“Art Conversations” at Art Chennai 2011, Chennai, India. March 24-26, 2011.

Conceptualized & Presented by
Sharmistha Ray
Venue: Taj Coromandel, Chennai
Dates: March 24 -26, 2011
The purpose of Art Conversations is to locate the current state of Modern and Contemporary Indian art with regards to a view on art as a component of larger cultural production and cultural commerce. With reference to historical, academic, critical, curatorial and commercial structures within a local context as well as in continental and global schemes, this series of conversations will investigate new emerging trends and directions in key areas such as collecting, art criticism, curating, the art market and artistic production.
SESSION 1: 2:30 – 4:00 pm
Collectors’ Corner
Discussants: Sandeep Reddy (Art collector, Chennai), Sanjay Parthasarthy (Art collector, Chennai), Nirmalya Kumar (Art collector, London), Ranvir Shah (Art collector, Chennai).
Moderated by: Saloni Doshi (Director, Space 118; Art collector, Mumbai)
Art collecting is at once a prevalent and niche activity. Art collectors are everywhere and it doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money, but it does take a lot of passion, to build up an art collection. Collecting is also unique to the individual collects: tastes vary – some prefer cutting-edge art, some prefer decorative, and others just collect what they like, allowing the collection to grow organically over time. The collectors on this panel will each talk about what initiated
their collecting habit in the first place and the vision they have for their art collection going forward.
SESSION 2: 4:30 – 6:00 pm
The Art Critic
Discussants: Adip Dutta (Artist & Arts Writer, Kolkata), Bhavna Kakar (Editor, TAKE on Art Magazine, New Delhi), Abhay Sardesai (Editor, Art India Magazine, Mumbai), Ashrafi Bhagat (Art critic, Chennai).
Moderated by: Girish Shahane (Independent art critic, Mumbai)
Criticism, in its purest form, has to be objective and have no strings attached. However, writing about art has become extremely fashionable in recent times. But most ‘art critics’ these days also encumber hybrid roles as art advisors, collectors, dealers or gallerists – or they have social networks and alliances, which prevent them from taking a truly independent stance. With so many underlying agendas at play, can the art critic even afford to be critical anymore? How can art criticism revive and restore its capacity to ascertain cultural relevance of art works and thus, create real extrinsic value?
SESSION 1: 2:30 – 4:00 pm
The Curatorial Eye
Discussants: Arshiya Lokhandwala (Director, Lakereen, Mumbai), Gayatri Sinha (Independent art critic and curator, New Delhi), Chaitanya Sambrani (Curator; Lecturer, Australian National University), Suman Gopinath (Independent art curator, Bangalore).
Moderated by: Oindrilla Maity Surai (Independent art curator, Kolkata)
Curators used to have jobs in museums and institutions, but with the declining budgets of non-commercial spaces in addition to the explosion of curatorial programs sending out new young curators without institutions to enter, the tag “curator” has taken on many different avatars. What does it mean to curate exhibitions in today’s world and what value can a “curator” generate in the art space at home and abroad?
SESSION 2: 4:30 – 6:00 pm
The Art Market
Discussants: Supriya Banerjee (Director, Gallerie 88, Kolkata), Sree Goswami (Director, Project 88, Mumbai), Sharan Apparao (Director, Apparao Galleries, Chennai), Mukesh Panika (Director, Religare Arts Initiative, New Delhi).
Moderated by: Shalini Biswajit (Director, Forum Art Gallery, Chennai)
Ask any gallery how value is determined for art works and they can’t tell you in a few easy sentences. “It’s complicated,” is the response you’re most likely to get. There is no regulatory body that exists to standardize and systematize values in art and in the complex mechanism of the art world, value is created sometimes systematically and at other times, the process can seem random to outsiders. How has value been created in the past 5 years and where are we now in the value creation chain? Which artists have survived with regards to intrinsic and extrinsic values in the pell-mell and why when many others have not? What role does the gallery play in this infrastructure? Differences and overlaps in the regional markets will be highlighted.
SESSION 1: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Artists in Conversation
Discussants: Paula Sengupta (Artist, Kolkata), Mithu Sen (Artist, New Delhi), SG Vasudev (Artist, Chennai), Rajan Krishnan (Artist, Kochi), Zakkir Hussain (Artist, Kochi)
Moderated by: Parvathi Nair (Artist, Chennai)
Methodologies for art production vary across a wide spectrum of concepts, mediums and styles. Artists are broadening their approaches more than ever before to incorporate new materials, methods and media. The artists in this session talk about their practices and how they have used interdisciplinary modes of thinking to inform their artistic production from conceptualization to the end product, which is the art object itself.