WEFOUNDContemporary Indian Art from the Chester and Davida Herwitz Family Collection


India is the world's largest democracy, home to a "transitional society" that by many accounts is the most diverse on earth. Contemporary Indian art matches the cultural and idealogical diversity of the nation, and thanks to rapid globalization is becoming increasingly visible in the international art world. Subodh Gupta 's often-monumental installations link the realities of life in northern India with the broader forces of urbanization and globalization, while Zarina makes intimate works on paper that engage with the violent partition of India and Pakistan, as well as her own dislocation from home.

When V.S. Gaitonde’s Untitled (1998) came to the podium during Christie’s last Indian auction, a palpable murmur of interest rippled through the assembled bidders.

The aquamarine painting was only the second of the artist’s works to come to sale, after the golden yellow Untitled ( 1979) sold for 230 million rupees — or $3.7 million — establishing a world record for modern Indian art. Within minutes, Untitled (1998) had found a buyer.

Though Gaitonde’s record-breaking sale took place in Mumbai, interest in his works has expanded far beyond India. Last year, a major retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim cemented his position as an artist worthy of an international audience — a status set to be confirmed again when Untitled (1970) is sold as part of Christie’s South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction in London on 10 June. 

Indian Arts consists of a variety of art forms, including plastic arts (e.g., pottery sculpture ), visual arts (e.g., paintings ), and textile arts (e.g., woven silk ). Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent , including what is now India , Pakistan , Bangladesh , and eastern Afghanistan . A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.

The origin of Indian art can be traced to pre-historic Hominid settlements in the 3rd millennium BC. On its way to modern times, Indian art has had cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam . In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups.

In historic art, sculpture in stone and metal, mainly religious, has survived the Indian climate better than other media and provides most of the best remains. Many of the most important ancient finds that are not in carved stone come from the surrounding, drier regions rather than India itself. Indian funeral and philosophic traditions exclude grave goods , which is the main source of ancient art in other cultures.

India is the world's largest democracy, home to a "transitional society" that by many accounts is the most diverse on earth. Contemporary Indian art matches the cultural and idealogical diversity of the nation, and thanks to rapid globalization is becoming increasingly visible in the international art world. Subodh Gupta 's often-monumental installations link the realities of life in northern India with the broader forces of urbanization and globalization, while Zarina makes intimate works on paper that engage with the violent partition of India and Pakistan, as well as her own dislocation from home.

India is the world's largest democracy, home to a "transitional society" that by many accounts is the most diverse on earth. Contemporary Indian art matches the cultural and idealogical diversity of the nation, and thanks to rapid globalization is becoming increasingly visible in the international art world. Subodh Gupta 's often-monumental installations link the realities of life in northern India with the broader forces of urbanization and globalization, while Zarina makes intimate works on paper that engage with the violent partition of India and Pakistan, as well as her own dislocation from home.

When V.S. Gaitonde’s Untitled (1998) came to the podium during Christie’s last Indian auction, a palpable murmur of interest rippled through the assembled bidders.

The aquamarine painting was only the second of the artist’s works to come to sale, after the golden yellow Untitled ( 1979) sold for 230 million rupees — or $3.7 million — establishing a world record for modern Indian art. Within minutes, Untitled (1998) had found a buyer.

Though Gaitonde’s record-breaking sale took place in Mumbai, interest in his works has expanded far beyond India. Last year, a major retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim cemented his position as an artist worthy of an international audience — a status set to be confirmed again when Untitled (1970) is sold as part of Christie’s South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction in London on 10 June. 

Indian Arts consists of a variety of art forms, including plastic arts (e.g., pottery sculpture ), visual arts (e.g., paintings ), and textile arts (e.g., woven silk ). Geographically, it spans the entire Indian subcontinent , including what is now India , Pakistan , Bangladesh , and eastern Afghanistan . A strong sense of design is characteristic of Indian art and can be observed in its modern and traditional forms.

The origin of Indian art can be traced to pre-historic Hominid settlements in the 3rd millennium BC. On its way to modern times, Indian art has had cultural influences, as well as religious influences such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Islam . In spite of this complex mixture of religious traditions, generally, the prevailing artistic style at any time and place has been shared by the major religious groups.

In historic art, sculpture in stone and metal, mainly religious, has survived the Indian climate better than other media and provides most of the best remains. Many of the most important ancient finds that are not in carved stone come from the surrounding, drier regions rather than India itself. Indian funeral and philosophic traditions exclude grave goods , which is the main source of ancient art in other cultures.

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) is dedicated to increasing public understanding and appreciation of contemporary Native art, history and culture through presentation, collection and acquisition, preservation, and interpretation. MoCNA is recognized as the preeminent organizer of exhibitions devoted exclusively to the display of dynamic and diverse arts practices representative of Native North America.

MoCNA encourages creative expression across the fields of arts and culture as an opportunity to engage, establish, foster, and cultivate in cross-cultural dialogue with communities at the local, national, and global level.

MoCNA’s exhibitions, programs, and its Collection of Contemporary Native Arts are integral to nurturing and growth of the Institute of American Indian Arts legacy, college community, and curriculum across academic and artistic disciplines.

India is the world's largest democracy, home to a "transitional society" that by many accounts is the most diverse on earth. Contemporary Indian art matches the cultural and idealogical diversity of the nation, and thanks to rapid globalization is becoming increasingly visible in the international art world. Subodh Gupta 's often-monumental installations link the realities of life in northern India with the broader forces of urbanization and globalization, while Zarina makes intimate works on paper that engage with the violent partition of India and Pakistan, as well as her own dislocation from home.

When V.S. Gaitonde’s Untitled (1998) came to the podium during Christie’s last Indian auction, a palpable murmur of interest rippled through the assembled bidders.

The aquamarine painting was only the second of the artist’s works to come to sale, after the golden yellow Untitled ( 1979) sold for 230 million rupees — or $3.7 million — establishing a world record for modern Indian art. Within minutes, Untitled (1998) had found a buyer.

Though Gaitonde’s record-breaking sale took place in Mumbai, interest in his works has expanded far beyond India. Last year, a major retrospective at New York’s Guggenheim cemented his position as an artist worthy of an international audience — a status set to be confirmed again when Untitled (1970) is sold as part of Christie’s South Asian Modern + Contemporary Art auction in London on 10 June. 


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