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March 2014 Issue 15

Contemporary art writing is the result of a long-standing tradition of literature and notions of aesthetic criteria, and criticisms of it. Even though the conscious use of the terminology ‘art writing’ is an intentional removal from the didactic linguistic style traditionally associated with criticism, occurrences of writing on art predates the practice of art criticism. Re-readings and consequent invalidations of canonical structures have resulted in the emergence of the modest ‘art writer’ as opposed to the critic in recent times, whose role assumes commentaries on the political and ethical dimensions within art practices. Despite such negotiations, in practice, writing on art has endured in various guises, even as the battles have radically altered. Whether they manifest in formal appreciations or in locating political and cultural contexts, writing on art can assume various forms and realise through numerous voices and texts emerging from critics, historians, curators, researchers, artists, philosophers and writers of fiction.

This issue does not intend to write a history of art writing in India. However, it will try to identify the precedent of theory and history in art writing not just through critical reflections on art writing in India over the ages, but also through analytical articles on a series of carefully chosen pieces of writing from influential writers on art since the advent of print publishing in India, and reproductions of such writings – leaving it up to the reader to identify recurring preoccupations, changes in linguistic tone and aesthetic values, and yet another narrative of the history of Indian art.

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TAKE Critic: Editor’s Note

A Question of Language: Art History in India

Three Young Minds and Art Critical Writing in 19th Century Bengal

Shaping Appreciation for Indian Art: Notes on Charles Louis Fabri

The Unitary Man in the Age of Experimentalism

The Critic as Mentor?

The Critic in his Labyrinth: KB Goel on Swaminathan

TAKE Pick: Jaya Appasamy

Concurring Narratives: The Poetry of Nissim Ezekiel and the Paintings of Bhupen Khakhar

TAKE Pick: KB Goel

TAKE Pick: Kamala Kapoor

On KG Subramanyan’s Struggle for Image

“Preordained Frames or Categories do not Appeal to Meˮ: Conversation with Nancy Adajania

“To Work from a Position of Criticalityˮ: Conversation with Ranjit Hoskote

A Critic’s Influence on the Art Criticism of Prayag Shukla

Enquiring Pranabranjan Ray's Criticism

Nadkarni and his ‘Occupation’

TAKE Pick: Gayatri Sinha

In Praise of Plasmodium Vivax

TAKE Pick: Geeta Kapur

Eyeless in New Delhi: After Sadanand Menon’s “Artless in Gazaˮ

Anecdotes and Authorship: Santo Datta's Humour and Criticism

Critiquing the Malaise

TAKE Pick: Yashodhara Dalmia

Arguing for Regional Perspectives: Two Germinal Texts Capturing the Ethos of Conceptual Art from Southeast Asia

A Portrait of the Art Critic

Curators Turned Critics Turned Catalogue Writers Turned Curators Turned Critics...

R.S.Yadav – A Wonder Critic

Keshav Malik – An Artist's Critic

Sacred Textiles of India

Transforming Memories

Now You See It Now You Don’t

Avega - The Passion

Provoking Thought

Curator: Tightrope Walker or Impoverished Shaman?

There were 13 of us, in all

Insert 2014 or Re-insert 2014? - Thinking Through the Indian Art Scene in Times of the Global Contemporary

Ache Din Kab Aane Wale Hain? - A Conversation with Tushar Sethi

'Beauty is my Adventure': On the Lost Critic G. Venkatachalam

Fly On the Wall

Shaheen Merali