PRINT March 2014


Bhupen Khakhar

Bhupen Khakhar, Janata Watch Repairing, 1972, oil on canvas, 36 1/4 x 36 1/4".

OVER THE PAST DECADE, the late Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003) has been alternately celebrated as the “king of kitsch” and the father of Indian pop art. He famously appeared as a visionary artist in Salman Rushdie’s 1995 novel The Moor’s Last Sigh, and his affable specter still looms large over the Indian art world—as when his bespectacled, toothy visage featured in the installation of his friend and sometime acolyte Atul Dodiya, Celebration in the Laboratory, at the first Kochi-Muziris Biennale in 2012. This past year, Khakhar’s wide cross-disciplinary appeal and larger-than-life legacy were cemented by the torrent of exhibitions that commemorated the tenth anniversary of his death. In April, London’s Grosvenor Gallery staged “Bhupen Khakhar,” which included drawings, watercolors, and paintings from the mid-1970s though early ’80s. In September, Mumbai gallerist

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