 2010

    Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

    The larger-than-life portraits comprising the London-born Ghanaian artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s exhibition “Essays and Documents” confront the viewer with strong gazes and bold brushstrokes. In contrast to what the show’s title suggests, the works here eschew any sense of conventional narrative, as most figures are painted against gestural planes of color. In style and sheer luxury of paint, these pieces speak consciously to a dominant continental European tradition, including Velázquez and especially Manet, rather than to the more immediate heritage of expressionist figuration in twentieth-century

  • Walt Cassidy, The Broad and Beaten Way, 2006, color photograph, 15 x 15”. From the series “The Inferior Orbs,” 2006.
    picks April 14, 2010

    Walt Cassidy

    In his first solo exhibition, “The Protective Motif,” Walt Cassidy maps his own unconscious through a group of photographs, drawings, and sculptures filled mostly with geometric forms. Whether these triangles, dots, and lines are meditations on his inner experience (or instead diversions from it) remains unclear, yet the results are visually engaging, if affected.

    Though his series of photographs “The Inferior Orbs,” 2006, seems to refer unselfconsciously to the now popularized new age dream catchers, the circular form present in works including The Broad and Beaten Way is a bicycle wheel that

  • Risham Syed, Indians Viewing the Landscape, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks April 08, 2010

    Risham Syed

    In her first solo exhibition in the United States, Lahore, Pakistan–based Risham Syed presents a striking landscape of Victoriana and contemporary violence. Comprising a series of paintings set into theatrical installations and unusual hangings, “and the rest is history” is a rich consideration of how colonial history and values inform and contradict Pakistan’s experiences today. Take, for example, The Marble Hearth, 2010, in which an antique-inspired fireplace is lit by a painting of flames shooting from the engines of a shuttle midlaunch, or The Cushion, 2010, a methodical salon-style installation

  • “Resemble/Reassemble”

    Featuring miniature paintings and room-size installations, and works whose reference points range from Lollywood (Lahore’s film industry) to Pakistan’s founder Muhammad Ali Jinnah, “Resemble/Reassemble” sets out to show the broad diversity and the best of contemporary Pakistani art, presenting works by forty-five artists. Curated by Rashid Rana, Pakistan’s leading global art star and one of the founding faculty members of the art school at Beaconhouse National University, Lahore, the exhibition is composed exclusively of works from the Lekha and Anupam Poddar collection. The show exemplifies

  • Sudarshan Shetty, No Title, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    picks March 22, 2010

    Sudarshan Shetty

    Like the ungraspable clauses of its title, “The More I Die, the Lighter I Get,” the works in Sudarshan Shetty’s latest exhibition are at once mysterious and subtle, each a sardonic dance of conceptual elements and material forms. The large-scale sculptural installations take on the difficulty of representing death and emptiness, adapting their structures from the suit jackets, aluminum skeletons, and other tropes Shetty developed in earlier considerations of big topics in exhibitions including “Love” (2006) and “Leaving Home” (2008). Whereas in 2008 Shetty fashioned an installation of men’s suit