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Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Guest - 08-24-2007

<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Aug 22 2007, 09:58 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Aug 22 2007, 09:58 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
Father: Salim Khan (Bollywood screenwriter)
Mother: (Hindu)
Brother: Sohail Khan (actor)
Brother: Arbaaz Khan (actor)[right][snapback]72351[/snapback][/right]
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->but I thought Arora-s were catholic or half-catholic.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Arbaaz Khan is husband of Malaika Arora, who from what I recall reading is sister to Amrita Arora. I do remember that Malaika Arora stated that she is fully Catholic of religion. (But they have a 'Hindu' dad apparently.) Hence Amrita is a 'relative' of Salman.
:contented sigh: Useless trivia finally expended. Moral: if I wait long enough, even every bit of nonsense that's snuck into my head becomes 'information'.

I didn't know Amrita's religion was different to her sister's, though. (One not unlikely scenario is that she is indeed catholic, but that the protesting 'catholic Secular forum' - which was mentioned in the news piece Ramana posted - petitioned to have her excommunicated <!--emo&Tongue--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tongue.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='tongue.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> )

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In the late 1970s, Salim took a second wife, the dancer/actress Helen, who lives in a separate household. Relations between his two families were rumoured to have been tense at first, but Salim's children by his first wife are now said to be fond of his second wife as well.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->How islamic of Salman's dad. Now we can all wait for wives#3 and #4, unless he expires before he can trick some other poor women into islamic matrimony. Will Arbaaz go the way of his dad and be true to his islami ancestry and do the same?

Am feeling bad for Sushila ('Salma'). At least Helen would have known he already had a wife, but bet Sushila never saw this one coming. Has she never heard of the magic word 'divorce'?
Wish Indians had the sense to admit that the applicable concept is not 'wife' but 'concubine'. Says a lot about the islamic mentality of the kids when they let their mum be treated this way.
(And Salma isn't an islamic name, is it? It's just Middle-Eastern, I thought. From what I read, Salma Hayek's dad is a christian from the ME and her mum is a C American catholic - Hayek's religion is christianity. Her dad obviously named her, hence the ME name.)

(2) The catholic secular forum is <i>so very</i> secular. When they feel the least bit slighted (from what I can make out, the painting is going to hang in Amrita Arora's quarters - not quite the Mumbai police station and other public places where MFH's truly offensive trash is displayed in full view) they run to Mama Sonia, The Non-bella Mafia. Maybe she can get the pope to burn Amrita and Salman. Salman's an infidel to them anyway. I'm not convinced that Amrita isn't a faithful catholic like her sister, am certain her faithful mum baptised both.
(Be pre-warned: photo of scary-looking woman on page)
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>We will get Salman and Amrita arrested</b>
Tuesday, August 21, 2007 17:07 [IST]
An apparently innocent revelation by actor Amrita Arora to certain sections of the media on Sunday has sparked off yet another religious controversy. Amrita had mentioned that her in-law of sorts and pal Salman Khan would be gifting her a <b>painting to adorn the walls of her new Bandra pad</b>.

The work, she said, would be of ‘The Last Supper’ but with a difference….Jesus and the 13 apostles would be replaced by Amrita’s family members!

<b>This seemingly friendly gesture has, however, outraged the Catholic Secular Forum (CSF). John Dias, general secretary of the forum</b> says, “We were expecting a denial or an apology, but since both are not forthcoming we are planning to lodge an FIR against them at the Bandra police station in a day or two.

<b>AR Antulay (the Union Minister for Minorities) has asked us to hold on for two days. He has promised to talk to Soniaji (Gandhi) and the PM (Manmohan Singh) regarding this.”</b>

Dias says if the actors had spoken to them they could have solved the issue earlier. <b>“Hundreds of Catholics are asking us to take immediate action against them. We’ll stage a morcha in front of Amrita’s house soon. We’ll get Salman and Amrita arrested,” he says.</b>

The Forum is now expecting more than a mere apology. “We want them to go the police commissioner’s office and apologise publicly through a press conference,” Dias says. The Forum had earlier raised an issue against the release of Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ in Mumbai.

Salman Khan and Amrita Arora were unavailable for comment.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->The catholic secular forum is so secular they've set a new benchmark. The dictionary entry for secularism needs to be updated.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Guest - 09-12-2007

<b>Arrest M.F.Hussein-Court Directive to Kerala Government</b>
9/11/2007 7:35:38 PM HK

Solapur: A District court in Maharashtra directed Kerala Government to arrest the shame of the Nation, M.F.Hussein, if he attends the Raja Ravi Varma award ceremony.

