Ed. Towards the end of this “early period”, Khakhar also painted comical scenes from his own time in England, drawing on his travels — an ironic postcolonial reversal, in a sense, of the colonial documentation embodied by Company Painting. Khakhar’s more humble subjects, the local barber, watchmaker and tailor, were thus beatified in these sensitive and observant portraits. He is a reminder of the immense possibilities of difference: as a “Pop” artist outside the centers of Pop, as a gay artist in a conservative Indian city, and later as someone suffering while in the company of healthy friends. Despite having been qualified as a chartered accountant before moving to Baroda in 1962, he joined the Art Criticism course at the Faculty of Fine Arts where he started painting and became involved with the seminal Narrative- Figurative movement. International painting is at the center of this year’s Tate program: Georgia O’Keeffe, Francis Bacon, Maria Lassnig, and Robert Rauschenberg are being honored with major exhibitions. “Paan Shop for People: Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003).” Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990. Khakhar started showing his work as early as 1965, and while it took him some time to lead the cosmopolitan life of his peers, he was traveling internationally by 1976. India's most famous Modernist arrives at the Tate Modern – with mixed results Following a trip to London, the late Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar observed that: “You are not allowed to smile during the winter season which lasts for ten months of the year. Several times over, it has been cited as a ‘coming out’ — a declarative announcement of a gay identity that Khakhar claimed and opened up for discussion by way of this image. Bhupen Khakhar played a central role in modern Indian art and was a recognised international figure in 20th century painting. The Tate’s intervention has canonized Khakhar as an essential figure in the story of South Asian modernism, while also asserting the entire movement as a viable category for deep curatorial research in leading contemporary art museums worldwide. Can I go to a museum? Yet for all these qualms, this is a rich and absorbing exhibition. 149-77. Bhupen Khakhar (also spelled Bhupen Khakkar, born Bombay 10 March 1934 – died Baroda 8 August 2003) Bhupen Khakhar was a leading artist in Indian contemporary art. In addition to these prominent positions, the museum is presenting an artist who has yet to be discovered by Western audiences: Bhupen Khakhar. Oakland: U of California, 2015. You Can’t Please All was painted at Khakhar’s house in Baroda, India. By this time, there had been two retrospectives of Khakhar’s work, one shortly after his death at the National Gallery of Art in Mumbai, and another mounted at the Reina Sofia in Madrid the previous year. His current research interests include histories of display and queer identities in modern South Asia. He holds a BA from Williams College in Comparative Literature and Art History. These works are a willful affront to the famously conservative values of the middle class, but mine a long tradition of homosociality in Indian history to locate a local vision of queer identity. 110-35. The Tate’s decision to celebrate his abbreviated life reveals not simply a desire to shine light on alternative modernisms that flourished internationally in the 20th century, but ones that also worked against the grain of prevailing conservative values within a given region. In many ways, Khakhar’s life’s work represents vanguard radicality that responded to an artistic climate that was aggressively androcentric and heteronormative. It draws you in not only through the sheer liveliness of the work, but because Khakhar’s artistic impulses weren’t at heart intellectual or political, but personal and emotional. Bhupen Khakhar and the New Tate Modern. As his own relationship to corporality shifted in response to his battle with cancer, so did his approach to it in its painted form. Accessible Spaces: A Fragrance-Free Toolkit, Research Excellence Award for UCLA Associate Professors, Black Feminism Initiative Graduate Fellowships, Jean Stone Dissertation Research Fellowship, Penny Kanner Dissertation Research Fellowship, IJS Fund for International and Undocumented Graduate Students, Elizabeth Blackwell, MD, Undergraduate Award, Survey: Fragranced Products on the UCLA Campus, Faculty and Graduate Student Working Group, Thinking Gender 2019: Feminists Confronting the Carceral State, Thinking Gender 2020: Sexual Violence as Structural Violence…, Policy Brief: Addressing Sexual Violence, Reshaping Institutions, Achieving Justice: Shelter, Intersectionality, and Sexual Harassment Policy, BFI Faculty-Graduate Working Group Members, Dishing: Food, Feminism, and the Way We Eat, Edible Feminisms: On Discard, Waste, and Metabolism, Feminism + the Senses: Breaking the Silence on Hooking Up, Feminism + the Senses: Weaving Generations Together, Women’s Social Movement Activities in Los Angeles, Thinking Gender 