The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India
Global South Asia
Published by: University of Washington Press
248 pages, 178.00 x 254.00 mm, 20 color illus., 70 b&w illus.
- ISBN: 9780295741987
- Published: May 2017
From the fluttering fabric of a tent, to the blurred motion of the potter’s wheel, to the rhythm of a horse puppet’s wooden hooves—these scenes make up a set of mid-1980s art exhibitions as part of the U.S. Festival of India. The festival was conceived at a meeting between Indira Gandhi and Ronald Reagan to strengthen relations between the two countries at a time of late Cold War tensions and global economic change, when America’s image of India was as a place of desperate poverty and spectacular fantasy. Displaying Time unpacks the intimate, small-scale durations of time at work in the gallery from the transformation of clay into ceramic to the one-on-one, personal encounters between museum visitors and artists.
Using extensive archival research and interviews with artists, curators, diplomats, and visitors, Rebecca Brown analyzes a selection of museum shows that were part of the Festival of India to unfurl new exhibitionary modes: the time of transformation, of interruption, of potential and the future, as well as the contemporary and the now.
1. Flickering Light, Fluttering Textiles
An Interruption: Derridean Temporality at the Festival
2. Material Transformations: Clay, Terracotta, Trash
3. Time, Interrupted: People in the Gallery
4. Entrepreneurial Exhibits
5. The Contemporary, at a Distance
6. Setting Up the Tent Anew
Rebecca M. Brown’s Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India launches a productive way of understanding and interpreting festivals and contributes to South East Asian studies, especially Indian art in North America in the twentieth century.~Vasiliki Sirakouli, H-Celebration
Displaying Time can be read as an innovative and engaging approach to exploring, through its overarching theme of temporality, the complexities of staging a large-scale international festival event and will be of interest to those concerned with the presentation of art and cultural histories through museum and exhibition practices. It is also valuable through its offering to the reader the means to ‘refocus their temporal lenses’ in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the web of moments and durations, flows and interruptions, linear, cyclical and layered temporalities, and the temporal resonances that are all constituents of such exhibitions and events.~Leonardo Reviews
Brown. . . boldly unfurls novel ways of thinking through, and with, exhibitory practices of the past, the present, and the future.~caa.reviews