The Colaba art tour

The Colaba art tour
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First Published: Sat, May 03 2008. 12 18 AM IST

The new Chelsea: (clockwise from top) The entrance to Art Musings; the terrace at The Viewing Room; and a group show at Sakshi Gallery.
The new Chelsea: (clockwise from top) The entrance to Art Musings; the terrace at The Viewing Room; and a group show at Sakshi Gallery.
Updated: Sat, May 03 2008. 12 18 AM IST
Art Musings
1, Admiralty Building, Colaba Cross Lane; 22163339
Owned by: Sangeeta Chopra, her mother Shanti Chopra and aunt Kasturi Wadhwani.
What to expect: Set up at the prompting of a few famous family friends (F.N. Souza, J. Prabha, Anjolie Ela Menon), Art Musings, now nearly a decade old, remains a stalwart of the neighbourhood. In addition to the staple
The new Chelsea: (clockwise from top) The entrance to Art Musings; the terrace at The Viewing Room; and a group show at Sakshi Gallery.
Progressives, former choreographer Sangeeta also seeks out young experimental talent, using her network in the fashion and media worlds to draw an eclectic mix to opening nights. Her persuasive powers have brought in S.H. Raza, who in 2003 exhibited with the gallery after an extended absence from India, as well as other masters, who are featured in the yearly four masters show.
The year ahead: Four masters show (with Raza, Ram Kumar, Menon, K.G. Subramanyan), Milburn Cherian and young artist Raghava.
Project 88
BMP Building, Ground floor, NA Sawant Marg; 22810066
Owned by: Sree Goswami, whose family owns Kolkata’s Galerie 88.
What to expect: The cavernous space was once a warren of office cubicles that housed the employees of an elevator company. Luckily, the two-year-old gallery, now a minimalist space with exposed beams and iron pillars, bears little evidence of its industrial past. In addition to the coterie of big names, such as Bharti Kher and Sarnath Banerjee, Goswami also takes a chance on the offbeat and little known, such as the group of contemporary Kazakh artists who showed there last year.
The year ahead: Works by painter/sculptor Mahesh Baliga and Prajjwal Choudhury.
Warehouse at 3rd Pasta
6/7, 3rd Pasta Lane; 22023056
Owned by: Former marketing professional Abhay Maskara.
What to expect: In a neighbourhood of matchbox-sized spaces, this latest addition to the art circuit is enviably roomy. The ceiling alone soars to around 50ft, making it perfectly suited for giant-scale installations, like the mammoth floating dolls of Canadian sculptor Max Streicher currently on display. New though he may be to this world, Maskara, who spent four years working for Microsoft in Seattle, is committed to opening up India’s cloistered art scene, which he plans to do by bringing in noted artists from around the world.
The year ahead: Though Maskara has yet to confirm any shows after June, look for talent from Belgium and South America.
The Viewing Room
Elysium Mansion, 4th floor, 7, Walton Road; 22830027
Owned by: Lawyer Dilip Jhangiani, his wife Sherry, and brothers Anees and Salman Noorani.
What to expect: The 6,000 sq. ft space, spread out over the top floor and terrace, will be managed professionally by Capital Art Advisory Pvt. Ltd, a company of seasoned collectors (such as Khorshed Bharucha, wife of late eminent collector Kavas Bharucha) and other industry experts. In addition to hosting its own shows (nothing is slated until September), the exhibition space will bring in international emerging and contemporary names through strategic tie-ups with galleries around the world. Not all art will be for sale, and the 3,000 sq. ft terrace may be turned into a sculpture garden.
The year ahead: Though no Indian names have been finalized yet, British artists Natasha Law (sister of actor Jude Law) and Natasha Kissell will open a joint show later in the year.
Chatterjee & Lal
1/18, Kamal Mansion, Arthur Bunder Road; 65215105
Owned by: The husband-wife team of Mortimer Chatterjee and Tara Lal.
What to expect: In 2007, after two years of hopping around, helming the visual arts programme at Kala Ghoda, and even setting up shop at the back of Phillips Antiques, the duo finally nabbed a place of their own. Though compact, the one-room gallery has already managed to push the boundaries of contemporary art: It was among the first to host performance artist Nikhil Chopra, who spent three continuous days and nights in the gallery, and stage retrospectives of Amrita Sher-Gil and the immensely talented but little-known Pakistani photographer Nasreen Mohamedi.
The year ahead: American-born graphic artist Chitra Ganesh, Minam Apang and Aditya Pande.
Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
2, Sunny House, 16/18, Mereweather Road; 22023030
Owned by: The mother- daughter team of Usha Mirchandani and Ranjana Steinruecke.
What to expect: One of the very few that regularly brings in noteworthy international names such as Kiki Smith and Jonathan Meese, the gallery also rotates through its small but expertly curated list of local talent such as Tejal Shah and Mansi Bhatt. If the 2,000 sq. ft airy space reminds you of a Chelsea gallery don’t be surprised: Steinruecke’s path to Mumbai has taken her through both New York and Berlin.
The year ahead: Drawings and sculptures by Tushar Joag and N.N. Rimzon.
Jamaat
National House, Tulloch Road, Apollo Bunder; 22820718
Owned by: Pravina Mecklai
What to expect: The word ‘Jamaat’ means gathering in Urdu, and that’s exactly what Mecklai wanted from her art space: a place where people could gather, discuss, and look at art without feeling intimidated by high-brow owners or monastic spaces. The result: an intimate airy enclave with benches and doors left wide open. The roster of artists is somewhat diverse, as Mecklai draws from the well-established and the little-known, alternating the sculptures of Sarbari Roy Chowdhury, for instance, with works by artists from Italy and America.
The year ahead: Paintings by Rini Dhumal and Pandurang Tathe.
Sakshi Gallery
Tanna House, 11A, Nathalal Parekh Marg; 66103424
Owned by: Geetha Mehra
What to expect: Raucous parties with DJs and strobe lights were not unusual at Sakshi’s opening nights. That, however, was then, when the gallery was located in an eye-popping 10,000 sq. ft of space in one of the converted mill properties. Today, sandwiched between a school and a church on a leafy Colaba road, Mehra has forsaken the parties for two smaller, and more sober venues. The talent however, remains the draw. Riyas Komu, Shibu Natesan and Justin Ponmany are just a few of the many who got their start through Sakshi, and Mehra’s prescient eye continues to scout for new talent. In another sign of changing times, the gallery has opened a second, smaller space on Pasta Lane, a “viewing room,” which will focus on sculptures.
The year ahead: Paintings and work by Surendran Nair and Jehangir Sabavala.
nayantara.k@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, May 03 2008. 12 18 AM IST