2021: Care, Mutual Aid, and Reproductive Labor in a Time of Crisis, Reports on Equity at UCLA and in Academia, Co-authorship and Collaboration: Resources for Feminist Scholars, Studying Gender and Sexuality at Other Institutions, To Sir, With Love: Bhupen Khakhar at the Tate, London. Born in Mumbai in 1934, Khakhar worked as a factory accountant in the provincial city of Baroda, painting only in his spare time, bringing to mind a kind of Indian LS Lowry, and also the great French primitivist Henri Rousseau – a parallel that appears far from accidental. During this time, he began experimenting in material and showed a particular interest in the art of the street. This subtle nod to queer intention becomes thoroughly explicit in the next age of his career — the legacy of which has in many ways defined his contributions to modernism. Thus, the irony of London as the home to the most important retrospective of Khakhar’s work is subtly addressed with great humor and poise. Tate Museum, London. At the Tate which is an institution in its own right extremely exlcusive in its choice of artists and exhibitions how did Bhupen Khakar become the Indian artist who is … The exhibition, “You Can’t Please All”, opened earlier this year. He was awarded a CSW Travel Grant in 2017. Purchased 1996 © Estate of Bhupen Khakhar About the artist A key figure in 20th century painting, Bhupen Khakhar’s pictures depict the world with unflinching honesty and deep humanity. Credit Oil on canvas. His father was an engineer, and he died when Khakhar was still a child. Bhupen Khakhar. The past 10 years have shaken up our view of art from outside the Western mainstream. Explore the extraordinary paintings of this key figure in modern Indian art. Bobby Friction: The sound of Bhupen Khakhar; Five ways to look at Bhupen Khakhar; Who is Bhupen Khakhar? Subscription ... Bhupen Khakhar (1) Exhibition Bhupen Khakhar (1) Print type Custom prints (1) Price £25 - £49.99; £50 - £149.99; £150 - £299.99; Clear all Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) was born in Bombay, studied economics and qualified as a chartered accountant. Kids Membership Join as a Member Give a gift membership Join Tate Collective Donate Tate Etc. The story recounts the tale of the pair leading a donkey to the market in order to sell it, while receiving innumerable pieces of advice from passers-by along the way, each suggesting a different configuration for easy and efficacious travel. In You Can’t Please All, the painting that gives the show its title, a naked man (the artist, we are led to understand) looks out into a street from a balcony, with scenes in the neighbouring buildings visible in a way that is hardly realistic, but vividly conveys the merging of the public and private worlds in Indian life. This includes rarely seen ceramic works, the exhibition catalog he produced for his show at Chemould Gallery in 1978, and a video documentary made by Judy Marle. BHUPEN KHAKHAR.  This was the everyman that appeared and reappeared in his paintings: the tea shop owner, the zoo keeper, the average city dweller. Print. Six Indian Painters: Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, M.F. We should read Jonathan Jones’ review in The Guardian of Bhupen Khakhar’s retrospective at the Tate Modern as an expected irritant – he (still) writes like a provincial Englishman.  From then onwards, male sexuality became a focal trope in his work. 153. Web. Kapur, Geeta. Kobena Mercer. Bhupen Khakhar (also spelled Bhupen Khakkar, born Bombay 10 March 1934 – died Baroda 8 August 2003) Bhupen Khakhar was a leading artist in Indian contemporary art. While we don’t want to be overwhelmed with contextual information, too much about Khakhar’s complex cultural background is left vague. “An Artist’s Claim to Truth: Bhupen Khakar.” The Art of Secularism: The Cultural Politics of Modernist Art in Contemporary India. Khakhar was born in and died in India, but spent some time working and exhibiting in the United Kingdom. But his most important and comprehensive expose was arguably the current show mounted at the Tate Modern, titled after his seminal painting “You Can’t Please All” (1981). Mark Hudson warms to this exhibition dedicated to the colourful and subtly complex paintings of the late Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar.  Khullar, Sonal. B hupen Khakhar was born in Khetwadi in Bombay in 1934.  Geeta Kapur, “Mortality Morbidity Masquerade,” Dercon, Chris, and Nada Raza, eds. London: Tate Publications, 2016. The milieu he had built for himself in Baroda was a nurturing one: he was surrounded by a group of like-minded artists who were the beginnings of a counterculture that developed in response to the dominant school of painting emerging at the wake of a new nation.  