Opened in 2010, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art is the first private art museum in New Delhi, India, showcasing modern and contemporary art from India and Asia. “Tangled Hierarchy 2,” an exhibition curated by and featuring Jitish Kallat (b. 1974), the prominent contemporary artist from India, is on view at the museum through April 10.
The exhibition is parallel to Kallat’s seminal work ‘Covering Letter,’ which is being presented at the 2022 Kochi Muziris Biennale. Last year, the two works were presented in the UK to celebrate India’s 75th anniversary of independence.
The two works take their cue from Mahatma Gandhi, exploring words and silence for peace. The exhibition’s eponymous work, ‘Tangled Hierarchy’, is based on a handwritten conversation Gandhi had with the British Earl Mountbatten. It was a silent protest against the partition of India. ‘Covering Letter’ projects a letter Gandhi wrote to Hitler shortly before the outbreak of World War II, allowing the audience to pass through the words like a mist in the air.
Jitish Kallat: Tangled Hierarchy 2
December 14, 2022 – April 10, 2023
On March 27, The Art Newspaper released a list of the world’s top 100 museums based on 2022 attendance. The Asian museums on the list are, in order, the National Museum of Korea in Seoul (no. 5), M+ in Hong Kong (no. 18), the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul (no. 21), the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum (no. 26)・the National Art Center Tokyo (no. 30)・Tokyo National Museum(no. 32) in Tokyo, the Gyeongju National Museum in Gyeongju (no. 44), the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Tel Aviv (no. 49), the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo (no. 74), and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Gwacheon (no. 88).
As of 2022, international visitors in Asia were primarily heading to South Korea and Japan. Seoul’s vibrancy was particularly notable, with both the National Museum of Korea (3.4 million visitors) and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul (1.8 million visitors) seeing the same or more visitors compared to 2019, the year before the pandemic.
One noteworthy museum in Asia is M+ in Hong Kong. Opened in November 2021, the beginning museum faced censorship controversy from Beijing early on and was closed from January to April 2022 due to the pandemic shortly after its opening. However, since reopening in April, it has quickly established itself as a central art institution in Asia with a total of 2 million visitors.
However, these numbers do not include data from Chinese government-run museums. Before the pandemic, the National Museum of China was the top-ranked museum in Asia, but it is now estimated that many institutions in mainland China, including the National Museum of China in Beijing, have not regained their former vigor.
Media artist Mike Winkelmann (b. 1981), known by his stage name Beeple, shocked the global art market in 2021 when he sold his NFT work ‘Everydays: The First 5,000 Days’ at Christie’s auction for $69 million. The sale made Beeple the third-most expensive living artist and seemed to foreshadow the NFT’s dominance over the art market.
However, after peaking in January 2022, the NFT market has since suffered an unexpected setback. According to Artsy, experts attribute this to the market’s misjudgment of NFT as an investment vehicle despite its instability. However, after NFTs lost their appeal as an investment tool, the artistic possibilities of NFTs are being reconsidered.
Art institutions, rather than investors, are taking the lead in purchasing NFTs, as exemplified by the Pompidou Center’s acquisition of an NFT artwork in February of this year. Reflecting this trend, at Art Basel Hong Kong, China’s Deji Museum purchased Beeple’s ‘S.2122,’ a blockchain-based sculpture that consists of a screen that will continuously change over 25 years based on the artist’s remote control. This is the first time Beeple’s work has been acquired by an institution, suggesting that contemporary art’s exploration of blockchain technology would accentuate in the forthcoming days.