Tom Vattakuzhy’s solo show Song of the Dusk on at a gallery in New York captures the loneliness and uncertainty of the pandemic times.
Aicon is proud to announce Rachid Koraïchi’s Le Jardin d’Afrique in Zarzis, Tunisia, has been shortlisted for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, 2020-2022 cycle. The Jardin was a focal point of his solo exhibition at the gallery earlier this year: Le Chant de l’Ardent Désir.
New York’s Aicon Art mounted a retrospective of Indian artist KS Kulkarni (1918–1994), foregrounding colorful semi-abstract canvases from his late career. Fusing modern and traditional approaches, Kulkarni was inspired by landscapes, religious motifs, and everyday life.
Inimitable Algerian artist Rachid Koraïchi's latest exhibition Le Chant de l’Ardent Désir is a transcendental and hypnotic experience that compels the viewer into examining our shared experiences of loss, longing, human suffering and dignity.
Artist Maya Varadaraj’s figurative paintings tap into her experiences as a South Asian woman brought up in a Hindu family, and how various biologies, societies, histories, and families inform womanhood.
Denouncing in particular the situation on the island of Lampedusa, as well as the ravages of "globalization and indifference," David Miliband praised the "remarkable project carried out in Zarzis, which is an inspiration to us all. All over the world there is every reason to think that nothing can change, but through your art and your determination to remind us of our common humanity, you show that special things happen when people take responsibility," he said to Rachid Koraïchi. "This is an impressive gift you are giving us. There is an interaction between art and public affairs, and in a time marked by so much drama, perhaps it is art that reminds us of our humanity," he said. Before adding that the artist has made a lie of Stalin's famous phrase: "The death of a man is a tragedy. The death of a million men is a statistic. With the Jardin d’Afrique, you have shown that the thousands of migrants who die in the sea are not statistics," he concluded.
Open till March 12, 2022, this is Aicon Art’s third solo show celebrating the art of Rachid Koraïchi—humanist, polymath, creator of art carrying universal significance. While originating in a culture permeated by Quranic scholarship and Sufi mysticism, his art crosses artistic frontiers going beyond Islamic calligraphy and inscription. In inventing a unique artistic language, Koraïchi draws upon many languages and cultures, including those of the Berber and Tuareg peoples. Within his fold, too, are invented Chinese ideograms plus magical squares and talismanic glyphs and other auspicious signs. Also most impressive is the range of his materials, the employment of which has often inspired the artist to create a symbiotic partnership with designers and artisans around the globe.
Britain’s empty high street shops and derelict department stores should be transformed into artists’ studios and galleries to bring life back to city centres, according to the outgoing director of one of the country’s leading art spaces.
Every month, hundreds of galleries add newly available works by thousands of artists to the Artnet Gallery Network—and every week, we shine a spotlight on one artist you should know. This week, Artnet spotlights Rachid Koraïchi at Aicon Gallery.
The Phillips Collection is marking its 100th anniversary with a new graphic installation by D.C. based artist Victor Ekpuk. FOX 5's Gwen Tolbart spoke to the artist about his work, which was inspired by ancient Nigerian script.
When it comes to fine art, Pakistan has a lot of creatives whose work pushes on the boundaries of our industry, nationally and internationally!
Everything in the three-story house was done up after careful consideration of each others’ wishes. The result: special places reserved for the couple's own art, separate work areas, and more.
This year marks the 50th death anniversary of Jamini Roy, often hailed as the father of modern Indian art. But he has had his fair share of detractors too.
New Canvases — that’s the simple title, shorn of thematic references. But the new canvases of Sheetal Gattani, presented by Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, at its recent show — both in the gallery and online — overturned the very idea of ‘new’ being virgin, untarnished territory. The discoloured, damaged, degraded epidermis of her canvases, astir with intimations from underneath, implied the persistence of a past that subverts brash pretensions to newness. Because every ‘now’ comes with its embedded debris of ‘then’. And it’s the texture, speckled with clues of weathering, that imports a meditative gravity into her work.
