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Writing queer transnational South Asian art histories

According to the author, queer as an identification and subjectivity is important to his writing of transnational South Asian art histories. This book talks about new transnational South Asian art histories, to make visible histories of artworks that remain marginalised within the discipline of art history. This is done through a deliberate 'productive failure', by not upholding the strictly genealogical approach. The book discusses authorship by examining the writing about the work of Anish Kapoor to explore the shifting manner in which critics and art historians have identified him and his work. It focuses on the author's own identification as queer and South Asian American to put pressure on the coherency of an LGBTQI art history. It connects formal similarities of abstract work produced in the 1960s in New York City by Cy Twombly and Natvar Bhavsar. The book deals with an art history that concerns facile categories such as South Asian/non-South Asian and black/white, and discusses the works of Stephen Dean, Mario Pfeifer, Adrian Margaret Smith Piper, and Kehinde Wiley. It focuses on practice-led research by discussing 'Sphere:dreamz,; which was produced by queer-identified South Asian women. Continuing the focus, the book looks at the multi-site exhibition 'Mixing It Up: Queering Curry Mile and Currying Canal Street', organised by the author in 2007. It addresses the question of how certain subjects are considered as 'belonging' and others as not; and the role of art in the reconstitution of notions of 'home' and transnational South Asian art histories.

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Producing art, producing art history
Alpesh Kantilal Patel

irreconcilable, but also that queerness was largely male and culturally ‘white’. In addition, many of the restaurant’s waiters helped to point out the bed to customers, and often enthusiastically described its queer content.67 The experience of seeing the waiters in a Curry Mile restaurant enjoy such work and hearing them advertising an art project concerned with queer, transnational South Asian women’s issues further challenged the dominant construction of Curry Mile restaurants as implicitly masculinist and heterosexualist. Another of Sphere:dreamz’s beds was installed in

in Productive failure
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Towards creolizing transnational South Asian art histories
Alpesh Kantilal Patel

upon. Chapter 5 focuses on space and site. It pivots partly around my experience of viewing the installation Sphere:dreamz in spring 2006 in Manchester, England – where I lived from 2005 to 2008. The work was produced by Sphere – a collective of Manchester-based, queer-identified South Asian women – and was strategically situated near Canal Street, the epicentre of the Gay Village, an area of the city with many gay bars and restaurants. The queer feminist transnational South Asian art history within which I write about the work of Sphere, I entangle with my own

in Productive failure
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Writing queer feminist transnational South Asian art histories
Alpesh Kantilal Patel

Manchester-based annual international arts festival (now defunct) dedicated to promoting queer arts and culture in the northwest of England.69 The installation highlighted the limits of the commercial and civic production of Canal Street as a public spatial identification by surfacing issues of gender, faith and race as intersectional with sexuality (Plate 10 and Figure 5.1). The work foregrounded the lives of queer South Asian women. For example, the headboard of one of the beds in Sphere:dreamz had been replaced with a women’s bathroom door from a queer bar or club

in Productive failure
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Queer zen
Alpesh Kantilal Patel

noting that she and I were the only participants primarily interested in Asian American art history from the perspectives of the South Asian diaspora at the Institute. It is also worth noting that curator and artist Jaishri Abichandani, who was the only invited lecturer to focus on this subject, has been an important force in making visible the contributions of women artists of South Asian descent based in the United States. She founded the influential South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), which she directed from 1997 to 2013 and which has chapters in New

in Productive failure