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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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Anish Kapoor as British/Asian/artist

conventional history of artworks of artists of South Asian descent. To reveal the slipperiness rather than the stability and knowability of the author, I hone in on the criticism of Anish Kapoor’s artworks. Kapoor is one of the most critically and commercially successful artists of Asian descent in the West. His career has spanned nearly four decades and has spawned numerous reviews and critical essays; this archive provides an unprecedented opportunity to explore the shifting manner in which critics have identified him. 2 22 Productive failure Unshackling the author

in Productive failure
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Producing art, producing art history

deal with queer feminism in this chapter. Criticality, the curatorial, and practice-led research In many ways this chapter is a seamless extension of the previous one, especially the shift from negative critique to actively producing the transnational South Asian art histories I want to see written. However, the fact that I brought into being the very material I want to historicize requires further reflection. That is, I am even more entangled here than in the previous chapter with the 6 152 Productive failure subject matter about which I hope to write. Visual

in Productive failure
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‘singular’ root; and thereby diminishing the significance and value of such endeavours. This is certainly 212 Productive failure not my aim here, either: to do so would constitute a failure that is neither productive nor queer. Indeed, while Glissant challenges the notion of a totalitarian root, he does not give up on rootedness – just one borne through chaotic relations (broadly construed). Expanding on Sheller’s point, art historian Marsha Meskimmon describes how an artwork might engender an achieved indigeneity as the ‘very possibility of a cosmopolitan imagination

in Productive failure
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Writing as a racial pharmakon

functions as a racial pharmakon that disrupts these dipoles and keeps them in play.6 4 78 Productive failure Derrida notes that in Greek pharmakon ‘also means paint, not a natural color but an artificial tint, a chemical dye that imitates the chromatic scale given in nature’.7 He further writes that the pharmakon is ‘that dangerous supplement’.8 In French supplément means both ‘an addition’ and ‘a substitute’.9 It refers to replacing something that is not present and therefore necessary as well as to adding something that is already there and therefore superfluous

in Productive failure
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Writing queer feminist transnational South Asian art histories

thesis and that of queer and gender studies scholar Elisavet Pakis, this project has received no academic attention.5 5 110 Productive failure However, my interest is not just in a straightforward recording of my experience viewing the artwork for posterity. Instead, I present my own research into the material culture and histories of both the Gay Village and Curry Mile in Manchester, where I lived from 2005 to 2008, as entangled with my writing about Sphere:dreamz. Before describing Sphere:dreamz, I explore theories of urban space and then the construction of the

in Productive failure
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Towards creolizing transnational South Asian art histories

Gavin Butt meditates on the word ‘paradox’ – a word I use in my first sentence in this introduction – in relation 1 2 Productive failure to art criticism; I want to consider this idea in the context of writing art histories. In his introduction to his edited volume of essays, ‘The Paradoxes of Criticism’, Butt writes: This book considers criticism, then, in a defining relation to the paradoxical. Not paradox as in the strict sense of being logically contradictory … Rather that criticism, in order that it remain criticism, of necessity has to situate itself para

in Productive failure
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Queer zen

] seems, it denies that 3 40 Productive failure which its presumptive beneficiaries want most – serious consideration of the artwork – in favour of reifying the artist through her biography.’7 In other words, while quiet exclusion of the works of artists of colour (as well as most women) in the post-Second World War context is being somewhat corrected, even a welcome inclusiveness has not always meant a ‘serious consideration of the artwork’ of this group of marginalized artists.8 At the same time, I do not want to set up a binary between the formal properties of

in Productive failure
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Belonging

aesthetics.8 She further notes that affect is a defining feature of social, cultural and political relations; however, ‘unlike meaning, 7 188 Productive failure iconography or a formal quality, affect is not easily anchored in an image.’9 It is mobile, and in this way aesthetics is not ‘a means of categorising and defining art’.10 Rather, aesthetics traces ‘the affective relations that animate art and real events’.11 While affect is something activated in the social, it is ultimately experienced by the individual. ‘Practical aesthetics’, then, allows for a ‘study of

in Productive failure
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in Productive failure