March 2008

Vol 7 - No. 9
























U.S.A. Event Calendar | March 2008



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Until March 3, 2008
exhibition in ny, usa: BIG! Himalayan Art

RMA is pleased to present BIG! Himalayan Art, an exhibition focusing on large scale works of art in the Museum’s collection.  Curated by RMA Senior Curator, Jeff Watt, the exhibition includes over 30 paintings, appliqué textiles, tangkas (painting or textile work on cloth) and ritual objects.  Additionally, a large-format photograph, taken by contemporary photographer Nancy Jo Johnson and showing a tangka unfurled down the side of a mountain, provides a vivid sense of their use and place in the community.  Viewers are invited to experience the awe-inspiring scale that characterizes art as it is frequently displayed in temples and at community festivals in the Himalayas.  The exhibition looks at why works of art are made in large sizes, where they are traditionally displayed, and how and why they are used.
Himalayan art experienced in situ is almost always a sensory overload.  Architectural elements are brightly painted, and paintings and cloth banners are often hung in layers.  Paintings are shown in sets, running into scores of individual, brightly mounted hangings on a common theme, and walls are covered with large figures and complex narratives.  BIG! Himalayan Art provides a sense of the scale at which such environments are conceived by bringing together over life-sized, intricately detailed, kaleidoscopically-colored works of art.  Because works of art made for religious purposes in the Himalayas are commissioned and created as acts of devotion and celebration, the bigger the scale, and the more lavish the materials, the more merit is generated.  These works of art are most commonly used in community settings, effectively commanding the attention of crowds of people, conveying and sustaining a sense of shared place, practice, and tradition.  This places big works of art in a larger context by highlighting their social and cultural significance in the Himalayas and surrounding regions.
Four techniques for making two-dimensional large scale works of art are represented in BIG! Himalayan Art.  These include giant, appliqué textiles; paintings on cloth as stand-alone objects; murals painted on walls of temples and government buildings; and sets of paintings created as single 
compositions composed of as many as one hundred or more individual works.

WHAT IS IT?  Himalayan Art

RMA’s cornerstone exhibition, What is it?  Himalayan Art is a survey exhibition designed to delve into the fundamental questions asked by many of our visitors about Himalayan art.  RMA continues to attract a diverse audience that includes scholars, students, and Himalayan travelers, but the art remains new to many of the Museum’s visitors.  To open channels for experiencing Himalayan art’s rich humanism, cultural significance, and beauty, the Museum has selected highlights from the collection that lend themselves to answering questions, while also, through their beauty and power, inviting visitors to explore further.
Considered as a cultural expanse, the Himalayas is much larger than many people realize.  It extends beyond the mountain kingdoms of Tibet, Bhutan, Sikkim, and Nepal, westward to Pakistan and Afghanistan, northward to Central Asia, Mongolia, and Siberia, eastward to China, and southward to India and Southeast Asia.
Much of the art produced in the region is made in the service of spiritual life.  Religious establishments, including Buddhist, Hindu, Bon, and temples to local gods, together with the nobility, were important patrons of art.  They commissioned paintings, sculpture, pictorial textiles, and ritual implements, as well as costume and architecture, in order to benefit the living and the dead, to support religious practices, and to inspire humane conduct.  With the spread of Himalayan religious ideas, the art and literature were also disseminated widely.
What is it?  Himalayan Art offers visitors, from novices to connoisseurs, the opportunity to explore an exhibition which is regularly updated, in response to their queries, with selections of art from the collection and a diverse range of interpretive approaches.
What is it?  Himalayan Art includes painting, sculpture, prints and illustrated books, textiles, and architecture.
Rubin Museum of Art  150 West 17th Street  New York, NY 10011  212.620.5000

ny, usa:  "Native Women of South Asia: Manners and Customs"
Exhibition of recent work by the artist Pushpamala N.

