Sophia Powers

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Indian Icons Incarnate   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Shivaraju B S at Gallery Sumukha - Bangalore May 5th, 2012 - May 26th, 2012
Posted 5/21/12
First off, let me begin with a confession: I have not actually seen this show. I am writing this review only after having looked at Shivaraju BS's photographs on the Gallery Sumukha website. I wish I could be there! I do hope to see the photos in person soon. But until then, I figure that since the show is as much about the mass-mediated manifestation of charisma as anything else, the photographer will hopefully forgive my honest attempt to engage with his work through the imperfect medium of... [more]
Hong Kong Goes Baselistic   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at Hong Kong International Art Fair May 17th, 2012 - May 20th, 2012
Posted 5/15/12
Can going global make a razzle-dazzle art fair more local? We are set to see with this year's upcoming Hong Kong Art Fair, kicking off May 17th. Just a little over a year ago, the MCH Group, the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, purchased a 60% stake in the company that runs the Hong Kong fair, giving them a formidable monopoly over the global art fair circuit. Will this takeover lead to the McDonalds-ization of the circuit? Perhaps just the opposite. As Art Basel co-director... [more]
Art collectives are rising stars on the Indian art scene.  But how did this phenomenon start?  Who are the major players—and the major players that make them up?  Art India’s most recent issue offers some much needed background. This volume features nine brief profiles of artist’s collectives that have been active in India from before partition up until the present moment.  Some of the articles, such as Shukla Sawant’s piece on The Progressive Artists’ Group (pp. 28-30), and Meera Menezes’... [more]
Delhi and Bombay   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 1/15/12
OPENING IN DELHI! Brooklyn-based Kiran Chandra’s contribution to Shrine Empire’s opens this Thursday, January 19.  And don’t miss the special panel discussion with Anusha Rizvi, Arunkumar HG, Pradip Saha, Ravi Agawal, and Kiran Chandra moderated by Latika Gupta at 7 pm on Wednesday January 19 at the gallery.   OPENING IN MUMBAI! Don’t slip through the cracks!  Catch Latitude 28’s latest group show, Slipping Through the Cracks, organized around ten artists’ meditation on what digital... [more]
JUST OPENING! Young Blood at the JJ Art School Commemorate and Interrogate the Bloodshed of 26/11. November 28 – December 3 Sir JJ School of Art, Main Hall   AND CLOSING SOON! IN BANGALORE : The Crooked Framing of Sheela Gowda. Till December 10 GallerySke Sheela Gowda,,  2011; Courtesy of the artist IN KOLKATA: The Boxed-in Birds of Shuvaprasanna’s Magnificent Mental Menagerie. Till December 8 Emami Chisel Art Shuvaprasanna, Owl, 25.40 x 30.48 cm,  Intaglio; Courtesy of... [more]
Shows not to Miss   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 11/20/11
BEIJING: OPENING THIS WEEK:   Our very own Iona Whittaker brings celebrated Brit Kate Downie to China for the first time to celebrate the cities’ most questionably charismatic charms. Where Where Art Space Live Drawing Hours: Thursday November 24 and Friday November 26, 5-6 pm Exhibition open from November 26   SHANGHAI: OPENING THIS WEEK:   How can language be both concrete and abstract?  Wang Xieda’s character-inspired sculptural practice is the answer. Wang Xieda: SAGES' SAYINGS... [more]
OPENING SOON IN DELHI: Words not to Miss!  Our very own Himali Singh Soin curates India’s first text-only art exhibition opening this Saturday. November 26 – December 25 Group Show -  WORDS: A USER'S MANUAL Exhibit 320   Then stroll across the street for some languid lyricality on the part of Anupam Sud that needs no words to speak volumes.  November 26 – December 9 Anupam Sud: Preparatory Assertions - Notes from Sketch Books Latitude 28   CLOSING SOON IN BOMBAY:   Raghava... [more]
 Just Opened! Don’t miss the looping lines and off-the-wall playfulness of New York-based Amina Ahmed’s first show in India. “The Call” Opened November 4th at Seven Art Ltd. And be sure to catch Khoj’s latest greatest experiment: an exhibition focusing on the nature of the documentary using postcards, films, and YouTube. “Augmenting Practices” opened November 3rd at Khoj International Artist’s Association. Opening! Roshini Devasher persists in enchanting audiences with her unique organic... [more]
Mewar Cubo-Futurism   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 8/1/11
As I wandered through the idiosyncratic dream-scape of the Udaipur royal palace I was moved by the miniature paintings lining its labyrinthine walls.  These pictures were well worth the many hours I spent jostling with Punjabi tour guides and squinting in the often abysmal light.  I was, in particular, struck by the comic-book style narrative and surreal architectural renderings in these rich formal pictures. Something about the contrast between the realistic and the fantastical--... [more]
Indian Imagination   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 8/1/11
In the five years since I had been coming to India I had been resolute not to give in to tourist brochure fantasies—no "eternal India" for me.  No ashrams, no Taj Mahal.  I would see the real, real India.  I would visit the hippist art galleries rather than the holiest temples.  Contemporary India.  Now, in a country where shrines outnumber showrooms a million to one the absurdity of this conceit is obvious, but leaving aside the hope for any "real" India at all, I finally gave into the lure of... [more]