By Janine A. Sytsma
African Arts, Winter 2021, Vol. 54, No. 4, pg. 38-51
Ekpuk’s scribbling from the mid-1990s similarly oscillates between transparency and secrecy. Some signs may be familiar to those with a basic knowledge of nsibidi, other African ideographic systems, Nigerian current affairs, and global popular culture, while others come tantalizingly close but ultimately refuse to reveal themselves and supply any specific meaning to the narrative. Indeed, even those examples with clear reference points may possess additional content known only to Ekpuk. In his scribbling-based illustrations, the combination of scripts with different levels of opaqueness accordingly generates characteristically expansive and generative analyses. The more recognizable scripts, interspersed throughout the composition, serve as signposts for discourse, revealing potential deviations from the article’s position and, according to Ekpuk (Kreamer and Purura 2007: 234), helping “to unlock the deeper layers of each composition.” The remaining signs then build on the identifiable examples and facilitate continued nonstructured contemplation of both the article along and interconnected issues, only alluded to in the text. When the illustration is experienced holistically, as Ekpuk intended, the commentary steadily accumulates, with each new layer forming connections with previous layers to generate new interrelated interpretations. (pg. 46-47)
"Born in Lahore and based in New York, the painter Salman Toor depicts the lives of queer, South Asian men in imagined surroundings that draw as much from the Old Masters as they do from the modern metropolis. Toor’s scenes are often casual – his figures dance at house parties and stare into smartphones – but always meticulously composed. After his first solo museum show, ‘How Will I Know’, took place at the Whitney, New York, in 2020–21, Toor has recently completed a residency at the Frick Madison, New York, as part of its ‘Living Histories: Queer Views and Old Masters’ programme; the work Toor has completed, ‘Museum Boys’, responds to two paintings by Vermeer in the Frick, and is currently on view at the museum alongside them."
"For millennia now, the Ganges has been revered and disregarded in equal measure, much like women themselves. Yet somehow, she still flows as she nurtures and ensconces generations in the subcontinent, with every bend she takes. More recently, she has also put up with the ineptitude of the human race as she gave refuge to abandoned, nameless casualties of the pandemic. This and more have been a source of insatiable inspiration and curiosity for artist Jayasri Burman since her childhood, which has now culminated into a show of enormous scale called River of Faith."
"At the Aicon Gallery in New York, Bernando Siciliano’s works of art, explicitly inspired by Philip Roth, immortalise the moments that narrate these two pandemic years."
"The first piece in the hall is Mequitta Ahuja’s 2020 oil painting entitled “Portrait of Her Mother,” a gentle rendition of the artist’s studio with Ahuja standing in the foreground, her body turned slightly away as though she is torn between us and her work. Two striking portraits in vibrant reds and blues loom behind her, but their presence is overshadowed by the sketch Ahuja holds up for us to see—the pearly paper shining from the center of the canvas. Etched upon it is a drawing of Ahuja’s mother—the two of them share many striking features, from their sharp cheekbones, to the curve of their noses, to the nearly imperceptible tilt of their heads. It is quite a homage carved out of a single instant, with the smallest moments immortalizing a mother’s impact."
“‘Picturing Motherhood Now’ emerged during the global pandemic and in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the important conversations about race that followed,” Liebert says. “I think these world events did inflect the show. They inevitably shaped the way artists were thinking, and the issues that were on the minds of our catalog contributors.”
Each week, we search for the most exciting and thought-provoking shows, screenings, and events, both digitally and in-person in the New York area. See our picks from around the world below. (Times are all ET unless otherwise noted.)
"It may be best to begin with a memory. A figure of marbled flesh stands atop a plinth, through the folds of a robe one can discern the silhouette of legs, and beneath a draped foot the name “Venus” is emblazoned darkly. This marble statuette of the Roman goddess of love, a popular keepsake, had once stood on the mantelpiece of my childhood home bought by my father on his travels at sea. When I encountered it years later in a studio conversation with Affan Baghpati, the association was immediate."