Using performative strategies akin to Cindy Sherman, Pushpamala N. is best known for staged photographs that deploy the images, motifs and mise en scene of
Indian popular film to crititque stereotypes of femininity constructed through these films and to introduce the vernacular into the rarified discourses of fine art.
entitled currently at the Bose Pacia Gallery in Chelsea. For more details see:

Bose Pacia Gallery 508 W 26 St 11 Fl New York  212 989 7074 

Queens, New York, USA
Jaishri Abichandani: Reconciliations  

Having left her home country of India when she was 14 to come to Queens, New York, Jaishri Abichandani knows what it means to reconcile different worlds.
Her recent body of work taps into the complex affinities between sites separated by physical distance yet ideologically interdependent. Abichandani juxtaposes urban and natural topographies whose boundaries prove more politically porous and than they might initially seem. An image close to the artist’s heart is WilletsPointDharavi. Bound by a keen sense of entrepreneurship emerging from economic necessity these two slums in Queens and Mumbai give new meaning to the wrongs perpetrated by urban planning and immigration policies. Far from suggesting that her images are marriages made in heaven, Abichandani teases us and tests our knowledge of history and current events. Indeed, the more we are seduced by her advertisement-shiny images as dream cities or avatars of an idealized global marketplace, the more startling is our recognition of colonial oppression or economic and ideological tensions brewing underneath her polished surfaces.
closing March 23, 2008

Artist, Jaishri Abichandani
Born in Bombay, India, Jaishri Abichandani immigrated to New York City in 1984. She received her Master of Visual Arts Degree from Goldsmiths College, University of London and has continued to intertwine art and activism in her career. Abichandani has shown her work internationally in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean as well as Mérida, New Delhi, Mumbai, Cape Town, Zurich, Utrecht, Glasgow and London. She has also curated a number of exhibitions at the Queens Museum of Art and Exit Art and is the founding director of the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), New York and Asian Women’s Creative Collective, London.

Queens Museum of Art  New York City Building   Flushing Meadows Corona Park  Queens NY  Phoen 718 592 9700




Detroit and area in Michigan


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Other Cities

Houston, Texas, USA: Conference
Indian Painting: The Lesser Known Tradition
 7-9 March 2008
 Brown Auditorium,
 Museum of Fine Arts,
 Houston, Texas
 The last few decades have seen a flourishing of outstanding scholarship in the areas of courtly painting such as Mughal, Rajasthani, Pahari and Deccani.  India, however, has an astonishing wealth of diverse painting tradition. These have not been as widely studied as they deserve, but have generally been considered and classified as ‘folk’. Thus they have tended to be neglected by mainstream scholarship. The aim of this Conference is to bring together scholars who have devoted much of their attention to such lesser known traditions.
 These are now beginning to be recognized as of pivotal importance for our understanding of the social setting in which they have evolved and play an important factor in the development of post-Independence Indian painting. The Conference has been convened to bring together original scholarly research into wide areas of ‘lesser known’ tradition of Indian painting. It focuses mainly on the narrative painting of two cultural areas of India: Eastern and Southern India.
 The introductory key-note lecture will address the long debated issue of the changes which have affected the ritual-bound visual culture, such as the patua scroll painting and other expression of folk and tribal artistic production, now that these have entered the sphere of established ‘art’ exhibited in museums and galleries, detached from their traditional context and purpose.
 Two contributions will explore the rich heritage of story telling in Bengal, one discussing in detail 19th century material, and the other presenting works of the late 20th century dealing with contemporary issues such as politics, public health, education etc. A third paper will show how traditional ‘folk’ art subjects have influenced the work of Jamini Roy, one of the most influential 20th century painters.
 The South Indian group of papers will consider paintings on paper and cloth, and murals. Paper manuscripts from 17th and 18th century, of the epics and other literary works in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will be discussed here for the first time. These will be followed by a study of a group of large painted textiles (kalamkaris) from 19th century Andhra. Finally, a 20th century painted scroll from Telangana will offer the opportunity to analyze the relationship between oral and painted narrative.
 The section on murals will introduce the paintings on the walls of the Sri Varadarajasvami temple, one of the three most important Vaishnava temples in Southern India, at Kanchipuram. This will be followed by a survey of 18th and 19th century mural painting in Karnataka, discussing both religious and courtly imagery. In conclusion, a new interpretation of the famous Ramayana murals in the Mattancheri Palace at Kochi will highlight the perception of kingship and authority in 16th century Kerala.
 Keynote speaker: Professor Jyotindra Jain, JNU.
 A volume of proceedings is planned which will include the papers presented at the Conference. Further essays on other areas of the subcontinent from scholars who were unable to be present will also be included in this volume. Conference opening Friday March 7, 2008 cultural program starting 7.00 p.m. Conference starts 10.00 a.m. March 8, 2008 and 1.00 p.m March 9, 2008.
 Registration fee $25 per person. Online registration: <> <>  


