Remember how we told you first that art galleries have jumped out of the studio and into shopping spaces in Delhi? (Mall-titude of artworks: HT City edition dated Dec 14, 2010). The Capital’s public art scene just got bigger, as now Delhi has its first ever art museum too, in a mall. The Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA), which opened to public at Saket’s South Court mall last week, is on the lines of public art places in Manhatten, New York.
The idea, says its founder, Kiran Nadar, was to make art more easily accessible. “It made sense to come up with an art museum in a place where people come often. These days, malls get the maximum footfalls,” she says.
On why she decided to open a museum and not a gallery, she explains, “India has not got a museum culture, and this will be a stepping stone towards building that. Given what museums such as the Guggenheim have done for Bilbao or what the Museum of Islamic Art is doing for Doha, KNMA hopes to build a definitive world-class art hub that will add to the splendour of the city.”
The artworks on display are all from Nadar’s personal collections, built over decades. They include works of masters such as Anish Kapoor, FN Souza, Subodh Gupta, SH Raza, MF Husain and Tyeb Mehta. “Everyone must get to see the power of good art,” she says. Others in the art frat agree with that philosophy, and applaud that Delhi finally has a privately owned art museum. “While the government is too busy to focus on art, it is great that a few individuals have decided to become custodians of our culture, and put up such private museums. Nadar has been collecting works for 25 years, and it is a fantastic visual diary,” says Dr Alka Pande, art curator.