The lack of a museum culture in India hinders the accurate evaluation and valuation of art, experts said at a panel discussion on the future of Indian art on Friday.
They also said that high prices should not be seen as an indication of quality.
“In the west, the holy grail is the museum,” said Anders Petterson, founder of Art Tactic, a leading portal of art market analysis. “That’s where art works want to be placed because museums are the ultimate preservers of culture. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a museum culture in India.”
The discussion followed the launch of the Fuschia Futures programme, a platform that aims to showcase rising talent.
Ten emerging artists from across the country were selected for this programme initiated by Fuschia Tree, a Hong Kong-based online arts community founded by Chanda Chaudhary Barrai, whose panel of curators include artists Amal Ghosh, Nrupen Madhvani and K.S. Radhakrishnan.
During the discussion, Louisa Buck, London art critic and columnist for The Art Newspaper, stressed that only a trained eye could ascertain value.
“High price doesn’t determine high quality. Emerging collectors need to keep track of what is being shown in museums, galleries and what curators and dealers are saying,” she said.
Some felt that informed art criticism could play a role but does not in India.
“Art criticism is abysmal in India, because it’s a mixed space. There is a lot of overlap in the content appearing in journals, magazines, catalogues and newspapers,” said Anupa Mehta, founder-editor of Art India.
She pointed out that the so-called critic was also reviewing the same show for a publication and that meant that content would be compromised.
Yet there was one note of optimism.
“The global market has selectively recovered (from the recession). The interest in contemporary art is burgeoning,” Petterson said.