Thursday, July 4, 2013

Reviewing Secrets of the Art Millionaires, Ennea show and more


Secrets of the Art Millionaires
Self-help in nature and preachy in tone, ‘Secrets of the Art Millionaires’, written by Durva Gandhi unveils the obvious secrets of Indian contemporary art scene. These secrets are mostly like a news reader wearing a decent shirt and neck tie, complete with a blazer, but wearing a lungi below instead of trousers thinking that the camera would hold him in a tight bust shot. In this book, the author seems to pull out for a long shot to reveal the hairy legs of the news reader, says JohnyML. 
(Durva Gandhi with her book- photo courtesy
There is one thing about all self-help books. They all speak of the obvious. They present the obvious as highly guarded secrets because the authors know for sure that those who seek chicken soup for soul through self-help books come to them with befuddled minds. Authors of such books do one simple thing; they throw the presumed confusions right at the faces of the readers. Most of the readers who read self-help books are on a perpetual denial trip. When someone tells things at their faces they suddenly get a way out and they feel there is a light at the other end of the tunnel.
“Secrets of the Art Millionaires” with a subtitle, Empowering You to become Abundantly Wealthy through Art, written by the Mumbai based art expert and director of, Durva Gandhi is a self-help book for all kinds of art players that include gallerists, critics, curators, buyers, collectors, investors, sellers and artists themselves. As the subtitle shows, Durva’s basic argument is that art is a gold mine and you just need to work towards gathering your share of gold. The style of writing is inspirational, chiding, coaxing and cajoling or all rolled into one. The dominant tone is that of the one who knows the art scene from inside. The author admits that she is an expert of Indian art scene. However, her experiences are primarily culled from the ways in which the Mumbai art scene works. But a cell could reveal the secrets of a macrocosm. Mumbai art scene contains it all. There is an inversion of Marco Polo’s logic here. He had once famously said; whenever he spoke of the wonderful cities in the world he was speaking of Venice. Here, whenever Durva speaks about Mumbai art scene, she in fact speaks about the art world in general. Globalized economy has made it possible, if not imagination.
(Durva Gandhi's Book. Photo courtesy
One good thing about the book is, besides being a verbalisation of the obvious, it considers art as business not as a medium to satisfy the soul. The crux is simple, you indulge in art, buying or selling, exhibiting or promoting, investing or dealing, you could make a lot of money. If you make a lot of money soul satisfaction would follow. Hence, Durva addresses the galleries straight. During the last decade we have seen the enhancement of professionalism in most of the galleries. But the author says that it is not enough. She chalks out strategies and plans for regaining confidence of the buyers and investors in art and also she derides all kinds of manipulative bad mouthing amongst galleries. It’s clear that Durva speaks from the lessons learnt out of economic recession in the art market. Generally we could say that the backdrop of the book is economic recession. If recession is still an ongoing state how to handle it? The answers are there in this book. But to work it out all the art market players need patience and perseverance.
Now the bad thing; perhaps the bad thing is also a good thing. Durva advises the artists to be their own marketing managers along with their parent galleries. But she does not tell them to undercut the galleries by doing direct selling on fluctuating prices. She warns them of all these fault lines. What I felt as a bad advice is that according to the author, an artist should check out the demands before he does his works. In a pragmatic sense it rings true. But in an ideal sense of understanding creative people, it is almost like telling them to stop ‘living’. Durva is realistic in all sense. She says that all artists cannot become the top ranked ones. Only a meager per cent would make for the bill. To be a part of that exclusive club one has to really work hard. One intelligent question that she raises is this: While we all say that the investor should wait at least for a decade to mature his investment and reap profits, do our artists gear up themselves to do the same? Are they ready to invest their whole life and efforts unflinchingly to art without expecting any returns for almost a decade? If they do, then she says, success will not be that far. However, she says that keeping ten years’ of works in a private studio also will not bring in any results. In the meanwhile, the artist should be learning the skills to push his works while remaining less ambitious in terms of returns.
This overall realistic book with realistic advices for one and all in the art scene falters only when the author suggests a single window solution for every problem related to art in, owned and directed by her. The promotional sentences mentioning this business venture appear several times in the book so glaringly that makes the author’s intentions a bit less sublime. In short, in those parts this book reads like a promotional brochure for Durva’s business venture. Seen with an inverted logic, I would say, by doing this Durva does exactly what she preaches in the book: Promote yourself. Not a bad thing.
Noted literary critic, Late Prof.M.Krishnan Nair, who had literally shaped the critical perspectives on world literature of many generations (including mine) in Kerala through his illustrious weekly column titled ‘Sahitya Vaaraphalam’ (Weekly Horoscope of Literature), once wrote about how he read both bad and good books cover to cover. Whenever he felt like throwing an ugly piece of literature into the dustbin, he used to curb that instinct by reminding himself of the amount that he had spent on buying that book. I did not feel like throwing Durva’s book. But at some points I thought of keeping it down. Each time I felt so I thought of Rs.1000/- paid to flipkart by a young political philosopher who had kindly got this book for me. After all it is not a bad book. But the tragedy is that most of the gallerists will never read it though they would have copies signed by the author herself. 


Terracotta an Art medium
(A work at the show)
The NIV Art Centre, New Delhi presents a group show focused on terracotta as a medium of making art. The group show is by artists selected for the NIVSATurday The last program. The show is an ongoing part of the Mysterious Terracotta exhibition.
The artists participating in the show are Anjum Khan, Anjali Prakash, Swati, K M Shweta, Mukesh Sah, Gazhala Parveen, Ramchandra Pokale, Vijendra Vij, Gagan Mandal, Ranjit Kokate.
Having opened with a talk on terracotta as a medium in art, by the acclaimed artist Rahul Modak on 29th June, the exhibition of art work continues for public viewing till the 8th of July 2013.
Photography Workshop at NID

(National Institute of Design)
The National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad and Tasveer, have jointly organized a photography workshop which will be conducted by eminent artist Jyoti Bhatt.

The workshop is a precursor to an exhibition of photographs from the collections called Magnum Ke Tasveer. 

The workshop will be held on the 5th of July 2013 from 11:30 am to 4:00pm at the NAtional Institute of Design, Paldi , Ahmedabad. The exhibition continues till the 14th of July 2013.

For further information please contact Deepak John Mathew at +91 98243 17395 or email at

Ennea - An Art and Music venture
(Works at the Ennea Show)
Swasti- the Contemporary Art Gallery, Bangalore presents a group show with specific installations. The word Ennea is a Greek term for the group of Navarasas or nine emotions. The show displays nine installations depicting nine emotions, the navarasas.
The artist  Bhagya Ajaikumar has excelled at the sculptural installations in hand mudra like poses to depict the emotions.

In addition to the show, the exhibition is soothed by the experience of Carnatic music, navagraha kirthana and navaragamalika varna in an instrumental version teamed with the movie music of Navrang.

This amalgamation of music and fine art creates a unique experience for the viewer. The show is on till the 10th of July 2013.

Solo show of Sreshta Rit Premnath

( A photography work by Sreshta Rit Premnath)
Gallery Ske, Bangalore presents a solo show of eminent artist and educator Sreshta Rit Premnath. Educated in the Cleveland Institute of Art, and the Bard College, he has held a number of solo exhibitions worldwide and also is a co-editor and founder of a leading magazine.

The works on display, part of his latest, photography works. Sreshta Rit Premnath has curated several shows, and group shows  and currently teaches the MFA program at Parsons college.
Sreshta Premnath works in various mediums like painting, collage works, installations works.

The show is on view from the 13th July 2013  till the 24th July 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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