Amar Kanwar in 2013 Carnegie International

2013 Carnegie InternationalManjari Sihare shares details of the forthcoming 2013 Carnegie International

Pittsburgh: The Henry Heinz II Director of Carnegie Museum of Art, Lynn Zelevansky, recently announced the artists participating in the 2013 Carnegie International, which opens on October 5, 2013 and will be on view until March 16, 2014.  The Carnegie International is the longest-running international survey of contemporary art at any museum. It was first organized at the behest of industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie on November 5, 1896 in Pittsburgh. He intended the International to provide a periodic sample of contemporary art from which Carnegie Museum of Art could enrich its permanent collection.

The Carnegie Museum of Art is nationally and internationally recognized for its collection of fine and decorative art from the 19th to 21st centuries. The collection also contains important holdings of Japanese and old master prints.  For more information about Carnegie Museum of Art, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, visit its website.

The 2013 Carnegie International brings together 35 artists from 19 countries, including a series of large-scale commissions throughout the museum and beyond. Three major projects join what is, in essence, a conversation among artworks, the museum, and its visitors: an exchange of experiences and perspectives. A playground, designed in 1972, and installed outside the museum entrance, will be contextualized by a richly illustrated exhibition of postwar playground architecture. An ambitious reinstallation of Carnegie Museum of Art’s permanent collection of modern and contemporary art will explore the International‘s legacy and unique history. Finally, the 2013 Carnegie International amplifies its ongoing engagement with Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods, inaugurated by the Lawrenceville Apartment Talks, which have been ongoing since 2011.

A notable inclusion in this year’s edition is that of renowned New Delhi based filmmaker, Amar Kanwar who has established a distinctive voice, having directed and produced over 40 films, and through them studying the economies and psychologies of power as they direct the evolution of health, ecology, labor, development, politics, philosophy, art and law. Recurrent themes in Kanwar’s practice include the splitting of families, sectarian violence and border conflicts, interwoven with investigations of gender and sexuality, philosophy and religion, as well as the opposition between globalisation and tribal consciousness in rural India. Kanwar’s work is currently on view at the Guggenheim New York, as part of No Country: Contemporary Art from South and South East Asia.

To learn more about Carnegie International, follow their blog.

Imran Qureshi is Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year 2013”

Imran Qureshi
Moderate Enlightenment
Gouache on Wasli
8.5 x 6.5 in
From: Saffronart’s 24 Hour Auction: Art of Pakistan, Lot 31
Exhibited and published: Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan, 2009-10

Manjari Sihare of Saffronart shares details about Deutsche Bank’s 2013 Artist of the Year Award conferred to Pakistani contemporary artist Imran Qureshi

New York: Deutsche Bank has presented its fourth “Artist of the Year” award to leading Pakistani contemporary artist Imran Qureshi. The selection was made on the recommendation of internationally renowned curators including Okwui Enwezor, Hou Hanru, Udo Kittelmann, and Victoria Noorthoorn, who comprise the Deutsche Bank Global Art Advisory Council. This award was instituted in 201o to honor an international contemporary artist who has already amassed an unmistakable and extraordinary oeuvre working with the paper medium or photography,  the two focal points of the celebrated Deutsche Bank Art Collection.

The Deutsche Bank Collection is  one of the most comprehensive corporate art collections in the world, featuring over 55,000 photographs, prints and drawings worldwide. The Collection started with early acquisitions of significant German-speaking artists such as George Baselitz, Joseph Beuys and Sigmar Pölke. As the Bank has grew globally, so did the size and interactive nature of their art collection, which was directed to reflect today’s diverse contemporary art world and an international point of view. Hence works of German artists were juxtaposed with works by master artists from respective host countries. The bank’s art collection is strategically headquartered in New York City to take advantage the city’s vibrant contemporary art environment and the international profile of the people who work in and visit the bank daily.

The award is not based on a financial reward, but positioned as an integral part of Deutsche Bank’s art program through its  substantial collection, exhibitions, and its joint projects with partners. For the past three years, since its inception, the reward included a solo exhibition at the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin accompanied with a comprehensive catalogue, an exclusive edition designed by the artist and acquisition of the artist awardee’s select works on paper for the Deutsche Bank Collection. This year, the announcement coincided with another important disclosure by the Bank. On Monday, November 12th, 2012, the Deutsche Bank announced the space which currently holds the Deutsche Guggenheim in Berlin will be converted into the German capital’s newest kunsthalle in Spring 2013. This announcement was a follow up of the news that broke out early this year of the Guggenheim closing its Berlin premises at the end of 2012.  This space will mark the end of the bank’s 15-year collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. In its press release, the bank declared that “the Kunsthalle is conceptualized as a place where young, promising talent can be seen first. Its inaugural exhibition in April 2013 will feature the work of Imran Qureshi, one of the most important figures on Pakistan’s art scene today.” Read more.

To learn more about Imran Qureshi, click here.

Zarina: Paper Like Skin at the Hammer Museum

Guest Blogger Tracy Buck visits the first retrospective of artist Zarina Hashmi at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles

Los Angeles: On September 30, The Hammer Museum, located in Westwood near the campus of the University of California, Los Angeles, opened the first retrospective of artist Zarina HashmiZarina: Paper Like Skin is currently on view until December 30, 2012; it then travels to the Guggenheim in New York in the early spring of 2013 and to the Art Institute of Chicago in summer 2013.  Zarina’s elegant and understated works, executed sculpturally and via the manipulation of paper, include woodcuts and etchings, paper that has been cut and pinpricked and woven, an original cut block, and bronze and tin sculpture.