"Finding the setting of the production for any object is an essential process for many people. That ‘made in’ piece of information printed on the item can start investigations that trace the history, manufacturing processes and, perhaps, even the geographical routing of the object. This research becomes complex when an object is rooted in history, and production of art and design is a composite that is created with articles from different countries in the world."
"Affan Baghpati’s art pieces are always intriguing enough to want me gaze them for a while to comprehend the dark humour that lies within each joint and assemblage. At once they might look bizarre, non-sensible and complex; however, these assembled materials are actually juxtaposing history and contemporary forms and tastes to present something Avant Grade."
"Young, Karachi-based artist Affan Baghpati’s debut solo show in New York is a commentary and dismantling of established narratives and histories through found objects that have been meticulously and thoughtfully molded and re-formed into unique designs."
"There can be many definitions of creativity, but the simplest one is: to join two different entities and get something new. We are all born through such a procedure and we employ the same formula to fabricate our artworks. Creative individuals often approach it in the most unimaginable manner; establishing a link plainly shocking, utterly odd and normally impossible. However, the excitement lies for makers and viewers in finding a relationship between elements that usually does not exist."
"In her solo show at Aicon Gallery, New York, Seher Naveed depicts security contraptions as an integral part of our societal existence."
"A wall of soft words. Bangla script as sculpture, with pillow-like volume and skin of shimmering sari fabric. The formal beauty of written Bangla catches the eye of the uninitiated. The title, The Spell Song, heightens the mystery of the text. For Bangla speakers the softness will transcend the physical to the linguistic."
"Happening now at the newly opened DrikPath Bhobon at Panthapath, "Chobi Mela Shunno'' has successfully created a space for artists, thinkers, activists, and visionaries in self-reflective, experimental processes. "Frozen Song'', an exhibition of the festival, depicts the diversity and transformation of Drik and Pathshala."
"What Now My Friend?, curated by Salima Hashmi at Aicon Gallery, New York (December 17–January 23) denotes the perpetual saga of strife between the oppressors and the oppressed. Employing the metaphor of Rustom and Sohrab from the illustrations of Shahnameh Ali narrates the current political, racial and religious contradictions. In the exhibition, his large-scale tapestries portray the presence of power and map the conflict between countries, besides describing the latest calamities, such as Covid-19."
“Ma”, the artist’s new exhibition at New York’s Aicon Gallery, includes 20 oil sketches and five large oil paintings. The works may be the artist’s most intimately personal yet—made over the past 15 months, during the final period of her mother Sonja’s life, the works are a form of grieving. Loss, healing, gratitude, and connection exist as interconnected and equal energies.
"If museums are serious about globalizing their collections, it won't do just to pick out a few Africans or Asians or Latin Americans whose art superficially resembles what the West already approbates. Art history has to be preconceived as a perpetual migration of artists, images and ideas - across oceans, across decades. A sterling case study awaits in the upstairs space of Aicon Gallery, displaying the lean, precise, calligraphic abstractions of Ernest Mancoba (1904 - 2002), a South African painter who spent his career in Denmark and France."
"The difficulty of having a show during this time is that the atrocities in the world today make it difficult to have any kind of celebration while so many around the world find themselves in mourning, but I suppose that revelation is a continuous need. I wish that people could come and enjoy it with me but I understand that that's not possible at the moment."
"Aicon Art New York brought us through Natvar Bhavsar: Beginnings (March 1-April 6, 2019) an astonishing show on this Indian-American artist’s early color-field paintings. Now, by giving us Natvar Bhavsar: Sublime Light from September 26-October 31, 2020, the gallery is spotlighting his paintings from the late 1970s through the 1980s. They astonish us equally. Though each painting is a world unto itself, they have a common magical quality. They transport you to a realm beyond yourself and the world in which you have presence."
