lundi 1 décembre 2008

Profile: Minal and Dinesh Vazirani+Peter Nagy

Power2008 Source ArtInfo Just five years ago, it would have been unimaginable that the Indian art scene could go from a provincial backwater to a global powerhouse. But last year, auction and private transactions in the country generated $350 million to $400 million, with the former arena alone netting $110 million, compared with $5 million in 2003. Now groups of eager collectors from the U.S. visit subcontinental artist studios on museum-led tours, and both Serpentine Gallery, in London, and the Mori Art Museum, in Tokyo, are staging major surveys of contemporary Indian art. Among those whose combined efforts have contributed to these remarkable changes are the Delhi-based dealer Peter Nagy, of Nature Morte gallery, and the Mumbai-based dealers and auctioneers Minal and Dinesh Vazirani, of Saffronart.
Comparisons to the Chinese art market, which has also risen as the country’s economy has boomed, are inevitable. Chinese contemporary art may have attracted a flashier following, but Indian art is on the radar of such collectors as Charles Saatchi and François Pinault. Purchases by those heavy hitters ensure that prices will rise even higher for works by marquee names like the painter and sculptor Subodh Gupta, who was recently picked up by the Hauser & Wirth gallery, in London, and Rashid Rana, whose politically charged photo-based works have made him the new darling of the international auction circuit. As it happens, both artists have shown with Nagy for close to 10 years.
The 49-year-old Nagy first opened Nature Morte in New York’s East Village, in 1982. Ten years later, in an act of bohemian wanderlust, he moved to India and quickly established himself as an art critic before reinventing his gallery as an itinerant space and a curatorial experiment in 1997. At the time, he says, “I was finding artists I wanted to work with, and nobody was really showing them in Delhi. So there was an opportunity for me.” By bringing their work to fairs around the world, he has introduced his stable to adventurous collectors avidly seeking new art. Nagy, the first Westerner to open a contemporary gallery in Delhi, inaugurated his current space, in partnership with the Bose Pacia gallery, in 2003.
“He brought a Western perspective to India,” says Veronica Collins, the South Asia contemporary specialist at Phillips de Pury and Company, “and he was one of the pioneers. Peter has an amazing ability to discover art that is inspirational and provocative.” Nagy, who will open a branch of Nature Morte in Berlin next May, is bemused by the remarkable success of his Indian venture, as well as by the rapid ascent of contemporary Indian art. To keep pace, he says, “I’m dancing as fast as I can.”
Nagy’s entrepreneurial spirit is paralleled in the auction world by that of the husband-and-wife team Dinesh, 41, and Minal, 35, Vazirani. Both hold MBAs, he from Harvard and she from INSEAD, in Fontainebleau, France. Aspiring collectors who were frustrated by the lack of information about Indian art, the couple got funding from Sequoia Capital, the Silicon Valley firm that had also put money into Google, to jump-start Saffronart in 2000. Eventually they established brick-and-mortar galleries in New York, Mumbai and, most recently, London. They have also co-organized exhibitions and published scholarly catalogues with other dealers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Hong Kong. Their partnerships with a network of galleries in India keep their online sales stocked with property.
The Vaziranis have branched out to the much bigger field of jewelry and watches—their debut online sale in the category in early October realized $1.4 million—but the core of their operation is their finely tuned and user-friendly Web portal, “We wanted to have an overall simpler way to get information about Indian artists,” says Minal, “and have a platform that could reach a larger, global audience. That idea became Saffronart.” Their timing was impeccable: The site’s launch coincided with a technology boom in India and the creation of new wealth there.
“In our heart of hearts, we wanted to anticipate that growth and we wanted to use the Internet to reach a great number of people and to make Indian art international,” explains Dinesh. “But we did not anticipate the magnitude of it or the speed of it.”

Archives revue de presse

Nombre total de pages vues