Court issued arrest warrant without bail based on the petition filed by a Journalist Dwaypayan Warghadekar.

Inspite of protest from Hindu Organisations Kerala government is making all arrangements to honour this Hindu baiter on Speptember 17th

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Guest - 09-21-2007

Mudy, so what happened finally? Did Commies award the islami on 17th? Did we miss the news due to other stuff, or Rama Setu marred his chances of getting the award?

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 12-07-2007

Salman Rushdie interviews Deepa Mehta

Art does become the conscience of a society... (min 22:00)

It's still a marriage. I just can't give up on India...

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Bodhi - 12-27-2007

Hussain's depiction of Hanuman. with a pair shown copulating in it (Mahadev and Gauri? or Pavan and Anjana?)

Of course Hindooos should not feel offended. such depiction is tradition you know. ask Shashi Tharoor.

above link is dynamic. those who want to save should save the image.

news pasted below.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Are 25 Husains worth Rs 9 cr or Rs 50 cr?
Swati Deshpande | TNN

Mumbai: How much are 25 Husains worth — Rs 9 crore or Rs 50 crore? That’s the question before Bombay High Court.

  The 25 M F Husain paintings that industrialist Guru Swarup Srivastava bought for Rs 1 crore each may be worth only Rs 9 crore. Or so says an evaluation report submitted to the HC by two art professors. But the same canvases could fetch between Rs 42 crore and Rs 50 crore in the market, says another report submitted to the court.

  Srivastava, who shot to fame when he signed a deal with the celebrated artist to purchase 100 of his paintings for Rs 101 crore, was taken to court for allegedly not returning nearly Rs 149 crore to the National Agriculture Cooperative Federation of India (Nafed), which had given him a loan for his iron ore export business in 2004. As a result of this case, the valuable paintings became a bone of contention.

  IndusInd Bank had in July written to Srivastava that there was a danger of the paintings — stored in a locker — being ruined by the rains. Subsequently, the worth of these paintings came into focus. The HC asked both Swarup and Nafed to suggest names of experts to evaluate Husain’s works.
Nafed appointed a two-member valuation committee comprising art professor Vishwas Yande and Nina Rege. Another committee was appointed by Srivastava.
After inspecting the paintings on October 24, Yande and Rege, the two art professors, said in their report that all 25 works had been valued on the presumption that they were originals.

What’s interesting, however, is that of the 25 paintings, Yande says that seven are actually a part of one large canvas which has been cut into seven parts and given different titles such as ‘Industrial Revolution’, ‘Islam Beyond Desert’, ‘Sleeping Man’, ‘Two Men’, ‘N Y Gang and Chess’, ‘Shiv Parvati Ganesh’.

Barring one work called ‘Gandhi’, which Yande and Rege valued between Rs 1-2 crore, the rest range from as low as Rs 18 lakh to the maximum of Rs 50 lakh. Together, the maximum value of all the 25 paintings together just about crosses Rs 9 crore.

The second report submitted by Aashish Vilekar, which also says that most of the paintings are in good condition, however rates the value at the “present market rate per square inch for Husain’s works”. He says art dealers offer prices between Rs 7523 per sq inch to Rs 8823 per sq inch and hence the 25 acrylic on canvas works could be worth between Rs 42 crore.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Bodhi - 02-08-2008

Caution: it may make you angry:

'In Hindu culture, nudity is a metaphor for purity' MF Husain tells SHOMA CHAUDHURY why his faith in India's secular and tolerant traditions remains undiminished

The Master In His Absurd Exile Visiting MF Husain in Dubai, SHOMA CHAUDHURY captures his irrepressible spirit and poses the big questions his case raises

But by the way, as I was guessing:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I come from the Suleimani community, a sub-sect of the Shias


Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 02-09-2008


Indian but Modern

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->INDIAN BUT MODERN 
Editor's Choice

<img src='' border='0' alt='user posted image' />

The Fake Brahmin Dispensing for Lucre 

<b>THE TRIUMPH OF MODERNISM: INDIA’S ARTISTS AND THE AVANT-GARDE, 1922-1947 By Partha Mitter, Oxford, Rs 1,750</b>

<b>The discipline of art history demands of its practitioners that they have an appreciation of art as well as the training of a historian.</b> This is not an easy balance to achieve. <b>The eye of the art lover often sees aspects of a painting that are difficult to articulate. The prose of the historian can diminish the aesthetic appeal of a work of art.</b> Partha Mitter is one of the few Indian art historians who uses his training as a historian to enhance his appreciation of art. In the process, he helps his readers to look at art in a more refined way.