Closing June 30
in Philadelphia, USA: 'Book of War'

Among the treasures of the John Frederick Lewis Collection of the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department are twenty-five elaborately illustrated folios from a centuries-old Mughal manuscript known as the Razmnama (literally, ‘Book of War’). The manuscript dates to around 1598-99, and was produced under the Muslim Mughal Dynasty, which founded a kingdom in India in or during the early 16th century. Written in Persian at the behest of the great Mughal Emperor Akbar, (reigned 1556 to 1605), the Razmnama is an abridged translation of the Mahabharata, one of the great epics of Hinduism. Although the pages from the1598-99 Razmnama have been dispersed to collections around the world, they were once bound as a single book whose folios numbered in the hundreds. For the first time since 1923, an exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art will bring together all 25 of the Free Library’s pages in a special installation in the William P. Wood Gallery (Gallery 227).

The Book of War: The Free Library of Philadelphia's Mughal Razmnama Folios is co-curated by Darielle Mason, the Museum's Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, together with Yael Rice of the History of Art Department at the University of Pennsylvania. It affords a rare opportunity to explore an exciting moment of artistic experimentation and cultural exchange. The extensive conservation treatment necessary to exhibit these pages has been made possible through a generous gift from Dr. Dorothy del Bueno.

One of the foundational texts of Hinduism, the Mahabharata is told as a complex epic narrative whose main story is that of a huge intrafamilial war. In addition to the text, this Razmnama also includes many exquisite and elaborate illustrations. In Akbar's imperial atelier, artists recruited directly from the Persian court worked side by side with Persian, central Asian, and Indian artists, often collaborating on the same manuscripts. In addition, many imported European prints and paintings entered the Mughal collection during the late 16th century and artists adapted selected European characteristics, such as the illusion of depth through shading, into their own work. Thus in both text and illustrations the Razmnama speaks to the diverse cultural, religious, and linguistic character of the Mughal court. The text represents the effort of a Muslim ruler to understand the foundations of Hinduism, so deeply rooted in his kingdom; the images 
herald the creation of a new artistic language.

Philadelphia Museum of Art   Benjamin Franklin Parkway  at 26th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130


Exhibitions continuing.....

exhibition in Philadelphia, USA: 
Why the Wild Things Are: Personal Demons & Himalayan Protectors

Snakes, skulls, severed human heads, and the bloody skins of wild animals adorn the wrathful deities of the Himalayas. Often surprising to those unfamiliar with Himalayan art, depictions of this class of deities, called the krodha (the "Angry Ones"), are meant to shock because they represent different facets of one of the most basic human dilemmas: when each person possesses bad as well as good traits, how can the bad be conquered and the good be promoted?

In Himalayan religious thought, many of these fierce deities embody the deepest, most universal of human vices, including willful ignorance, pride, jealousy, greed, and lust. Devotees believe that envisioning particular krodha deities assists them in identifying their own weaknesses and harnessing enough force to overcome them. Other types of wrathful deities represent local protector spirits who are held responsible for both causing and curing calamities. Worshippers may bribe these spirits with offerings to avoid bad luck, accidents, or illness.

