The year has begun on a high note for the art world; with Navi Mumbai also bringing a new art festival to its environs. Thus, a new chapter in Indian art begins and we are sure it will be a grand success. Our magazine this year speaks of the changing face of the art patron and brings you insights into minimalist art. As always we welcome your suggestions and comments.
The Changing Face of the Art Patron
There was a time when art was relegated to elite and royal circles. This was the time of cultured kings offering royal patronage to artists from different fields of performing arts, singing, poetry, dance and painting. Such royal patronage gave the artists the liberty of pursuing their calling without having to worry about the economics of living. At the same time, the patron too had the opportunity to provide direction to the artist, most of the work produced by artists was in the nature of commissioned works. Hence one finds royal portraiture as the main component of many prominent artists of the Victorian era.
The main difference between an art patron and a buyer in a gallery is that the art patron has had an influence in the creation of the artwork. The painting or sculpture would not exist if not for the directions and creative inputs of the art patron. On the other hand, the art buyer from a gallery is merely purchasing a work and in probability will have no interaction with the artist. The patronage provided in the commissioning of the artwork guarantees the demand and sale of the artwork, while an artist putting up paintings for display can only hope that they strike a chord with the buyer who will then be inclined to purchase it.
There are artists who will be quick to criticize the above simplified differentiation between patron and buyer. They would also take offence at the insinuation that their creative process would be impinged upon by an outside influence that is driven by pecuniary considerations. But the truth of the matter is that art patronage has through the ages played a pivotal role in the creation of art. The strongest example of the patron-artist relationship in history was that between Pope Julius II and Michelangelo throughout his work on the Sistine Chapel. Some would also argue that it was also one of the first examples of censorship in art where the Pope instructed Michelangelo to cover up the extremely realistic statue of David!
Art galleries today to a certain extent do fill the role of the art patron, especially when they nurture artists and create a relationship with them. Galleries are the in the business of art and as such not only feel the pulse of the buyer and guide the artist towards producing the work that is in ‘demand’ but also create a ‘market’ for the artist’s work, there are many a buyer who don’t know anything about art but are ready to trust the judgment and recommendation of a reputed gallerist. But here too, the gallery serves more in the capacity of a mentor rather than patron of art.
Today, the art patron has been reduced to one provides the finance for art projects or scholarships. There is little or no contact between the new age art patron and the artwork. Moreover, he will probably not have any personal ownership of the artwork that has been ‘funded’ by him. Typically, all one has to do to qualify as an art patron is to give a donation or endowment to an artistic organization or art school who will (hopefully) utilize the money to promote the artistic talent within its fold. Else, an art aficionado can become affiliated with a museum and provide his art collection for exhibition purposes, there is usually a fee charged by these institutions and this goes towards the art museum’s upkeep.
In the changing face of the art patron, companies have taken over the role of commissioning artworks. Most often these take the form of portraits of managing directors and CEOs and also sculpture that are put on display in public places – who can forget the iconic Arcelor-Mittal Orbit Tower created by Anish Kapoor for the company prior to the London Olympics. Closer home the Rhino ‘scrapture’ by Arzan Khambatta for Ceat Tyres is a landmark in Mumbai’s CBD – Nariman Point.
Ultimately, while the art patron is now relegated to providing the finance, he still holds a very important place in the art world, for without the funds, certain grandiose works may never go beyond the initial sketch. Art for art’s sake is a very clichéd philosophy to tout and artists may argue about not creating artworks for the money but rather for the love of art and pursuit of their creative instincts, but the bottom line is that money matters and hence the art patron may take whatever form he chooses – rich royal or company honcho – it’s just old wine in a new bottle.
