The first edition of United Art Fair at Pragati Maidan, New Dehli kicked off on September 27 with a visionary ideal - to promote emerging and lesser-known artists in a major forum. The fair's chief curator and critic is also its most outspoken conductor. His name is Johny ML and he set out on the uncompromising task of installing 2,000 works of art by 520 artists; some are household Indian art names, others could arguably belong to a different household altogether.
The fair's installation is something of a curatorial nightmare or blessing, depending on your perspective. There are no captions to be found anywhere and some of the work is amateurish at best. Critics decried that these same works were housed alongside Indian masters like Souza, Paramjit Singh, Paritosh Sen and Bhupen Khakkar. Yet this de-centered approach was an effort on the part of Johny ML stating "we want to do away with the monopolization of aesthetics." In contrast to the art fair arenas in the West, this kind of melange is a radical idea.
Liberated from market forces, some of the works target geo-politics and religion with surprising results. Greeting visitors at the gates is a massive 22-feet-tall piece by KS Radhakrishnan entitled Time, Tide and Growth and Subodh Kerkar's Bread Route, a fiberglass installation outlining colonialism along the Indian shore, specifically Goa.
Here is photo roll of other highlights from the fair:
Jason Stopa, b. 1983. is a painter, writer and curator in New York. Recent exhibits include Silhouette at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, NY, About Space at ArtBridge Drawing Room, NY, and The Triumph of Human Painting at Bull & Ram Gallery, Bushwick. Stopa received a BFA from Indiana University and and MFA from Pratt Institute. He is a contributing writer for Art In America, The Brooklyn Rail and Whitehot Magazine. His work has been reviewed in Interview Magazine, ArtInfo and New American Paintings. For more about Stopa please visit: http://jasonstopa.wordpress.com
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