Monday, September 20, 2010

The name that sells art

Peter Nagy, the city gallerist behind top contemporary art masters, identifies new talent with big- ticket potential published in Mail Today, the country's leading newspaper.

ART is quite like wine and it is not just because both of these qualify as fine things of life for which one needs an evolved taste and of course, some load in the pockets too.

The similarity, however, goes further.

The time that a good wine takes to mature is pretty much akin to what it takes for a potentially superior artist to come into his own. The least of all, it’s the signature behind a wine and an art work that matters.

And that’s the reason why we’ve chosen to talk about the show, The Present Is Now , which also marks the launch of a new online art initiative, the The signature behind this show is that of one of the most important names in contemporary Indian art, Peter Nagy, who runs the well- known Gallery Nature Morte in Neeti Bagh in the city. Nagy has curated the first show of this online venture, which hosts the work of art graduates from across the country, who have not managed to find a right platform yet for their art. The is the brainchild of collector Kapil Chopra who blogs on Indian contemporary art at indiaartinvest.blogspot. com.

Nagy doesn’t need an introduction to all those who keep a close tab on contemporary Indian art. He doesn’t accept the fact that he has had a big role to play in the shaping of careers of some of the biggest names in contemporary Indian art — Subodh Gupta, Bharti Kher, Thukral and Tagra, and Jagannath Panda to name a few.

So, when he gets on board, he doubles the credibility of an artwork which may not have been able to run fast enough on its own steam.

“The fact that I’m curating this show doesn’t mean that these artists are going to get a show at Nature Morte. What it does mean is that of all the works on the website, these looked better and come with half- potential to make something of the artists’ careers,” explains Nagy. The seven artists whose canvases Nagy has chosen should be glad to have come under the vision of one of the most important movers and shakers of contemporary art. ( See the images and details on right) Nagy feels that a lot goes into the making of a successful artist which is the cumulative effect of several factors like talent, personality, right backing, shows at right galleries, a lot of hard work, how they react to different situations and more.

“When I first did a solo with Subodh in 2000, I knew he was going to be a superstar though people had thought I was nuts to be doing a show where nothing had sold. The artists that I’ve picked up from the bestcollegeart. com are totally unknown to me. The next step would be to meet them and understand them,” he explains when we ask him about what makes him pick up a certain artist’s work. Getting Nagy on the team, of course, is a feather in the cap for Chopra. “ Every year, nearly 1,200 artists graduate from art colleges in India. But only about 25 of them strike it big.

Through this website, we want to support the young artists, to raise money when they are pursuing their masters and up till 10 years of graduating,” explains Chopra. He is hosting an Art Brunch at Trident hotel, Gurgaon, on September 19, to fete the new venture. If you happen to be there, you can listen to interesting tales of artists from the farthest corners of the country uploading their works on the website and managing to find buyers for their works.

As for the chosen few from the website’s collection, who have caught Nagy’s attention, it’s time to make something out of their nascent art careers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Paradise Lost and !

Dear Readers,

Here is a post published by Mr Kapil Chopra, art collector, hotelier and also one of the mentors of on his blog Please enjoy the coverage on the country's leading art initiative.

Warm regards


When it comes to the creativity, I believe no place in India is as synonymous with art as Calcutta — the history, heritage and culture of the city are all redolent of art. Some of the most important galleries which started supporting Indian art long before people really began buying it, like CIMA, have been based here. But for the last few years, a lot of Contemporary Art events and also some of the most important shows have not been happening in the city. However, that looks set to change — especially with significant art initiatives like the Kolkata Museum of Modern Art (KMOMA) coming up in the city.

Shrapnel-Detail from Chamber, an acrylic on hand made paper pasted on board, by Veer Munshi

Other harbingers of a pick-up in activity are that India’s only gallery selected for the prestigious Frieze Art Fair in London, Experimenter, is from Calcutta. And I take heart about the art scene in the city from looking at the programming of key galleries like CIMA, Akar Prakar, Aakriti and see how everything is changing.

Also, what intrigues me is that a senior artist who has spent nearly all his painting career in Delhi and is originally from Kashmir, should go to Calcutta for his monumental solo show. But then, that’s the intrigue and mysticism of Calcutta in the art world. Veer Munshi, opens his show on August 3 at the Birla Academy of Art and Culture, curated by Ranjit Hoskote.

I had the opportunity to preview Veer’s show and you can see that the slightly older school in the Contemporary Art space follows the rules in what goes into making great art. The works are a reflection of the current times in Kashmir and Veer’s journey over the years in a place that he loves so much, where he grew up and that are all about breathtaking scenic beauty and “paradise on earth”.

His photographic series on “Pandit Houses” is reminiscent of the Hindu Brahmin architecture, but the desolate and dilapidated houses also point to the stark reality of the migration of Kashmiri Pandits who had to leave these magnificent homes behind due to terror threats. Veer travels around Kashmir to capture these haunting images of majestic houses just left as ruins in the beautiful landscape.
Pandit House, a photograph on archival paper, by Veer Munshi
Veer also draws your attention to works like Shrapnel that reflect the pain and angst of a generation caught between terrorist organisations and the government. That’s a sad reflection on what is happening in Kashmir today from someone who has lived half his life there. The works will strike a chord as it is art that reflects on the political and social equation and emotional trauma in Kashmir — all captured in Veer’s works and through his lens.

Turning away for a moment from Calcutta, another interesting initiative which has just been launched online is Every year over 1,200 artists graduate from art colleges and only a handful of them make it to top galleries. Most abandon their dreams and due to financial constraints their talent comes to naught.

But now they are getting a new platform. is a collective initiative by some of India’s top art collectors, curators and gallerists to give everyone an equal opportunity platform to display and sell their art. (I must state a vested interest here as I am involved in supporting this initiative).

It’s not for profit and it allows any artist while in college or even someone who has graduated as long as a decade ago to load up to five works at prices decided by the artists. The quality of the art and the prices are reviewed by a curatorial board which urges the artists to price the works right so that collectors can buy.

We see excellent quality work uploaded by artists like Ashis Mondal, who paints a shirt which has been spoilt by ink leakage. This is actually a satire on the fact that a careless leakage without protection can also lead to AIDS.
A Little Negligence by Ashis Mondal
I always hear ‘we love art but can’t afford the prices’ and ‘how do we know that what we buy is authentic’. Well, the average prices on this site are below Rs 20,000 and no work can be priced over Rs 99,000. There are even works for as low as Rs 1,800.

The key is for all of us to support art in our country — either by visiting events or by acquiring art which is within our individual budgets. So whether it’s attending a heart-stopping show by Veer Munshi or supporting an online art initiative that could give you something very affordable to brighten your walls, this monsoon season is all about living with art!

Kapil Chopra