~ Razvin Namdarian
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Navi Mumbai Art Festval 2013
India Art Festival 2012
Navi Mumbai Art Festival 2013
The satellite city that has long been living in the shadow of Mumbai is coming into its own – first it was real estate and excellent infrastructure and town planning that was the attraction and now Navi Mumbai is also entering the field of art with its first ever art festival this month. 200 artists from India will participate with live demonstrations, fine arts, seminars, workshops, dances, fusion performances and food art. The festival will also have music and dance performances by distinguished artists and groups, ranging from classical to contemporary and Indian folk. The art forms will include conventional paintings, wood carvings and bangle making as well as live stone carving, Madhubani tribal art, paper mache, clay modelling, metal wire art and more. Bing held from 24 to 28 Jan at Urban Haat, Navi Mumbai, the festival promises to bring the best of art to the city as organiser, Gautam Patole, avers, “Instead of people going out of the city, we want them to experience a great artistic weekend right here.”
India Art Festial, Mumbai, 2012
The MMRDA ground in Bandra, played host to the 2nd Edition of India Art Festival, from the 19th – 22nd of December. 40 art galleries and 500 professional artists from fifty major cities in six countries participated in the exhibition. The festival which attracted over 47 000 visitors is probably the first art fair in western and southern India to receive the highest number of visitors. Of the visitors, 50% were first time art buyers. Out of 175 booths in the art festival, 85% booths recorded good sales.
Art Extract Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts.....
bCA Galleries has introduced on-line solo shows of its associated artists...
Artist in Focus – Yashwant Shirwadkar
Bringing alive on canvas the historical building and monuments from around India is not an easy task, especially when it comes to getting the architectural perspective right. But Yashwant Shirwadkar does it with aplomb. He became an artist in the face of severe family opposition and now his sons have followed in his footsteps, we bring you a conversation with the artist.
At what age did you become interested in art? I think it was around the seventh or eighth grade that I became truly interested in art. Then I would be drawing pictures and regularly get beaten for that by my parents at home. My parents had the typical middle-class mentality where education meant getting a degree and becoming a doctor or engineer. For them artists meant those who drew chalk drawings of gods and goddesses on the pavement and collected the small change people threw on the drawings. Or they thought I would be painting name plates, there was no understanding of this field and its scope. But I was adamant in pursuing my art.
Today, have you proved to your family that art can be a lucrative field? I have my house, educated my children in Australia and they are well settled there. I have many clients for my works. It is a good field to be in but one must be careful not to become totally commercial.
Your art has focused more on historical buildings and monuments, have you had any interest in architecture? I am still very interested in architecture, hence there is an architectural perspective in my works. I have studied monuments, spent years in Benares, Rajasthan, Ramghad and Jaisalmer, paying attention to details and doing many sketches. You will find influences of Mughal architecture as well as Kerala style in my works.
Which medium do you prefer? Have you experimented with different mediums? I have never done photography or sculpture. I do water colours, pen and ink drawings, oil paintings. I tried acrylic, but I find that the colours intensity fades after about 8-9 years. I enjoy working with oils as the colours even if they become dull we can always do it up. I also work with the palette knife which is a time consuming process, there are not many artists working with it.
Are you comfortable with doing commissioned works or prints? I have done numerous commissioned works for big companies and banks including Oberois, Air India, Lufthansa, HDFC, American Bank, Citibank, Singapore Bank and Nationalle de Paris. There are also galleries who have issued limited edition prints of my works – Marvel Gallery in Ahmedabad and Aurobindo Gallery in Delhi.
Do you feel there is a difference in working abroad and in India? I have had shows in 18 countries in Europe, also in America, Australia and in India. I think the main difference is in the mentality and attitude of the buyers. A British buyer will remove the painting from the wall, inspect the canvas from behind; a German buyer will go into minute details about the quality of the canvas used, the paints, the longevity of the material; an American buyer will just buy a painting because he likes it; an Indian buyer will have more faith in the artist and value the art and the artist.
