NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

February 1, 2013

Indian and modern

New exhibit showcases India's art movement in the 20th century

For visitors accustomed to seeing ancient, but not modern Indian art in museums, the new exhibit at Peabody Essex Museum should be a revelation.

Featuring 70 works by 23 painters, “Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence,” represents three generations of painters who have emerged in India since 1947.

The show may also be an eye-opener for members of the art establishment, who often think of modern art as happening only in Paris, London or New York, said Susan Bean, guest curator of the exhibit.

“We are now in the middle of a very energetic, global conversation in the art world and beyond about the 20th century in art,” said Bean, who was previously curator of South Asian and Korean art at Peabody Essex. “People are looking around the world, and they are seeing that modernity was happening everywhere in the 20th century, all around the world, and that India had a very energetic art movement.”

Modern Indian art had its origins in the first half of the 20th century, Bean said, before emerging in its second half in a “golden age” that is covered by the show.

This age began with the country’s independence from Great Britain, which became official on Aug. 15, 1947, just after 12 a.m., the “midnight” in the exhibit’s title.

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom,” said India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in a recording that plays on a videotape at the gallery entrance. “A moment comes, but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, and when the soul of a nation long suppressed finds utterance.”

The boom referred to in the title would follow decades after Nehru’s speech, when economic liberalization brought prosperity to the country’s middle and upper classes.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Special Features
AP Video
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN Raw: Deadly Landslide Hits Indian Village Obama Chides House GOP for Pursuing Lawsuit New Bill Aims to Curb Sexual Assault on Campus Russia Counts Cost of New US, EU Sanctions 3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand Six PA Cops Indicted for Robbing Drug Dealers Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey Raw: Obama Eats Ribs in Kansas City In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo NCAA Settles Head-injury Suit, Will Change Rules Raw: Amphibious Landing Practice in Hawaii Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA
Special Features