“Towards a New World Seminar: Reflecting on Contemporary Indian Art,” Presented by The Fuschia Tree, Trident Hotel, Mumbai, March 12, 2010, 6pm (By Invite Only)

Speakers: Anders Petterson, Louisa Buck, Anupa Mehta, Arshiya Lokhandwala, Dr. Alka Pande; Moderated by Sharmistha Ray

The purpose of Towards a New World Seminar is to locate the current state of 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 in order to investigate new directions emerging from the present model.

Contemporary Indian art has gone through an upheaval in the past 5 years; it started its commercial ascent just under a decade ago, and then midway through the decade, prices peaked right up until the global market crash in September 2008. Although, inflated markets left contemporary art high and dry for the better part of 2009, looking back a major positive by-product of the market boom was the scaling up of artistic ambitions, the export of Indian talent overseas and the general broadening out of the market, the raising of the bar for gallery spaces, exhibition-making and presentation values and a heightened awareness about archiving, cataloguing and documentation. The downside has been a dilution of the markets with average works, inflated prices and the subsequent crashing down of market values across the board for Contemporary Indian art and an accompanying sense of unease about real market values and where they lie in the current scenario.

Following the market crisis there’s been a period of introspection and soul-searching: where is the Indian art market headed? Can a consolidation of intrinsic (artistic) and extrinsic (critical and commercial) values happen to pull it all back together? Can confidence be inspired in true blue art collectors to start acquiring again? Can artists, dealers, galleries and auction houses buckle down and ride out the market lows? How will young artists deal with the new situation? How will values of art works be determined henceforth? Can investing be encouraged again but in a systematic and ethical way that enhances intrinsic and extrinsic values attached to art works? These are just some of the questions this seminar hopes to address.