Why the Wild Things Are brings together seldom-exhibited paintings and sculptures from the Museum’s superb collection of Tibetan and Nepalese art. Gory, fearsome, and bursting with energy, images of the Angry Ones reveal a distinctive Himalayan vision of the awesome power hiding within each of us, our own "personal demons."

Curator: Katherine Anne Paul • Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
Katherine Anne Paul is the Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A Fulbright scholar, Paul specializes in Himalayan and Mongolian art and Asian textiles.  Paul lectures widely and has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.

Himalayan Gallery 232, second floor
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway and 26th Street | Philadelphia, PA 19130
Main Museum Number: (215) 763-8100 | TTY: (215) 684-7600 


New exhibition announcements (USA):

Village of Painters: Narrative Scrolls from West Bengal

The patuas of West Bengal, India, have a long and contested social history in the region. Traditionally, they wandered from village to village singing their own compositions while unrolling painted scrolls on themes divided into two main genres: the sacred and the profane. The exhibit shows a wide range of scrolls and examines how the patuas are keeping their art alive in today's changing world of West Bengal.

Museum Hill,  Camino Lejo off Old Santa Fe Trail  Santa Fe  New Mexico, USA.

*new* exhibition openings December 22nd 2007
A Flute in the Forest: Tales of Young Krishna
and  Marvels of the Malla Period: A Nepalese Renaissance 1200-1603

December 22, 2007 – June 2, 2008

The Philadelphia Museum of Art in December will present two unusual exhibitions from its spectacular collections of Indian and Himalayan art that examine important themes and offer insights into South Asia’s rich cultures.

In Gallery 227, A Flute in the Forest: Tales of Young Krishna examines the life of Krishna, an incarnation of the god Vishnu and the supreme deity for many Hindus. The exhibition looks at his early life on earth through paintings, sculptures, ritual objects and embroidered textiles that depict a youthful, impish and often dashing deity.

More than half of the paintings on display are pages from various 18th-century manuscripts of the Bhagavata Purana, a primary Hindu text that recounts Krishna’s life in great detail. Such illustrated manuscripts or series functioned rather like graphic novels, blending image and text but emphasizing the former. These paintings detail Krishna’s development in the North Indian village of Vrindavan, where he grew to adolescence as a normal village boy, yet repeatedly revealed himself as a superhuman village protector and as the ultimate cosmic power. In the courts of western India, these images were used for devotion and learning, but were also a major source of royal entertainment. In addition to the Bhagavata Purana images, the exhibition includes four paintings from the city of Kota, Rajasthan that illustrate that city’s special devotion to Krishna.

Curator Darielle Mason, is The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A specialist on North Indian temple architecture and sculpture, she was also curator of the 2001 exhibition "Intimate Worlds: Indian Paintings from the Alvin O. Bellak Collection".  She is Adjunct Associate Professor of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, where she also received her Ph.D.  Before coming to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, she was Assistant Curator for Indian, Southeast Asian and Islamic Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. <>

In Gallery 232, Marvels of the Malla Period: A Nepalese Renaissance, 1200-1603 is the first exhibition to be devoted to the Golden Age of Nepal and features 25 works of art, including paintings and sculptures explores a time of remarkable creativity, when the fame of Nepal’s artists spread to Tibet, Bhutan, India, and even the Chinese court of Kublai Khan. The exhibition features 25 rarely seen masterpieces from the Museum’s collection and offers a stunning overview of a Nepalese artistic and cultural renaissance.

Beginning in the 13th century, rulers of various city-states in Kathmandu Valley added the name “malla” (meaning “victor” or “hero”) to their kingly titles and — fueled by newfound wealth from trade taxes and monopolies — competed to commission extraordinary public and private works of art. This competition resulted in sumptuous and eye-catching works, such as the bejeweled sculpture of Vishnu (late 15th – 16th century) on display. Nepalese kings practiced forms of Hinduism and Buddhism, and both religions are represented in works throughout exhibition.