"Delhi-based artist Avishek Sen’s solo at New York’s Aicon Contemporary feels prescient and urgent in a covid-19 world."
"‘It’s about time we started exploring this region,’ says Hong Kong-based collector Patrick Sun about his recent acquisitions from India. Sun is among many international collectors, dealers and museums who are now turning their gaze to South Asia."
"Before there were gods there was magic. Folks could work directly with nature, perform rituals and nature would respond to their will. When magic failed often enough to engender doubt, the gods were discovered. It was now necessary to reach the spirits behind natural phenomena to get the things wanted from nature."
"Najmun Nahar Keya spent five years in Tokyo, on the prestigious Monbukagakusho Japanese government scholarship, awarded to one emerging Bangladeshi artist every year. These five years have had a disproportionately high impact on her art, and on her person."
"Two exhibitions look at how Gandhi’s image has been appropriated, even by forces completely antithetical to his message."
"There’s something about the sonorousness of the language and the richness of his color fields that connects somehow. Overall, Bhavsar’s works bring out color’s metaphysical aspects and, via his use of raw pigment, its profound physicality."
Aicon Art Gallery will exhibit the debut solo exhibition of the early work of octogenarian New York Indian American artist Natvar Bhavsar, ‘Beginnings.’
"In his latest paintings, Salman Toor meditates on his life as a gay artist who divides his time between two diametrically opposite communities: New York, where he can live and love openly, and his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, where the dictates of family and religion demand that he suppress his identity."
"New York-based artist Salman Toor’s brushstrokes place young queer brown men in scenes of love, friendship, and solitude in his luscious oil paintings. In Time After Time, his ongoing exhibition at Aicon Gallery in Manhattan, he challenges the systematic exclusion of queer men of color from art history. Here, his figures claim the foreground with their bodies, donning flamboyant attires over their delicate physiques. The artist’s dandy types nonchalantly sip cocktails, zealously sway to music, or lazily lounge in their downtown apartments. Beauty, vulnerability, and power shines through each painting."
"New York city’s Aicon Gallery exhibits works of fifteen contemporary Pakistani artists, inspiring its title “Sweeping Back the Sea” from video works of artists Omer Wasim and Saira Sheikh, the latter who passed away in 2017. The exhibition aspires to turn the spotlight on contemporary work from the heritage-rich country, by theoretically placing them under common social and historic grounds..."
"The quirkily titled Pale Sentinels: A Metaphor for Dialogue opened on 28 June at Aicon, its bold theme addressing Partition with critically acclaimed, award-winning Indian and Pakistani artists. 'Each artist in this group has, in one way or another, engaged with borders and constraints,' says Hashmi"
"Scaria’s barren cells, built to house the masses, express what the press information calls “the painful truth of modern existence” as well as “environmental destruction and [the] exploitation of natural resources.” Scaria is a critic, and his own work seems to rebuke so-called pure, reductive art and architecture. Clement Greenberg asserted that “decoration is the specter that haunts modernist painting,” unwittingly echoing Le Corbusier’s view that it is the enemy of modernist architecture, and Scaria likewise offers a minimalist (dare one say puritan?) revision."
"Not a rock music inspired art show, Guns & Roses is the result of an international collaboration between Mumbai-based art gallery, Chatterjee & Lal, and New York-based Aicon Gallery. The theme revolves around expressions of duality, juxtaposing the contrasting aspects of cruelty and beauty; violence and celebration; chaos and order."
"From the quiet, impressionable surface of the moon to bustling London landmarks, Saad Qureshi’s sculpture, drawing, and installation art explores mental and physical landscapes. The artist’s work poetically probes cultural belonging, interconnectedness, and separation through scale, material, and metaphor."