<b>The subject of his new book is complex and challenging. Mitter does not go into the thorny issue of attempting to define modernism in very precise terms. He sees it as the product of a particular aesthetic ambience whose hallmark was the avant-garde. Responses to the avant-garde in the non-Western world cannot be extricated from the network of authority, hierarchy and power that informed the relationship between the West and the Orient in the modern world.</b>

<b>The inherent inequality in the relationship between the West and its colonies in Asia and Africa has given rise to a situation</b>, noted very aptly by Mitter, <b>in which a country like India is denied having its own modernity.</b> Mitter writes, “influence has been the key epistemic tool in studying the reception of Western art in the non-Western world: if the product is too close to its original source, it reflects slavish mentality; if on the other hand, the imitation is imperfect, it represents a failure. In terms of power relations, borrowing by artists from the peripheries becomes a badge of inferiority. In contrast, the borrowings of European artists are described approvingly as ‘affinities’ or dismissed as inconsequential.’’ <b>Mitter gives the example of Picasso whose emulation of African sculpture was seen as nothing more than than a mere formal affinity with the primitive. Gaganendranath Tagore (picture), who Mitter describes as “one of the first Indian modernists’’, was dismissed as un cubiste manqué, whose works were derivative and bad imitations of Picasso.</b>

To break away from the stranglehold of this kind of analysis, Mitter seeks to empower Indian artists by restoring to them the dignity of their own choice. Indian artists deliberately chose elements from Western modernity to confront those elements with aspects of their own tradition. In the first half of the 20th century in India, this resulted in a new kind of artistic production and the construction of a national identity. <b>The triumph of modernism in Indian art lies in its ability to cross cultural frontiers without losing its own self and identity. </b>Through the process, to slightly alter a line of Yeats, a new beauty was born.

<b>“The modernists idiolized rural India as the true site of the nation”:</b> thus Mitter. He illustrates this point through his penetrating analysis of the works of a number of artists. His interpretation of the paintings of Jamini Roy is particularly compelling.

Jamini Roy used his art to fashion himself as a radical critic of colonialism. He used the cheap materials of the village craftsmen. His quest was to restore to art its simple goodness, which could be found only among the village artists. His art appeared to be elusively simple. He returned, Mitter says, “voluntarily to the anonymity of tradition”. He attained by paring down the inessentials a modernist brevity. His return to the village broke with convention, and his simplicity of expression was an exploration of his own subjective experience. He was modern while being embedded in India.

Mitter’s writing is lucid, which is remarkable since his subject is complex and contested. An added attraction of the book is its array of reproduction of art works.


Wish I knew what he wrote about the Bombay school of charlatans. A Bay Area artist who imtated Monet was offended when I described his paintings to my son as being Impressionist. I have been studying Indian modern art as a clue to the leftist chaos that is gooing on.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 02-09-2008

The Modernist Project attempts to disembody Identity from Culture; It is this Atomised Identity which can be interchanged between societies, which is malleable to technique's requirements, and which in an advanced state can be recontextualized to the old culture with all the past subjectivities in place. This project stems specifically from the -Concept- of the Alienation of the essential self from one's work - this is the specific (manufactured/constructed) "problem" which needs solving and around which all efforts are focused. This, in turn, is only a secularization of Religion which is the "essence of Man alienated from himself." These modernist Indian painters are attempting to problematize indian culture along these lines, so that it can be fitted into these frameworks of alienation.