The Pleasure of Return   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 7/11/11
I'm off to India.  My flight leaves tomorrow…have I packed everything?  Of course not!  Funny thing is, this hardly bothers me because I know when I get off the plane I’ll be too excited to miss all the things I’ve left behind.  This will be my fifth Indian monsoon in a row.  Every year when I return to New York I feel like nothing much has changed—my home has been humming away its unrelenting urban harmonies quite happily without me.  But flying into Delhi or Bombay each year is another... [more]
  As a museum intern, I was recently privy to an extended meeting between the curatorial and design staff concerning the selection of a color scheme for the wall labels of our upcoming show. We met in a corner office around a big table strewn with paint sample binders. The conversation began simply. “What are you thinking of?” the head of the design team asked. “Blue—I feel blue,” the head of the curatorial team replied. “Can you show me your blues?” “Of course.” We look at blues.... [more]
- ArtSlant editor Sophia Powers stepped into Eli Klein Fine Arts to speak with Zhang Dali about his recent solo show: “New Slogan.”  The artist had arrived with Klein moments before, having just returned from a meeting at MoMA where it was confirmed that Zhang will take part in an upcoming exhibition of six artists.  Bravo Zhang Dali! Zhang Dali, Demolition, 1999, Photograph, 60x89.85 cm, Ed of 10; Courtesy of the artist and Eli Klein, NY Sophia Powers:  I’d love to hear how you got... [more]
As the capital heats up, who doesn’t want an excuse to contemplate beautiful things from the comfort of serious air-conditioning?  But making it out of the house may take a extra burst of motivation.  Here are a pair of Delhi shows that are worth the sweat. Closing on April 30th is Nature Morte’s “Chromatophobia: The Fear of Money,” a presentation of new sculptures by L.N. Tallur that live up to this artist’s reputation for powerful, enigmatic works on a grand scale.  This show presents... [more]
This week, India has a rather unexpected art destination in the limelight: Chennai.  From March 20th – 26th, the city will be animated by an influx of curators, artists, and collectors dashing from venue to venue.  Twenty-two galleries will open twenty-seven shows in the first half of the week.  On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the festival will host a noteworthy lineup of speakers for panels organized around major categories of art world activity: “Collectors’ Corner,” “The Art Critic,” “The... [more]
ArtSlant editor Sophia Powers had the chance to join Cui Xiuwen at Eli Klein Gallery just days after the opening of her photography solo “Existential Emptiness,” which runs until February 27th.  ArtSlant would like to thank Eli Klein Gallery for making this interview possible as well as Laure Raibaut for assisting in the translation. Cui Xiuwen, Existential Emptiness No. 5, 2009, C-Print, 34 5/8 x 78 3/4 inches; Courtesy Eli Klein Fine Art   Sophia Powers: I was intrigued by the title you... [more]
Shilpa Gupta, one of India’s most internationally renowned contemporary artists was long overdue for a monograph.  As of last year there is one, thanks to Vadehra Art Gallery’s new publishing efforts in association with Prestel.  This 248-page volume is beautifully designed with four substantial written pieces to compliment lavishly reproductions of Gupta’s work.  The book will delight Gupta fans.  However, it may present more problems to those who are not yet too familiar with the artist’s... [more]
"Gods in the Bazaar," Kajri Jain’s rigorous, expansive, and gorgeously illustrated tome is a welcome addition to the growing literature on Indian visual culture, and leads us across India on a tour of printing presses, artist’s studios,’ calendar distribution houses, and into the offices and bedrooms of India’s myriad citizens.  The book begins with a telling anecdote about an image of Sati taken in 1987.  The author juxtaposes a photograph snapped of the 18 year old Roop Kanwar smiling over... [more]
2010 Round-Up   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Posted 1/3/11
How to sum up a year in art?  Rather than tackle the impossible single-handedly, I review the year by sampling the voices of my fantastic ArtSlant authors in a montage of some of the past year’s memorable moments.  So here’s to 2010, brought to you by ArtSlant India. 2010 has been a year of debuts—some monumental, and others intimate but no less intelligently conceived.  Anish Kapoor had his long awaited homecoming at the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi.  As Manjari Kaul remarked:... [more]
ArtSlant Editor Sophia Powers stepped into Chambers Art Gallery on a freezing December morning and was greeted by a strange sight—a man with a video camera pointed directly at her! A few moments later she recognized the man behind the camcorder—Feng Mengbo. He had come to New York for the opening of installation “Long March: Restart” at MoMA PS1, and was dressed in a very sharp light blue shirt with an unusual button pattern. After getting over her initial shock, Sophia sat down with the artist... [more]
Shilpa Gupta is an internationally renowned conceptual and installation artist hailing from Mumbai.  She graduated with a degree in sculpture at the J. J. School of Fine arts in 1997, and has since showed her work in solo shows across the U.S., Europe, and India. Her multi-media performances and installations are unique in their ability to engage a diverse public with challenging personal and political issues such as identity, security, and desire. ArtSlant's India Editor, Sophia Powers, had... [more]
