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John & Berthe Ford Annual Lecture in Asian Art with Dr. Vishakha N. Desai


Sunday, April 13, 2014


02:00 PM–03:00 PM

John & Berthe Ford Annual Lecture in Asian Art with Dr. Vishakha N. Desai

Dr. Vishakha N. Desai: The Past in the Present: Traditional Sources for Contemporary Arts in China and India

In the last two decades, there has been an explosion of Asian contemporary art exhibitions, auctions, and acquisitions in the West.  At first glance, these works look as if they are part of the global artistic language, often leaving viewers to wonder what is uniquely Chinese or Indian about the art. While the formal language of the art—installations, oil paintings, or video and photography—is indeed part of the global vocabulary of art, artists from the millennial civilizations such as China and India often make use of the traditional sources and attitudes that are culturally specific and historically rooted. This illustrated lecture by Dr. Vishakha  N. Desai will explore and highlight the pre-modern traditions that permeate art practices in India and China with a focus on such major artists as Cai Guo Qiang and Zhang Huan from China and Gulam Muhammad Sheikh and K.G. Subramaniam from India. 

About the speaker:
Vishakha N. Desai is President Emerita of Asia Society, a nonprofit organization committed to strengthening partnerships among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. She is also Special Advisor for Global Affairs to the President and Professor of Practice at Columbia University, as well as Senior Advisor for Global Policy and Programs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. An art historian by training, Dr. Desai is a frequent speaker at national and international forums and commentator in the media on a wide variety of subjects that include the U.S.-Asia relationship, cultural roots of Asian economic development, regional connections within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the arts and cultures of Asia and Asian America.

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