The problem is that the concept of alienation originally manifested in response to the depredations of post-Dickensian Europe and has never been applicable to India or China or the East in general (where it is actually nonsensical). Our native efforts have always been directed at 'Suffering'.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Religion, it has been said by many, is the essence of Man alienated from himself. </b>The task of criticism of religion is, correspondingly, one of giving Man’s essence back to himself. This is an incomplete thought, and, if I am correct, we can complete it thus: if religion is the alienated essence of man, then by being alienated, it has become an alien essence as well. <b>Giving this essence back to Man is not to give him his original essence back, but to provide him with an alien essence. </b>You may want to say that God is the alienated human essence. But you cannot return this to man without making all men into gods. When men become gods, they cease being the humans they once were!<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The ‘Alien’ in Alienation

When the Sovereign gets secularized and becomes many sovereigns, and, consequently, when crea-tion and production can be translated into empirical actions of these many sovereigns, the religious pronouncements about labour (as an atonement for Sin) fall by the wayside. (There are other reasons as well, but we need not bother about them now.)

In these secular versions, it is said that one elaborates one’s self in the world by creating things, etc. What a human being creates belongs to his self, truly and essentially, because what he creates is part of his self. Man looks at his self when he looks at the world he has created. A secularized theological belief ends up acquiring the status of a psycho-anthropological fact.

As an illustration of this theme, take Marx’s notion of alienation. In his Paris Manuscripts, he identifies four dimensions of alienation, one of them being the following: the producer alienates his self from himself, when his products belong to someone other than himself, i.e., when the product is alienated. This self-alienation, i.e., alienation of one’s self from oneself, can come about if and only if, what one alienates, viz., the product is a part of one’s self (or, even, one’s entire self). In the Marxian anthro-pology, not only must there be a self with parts, but the objects which one creates must also constitute such a part. Otherwise, alienation of the product, no matter how it comes about, cannot be a dimen-sion in the self-alienation of the worker (or the producer). The idea that production is the objectification of man’s self is retained by Marx in Capital as well, where he compares the “worst of the architects to the best of the bees”. And yet, this is the irony I spoke of in the section on self, Marx claims that Man’s self is (the ‘is’ is one of identity) a set of social relations. At first sight, there does not appear anything amiss about it: after all, as Marx claims, social relations in capitalism are mediated by rela-tions between things, or, better still, capitalist social relations are material relations. Consequently, man’s self in capitalism is composed of material things. Thus, the “reification” of human self can be attributed exclusively to capitalist social relations, precisely because human self is a set of social rela-tions. This argument squares with the sentiment that Marx expresses else, where (Capital, Vol.3. Har-mondsworth: Pelican books, p.911), thus:

“From the standpoint of a higher socio-economic formation, the private property of particular indi-viduals in the earth will appear just as absurd as the private property of one man in other men. Even an entire society, a nation, or all simultaneously existing societies taken together, are not the owners of the earth. They are simply its possessors, its beneficiaries, and have to bequeath it in an improved state to succeeding generations, as boni patres familias (Good heads of the household).”

A “higher socio-economic formation” is not necessary to realize this absurdity that Marx refers to; another world-model, a different one, will do just as fine. The American-Indians just could not com-prehend that the European settlers would want to buy land from them. “How could we sell what is not ours to sell, or yours to buy? How do you sell a Cheetah or its speed?” they asked in one of the most moving and memorable documents ever composed (It is called the “Speech of Seattle”). The idea is equally absurd to the world models of the Asian Indians as well. The difference between these two Indian communities is their degree of adaptation to the European demands: one adapted and survived; the other did not and was wiped out. One did not understand, but acted as though it did; the other failed to simulate, and paid the price for it.

Be it as that may, let me return to the argument. It appears neat, but it is not. The reason for it is that Marx needs to speak in terms of ‘objectification’, in order to give sense to ‘reification’; he has to speak of embodiments of labour-as-an-activity in order to get his critique going. If it is not possible for the products to embody the activities that produced them, money could not arise out of the circula-tion of commodities. This may appear an abstruse point. Besides, there are many thinkers who are also critical of the idea of “embodied labour”. What is strange about this situation is that those who criti-cize the idea of “embodied labour” when it comes to Marx’s theory, and those who would not know the difference between Das Kapital and Mein Kampf continue to talk of embodied labour nevertheless. To see how this could be, we have to widen the scope of the discussion.

All kinds of humanistic psychologies (not just C. Rogers’ version of it), and anthropologies which stress the dynamic nature of human self and speak in such terms as “self-actualization”, “self-expression”, “unfolding the potentials of the self”, etc., are confronted with the following problem: what is the relationship between, say, a painter and his painting, a poet and his poem, and an author and his book? Without exception, they would have to say that the product is an “actualization”, or an “expression”, in some way or another, of the person performing such an activity. But in which way pre-cisely? One answer would be to say that in such activities human beings express themselves. A human self, it could be said, grows “richer”, or “unfolds its potential”, etc., accordingly as the activities it per-forms. (We are familiar with this theme from an earlier section where the self expressed itself in its actions, etc.)

