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Geeta Kapur’s book on me


The critical scene – the hindrance of global rating
KG Subramanyan Artist
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In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the first distinguished writer, in my view at least, on contemporary Indian art emerged, Geeta Kapur, partly from the Baroda content. I mean that’s where she was situated. What did you feel about all of that at that moment?

Well, at that moment it all sounded very promising, but the whole question is that it didn’t continue that way. First of all, all those people who, I mean it had been probably even the world critical scene, at one time, at that time, you had some very perceptive critics who started as artists and went into criticism, even in the West. Now, I still think in terms of Doré Ashton and then who else?

Leo Steinberg.

All these people, but then it hasn’t continued, and then the recent criticism, they still are trying to sort of find a kind of global place for themselves. I mean that is where the whole problem is. In fact, why have you to think in terms of kind of a global rating of everything? You do not need to. Each culture can have its own premises, and you try to refine those premises to the extent you can and give more attention to that instead of thinking what happens in New York and Chicago and things of that kind, or London for that matter. So unfortunately this is what happened there. Attention has gone global and I think so that attention is again covered up with a lot of pomposity of expression rather than otherwise, not clarity, but pomposity. But anyway, that... I like seminars which sort of clarify ideas, but I know most of the seminars don’t. I mean they are just sort of talk shops, so many of these people go from seminar to seminar and finally nothing comes through. So it has become a trade by itself.

KG Subramanyan (1924-2016) was an Indian artist. A graduate of the renowned art college of Kala Bhavana in Santiniketan, Subramanyan was both a theoretician and an art historian whose writings formed the basis for the study of contemporary Indian art. His own work, which broke down the barrier between artist and artisan, was executed in a wide range of media and drew upon myth and tradition for its inspiration.

Listeners: Timothy Hyman

Timothy Hyman is a graduate of Slade School of Fine Art, London, in which he has also taught. In 1980 and 1982, he was Visiting Professor in Baroda, India. Timothy Hyman has curated many significant art exhibitions and has published articles and monographs on both European and Indian artists.

Duration: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: 2008

Date story went live: 10 September 2010