Collection of modern art works from India to be on view in Chicago

Collection of modern art works from India to be on view in Chicago


CHICAGO: A major exhibition at the Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University in Evanston, a suburb of Chicago, next year will be the first of its type attempt to bring together modern art from India and other countries like Iran and Turkey seeking to expand the Western perspectives of modern art.

“Modernisms: Irania, Turkish and Indian Highlights from NYU’s Abby Grey Collection” surveys art from three nations where unique and vibrant forms of modernism sprang forth in the 1960s and ’70s. Challenging histories of artistic modernism that too often begin and end in the West, “Modernisms” explores an under-recognized flowering of innovation and risk-taking in art beyond Europe and North America.
The exhibition will be on view from January 21 to April 5, 2020, at the Block Museum, 40 Arts Circle Drive on the Evanston campus.

Organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery, “Modernisms” draws 114 selected works from the unparalleled collection of Grey Art Gallery founder Abby Weed Grey. The exhibition marks the first time that selections from its Iranian, Turkish and Indian modern art holdings that will be presented together in a cross-cultural study. In doing so, “Modernisms” will shed new light on how artists of the period created works that drew on their specific heritages while also engaging in global discourses.

“Drawing on a range of influences including local traditions and the sights and sounds of modern life, artists from these nations forged distinctive new modes of expression,” said Block Museum Associate Director of Curatorial Affairs Kathleen Bickford Berzock. “These artworks represent a wide range of responses to unique, regional histories and to a rapidly changing world in the mid-20th century. It is an extraordinary opportunity to have these works in one exhibition, allowing us to see with fresh eyes that global art is a central component of modernity.”

“Modernisms” premiered at NYU’s Grey Gallery on September 10 where it ran through till December 7. After its January 21 to April 5, 2020, run at The Block, the exhibition will travel to the NYU Abu Dhabi Art Gallery in fall 2020.

“Modernisms” draws from the collection of Abby Weed Grey (1902-1983). With nearly 700 artworks, the Abby Weed Grey Collection represents the largest institutional assemblage of modern Iranian and Turkish art outside of Iran and Turkey as well as the most important trove of modern Indian art in an American university museum. In the 1960s and early ’70s, when few other American collectors were attuned to art being made in the Middle East and Asia, Grey traveled extensively in these regions, steadily acquiring works by contemporary local artists.

The Block Museum is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together films, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

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