"In Gigi Scaria’s All About This Side, exhibition at Aicon gallery, the buildings become genuinely surprising because they are allegorized in myriad ways that reveal a history of varied uses for the idea of a dwelling place: surrealist structures, temples, edifices confected from minerals housed in natural rock, features of the landscape, repeated theoretical design templates that are ostensibly created for people though no humans are in evidence."
"In the title photograph of Gigi Scaria’s first major solo exhibition in the United States, a stretch of brick homes is viewed from behind the grates of a metal fence. This physical border is not only the material manifestation of the distance between the photographer and his subject, but also signifies the many degrees of separation between both the upwardly mobile and more rooted social classes of Scaria’s India and their economic aspirations."
"The City of Parramatta, a quick express train ride away from Sydney’s central business district, is regarded as a culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse hub within Western Sydney. Many local council initiatives and businesses reflect this sense of multiculturalism, with growing interests in culturally specific tourism, festivals and business ventures. On the flip side, in recent years, some residents in the city have witnessed discrimination in response to encroaching Islamophobia, the growth of anti-intellectual discourse and anti-refugee rhetoric."
"Talk about urbanization to any Indian artist and they will probably get their hackles up. Rapid expansion and accommodation for India’s growing merchant and professional class has led to the wonton demolition of old buildings and historical architecture. Furthermore, swift encroachment on agricultural and rural populations has outstripped the provision of housing for the dispossessed. For many artists, this contentious subject matter has become the mainstay of their practice as they hold a mirror up for the rest of us to see what exactly is taking place."
"Scaria has always been comfortable highlighting painful truths of urban existence. He clearly casts his assertions on everything perceived, imagined, and hoped for about cities and our lives within them. The show is a commentary on the fact that the future we imagined has already become a burden to carry forward."
"Engagement with the environment, urbanisation and migration have dominated Scaria's work for over two decades now, ever since he moved to Delhi from his hometown Kothanalloor, a village in Kerala. With layered works that address the past, present and the distant future, Scaria has consistently reflected on the complexities that we live with."
"The comedic play, The Birds, by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, revolves around the quest of birds to create their own kingdom in the sky between the warring gods in heaven and tempestuous mortals on earth. Loosely inspired by the liminality—the interfacing of the threshold between two planes—of such an imagined space, Indian artist Surendran Nair’s new body of work in “Cuckoonebulopolis: (Flora and) Fauna,” presented in the artist’s first solo exhibition at Aicon Gallery, explores notions of indeterminacy and ambiguity, while intending to push the viewer to consider new hypothetical realms of possibilities."
"New York’s Aicon Gallery unveiled nearly half a century of work by the prolific Indian painter Anjolie Ela Menon in her first-ever retrospective exhibition in the United States. While the New Delhi-based artist has previously exhibited stateside, “A Retrospective” featured over 40 paintings and drawings from Menon’s oeuvre, offering American audiences a rare glimpse of early pieces borrowed from private collections alongside more recent works."
"A career spanning over five decades, Menon’s aim, as is witnessed in her bio is to “defy categorization”, which she has successfully achieved. Her work has distinct influences of Byzantine art, her figures reminiscent of icons seen in early Christian art with beautiful rendering of Indian themes. The amalgamation of the western style with the eastern subject is a visual treat for the senses and I wandered around the exhibition trying to soak up everything in one day."
"In these works (part of her solo exhibition at Aicon Gallery New York starting from May 20, 2017), the artist probes the multiple facades of our life. First the choice of a landscape, a picture postcard view, is important because it indicates how we view nature, not as what we experience with unpleasant encounters but as ideal setting almost replicating our concept of Eden."
"The first North American solo exhibition of Ernest Mancoba included four small paintings ranging in date from 1958 to 1985 (one is undated) and some twenty works on paper (many of them likewise undated, but the others are mostly from the early 1990s), giving art lovers on this side of the Atlantic at least a nodding acquaintance with an oeuvre I suspect we are going to get to know much better in coming years."