Curator, Katherine Anne Paul, is the Associate Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  A Fulbright scholar, Paul specializes in Himalayan and Mongolian art and Asian textiles.  Paul lectures widely and has worked at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C.  She has curated a number of small exhibitions including most recently, Conserving a Tibetan Altar which opened in December of 2006 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. <>

Philadelphia Museum of Art  Benjamin Franklin Parkway  at 26th Street   Philadelphia, PA 19130

Los Angeles, California, USA
New permanent collection installations at the LACMA

A Connoisseur’s Delights: Indian Paintings from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
On view through September 1, 2008

Ranging in date from the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries, these paintings reflect several of the distinctive styles that flourished in the largely Hindu kingdoms of northern India and the Himalayan foothills. They also indicate the variety of subjects explored by India’s courtly painters which included idealized depictions of gods and kings, romanticized images of women, visualizations of musical melodies, and illustrations inspired by South Asia’s vast literary traditions. The paintings on view—several of them masterpieces which have not been shown in over a decade—highlight the richness of India’s courtly artistic traditions. A Connoisseur’s Delights, which refers to the title of a well-known sixteenth-century Hindi poem, also testifies to the extraordinary aesthetic discernment of the collectors Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck.

Curator for A Connoisseur’s Delights: Indian Paintings from the Nasli and Alice Heeramaneck Collection
Tushara Bindu Gude, Associate Curator of South Asian Art, joined LACMA in September 2006. Since September 2000, she served as Assistant Curator of South Asian Art at the Asian Art Museum (AAM) in San Francisco. Gude has curated ten exhibitions at the AAM, including The Poetic Vision of Abdur Rahman Chughtai (1894-1975) (2005-06) and From Monastery to Marketplace: Books and Manuscripts of Asia (2003). Gude has published articles on traditional and modern Indian paintings, her areas of specialization. She received her M.A. in Indian and Southeast Asian art history from the University of California, Los Angeles where she is currently completing her dissertation.;id=8834

A Masterpiece Restored: LACMA’s Tibetan Painting of Yama and Yami
On view through September 1, 2008
The South and Southeast Asian Art Department presents the first-ever public display of Yama and Yami, one of the largest and most significant Tibetan ceremonial thangka paintings from LACMA’s renowned collection. At nearly eight feet in height, Yama and Yami is one of the largest Tibetan paintings outside Tibet. The painting dates from the late seventeenth century to early eighteenth century, and depicts the Buddhist protective deities Yama and his sister Yami—it is a rare example of Yama and Yami as the primary subjects of a large painting from this time period. Yama and Yami was acquired by LACMA in 1971, but despite its art historical importance and strong visual presence, it was never able to be displayed because of its fragile condition and flaking paint. After an extensive, eighteen-month conservation process, which was funded in part by a generous grant from the Margot and Thomas Pritzker Family Foundation, Yama and Yami has been restored to its full artistic glory.

Curator for A Masterpiece Restored: LACMA’s Tibetan Painting of Yama and Yami
Dr. Stephen Markel, The Harry and Yvonne Lenart Curator and Department Head of South and Southeast Asian Art, holds a Ph.D. in Indian art history and museum practice from the University of Michigan. He has organized and curated or co-curated eighteen exhibitions at LACMA, including The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art (2003-04); Images from a Changing World: Kalighat Paintings of Calcutta (1999); and Romance of the Taj Mahal (1989-1990).  Markel has published extensively, particularly in the area of South Asian decorative art of the 16th-19th centuries. He is currently working on an exhibition showcasing the art and culture of Lucknow.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art  5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036  Tel. 323-857-6000

[Disclaimer:  information is not verified but is included in good faith.]



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