The new houses of art

Feb 17 2013, 00:41 IST
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The new houses The new houses
SummaryArt has usually been confined to galleries, but now it is making its way to high-traffic areas so that more people can enjoy it in a less intimidating manner

and the fact that this was a unique opportunity to reach out to a new audience in a secure environment. The venues themselves were quite unusual and presented an interesting challenge for the artists involved. Some of the artworks were generously loaned by galleries and they shared our vision, and also felt that today’s viewers could be tomorrow’s buyers.”

However, the concept of public art remains constrained in India and not without incidents of vandalism.

Says Threshold Art Gallery’s Tunty Chauhan, “It has to do with our small-minded nature. We think of our home and not about the street outside...look at the palatial corporate buildings in Delhi and other places in India and the sorry state of the roads that lead up to them. Similarly, hardly any attention is given to the aesthetics of a space. Architects and galleries can easily rectify this. Art needs to move out of the intimidating gallery space into our public space.”

“If you look at the public arts space in the world, be it the US or the UK, the government is always involved in such initiatives,” says Modi. “In India, we don’t have that kind of support. Therefore, there is no sense of ownership or security. The artworks should be bought by the government,” she says, adding, “We just want people to understand the importance of public art in beautifying our city, to make it a cultural destination. The public art space is a fairly new art market in India. It’s at a nascent stage. We have taken the first step...”

During the month-long Publica festival, which is scheduled till March 1, works by Indian and international artists will be on display at prominent hubs of cultural and commercial activity in and around the capital such as the India Habitat Centre, Select Citywalk mall, The Great India Place mall in Noida, DLF Promenade mall in Vasant Kunj, among others. Later, more venues, such as the Indira Gandhi International Airport and Central Secretariat Metro station, among others, will be added to the list. Talking about the choice of venues, Modi says, “The premise was to look at high footfall areas that could be secured and where the venues understood and supported our vision. A mix of government, private, non-art and cultural venues were chosen to bring in new viewers, but also keeping the seasoned art enthusiasts in the loop. We hoped that people who frequent these

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