Midnight to the Boom: Painting in India After Independence

Susan S Bean, Author
Edited by Susan S. Bean. Thames & Hudson (Norton, dist.), $50 (228p) ISBN 978-0-500-23893-6
Reviewed on: 11/26/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
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Drawing mainly from the Peabody Essex Museum's Herwitz Collection of Indian Art, this beautifully executed book of paintings and essays explores the energetic, sensuous, political, multifaceted approach taken by Indian artists working between "midnight"—midnight of August 15, 1947, the date of India's declaration of independence—and the economic boom of the 1990s. Breaking out of the colonial mindset, these painters embraced modernism and integrated it with Indian artistic and spiritual traditions. As related by Homi K. Bhabha in a interview with Bean (former curator of South Asian and Korean Art at the Peabody), they approached "culture as interpretation, rather than... as designation of identities" and reflected on "moments of transition: what it is like to be caught in the midst of different visual languages, verbal traditions, formal conventions, or cultural symbols." Bean and six other scholars in the U.S. provide introductions to the three generations of artists whose work is showcased, along with enlightening essays on the art, the unique viewpoints and visions of the artists, and their embrace of Indian culture in the context of an international aesthetic, as well as a biography of Chester and Davida Herwitz, whose collection forms the basis of this book. 142 illus. (Jan.)
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