W. Norman Brown Associate Professor of South Asian Studies
Department of History of Art
University of Pennsylvania
“Decolonizing the Field: Art, Event, and Environment in India”
Referring to uses of the ‘field’ in art historical and anthropological discourses, this presentation considers a turn to site-specific, socially engaged, and collaborative artistic practices in India over the past two decades. Contemporary artists have assumed the role of fieldworkers, moving across scales and between sites over an extended period to critique modernist and capitalist systems. Through new languages of art and forms of relation, their practice challenges the organization of the art world. The affect and address of this art resonates with new modes of protest, demonstration, and gathering and with old patterns of pilgrimage, procession, and public action in South Asia. It demands reflection on methods in art history and the work of the art historian.