welcome to collectors mind

This is a forum for sharing knowledge, gaining insights and shaping opinions. We will not sit on the fence here or play favorites. The language of art has changed in a blink of a year– today there are market makers, power brokers, savvy investors, flippers, fakes and fund managers. Collectors are nearly extinct. Why? Because collectors can see and COLLECTORS MIND. So together, let’s take a small step to make today’s buyers into tomorrow’s collectors. The future of art depends on it!

Monday, February 18, 2008

What a Meese…!!

It’s been just over four weeks since my encounter with Jonathan Meese’s performance in Mumbai and I must confess that I was not ready for the destabilizing effect that evening would have on me, nor was I prepared for the unexpected rewards that I am privileged to enjoy to this very day

The opening reception at Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke set the stage with a recital of personal thoughts that Meese has inscribed on sheets of paper (handed out to the audience). I was so sure that the queue to get in might run around the block, I arrived sharp at 7pm, the start time denoted on the invite, but much to my surprise – shock- dismay. There were barely enough people to fill the room even at half past seven when the interview was well underway! The usual suspects were missing in action that evening and I was perplexed as to how Mumbai had gotten so apathetic as to miss an opportunity to get up close and personal with a giant of an artist who had come from across the seas to enthrall us with his works and his words.

I don’t know what others read from Meese’s impassioned rhetoric that day but I was transported into a very special place, his thoughts were straight from the heart, charged with emotion and innocent belief – it was totally therapeutic and almost magical….the performance two days later was even more gratifying and once again I succumbed to my fears of not finding a seat and reached on the dot of six. Experience should have made me wiser but I was a sucker a second time around, thankfully the seats in that small auditorium filled up by the time the performance started and we were saved a major embarrassment. Although, that honor clearly goes to the attendant of the little theater who was so hell bent on saving the little microphone that no efforts were spared to interrupt the performance and expose our ignorance and insensitivity.

Jonathan Meese has achieved in his young career what most artists would aspire to in a lifetime, yet he demanded no fancy after party in a five star hotel, there were no special sets erected at the gallery or for the performance, and, no visible extra fuss that one usually associates with brand name stars. All of this pose some interesting questions in the Indian context – where art often gets sidelined in favor of celebrity sightings and page three appearances, where the focus is too much on better art shows and to less on showing better art. Did anyone stop to wonder how come an artist, who lives between Tokyo and Berlin, has performed at the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern in London, and is regarded as a frontrunner contemporary artist from Germany, still manages to sell large format, significant works on canvas for a fraction of the price that some of our stars command? Why was a monumental show like this so thinly attended and so sparingly covered by our media? Is enthusiasm for personal enrichment thru the arts waning? Are we ready to embrace art in all its forms, and give equal value to experiences as we do to objects? I for one remain hopeful that much of the contamination and curruption will give way and we will cross the chasm, we will stop seeking safety in signatures and begin to see art for what it is, and appreciate the value art adds to our lives rather than go numb looking for appreciation and value of another kind

We remain grateful to Jonathan Meese for the mind bending experience that will live forever in many a memory, and we owe gratitude to Usha and Ranjana for taking a chance on art and giving art a chance!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

An inspirational life…finally rewarded!

It should come as no surprise to anybody in the know, that this year the Government of India has conferred the Padma Shri to Kekoo Gandhy. What is surprising though is that it took so long to recognize and honor a man who has tirelessly dedicated his working life to actively promoting Indian Contemporary, Folk & Tribal Art. (He provided hanging space for artists at Chemould frame shop in Princess Street as far back as 1945 and eventually went on to establish Gallery Chemould at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1963).

At an age when most people choose the more sedentary way of life, Kekoo is an active Rotarian and continues to promote art vigorously, including as an activist and a voce against moral policing. Not many people know that Kekoo was educated at Cambridge and hailed from a wealthy Parsi family that was engaged in the tobacco business yet he chose to devote his life to art, and along with his wife Khorshed were the early pioneers, giving a platform not only to the contemporary artists of the time but also to folk and tribal artists with the first show of Kalamkari paintings as early as 1979. In all my conversations with Kekoo over the years he has always been a great champion of the crafts, which he believes is the real wealth of this nation.

Like many, I have been a Chemould loyalist for over a decade and my every visit to the gallery would be punctuated by a kind ‘hello’ and Kekoo’s reassuring presence, unassuming modesty and genuine love for art is forever engrained in my memory. In a diluted world of crooks and conmen he stands apart as a beacon of hope, and a living example to all who aspire to scale great heights with uncompromising integrity and compassion...He has been a mentor and inspiration to me and to countless others, and his kindness and warmth still touch the hearts of all that have the privilege of knowing him…