But, this is not a full answer. Suppose we ask, more specifically say, the following question: what is the relationship between Rembrandt and his paintings ? Do his paintings “express” his self (his “feel-ings”, his “perception of the world”, his “thoughts” or whatever else you want to use), and continue to do so long after the activity that created them has ceased? From within the ambit of these theories and from the world models of the West, there is only one possible answer one could give: yes. (Be-cause consider the next question that would ineluctably arise, if the answer is in the negative: whose self is being expressed in the paintings, then? Nobody’s? Such a stance would be flatly incoherent from within the Western model of self for obvious reasons.) How could a material object express your self unless it embodied the action which expressed it initially? It could not.

Look at what has happened as a result of this answer though. A material object, painting in this case, embodies, or expresses your self. That which embodies, expresses, or actualizes your self is, by the very definition, a part of your self. Rembrandt’s paintings belong to Rembrandt’s self (‘belonging’ should not be thought of here as standing for the juridical relations of private property), because they express, actualize, or embody his self.

We have a situation, then, where material objects constitute spatial parts of a self. An action can ex-press a self because such an expression can be objectified. Matter, put differently, traps human actions, human self-expressions. They are the “practico-inert” of Sartre, as he made them into an eternal condi-tion of human existence.

I hope that some amongst you are feeling a bit uneasy, because what I have said so far must be seen as flying in the face of “commonsense”. Indeed, it does. There is a problem involved here.

In no culture, including the Western culture of today, does one go around saying, “I am a table, a house, a bench, a painting, etc.” because one has produced them, and still be counted as a sane human being. The charitable might see such talk as being “metaphorical”, while the uncharitable may have such an individual committed. But, theories of anthropology, psychology and philosophy which pro-claim precisely this can hardly be considered as being metaphorical. Or, again, it is not as though a fal-lacy is being committed here, i.e., it is not the case that these theories are talking about the property of the “species” which is not attributable to the individual members of the species. They are not talk-ing about the “self-identity” of the species, but of our individual human selves. Everyone who speaks of “self-actualization”, etc., is accepting as self-evident what, if put explicitly, would be denied as be-ing true. Why, then, do both ideas not appear paradoxical when taken together?

The answer, I suggest, is in their world models. Both the obscure notion of “objectification” and its mundane counterpart “self-actualization” are intuitively familiar ideas. In and of themselves, they ap-pear both plausible and acceptable. But their familiarity and plausibility arise from the religious con-text where God is “everywhere” and where everything is a part of God’s self. In the process of secular-izing the Sovereign into many sovereigns, everyone has carried over the predicates ascribed of the Sovereign as the attributes of the many sovereigns as well. It cannot be any other way, because the predicates that I am talking about explicate the very meaning of the word ‘sovereign’ itself. The secular version appears intuitively satisfying not because it is so, but because the religious original, whose secular version it is, is satisfying. That is why they would deny the secular version, when confronted explicitly with it (Man is not God, is he?). Nevertheless, the secular version acquires, if you will, the status of a self-evident, banal and commonplace truth (and that is why it goes unexamined).

<b>Religion, it has been said by many, is the essence of Man alienated from himself. </b>The task of criticism of religion is, correspondingly, one of giving Man’s essence back to himself. This is an incomplete thought, and, if I am correct, we can complete it thus: if religion is the alienated essence of man, then by being alienated, it has become an alien essence as well. Giving this essence back to Man is not to give him his original essence back, but to provide him with an alien essence. You may want to say that God is the alienated human essence. But you cannot return this to man without making all men into gods. When men become gods, they cease being the humans they once were!

Neither Marx nor the humanists can be accused of being Christians. But the world models from within which they operate(d) and which, consequently, lend intelligibility to ideas like , ‘objectifica-tion’ are profoundly so. And yet, how many of us have not gone around talking about “alienation” as though it was clear as daylight to any but the perverse?