- Back in 2007, the Delhi-based artist Mithu Sen had achieved what most art graduates only dream of: financial success and critical recognition. She had had solo shows abroad and was represented by India’s top galleries…but she was increasingly disillusioned by the market-centric logic of the art world. Such angst is not new, but Mithu’s solution was. She decided to begin a new project called “Free Mithu,” in which she offered free works of art—with authenticity certificates and market... [more]
Pooja Iranna is a Delhi-based mixed-media artist who just opened her solo show “In the Waves and Underneath” at the Palette Art Gallery in Delhi.  India ArtSlant Editor Sophia Powers had the great pleasure to meet with Pooja at her home in August as she was putting the final touches on the show.  What follows are excerpts from their conversation. Pooja Iranna, The Twist, 2010, Staple pins, 33x104 cms;  Courtesy of the artist Sophia Powers:  Can you tell us a little about your... [more]
When the Trees Grin   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Neha Choksi at Project 88 August 2nd, 2010 - August 28th, 2010
Posted 8/30/10
      Neha Choksi’s recent solo at Project 88 brings a dash of dark humor to Colaba in the form of photographs, a video piece, and a few enigmatic installations.  The exhibition is titled “If Nothing Else, A Smile,” after a sign the artist spotted a homeless man holding in her native Los Angeles.  I did smile, but more out of discomfort than delight.Large un-peopled photographs of L.A.’s Inglewood Park Cemetery make up the majority of the show. This space is a very familiar one to the... [more]
Tagging Today   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Vishal Dar, Atul Dodiya, Ved Gupta, G. R. Iranna, Shreyas Karle, Riyas Komu, Bose Krishnamachari, Sathyanand Mohan, Baiju Parthan, Rakhi Peswani, Justin Ponmany, Balaji Ponna, Prajakta Potnis, Sumedh Rajendran, K. P. Reji, T.V. Santhosh, Gigi Scaria, Mithu Sen, Kiran Subbaiah, Apnavi Thacker, Vivek Vilasini at The Guild Art Gallery August 5th, 2010 - September 23rd, 2010
Posted 8/23/10
      With the Asian Games less than 50 days away, and India’s capitol in a state of utter disrepair—not to mention the scores of underpaid and overworked migrant laborers who have flooded Delhi, as well as the country’s other metros, to build not only shabby stadiums but countless high-rises - one would expect a few more signs of popular outcry.  But street graffiti is conspicuously absent.  The buildings, even when crumbling and monsoon-stained, are largely left unmarked by political... [more]
  Generally, when I see two men holding hands at an art event in India I assume they’re gay.  Not this Independence Day!  I was thrilled to find the Jehangir Art Gallery crowded on August 15th, and even more delighted to realize that this was no normal “art public.”  This was more like the “real public,” if such a thing could ever be said to exist. Never before I have I seen a cross-section of classes stroll into a gallery showing contemporary art in this country.  There is certainly little... [more]
Fine Painting as Animal Activism?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Pradeep L. Mishra at Palette Art Gallery July 30th, 2010 - August 28th, 2010
Posted 8/2/10
          Are cute animals the best way to promote environmental awareness?  Well, perhaps.  Why else would environmental agencies have a much easier time raising money to protect individual “charismatic species” as opposed to funding holistic attempts to foster the ecosystems that support them?  This very logic has been followed to a T by Pradeep Mishra, who is not an NGO grant writer of any sort, but rather an up-and-coming young visual artist.  His most recent show, “Love to Live” which... [more]
United by Medium?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jaya Ganguly, Jayanta Roy, Dileep Sharma at Nature Morte, New Delhi July 5th, 2010 - July 31st, 2010
Posted 8/2/10
          Three artists, united by a medium…and not much else.  This past month Nature Morte has brought a triumvirate painters together in their Delhi space for a show that seems to be little more than it’s name suggests: “Three Painters,” though a few works of sculpture are thrown in for good measure.  Perhaps in keeping with the general lethargy of the last weeks of the hot season, it seems the gallery has elected something on the conceptually light end of the spectrum.  Nonetheless,... [more]
New York, Apr. 2010: Earlier this month New York audiences were introduced for the first time to the coy and masterful minimalism of young Beijing-based painter Guo Hongwei.  Taking everyday objects as his point of departure, Guo provocatively demonstrates his comfort with experimental techniques and radical interiority--  not to mention a keen sense of humor. ArtSlant Editor, Sophia Powers, had the pleasure of speaking with Guo Hongwei in the courtyard of the Chambers Fine Art where his solo... [more]
"In Context: Public. Art. Ecology." 11th March at the Khoj Studios   5.30 pm: Walk through of SEZ Who? a collaborative project by Tushar Joag, Sharmila Samant, Prajakta Potnis, Justin Ponmany and Uday ShanbagSEZ Who? Is the outcome of a fact finding exercise conducted at two areas adjacent to Bombay: The Gorai Uttan Belt and the Raigad District. Special Economic Zones were proposed at these locations and met with severe opposition from the local populace. The installation/ events that... [more]
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