Skye Arundhati Thomas

  • film May 02, 2018

    Code Red

    “YES, SHE POISONED A WHOLE TOWN, BUT . . . ,” a friend texts me after watching the recently released Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country (2018), and it is a popular response to Ma Anand Sheela, the true heroine of the show. The six-episode film presents an extraordinary amount of footage from the four years of Rajneeshpuram, a sixty-three-thousand-acre ranch in Wasco County, Oregon, established in 1981. The five thousand people who lived at Rajneeshpuram wanted to be with their Bhagwan (the Hindi word for “God”), Rajneesh, who is better known by the name Osho. The Rajneeshees flipped

  • picks March 08, 2018

    Jihan El-Tahri

    For her first-ever solo presentation, Jihan El-Tahri examines where the histories of Egypt and India coincide, beginning with four photographs. In three, the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, and the second president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, walk down a gilded staircase. Appearing jovial, they whisper to each other, and in the fourth photograph—the only one publicly disseminated at the time—they shake hands, turning high-voltage smiles to the cameras, and to us. Opposite these images, which were taken in Belgrade in 1960, is a small screen showing a film from the Indonesian

  • picks February 09, 2018

    Shreyas Karle

    A fluorescent-pink hose angles up to the ceiling only to fall back to the floor, slumping into an awkward pile. This item—Frustrated gardener, 2017—is placed opposite a two-legged terra-cotta horse pressed between two sheets of museum glass. As the title explains, it is busy Performing under pressure in the museum of broken objects, 2018. Shreyas Karle’s exhibition “Unnecessary alcove” is a museological display stripped of embellishments. The titles of the works are revealing, and if you read them quickly in sequence you end up with a verse full of hot anxiety and flat aspiration: Gap by the

  • picks November 28, 2017

    Jayashree Chakravarty

    In Earth as Heaven: Under the Canopy of Love (all works cited, 2017), an installation in the rotunda of the museum’s top floor, artist Jayashree Chakravarty has visitors walk through a large, fleshy cocoon. The materials she has assembled reveal themselves along the sculpture’s interior terrain: tea and tobacco leaves, roots, stems, insects with intact wings, handmade Nepali and Chinese papers, powders of dried leaves, plastic beads, clay, and discarded scraps of cloth. Outside the cave-like sculpture, large collages of similar material line the walls, unfurling from ceiling to floor.

    In Pierre

  • picks July 03, 2017

    Praneet Soi

    The latest in the museum’s series of exhibitions intended to stoke dialogue between contemporary artists and the institution’s archive begins with a large freestanding curved painting, titled Notes on Labour, 2017, installed in the foyer. The twisted figures in the composition lurch into a void. Perhaps this speaks to the show’s premise—for history to meet with the present, one must accept a certain degree of freewheeling association. The absurdity here is in the juxtaposition: The lavishly refurbished colonial interiors of the museum house Praneet Soi’s investigations into the labor processes