The Other Asian Art Market to Watch
Mr. Mehta's career has mirrored the changing fortunes of contemporary Indian art over the last six decades, from the intellectual fervor of its birth at Indian independence in 1947, to a lifetime of aesthetic and financial struggle, to the improbable rise of the Indian art market in the last few years. As the Indian economy has galloped forward, art galleries have mushroomed, prices have skyrocketed and contemporary art has become the latest marker of affluence among the newly minted rich.Now, I'm in the infancy of my education about the scene in India, but I have a few friends/acquaintances who are well versed in what's happening there, so I'm learning. In speaking with Shumita Bose of New York's premiere gallery exhibiting contemporary India art, Bose Pacia Modern, recently, I learned that whereas a decade ago contemporary Indian artists needed to work with galleries outside their homeland to secure a successful career, the art market there is so incredibly strong now, many need not even bother. Further, as one might expect, the number of galleries opening in India has sky-rocketted.
India hosted its first national pavillion at the Venice Biennale this past summer as well, featuring Atul Dodiya, Anita Dube, Ranbir Kaleka, Nalini Malani, Raqs Media Collective, and Nataraj Sharma (all of whom exhibit at Bose Pacia, no less). I had the pleasure of meeting Ranbir at the opening of his highly acclaimed first New York solo exhibition and was delighted by his wit, patience, and apparent bemusement with all the attention. We talked at length about his process and his enthusiasm for the potential of mixing new technology with ancient themes and perceptions about humanity.
Given the scope of the country itself, no blog post can do justice to all that's happening in the art market in India (well, no blog post I have time to attempt right now), but every indication is that the contemporary scene there is one to watch. From here in New York, your best vantage point is undoubtedly via the excellent program at Bose Pacia.