That a theological belief about the nature of the Sovereign has ended up becoming a psycho-socio-anthropological fact is evidenced and underscored by the discussions about ethnic groups and nation-hood – the theme of this section. In the following pages, I will try to provide you with some of my reasons for thinking so. It requires to be stressed, if it is not obvious by now, that the reasons I give are not the same as the justifications that the theorists provide during the course of the discussion. What I am trying to do is to show, to the best of my ability, why they could think that these ideas are plausible enough to require justification. That is, why the idea of “sovereign nations” (in its modern day versions) appears intelligible at all.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 03-23-2008

Folks I found this awesome book!

Google Books

Art of Transitional India
Its by good intro by Vinayak Purohit from Popular Prakashan 1988.

Long (1368 pages!) but very interesting. Read Chapter 3 & 4.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - acharya - 03-25-2008

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 03-25-2008

I bought from the Alibris Site. Should arrive by Apr 20th.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 04-01-2008

Its not only jingoes who are studying Indian art.

Here is link to Jan 08 issue of National Geographic.

Art in Ancient India]

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 04-01-2008

Natgeo is the belly of the beast itself as far as sociological analysis of heathens is concerned. See this

interactive presentation:

I doubt any Shankaracharya would talk like this. as said by Jasdev Singh Rai, these type of modernist individuals are essentially nonfunctional in the cultural matrix of India.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 04-02-2008

Entire modernist movement aims to impart sense of alienation from Indian "art objects" as separate from Indian cultural matrix.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The neurological basis of artistic universals  V.S. S. Ramachandran

A strange thought occurred to me as I looked at the stone and bronze sculptures (or "idols", as the English used to call them) in the temple. In the West these are now found mostly in museums and galleries and referred to as "Indian art". Yet I grew up praying to these as a child and I never thought of them as art. They are so well integrated into the daily worship, the music, dance and into the very fabric of life in India, that it’s hard to know where art ends and where life begins; they are not separate strands of existence, the way they are here in the West.

Thanks to my Western education, until that particular visit to Chennai, I had a rather "colonial" view of Indian sculptures. I thought of them largely as religious iconography or mythology, rather than fine art. Yet on this particular visit, these images had a profound impact on me and started haunting me even in my dreams. One day, when I woke up, I had an epiphany of sorts and I began to see the sculptures as indescribably beautiful works of art, not as religion. Thus began a love affair with art that has continued unabated for the last five years.
When the English arrived in India during Victorian times, they regarded the study of Indian art mainly as "ethnography" and "anthropology". (This would be equivalent to putting Picasso in the anthropology section of the national museum in Delhi.) They were appalled by the nudity they encountered and often referred to the sculptures as "primitive" or "not realistic".<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 04-02-2008

Dhu, I read a book review of V.S.S. Ramachandran's book "The Artful Brain", in New Scientist when it came out. He says that the Chola bronzes are the surrealistic phase of Indian art. Need to do more searching for his thesis.

Can we say that Contemporary Indian art is more kitsch style as it seems that the right brain of the movement is stunted by Marxist dogma? That would account for why it goes through motions but does not have asthetic appeal or artistic sense that normal humans possess? I mean only a demented person would paint Madhuri's picture as a scrawl and claim to be her fan! And only a socially engineered critic/media would hail him for those scrawls!

Also if one compares the paintings of MFH posted in this thread under the guise of contemporary art he really is harking back to iconoclasm of Hindu thogony and is no different thant the mauraders of yetster years like, Qasim, Ghazni and Ghori, Aurangazeb. In other words he wants to break or shatter the image of Hindu theogony while he makes chaste represetation of Muslim and Christian figures.

One can see if one juxtaposes the images he has painted in those three categories.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 04-03-2008

Modernists deem themselves specifically as marauders against "the system", against traditional meanings and conventions. usually, their work is situated as a reaction against technique, the less savvy call it 'machine culture', against the "wage slave" imperatives of modern society, against defragmentation of the social polity by <i>modern technical society</i>, and - in marxist parlance - against the exploitive classes. Sometimes, these same are embraced as liberation. I agree that they are continuing totalitarian narratives embedded in christianity, basically secularizing the christian story of the new jerusalem, the utopia. It is an attempt to 'fragment' to make control easier, to impart specific (as opposed to vague) <i>meaning</i>, and then to refashion.