"From 1983 to 2009, a grisly civil war gripped the island nation of Sri Lanka. In the aftermath, 13 artists unpacked the trauma of war as part of the group exhibition “Portraits of Intervention” at Aicon Gallery in New York. Curator Bansie Vasvani said she was drawn to the organic quality of these artists’ responses to the bloodshed, as well as the variation in form found in those reactions."
"For Mancoba, this freedom also meant release from art that had to look African or Western; he could forge what he saw as a utopian synthesis. Accordingly, the work at Aicon, all from after Cobra dissolved in 1951, thwarts easy cultural readings. In small oil paintings, abstract strokes and daubs of color coalesce into sketchy, featureless figures; in related ink drawings they resemble large-headed African sculptures. Other ink drawings are entirely abstract, made up cursive forms that, like characters from an imagery alphabet, spin and tumble across a page."
"M. Pravat’s recently concluded solo show at Aicon Gallery in Manhattan was almost a blueprint for loss, life and living. About streetscapes and mindscapes and memories but also about re-imagination, and new layerings added to the scaffolding of what we remember. Did it all happen or is that just how we remember it? The show was also about absences and presences."
"Pakistani American artist Anila Quayyum Agha has been celebrated for her groundbreaking sculptural installation ‘Intersections’ that earned her global acclaim and resonated with a host of cultures. Her recently concluded exhibition “Walking with My Mother’s Shadow” at Aicon Gallery, New York, weaved even more personal, intimate stories."
"Since winning the public and juried votes at artprize 2014 for her luminous installation ‘intersections’, pakistani artist Anila Quayyum Agha continues her work with sculpture, shadow and light. ‘all the flowers are for me – red’, recently presented at New York’s Aicon Gallery as part of the exhibition ‘Walking with My Mother’s Shadow’, magnifies an ornate display of floral and geometric motifs within the space. this piece, and other new works on show, reflects on the complex facets of love and loss the artist experienced over the past year."
"We have always been big fans of Pakistan-born artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s mesmerizing art. In 2014, we raved about Intersections, a captivating wooden cube that cast dreamy shadows with a single light bulb. Fortunately for us, Agha is still creating intricate installations in this style, with her most recent, radiant piece being All The Flowers Are For Me."
"THE NEW YORK SEASON YEAR SAW SOME FINE GALLERY SOLOS. Omer Fast (James Cohan); Rachid Koraichi (Aicon); Zoe Leonard (Hauser & Wirth); Hilton Als (The Artist’s Institute); Carolee Schneemann (Lelong and P.P.O.W.); Howardena Pindell (Garth Greenan); and an installation by the ineffable Genesis P-Orridge at the Rubin Museum."
"Pakistanis have many many talents. Stalking, creeping and making up the most absurd things about other people. But other than that there are Pakistanis with real talent and they deserve as much of our attention for hustling and making themselves a name with their insane creativity.
Here’s our jaw-dropping list of amazing Pakistani artists that NEED to be followed right now."
"The ongoing intriguing group show titled Delicate Bond of Steel is a result of the unique exchange between Chatterjee & Lal in Mumbai and Aicon Gallery in New York. The latter’s first gallery show in the country, hosted by the South Mumbai exhibition space, features works of several South Asian artists based out of Australia, the U.S., Bangladesh and India."
USA-based, Pakistani artist Anila Quayyum Agha opens her first major solo show in New York titled ‘Walking with My Mother’s Shadow’ at Aicon Gallery. Breathtaking intricate installations in materials such as steel, cut with delicate patterns, or embroidery and beads on white, black and brown paper, reflect and refract light into the gallery space.
The veil provides a fitting metaphor to view Anila Quayyum Agha’s exhibition, “Walking With My Mother’s Shadow,” at Aicon Gallery through November 26. Whether in her signature floating cubes or her lesser-known embroidered paper works, Agha’s lacy snowflake designs, layered in translucent piles, draw in the viewer’s eye and won’t let go. There is just so much to feast upon — the sharpest lines cut in material as rigid as steel and as gossamer as paper, precisely aligned leaves of the thinnest paper stabbed hundreds of times and stitched with sharp thread pulled taught in complex patterns, beads like transistors on a circuit board, layers upon layers upon layers.
