Bhupen Khakhar’s London exhibition: Art fraternity angry over bad review

  • Riddhi Doshi, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 01, 2016 17:38 IST
Provocation is Bhupen Khakhar's favourate tool. (Anil Girota/HT Photo)

A day before acclaimed Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar’s five-month long retrospective begins on June 1, UK daily The Guardian’s Jonathan Jones wrote off the exhibition and the works of the Indian master, accusing the Tate Modern gallery (London) of wasting space on the show, incidentally titled Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All.

The art fraternity in India has responded with outrage, calling Jones everything from a 'blowhard doofus' to a 'waste of time' and 'agonisingly embarrassingly ignorant'. 

Art critic and curator Girish Shahne wrote on Facebook: ‘I'm always puzzled when people post articles by Jonathan Jones on their timelines, because I think he's a blowhard doofus. This piece has settled any doubts I had on that score’. 

An exhibition of Khakhar’s works in Paris. (YouTube grab)

To this, gallerist and curator Saloni Doshi wrote ‘How dare he call it a 'waste of space'. He is a waste of time!’ Gallerist Shireen Gandhy added: ‘So agonisingly embarrassingly ignorant.’ 

Read: The many facets of artist Bhupen Khakhar

Writer Gigi Carcia on Twitter said, ‘so @guardian just went fully racist/homophobic and called Bhupen Khakhar's work tripe. what dugna lagaan is this?’ 

Jones in his review calls Khakhar ‘incredibly unimpressive’. He went on to say, ‘There is no self-knowing game or provocative crassness going on in his brightly coloured but emotionally inert paintings. He is genuinely just not much good.’ 

See pics: The world of Bhupen Khakhar

He suggests that a show of Khakhar at Tate Modern is a wrong choice. In his words, ‘Why are we supposed to be interested in this old-fashioned, second-rate artist whose paintings are stuck in a timewarp of 1980s neo-figurative cliche?’. 

Watch: An exhibition of Khakhar’s works

Khakhar (1943 to 2003) is celebrated in the country as one of the path-breaking modernists of India.

Read The Guardian review

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