NEW YORK, NY.- The Poetics of Color: Natvar Bhavsar, a documentary by gallerist and art historian Sundaram Tagore, will premiere at the prestigious Mahindra Indo-American Arts Council film festival, the same festival that launched Mira Nair's The Namesake, Deepa Mehta's Water, and Slumdog Millionaire, Thursday, November 11, 2010, at 9pm at the SVA Theater, 333 W. 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011.
The Poetics of Color: Natvar Bhavsar is the first and only documentary to trace the roots of Asian artists contributions to contemporary American art. Written and directed by Sundaram Tagore, this 60-minute film explores the life of noted Indian painter Natvar Bhavsar. Rich in visual imagery, the film opens in the vibrant village of Gothava, India, and follows Bhavsar as he journeys to New York City in the 1960s. Through the lens of one artists life, this documentary offers new insight into the South Asian diaspora.
In his first film, Tagore uncovers a forgotten history. Chronicling the life of an Indian artist, Tagore reveals a little-known facet of American art history. Although it is common today for South Asian artists to work cross-culturally and find critical and commercial acceptance, Bhavsar was a pioneer who paved the way for subsequent generations of immigrant artists. Today, almost 50 years after his arrival in New York, Bhavsar has been recognized as having extended the language of visual art. Last year, one of Bhavsars largest paintings was a central focus of the Guggenheim Museum exhibition The Third Mind.
The structure of the documentary captures the nature of the increasingly globalized art world. An immigrant in a new city, Bhavsar settles into a loft in SoHo, falls in love with an American woman, and comes of age as an artist in the turbulent 1960s. Sequences in Bhavsars studio document the artists unique technique as he works like a Tibetan mandala painter sifting dry-pigment granules onto massive canvases on the floor. Then viewers are transported to the chaos of the streets of India before traveling back in time to New York City in the 1970s, when the contemporary American art scene was exploding with creativity.
At the core of the films narrative are interviews with some of the most renowned figures in the art world, including critics and authors Irving Sandler and Robert Morgan, and Guggenheim Museum curator Alexandra Munroe. These scholars put Bhavsars work into historical context and shed light on the inter-cultural nature of his artwork.
The documentarys strength lies not only in its storytelling, but its compelling cinematography. The central narrative of the film is intercut with intensely visual sequences. Viewers will find themselves saturated with dramatic imagery, including numerous examples of Western and Indian contemporary art.
Sundaram Tagore is a New York-based art historian and gallerist with galleries in New York, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. He was the first gallerist to focus exclusively on globalization, assembling a roster of artists from around the world. A descendant of the influential Indian poet and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore, he promotes East-West dialogue through his contributions to numerous exhibitions as well as his eponymous galleries and their multicultural and multidisciplinary events. A candidate for a doctorate of philosophy from the University of Oxford, Tagore writes for many art publications. He has worked with numerous arts organizations, including The Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, Venice, Italy, and the Metropolitan Museum, New York. He has also served as an advisor for the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the United Nations. In 1999, he was named one of the 100 most influential Asian Americans in the United States by Avenue Magazine and he was recently the subject of a 30-minute interview on the arts on CNNs Talk Asia.
Written and directed by Sundaram Tagore
Produced by STG Productions
Edited by David Schiliro
Assistant editor: Adam Perez
Original score: Samrat Chakrabarti
USA, 2010 60 minutes English