#IndiaAtTheMet: Asian treasures inside one of the world's great museums

New York: Museums have changed beyond recognition - they are no longer the boring places they used to be, barely relevant to real life. The world's best museums have undergone a spectacular transformation and they want you to visit. Text necks, selfie-obsessors, teens and kids welcome.

#IndiaAtTheMet: Asian treasures inside one of the worlds great museums

Screenshot of a 10th century 'Dancing Ganesha' from the Met website

One of the biggest draws is contemporary art and that's what the aspirational Met Breuer in New York City is highlighting as it gets ready to alter the entire eco system of a great city's artscape. For the first time ever, an Indian artist is firmly in the spotlight of a top museum's inaugural exhibition - the Nasreen Mohamedi retrospective at the Met Breuer which opens to the public March 18.

The 146 year old Met has put its hat in the ring and bringing on a daring mix of iconic and obscure pieces that are distinct from the other giants of New York’s cultural landscape as the clamour rises for more diversity in art reflective of a swiftly changing demographic.

Mohamedi's paintings are all set to hog the spotlight at the inaugural raft of exhibitions at the Met Breuer. Taking the India and South Asia theme forward, resident artist, Vijay Iyer will occupy The Met Breuer's Lobby Gallery in March, performing jazz on piano and upending the concept of a typical art installation.

Artists who will join Iyer include Rafiq Bhatia, Michelle Boulé, Matt Brewer, Teju Cole, Stephan Crump, Miranda Cuckson, Liberty Ellman, Amir ElSaffar, Patricia Franceschy, Marcus Gilmore, Graham Haynes, Okkyung Lee, Steve Lehman, Roopa Mahadevan, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Mat Maneri, Nitin Mitta, Adam O'Farrill, Elena Pinderhughes, Prasanna, Mark Shim, Jen Shyu, Wadada Leo Smith, Tyshawn Sorey, Tyshawn Sorey Trio, Becca Stevens, Anjna Swaminathan, Rajna Swaminathan, Craig Taborn, and Mark Turner.

Iyer's latest work A Cosmic Rhythm with Each Stroke is a tribute to Mohamedi's frugal yet explosive style.

Mohamedi died in Mumbai ( then Bombay) in 1990 when she was just 53. Her art, although it spans just three decades is "a powerful odyssey" says Sheena Wagstaff, the celebrated chief curator of MetBreuer.

The Mohamedi exhibition from March to June 2016 at The Met Breuer is by far the most comprehensive exhibition of any Indian artist in the United States - presented by the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art and supported by Nita and Mukesh Ambani and The Reliance Foundation.

If New York is the “city of second chances for immigrants”, as Suketu Mehta says, the same applies for threads of art and culture that link this new wave of immigrants to their roots. For a generation absorbed so intensely with fascination of the ‘now’, Met Breuer seeks to inform connections between past and present. Better education and appetite for art go well together and museums hold up a mirror to immigrants about where they fit in a wider world. For precisely this reason, Asians in America are more likely to be museum goers. We bring you a sample of the sights you might encounter in this world famous museum that holds within its majestic walls "5000 years of human creativity."

Hot off the press is this useful nugget for visitors : The $ 25 entry charge is only a "suggested" one, you can pay what you want, under museum policy. The change comes into effect to coincide with museum’s new branding efforts and the opening of Met Breuer location in the former Whitney Museum building.

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Updated Date: Feb 29, 2016 22:33:35 IST

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