South Asia Seminar - Rebecca M. Brown "Durations and Interruptions: People, Process, and Art at the 1985–86 Festival of India"

In the hot summer of 1985 in Washington DC, after opening the gallery each morning with a puja, forty artists and performers from India took their places on platforms marked with their names, crafts, and region, and proceeded to sew, mold, carve, paint, dance, sing, and play for the thousands of visitors who snaked through the National Museum of Natural History. The exhibition, entitled Aditi: A Celebration of Life, was one of over 70 art shows that took place as part of the Festival of India in the US, a series of international collaborations and contestations that presented a range of Indias to a range of audiences across the country. Aditi, an exhibition highlighting handicraft through an imagined ideal Indian village, builds on longstanding modes of conceiving India through craft, alongside nineteenth-century exhibitionary practices of putting people on display. Yet, the exhibition, in its broader frame as part of the Festival, and in the intimate durations and day-to-day relations among people, objects, sounds, and smells, presents an opportunity to think dierently about objects and agency, objectication and animation to get at the small scale durations and temporal irruptions that contributed to a dynamic,challenging, and ever-shifting presentation of India in the gallery.

Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 4:30pm
Foster 103 (1130 East 59th Street)