12431 - 20170205 - One of the most comprehensive collections of South Asian art outside India featured in major exhibition - Princeton, NJ - 19.11.2016-05.02.2017


Kulu or Bahu, India, The demon Dhumraksha leads his army, ca. 1700-10. Opaque watercolor on paper. Edwin Binney 3rd Collection.
One of the most significant collections of South Asian painting outside of India is on view in a monumental exhibition of narrative art at the Princeton University Art Museum. Encompassing more than 90 paintings representing the major narratives, regions and styles of South Asian art from the 16th through the 19th century, Epic Tales from India: Paintings from The San Diego Museum of Art is on view from Nov. 19, 2016, through Feb. 5, 2017. The paintings, which are drawn almost exclusively from the Edwin Binney 3rd Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art, have been arranged by book or literary category, allowing individual paintings to be seen as part of larger narratives.
“The art of the Indian subcontinent comprises one of the world’s richest cultural traditions,” noted James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher - David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director. “This exhibition is our most ambitious exploration of South Asian art to date, and is essential viewing for anyone interested in the vital connections among visual art, music, literature and religion.”

Edwin Binney 3rd (1925-1986), an heir to the Crayola fortune, amassed one of the finest and most encyclopedic collections of South Asian painting outside of India. The Edwin Binney 3rd Collection at the San Diego Museum of Art includes more than 1,400 works of art created during the 12th through 19th centuries, at the Mughal, Deccani, Rajasthani and Pahari courts.

The exhibition is curated by Marika Sardar, associate curator of southern Asian and Islamic art at the San Diego Museum of Art. The organizing curator at the Princeton University Art Museum is Zoe S. Kwok, assistant curator of Asian art. Epic Tales from India will subsequently travel to the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas at Austin and the San Diego Museum of Art.

The exhibition presents paintings from the “Bhagavata Purana,” one of Hinduism’s 18 great histories; the “Ramayana,” one of the longest ancient epic poems in world literature; the “Ragamala,” a set of verses that celebrate a range of musical melodies and expression, a favored subject in later Indian court paintings; and works of Persian literature, including the “Shahnama,” or Book of Kings, written by the Persian poet Firdausi.

A 150-page illustrated publication, edited by Sardar, accompanies the exhibition, as will a slate of affiliated programs, including a lecture by the curator, family day activities and a film series.

Contemporary Stories: Revisiting Indian Narratives, an exhibition organized by the Princeton University Art Museum in conjunction with Epic Tales from India, considers the continuing power and role of narrative in South Asian art by practitioners based in post-partition India and Pakistan and abroad. Featuring major works by internationally renowned artists such as Shahzia Sikander and from the Princeton University Art Museum collections as well as loans from private collections, the artists and their galleries - the exhibition suggests the varied ways in which Indo-Pakistani artists draw on the past while grounding their work unambiguously in the realities of the 21st century. Contemporary Stories is on view in Princeton from Oct. 22, 2016, through Jan. 22, 2017.