The Art Mart

An­nurag Sharma, and Johny ML have brought un­no­ticed art to the masses. Can they sus­tain it as a truly demo­cratic model? ARADHNA WAL finds out

Tehelka - - SPORTS -

IGHLY AN­TIC­I­PATED and mas­sively scaled, the United Art Fair ( UAF) be­gan on the wrong foot. On 27 Septem­ber, at New Delhi’s Pra­gati Maidan, well-heeled guests were wan­der­ing around slightly lost. Al­most 600 works of art had been dis­played with­out the artists’ names. The har­ried or­gan­is­ing team mut­tered some­thing about mis­man­age­ment. Cu­ra­tor Johny ML had an ex­pla­na­tion at hand: “I don’t want peo­ple to look for es­tab­lished names. Let them stum­ble across works that please or sur­prise them.” Founder An­nurag Sharma con­curred, “I want peo­ple to form an emo­tional at­tach­ment to works they like, not look for artists they know of.”

UAF’s first edition pegged it­self on the democrati­sa­tion of con­tem­po­rary In­dian art since its in­cep­tion, call­ing it­self the world’s first “artist-

Hthe space like a mini-city. The maze-like-streets were named af­ter great artists of yore, such as Rabindranath Tagore Street and Am­rita Sher-Gil Street. Turn left, you were con­fronted by Gandhi de­picted in a se­ries of mod­ern land­scapes; turn right and there were pho­to­graphs of ants crawl­ing over naked hu­man bod­ies.

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