Modernist Art from India: Radical Terrain


Untitled, S.H. Raza; 1956

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“Radical Terrain,” the third exhibition in the series Modernist Art from India, highlights the exploration of landscape in Indian art for the generation after independence. The exhibition will also feature new work by international contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds currently working in and identifying with landscape. This is both a response to the modernist paintings on view and to work towards a nuanced conceptual understanding of what “landscape” in art is.

The modernist paintings in the exhibition suggests that landscape became a recognizable form of expression in this period as a means for artists to come to terms with the vastness and diversity of India as a newly sovereign nation.  Explorations of landscape – especially rural landscapes– by painters inadvertently paralleled official initiatives of government organizations like the Films Division of India, which commissioned many films of rural and distant regions like Orissa and Himachal Pradesh for a primary audience of citizens in urban centers. These activities reflect a country creating a new identity. “Radical Terrain” shows the great variety of landscapes created by artists in India after independence from British rule – including figural and abstract landscapes, specific sites and conceptual landscapes painted in a wide range of styles and from many social, political, and formal perspectives.

The contemporary interventions in the exhibition will be in various modes and media, reflecting the diversity of what landscape means to contemporary artists of various backgrounds. The artists include Lisi Raskin, Marc Handelman, Seher Shah, Janaina Tschäpe, and others.

Rubin Museum of Art

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Rubin Museum of Art

The museum boasts a collection of more than 1,500 paintings and sculptures and other examples of art from the Himalayas and the surrounding regions dating from the 2nd to the 21st centuries. This 70,000-square-foot museum is also home to a vast educational program.


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