I personally think there was no separate art culture in India; "art" was embedded in the cultural practices of the people. In the west, we know the names of a polykleitos of the idealized form, Scopas of impressionistic form, the posthellenists of the naturalistic form, and so on. we don't know the name of even one Indian artist. Not even a single one. Romans plunderd greece for their art. we have nothing of same in India, other than occasionally shifting the temple deities around.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - Bodhi - 04-03-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-dhu+Apr 3 2008, 12:32 AM-->QUOTE(dhu @ Apr 3 2008, 12:32 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->we don't know the name of even one Indian artist.  Not even a single one.


mugal records are full of the names of individual Hindu artists (painters), especially attached to the court of Akbar. before this, Taimur mentions picking some Hindu artists during his raid of India, for taking them back to his mother land to construct a grand Masjid and his tomb with such architecture which only a wretched damned Hindu knows to fancy (so he says in his memoir). before, during Gupta-s, we know Mathur was a jati that was dedicatedly engaged to art and sculpture. In Mahabharat, names of architects and artists etc are specifically recorded.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 04-03-2008

Thanks, I would assume these are listed in the fashion of patrons of temples.

Of the top of my head, I can list Scopas (who made portrait of alexander) and Polykleitos and associate very specific artistic characteristics with them. I can also posit one as a reaction to the other. Pliny remarks about hellenistics (who are greek version of overacting): Cessavit deinde ars ("then art disappeared") -from wiki..

I cannot place any of the Indian artists in a similar dialectical framework. Nor do I think any Indian would make as presumptuous a remark as Pliny above. I know that sometimes they would sign their work at most.

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - dhu - 04-03-2008

<!--QuoteBegin-ramana+Apr 2 2008, 11:32 PM-->QUOTE(ramana @ Apr 2 2008, 11:32 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Can we say that Contemporary Indian art is more kitsch style as it seems that the right brain of the movement is stunted by Marxist dogma? That would account for why it goes through motions but does not have asthetic appeal or artistic sense that normal humans possess? I mean only a demented person would paint Madhuri's picture as a scrawl and claim to be her fan! And only a socially engineered critic/media would hail him for those scrawls!


I think they classify all "ethnic" art as kitsch. link The key is to isolate the elements which emphasizes garrishness. Tibetan art is high class at moment; tomorrow it may be demoted to kitsch.

Kitsch versus High Art framework produces a normative power for the modernist as judge - and deemphisizes the noncombative role of art in the natural diversity of cultures. Everyday Hindus would not dream of declaring temple idol as kitsch but they have created just that possibility of alienation. Always Alienation is the goal. To prevent access to cultural experience and substitution of ideology in its stead. Thus they can even take a perverse pleasure in berating inequality between high art and kitsch and ascribing to caste system, native oppression, and the like. Mira Nair movies have a conscious element of kitsch imparted to Indian elements.

In contrast, here is a work that preserves our cultural experiences:

Contemporary painting and Indian politics - ramana - 04-03-2008

No I am using the kitsch as defined by Ramachandran and his brain process. And my insight is that the contemporary Indian art being a product of the Marxist dialectic is by nature kitsch.

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>What, if any, is the key difference between "kitsch" art and the real thing? </b>Some would argue that what’s kitsch for one person might be high art for another — that the judgment is entirely subjective. objectively distinguish the kitsch from the real, how complete is that theory and in what sense can we claim to have really understood the meaning of art? One reason for thinking that there’s a genuine difference is that one can "mature" into liking real art after having once enjoyed kitsch, but it’s virtually impossible to slide back into kitsch from having once known the delights of high art. Yet the difference between the two remains tantalizingly elusive. <b>I speculate here on the possibility that real art involves the "proper" and effective deployment of certain artistic universals, whereas kitsch merely goes through the motions — as if to make a mockery of the principles without a genuine gut-level understanding of them.</b>

I am reminded of patients with right hemisphere stroke who, when asked to draw an object (say, a horse) will create a reasonable likeness, often containing all the required details. But what’s missing is the essence of the horse; the drawing seems almost too detailed but lifeless. <b>This suggests that what we call "the artistic sense" is normally in the right hemisphere — which is damaged in these patients — and the left hemisphere doesn’t quite "get it" even when it tries hard.</b> <b>It leads me to wonder whether "kitsch" is really a feeble, ineffective attempt by the left hemisphere to usurp the intuitive artistic sense of the right. In trying to paint or sculpt, perhaps the left hemisphere tries to "translate" the visual code of the right hemisphere into its own language of logical propositions or explicit rules and, of course, fails to do so – resulting in what we call kitsch.</b> This explanation has a pop–psychology "ring" to it but it may not be too wide off the mark!