SCI-ART LAB

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"10 paintings by famous Indian artists didn't sell at the latest Christies auction" is the title of a recent article in an art news magazine. One upcoming artist commented: "They got the treatment they deserved". A well established artist objected to it. He said: "Cry babies don't know how to compete. You couldn't compete well & therefore didn't become famous. You are jealous about the success of established artists. That is why you are happy now".

When I thought about these two comments and news about the auction, I felt the second person who objected to the upcoming artists remark ignored the realities of the art world.

Recently when I saw the installation work of a famous Indian artist, I didn't know what to say. He put a basket full of fruits on a table and wanted us to believe that it was a good creative piece. Don't we see baskets full of fruits on tables in every Indian home and on corners of every street here? Then he put some items on a steel plate on a table and said it was another work of installation. If I put some food on a steel plate on a table and say it is an installation work what would the elite established forces here say? "Trash" is the word they use. Then why are these famous artists creating works of such kind? I read somewhere that if you are a famous artist even a straight line drawn by you on a piece of paper will become a great work of art and fetch you millions! Does that mean as soon as you become famous you can forget about quality of your work?

A person who writes blogs on Indian art* takes into account the number of foreign shows an artist did to measure the success of that artist. How many poor Indian artists can organize foreign shows? You can have several of them in your CV only if your father is a millionaire. You can compete only when there is a level playing field. The poor artists time will get wasted in leveling the field. When will he get time to compete? Some great pieces created by poor & upcoming artists overcoming all the hurdles usually go unnoticed as they cannot advertise and market them. Whereas ordinary works by some rich and famous artists will be treated as "great works of art". I am sure the same happens in the rest of the world too. The truth is there is no justice here.
As long as injustice thrives, some people will definitely cry and complain. Why object to it?


*The title of the series of these blogs is "Indian Art Review". After reading these blogs I felt the writer should have given the title "Indian Elite Art Review" because they don't represent true Indian art. But sadly the world thinks what this person says is true and good because it doesn't know the truth!

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Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on February 14, 2010 at 5:11am
People don't really understand art here. I was shocked when a high society woman who visited an art show by an artist with an MFA from a prestigious art college refused to buy his art saying that even her 15 year old daughter could paint pictures like the artist did! "Why should I pay thousands of rupees to put these pictures on the walls of my living room?" was her Q! Art world failed to answer these Qs put by common men. Only a few people love art & some just buy to invest in art. Art market refuses to encourage young artists with talent here because people who run it have no interest in art & are bothered only about the returns.
Media always follow only the top artists & those who write about art shows of new artists don't really understand art well (an owner of an art gallery told me this!). And if you try to raise your voice to question this rot , you will be silenced by saying that you are a "cry baby". The truth is as long as injustice thrives some people will definitely complain & cry. Why object to it? If you can- try to correct the situation or if you are blind or timid, just go with the flow but please allow people who want to fight this rot to express their views. If you stop these fighters, Art world will stink!
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on December 15, 2009 at 4:26am
Very true, Prince.
Comment by Prince Freakasso on December 13, 2009 at 12:30pm
Yes Mumbai doe's have better options than other states in India.But this is largely due to the kind of mixed populace that it boasts.Likewise Delhi too doe's well in the fine art scenario.Unfortunately art has been compartmentalised and geographically defined all over the globe.In Kolkota everyone tends to prefer Bengali art,in Rajasthan Rajasthani art and in Hyderabad it has always been the local artists who have been tooting their horn.But the Indian art fraternity needs to do a rethink if it want's to be noticed in a big way,Internationally.Most of the works of some of the big names from India,have been bought by NRI's. Barring Chester and Davida Herwitz,there is no true global response;and this needs to noted.I beleive galleries should forget about all those who are in the art of business,and concentrate on those in the business of art.It will surely begin to pay rich dividends,unlike the immediate past scenario where gallerists were forced to run for cover,embarking on all kinds of gimmicks which are of no benefits to artists whatsoever.
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on December 13, 2009 at 5:06am
Sorry, the last sentence in my comment should be "Therefore, they are not in a good position to get name & fame".
Comment by Dr. Krishna Kumari Challa on December 13, 2009 at 5:03am
I feel the artists from Delhi & Bombay are more famous because the art market is thriving there. They are considered as centers of art in India. Artists residing in these places have an advantage over others irrespective of the quality of their work. The artists from other parts of India are being given a rough deal & are struggling. Artists always complain about the Hyderabadi atmosphere. They say it is not art friendly. Even the media is not art friendly here. We need to educate people in other places too (apart from Delhi, Bombay, Kolkatta, Chennai & Bangalore) about supporting & investing in art. I want to do this & will definitely try if I get time.
The same is true about other artists residing in art centers like New York, Paris, London , Shanghai & some places In Italy. It is difficult for all the artists to travel to these art centers frequently. Therefore they are in a good position to get name & fame.
Comment by Prince Freakasso on December 12, 2009 at 9:28pm
You're very right Dr.Krishna! Many very fine artists get side tracked due to the prevailing red tape,in India and abroad. On the other hand there are the true junk creators who manage to fool the media and collector world with their suave moves.Classic examples are Harshvardhana,Manish Pushkale and Atul and Anju Dodiya,whose work is quite minimal,yet has a huge market demand. India's so called Damien Hirst,Subodh Gupta,uses toilet pots to make his instillations a global phenomenon.Either somethings terribly wrong with the intelligentsia,or as you rightly point out;a millionaire to chaperone you doe's the trick.I'm sure if India sends more worthwhile artists,rather than the Caledar,Folk,Rural,Madhubani and Kalamkari guys.They would be much better represented globally.The world today seeks change and we need to provide this change to educate the uneducated in art.
When I heard of the concept of Art from science,I was happy and impressed.This is something very different and definitely needs to be showcased globally.

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