Zarina, born in India in 1937, has lived in the United States since the 1970s.  The exhibition’s curator, Allegra Pesenti, worked closely with Zarina in her studio/home in New York City to select pieces that represent her large body of work dating from 1961 to the present.  Within these works – undertaken not only in her New York studio but in her various former homes in Thailand, India, Pakistan, Europe, and Japan – are quietly and poignantly woven themes of memory, displacement, movement, dislocation, and the intimate and pliable connection to homes current and remembered.

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Among her works are woodcut explorations of the trauma and loss during the India/Pakistan Partition (Dividing Line, 2001); the jagged Radcliffe Line here appears as a scar cut beyond even the otherwise contained boundaries of map and land mass.  A separate series (These Cities Blotted into the Wilderness [Adrienne Rice After Ghalib], 2003) envisions and commemorates various cities that have been bombed in recent years.  Homes I Have Made/A Life in Nine Lines, 1997 is a series of floor plans of houses and apartments throughout the world, rented and made into homes, however temporary, and now remembered.  An engagement with line, with darkness and white, with paper and its materiality and subtlety, are at the heart of these works.

Although most often associated with paper, one might consider Zarina to be an artist who works in the “medium” of Urdu as well.  In several of Zarina’s works (Letters From Home, 2004; Atlas of my World, 2001, These Cities Blotted into the Wilderness [Adrienne Rice After Ghalib], 2003; Travels with Rani, 2008, among others) the Urdu script becomes a raw material, visually manipulated, recalling both the histories of Independence and Partition of the subcontinent, as well as Zarina’s own story of her family’s move to Pakistan some years following Partition. It also recalls, to those who can read it, the ghazal tradition and its thematic weight of melancholy and loss, of separation and longing, of displacement and disconnect.

One might consider the medium of printmaking itself to work in a similar way.  The printmaking process is a series of elisions, of secrets, its final printed product a sort of masking of the intense physicality of carving a block and running a press. Unlike gestural painting, for example, that draws attention outright and purposefully to the physical effort of its production, printmaking operates via a system of reversals, removing rather than adding material to ultimately produce an image out of this void, obscuring the repetitive gouging to produce not scarred lines but rather the lack they result in, the finished product in the form of white emptiness of paper. This repetition and physicality is revealed in her pinpricked, knotted, and scarred paper works, but subtly – in slightly raised white surface and shadow on white page; they record persistence rather than proclamation.

The fact that the show was lovingly and painstakingly conceived and researched by curator Pesenti is clear in the beautiful execution of the exhibition and in its quiet and respectful design. The exhibition’s catalog, with notable essays by Pesenti and by UCLA professor of Comparative Literature Aamir Mufti, replicates this care and attention and offers further insight into the work and life of Zarina, her choice of paper as medium and her connection to, and implications of, her use of Urdu. This retrospective, a first for the artist and, it may be said, long overdue, speaks quietly but powerfully of home and memory and its various definitions and delineations, in an abstract but deeply evocative language.

Watch Zarina talk about her work and this retrospective in a conversation with the exhibition curator here.

Tracy Buck holds MA degrees in South Asian Cultures and Languages and in Museum Studies, and has worked in the Collections Management and Curatorial departments of several history and art museums.  She is currently pursing a PhD in Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles.

South & South East Asia on Guggenheim’s radar

Manjari Sihare on Guggenheim’s UBS MAP Global Art Initiative

New York: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation recently announced the Guggenheim UBS MAP Global Art Initiative, an ambitious five-year collaboration with UBS Wealth Management to graph contemporary art from around the world. The initiative is an attempt to extend the Guggenheim’s geographic outreach by building relationships among curators, artists, and educators worldwide in a comprehensive program of curatorial residencies, acquisitions and touring exhibitions. Starting from 2012, the project will focus on South and South East Asia in its first phase followed by Latin America in the second and North Africa and the Middle East in the last and final chapter. The Guggenheim will invite one curator from each region to participate in a two-year residency in New York, and work with the museum staff to identify the best of contemporary art from the region. June Yap, an independent curator based in Singapore, has been selected as the Guggenheim UBS MAP Curator, South and Southeast Asia. Yap is known for her curation of the Singapore Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale and holds a background as Deputy Director and Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, Assistant Director for Visual Arts at the National Arts Council (Singapore), the Singapore Art Museum. The selection was made by an expert panel instituted by the museum, which included Alexandra Munroe (Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York) and Kavita Singh (Associate Professor, School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi).  Works selected by the UBS MAP curators will be included in the museum’s permanent collection and showcased in a traveling exhibit to inaugurate at the Guggenheim, New York, followed by two other destinations, one among which will be in the focus region. Singapore and Hong Kong are being considered as possible destinations for the 1st exhibit.

The initiative highlights two interesting facets of global art politics. It is reflective of the growing attention towards the east in recent years. While more and more western museums are now focusing on the East, mainstream art fairs tell another story. Fairs such as the New York Frieze and the recently concluded Art Basel have been said to be mostly focused on the West.

Image credit: The Art Newspaper: Art Basel Daily Edition, June 12, 2012

Of the total 2,500 artists showcased at Art Basel, 23% were American and  whooping 60% artists were from European nations. In spite of the hype surrounding Chinese artists, their participation along with their other South Asian counterparts amounted to a mere 4.3% of the total. This discrepancy between the commercial and institutional infrastructures is a point of curiosity. Richard Armstrong, Director of the Guggenheim Museum and Foundation sheds light on this and talks more about the MAP Global Art Initiative in this video.

On another note, it is also interesting that in a global climate of supposed economic recession, UBS Wealth Management, a Swiss global financial services company, has sponsored the initiative. Perhaps, Indian corporations can learn a thing or two from such international counterparts and display broader empathy for art and culture in the region.