These relationships featured heavily in his work. He journeyed to the USSR, Yugoslavia, England and Italy. His career change was partly thanks to meeting the poet and painter Ghulam Mohammed Sheikh in 1958. His sexuality, which has been such a critical topic of conversation, is not simply presented for consumption but reflexively considered as a polemical anti-colonial gesture. The preoccupation with same-sex union becomes a focal element of Khakhar’s paintings in the 80s and 90s, oftentimes married with iconography from Hindu mythology and folkloric practice. Kapur, Geeta.  The body is no longer a site of sex and love, and more so a place of decay. IN THE COCONUT GROVES . This biography is from Wikipedia under an Attribution-ShareAlike Creative Commons License. Dercon, Chris, and Nada Raza, eds. Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All. Until November 6. My friend showed me the only monograph of Khakhar’s work produced to date, lovingly compiled by artist Timothy Hyman in 1998. For his friends and colleagues who have outlived him, he is a warm memory that continues to inspire — to be found in their art, their writings, and their wistful conversations. His first foray abroad took him to the USSR, Yugoslavia, Italy, and most importantly, England, a country with which Khakhar started to develop an interesting relationship. The commentary is witty and whimsical, in Khakhar’s characteristic sardonic tone. My first encounter with Khakhar’s paintings came in the summer of 2013, after having just landed in Bombay. London: Tate Publications, 2016. Bhupen Khakhar, however, gives us modern Indian art as the romantically inclined Westerner would like to imagine it: magic realist images of small-town life in vibrantly intense colours, painted with a quirky disregard for Western conventions of space and composition. “Bhupen Khakhar’s “Pop” in India, 1970-72.” The Art Journal 71.2 (2012): 44-61. Print. Subramanyan, Bhupen Khakhar. Tate Modern; Exhibitions; Bhupen Khakhar; Feature . So it’s difficult to pick apart these influences or understand how he evolved his characteristic style. Mumbai: Mapin Pub., 1998.  Baroda would become Khakhar’s permanent home — a respite from the intense urbanity of Bombay, and shelter from the prying eyes of the community he lived in. Your email address will not be published. Print. Nilima Sheikh, Vivan Sundaram, Mrinalini Mukherjee, GM Sheikh, and other artists had banded together to establish a new outlook on art as India marched farther and farther away from the date of its liberation from the British empire. Even at the outset, Khakhar’s sensibilities were oriented (somewhat presciently) towards the aesthetics of the global Pop, and its defiant breakdown painterly conventions that maintained the sanctity and purity of medium. “Bhupen Khakhar’s “Pop” in India, 1970-72.” The Art Journal 71.2 (2012): 44-61. The textures of daily life in India — particularly the cheap reproductions of Hindu idols, seen pasted on walls of roadside temples — made appearances in pastiche collages. We can only hope that the particular subjectivities of a whole host of other artists from across the globe will continue to be celebrated and that their work will fill the halls of the same institutions that have denied their parity with colleagues out West. Khakhar painted life in the Indian “beta” city, overshadowed by their large metropolitan counterparts, capturing its grit and glory in equal measure. In a growing trend that is gaining momentum at institutions across the world, there is a tacit acknowledgement that nations from the former colonial periphery have produced artists worthy of large-scale solo retrospectives, replacing the popular multi-artist survey. This Tate Modern exhibition in 2016 … It took a second for my eyes to focus; to realize that the figures that emerged in his narrative paintings were indeed men: men who came together in various salacious acts of sexual union. This to open just weeks after an curated by art critic and Khakhar’s dear friend, Geeta Kapur, that paid tribute to the late artist by way of the theme of death. Towards the latter end of his life, Khakhar’s interest in the male body took a turn for the grotesque. Channel Islands). A friend was finishing a painting that would be included in a show titled “Touched by Bhupen”: an exhaustive group exhibition that brought together several Indian artists who either claim influence from Khakhar or knew him personally, in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of his death. “Paan Shop for People: Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003).” Worldly Affiliations: Artistic Practice, National Identity, and Modernism in India, 1930-1990. Two men stand in naked embrace, their erect penises almost touching. The sardonic tone in these images stems from his general displeasure at London’s supposed glumness, reflected in paintings such as “Man in Pub” (1979). Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All. The subjects are oftentimes Khakhar’s own lovers, who tended to emerge from lower socioeconomic classes. This muralistic style of composition reveals Khakhar’s study of the Sienese painting tradition, which he shared with his colleagues in the Baroda and would see reproduced in books during his time studying at the Faculty of Arts. In these decades, any timidness around the male body and eroticism disappears, allowing for graphic images that explore love and lust between Indian men. It was clear that time passed on by, but love for Bhupen remained as ardent as ever. He holds a pair of driving gloves near his crotch: the fingers bunching into a bouquet of phalluses. Scholars have tended to categorize Khakhar’s art with three periodized divisions of his biography, beginning with the earliest period after his relocation to Baroda. The exhibition was an homage to the artist’s late style, which started to show a preoccupation with morbidity and mortality in the late ‘90s. But he found life in London glum and “grumpy”, communicating as much through the paintings he executed there, two of which are on show in the the exhibition’s second room.  Kapur, Geeta, “The View from a Teashop,” Contemporary Indian Artists, New Delhi: Vikas, 1978. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2014. He was a member of the Baroda Group and gained international recognition for his work. The texture and sheen of oil paint is disturbingly evocative of fetid flesh and reveals an inner struggle that Khakhar was tormented with in his last years. But he was also influenced by art history. We rely on advertising to help fund our award-winning journalism. 13-25. Tickets: 020 7887 8888; tate.org.uk. Comprising 91 works from across five decades, this is the first international retrospective of the work of Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) since his death and, according to incoming Tate Modern director Frances Morris, it is “part of the spirit of the bigger international story that the new Tate Modern [to be opened to the public on 17 June after its £260m extension] is dedicated to”. These aren’t the subtlest colour combinations, but, boy, do they sing out. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998, and lost his battle against the disease in 2003. There’s a dream-like quality to Death in the Family, in which a reclining figure – the departed soul perhaps – seems to float over the nocturnal streetscape. 1934 - 2003. Here are some interesting links for you! Subjects were varied, but one prominent use for the Company style was to document uniforms of different groups of tradespeople. He would care for these frail men intensely, looking after their wellbeing and often their medical expenses. A contingent of the second wave of modernists to rise to prominence in India, Khakhar’s paintings started to garner attention in the 1970s with their commitment to a vision of Indian urbanism that was hitherto occluded by the dominance of the Bombay in the early years after independence. Tate. Print.  Citron, Beth. It is a journalistic documentation of the people who populated the artist’s life and an assertion of a borderless pursuit of love — an aspect of Khakhar’s unwavering anti-elitism in both the method in his art and its subject matter. Of particular note is the way in which the exhibition succeeds in mining the relationship Khakhar had with England: a fraught set of connections in the postcolonial era. The productive capacity that this deviation has is evidenced everywhere in the retrospective. We’re left wondering if his use of mythological imagery – the monkey god Hanuman makes an appearance alongside a man with five penises – is intended to be satirical, fantastical, sincerely spiritual or simply funny. This is also the time when Khakhar worked on a series of “trade paintings”: portraits of men diligently at work in their local shops, allowing for a certain view into a world ordered by their particular line of business. From Rio to Beirut to Mumbai, it seems, Western abstraction and conceptual art have been the dominant influences for a good half century. Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All. There's no mistaking those elephant ears, the shock of white hair as anyone else's. Bhupen Khakhar, and the possibilities he represents for a new Indian republic, helps mark a welcome shift in the presence of South Asia at monolithic art museums in which research begins with the artist and only then extrapolates towards the nation, and not the reverse. The final room is the most extraordinary, in which Khakhar confronts his five-year demise through cancer, leading up to his death in 2003, in raw and powerful paintings, that are imbued with a stoic and disconcerting humour. His ‘late style’ is informed by the way sickness ravages and limits the body, most notably seen in “Bullet Shot in the Stomach” (2001), a somber painting in which entrails spill from a man’s midriff after being assailed by a gun. Shop now. While we’ve tended to think of art from what used to be called the Third World as exotic, primitive and – that ghastly word – “ethnic”, these perceptions has been radically overturned by the many exhibitions of work from Latin America, Africa, China and India, staged over the past decade. The Tate’s very welcome exhibition of the great Indian painter Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003) is the first international