Your sons are also artists, is there a plan to create an artistic dynasty or pass on a legacy? I have never taught my sons even how to hold a pencil. When they were in school their focus was only on studies, of course, they would study in my studio and hence got influenced by my art, however, there was never any intent to pass on a legacy. I always told them to do what they want. They prefer the art field as here there are no deadlines, no age limit, no retirement age and you are enjoying your work. As a family we do discuss the work we are doing, consult each other when we are stuck on a particular painting, but these are more dinner time conversations. The only conscious decision regarding my family that I have made is that all our names should start with the alphabet ‘y’ and the meaning of the name should be associated with the Lord Shankar, whom we are stanch devotees of.
What are your plans for the future? In the future I would like to set up a museum of my works but not in a city and I am working towards that. There has never been a problem selling my works, even before the internet, people would see my works in a bank or elsewhere and find my contact details and come to buy form me. Now I have started keeping aside at least a couple of works every year to display in my museum/gallery at a future date.
~ Razvin Namdarian
Interesting Exhibitions seen in the past 3 months
Solo show by SH Raza at Jehangir Art Gallery
Solo show by Yogesh Shirwadkar at Jehangir Art Gallery
It is not every day that one of the pillars and founding members of Indian Contemporary Art presents a retrospective of his works in Mumbai. Vistaar by S H Raza was a visual and cultural treat for art lovers in Mumbai. The works were as recent as 2012 as well and in some instances one felt that the artist had regressed to his earlier style of abstract cityscapes. The omnipresent Bindu was there of course, it wouldn't be an exhibition by Raza if it did not find a pride of place in the show. In the recent works the mastery is there, the balance of colours continues to amaze even though some works depict a subtlety in the palette which one assumes has come in with the mellowness of age. The video showing the artist at work and the various catalogues and books on the artist's works added to the viewing experience. On a personal note this exhibition was of special import to me as it was the first introduction to art of my three month old son - he too was enthralled by the colours and shapes, at least that is what I would like to believe.
Rustic, evocative, emotional, just some of the adjectives that come to mind when one sees works by Yogesh Shiwadkar. There is a nascent understanding of human interactions and bonds that is evident in his paintings. Though the themes may be tried and tested like those of Krishna and Yashoda, he brings them to life win his own unique style. The colour palette is vibrant and earthy , a refreshing point of view and must see for those who enjoy Indian art.
bCA Galleries presents the results of the previous Poll
Artists who have associated with us in the past 3 months
Our family of artists has been growing rapidly over the past months. The following are the artists who have joined us in the past 3 months
The artists have been listed in alphabetical order.
Art Extract: : Minimalist Art
Minimalism describes movements in various forms of art and design where the work is set out to expose the essence or identity of a subject through eliminating all non-essential forms, features or concepts. Minimalism is any design or style in which the simplest and fewest elements are used to create the maximum effect. The Minimalist work’s absence of pizzazz in technique allows the viewer to become immediately part of the canvas. The art composition is simplified by reducing the number of colors, lines, values, textures, and shapes so that the observer can readily identify the central concept or message. The experience of wondering what the painting means is absent. Some have tried to define minimalist art in terms of percentages wherein the main subject of the artwork cannot occupy more than 30% of the space.
Minimalism is a primarily American art movement often characterized as a reaction to the Second World War. It was prominent in American art works in the 1950s and 1960s. The works of the American artist, Frank Stella, provide a great example of Minimalism. Ad Reinhardt actually an artist of the Abstract Expressionist generation, but one whose reductive nearly all-black paintings seemed to anticipate minimalism, had this to say about the value of a reductive approach to art, “The more stuff in it, the busier the work of art, the worse it is. More is less. Less is more. The eye is a menace to clear sight. The laying bare of oneself is obscene. Art begins with the getting rid of nature.” Minimalist art follows the adage of “Less is More!”
bCA Galleries is proud to present a solo show by Warli artist – Anil Vangad. His works bring to life the world of the Warlis from their daily chores and rituals to the enactment of their legends and folktales. His works have a movement and fluidity in them that is a pleasure to view.