retrospective since the superb show held at the National Gallery of Modern Art in Mumbai three months after the artist’s death. The graphic directness of Khakhar’s treatment, and his apparent lack of self-pity, are remarkable. He moved to Baroda in 1958 to follow a longstanding passion and curiosity for art, enrolling in a graduate program in Art Criticism at the then-new Faculty of Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University. New Delhi: Vikas, 1978. Khullar, Sonal. It was after his stint in London that Khakhar started speaking openly about his sexuality, reflecting on how sexually liberated people seemed to be in the old metropole. London: Tate Gallery, 1982. The works in this room trace Khakhar’s self-directed development, from early experiments with collage to finely detailed oil paintings. Sayantan Mukhopadhyay is a graduate student in Art History at UCLA. “The View from a Teashop.” Contemporary Indian Artists. Required fields are marked *. In “Gallery of Rogues” (1993), independently framed panels are arranged together in constellation of plebeian faces: lovers from all corners of Baroda who have been the object of Khakhar’s doting admiration. He would make two subsequent trips to England and in turn host his British friends in India. What made the recent record-breaking years in the art market the most exciting ever? If we’re going to spend time in a substantial exhibition on an artist from a very different culture, we need some understanding of where their work is coming from and what it means, or it all just becomes a colourful blur. 162. Bobby Friction: The sound of Bhupen Khakhar. Tate Edit Makers' Showcase. This turn was marked most notably in the impressive V. S. Gaitonde retrospective at the Guggenheim New York in 2016, alongside this year’s dedications to Nasreen Mohammedi at the new Met Breuer and to Bhupen Khakhar at the Tate. There is a new age underway in which European and American museums are beginning to see Indian modern art not in terms of national or cultural parameters, but as another strain in the very plural experience of modernism in the global context. He is best known for his pictures of everyday life in India which owe much to the British figurative artists, RB Kitaj and David Hockney. As a land grant institution, UCLA acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (Los Angeles basin, So. But there’s no attempt to expand on this for the non-Indian viewer. We learn from a documentary film from 1983, shown in the gallery, that far from being simply picturesque, Khakhar’s view of Indian life is fundamentally satirical. Bhupen Khakhar, “You Can’t Please All”, 1981, oil and paint on canvas, 175.6 x 175.6 cm. In a quote from the artist placed underneath wall text in the exhibition’s last room, Khakhar speaks of India’s repressive sexual mores as a Victorian hand-me-down. 3 October 2016 . Kitaj.. 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Prior to his arrival in Los Angeles, Sayantan worked in commercial galleries in New York and New Delhi and in the education sector in Shanghai. Bhupen Khakhar, “You Can’t Please All”, 1981, oil and paint on canvas, 175.6 x 175.6 cm. This is no small part of Khakhar’s legacy: his defiant embrace of men loving men, in both allegorical and earthly realms. From the beginning of his artistic career, Bhupen Khakhar expressed a commitment to presenting the world as he saw it and experienced it. 168-213. 123-48. The story recounts the tale of the pair leading a donkey to the market in order to sell it, while receiving innumerable pieces of advice from passers-by along the way, each suggesting a different configuration for easy and efficacious travel. These works took their queue from colonial era “Company Painting,” a style that arose in the nineteenth century during the expansion of the British East India Company. Wanting desperately to travel, Khakhar left India for the first time only in 1976. 158-165. In At the End of the Day Iron Ingots Came Out he shows a man, presumably representing himself, excreting painfully on the lavatory, with a cross-sectional view into his intestines. Yet you won’t spend long in front of these beguiling images before you start wondering how much in them is naïve, how much is pseudo-naïve and how much is making a sophisticated play with our expectations of Indian art. Kapur, Geeta. Three small panels on the left of the image follow a British man’s empty day, leading to the large panel on the right, showing the same sad face cradling a pint alone in a garishly decorated pub. Enjoy your stay :). Print. 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As anyone else 's Needs: Trans Latinxs in Southern... César E. Chávez Department of Chicana and Chicano.... Latter end of his artistic career, Bhupen Khakhar: Truth is –... Make two subsequent trips to England and in turn host his British Friends in from. Six Indian Painters: Rabindranath Tagore, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil, M.F having just landed Bombay.
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