"Aicon Gallery, a New York space that focuses on South East Asian art in particular, will bring works by Rasheed Araeen, Saad Qureshi and Irfan Hassan to the capital. The gallery also participates in Art Dubai, but sees the proximity to the museums in the capital as an important reason also to attend Abu Dhabi Art."
“Walking With My Mother’s Shadow, the current exhibition by Pakistani-American artist and recent ArtPrize winner Anila Quayyum Agha, offers an unabashedly gorgeous and emotional experience to viewers. In her first major New York solo show, Agha explores love and loss through highly intricate and conceptually complex sculptures. Featuring delicate patterning, her work operates at the intersection of between differing cultures, people, and memories."
"It was a coincidence that Aditya Pande was in the gallery when I visited his solo exhibition at New York’s Aicon Gallery in May. A regular visitor, I greeted the staff and mentioned that I was planning to write a piece about the artist. At this news he was dragged over and responded to my introduction with a modest incredulity that was quickly put aside as we ran through an impromptu tour of the show."
"The selection of artwork is divided into two important sets - the first, from the artist’s early days in Karachi delving into the abstract scene that led to his groundbreaking introduction of the kinetic into Minimalist art. The second a series of new canvases exploring color-field, movement, and depth through checkered grids derived from traditional Islamic architectural and textile patterning. When combined together these form a trajectory mapping the artist’s 60 year long constantly evolving and highly dynamic oeuvre and artistic career."
"Engagingly installed across two of BAM’s three buildings, works by Kamrooz Aram, Anila Quayyum Agha, Kameelah Janan Rasheed and Slavs and Tatars inhabit spaces not originally conceived for contemporary art, using the architecture as a frame to “uncover the visual and physical space between ancient and modern, past and present,” and to cloud the distinction between the work of art and its surroundings. In an exciting development of his ongoing investigation."
"The recent Met Breuer survey of work by the Indian artist Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990) was a first exposure for many New Yorkers to a Minimalist-style strain in contemporary South Asian art. In reality, the presence of that aesthetic has long been,and continues to be, substantial, as this tender show at the Aicon Gallery, “Between Structure and Matter: Other Minimal Futures,” demonstrates."
“Between Structure and Matter: Other Minimal Futures,” on view through July 2 at Aicon Gallery in New York, attempts to flip this attitude forward and outward, strategically pushing the past into and through an expanded present. Citing the historian of minimalism James Meyer, for whom the movement was fundamentally irreducible — a “field of difference,” as he wrote his 2001 volume “Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties” — exhibition co-curator Murtaza Vali stated on a recent afternoon at the gallery his belief that “other minimal futures are possible, and here are some examples of how it has happened.
"Curated by Murtaza Vali and Prajit Dutta, this exhibition features artists hailing from or affiliated with South Asia and the broader Middle East. It focuses on Minimalism as a capacious philosophical concept that draws together non-Western practitioners from different generations. The works end up defying this aesthetic categorization, however, as there is a subtle emotional tactility throughout the show that enables content—personal, political—that, of course, runs counter to chilly, textbook Minimalism."
"Concurrent with the display of La prière des absents in Marrakech, in New York the artist recently had a solo exhibition at Aicon Gallery, Love Side by Side with the Soul, where one could come closer to the surface of his vases and view them with other works, such as a series of banners called The Invisible Masters. Yet in spite of the ability to almost touch the ceramics in New York, one still cannot easily read all the words. Standing close to one vase from La prière, one could just make out the name of the artist’s mother, Rahima, repeating in reverse, and force oneself to read other words backward."
"Rachid Koraichi, who has been widely exhibited internationally for decades, is only now having his first New York solo exhibition. Born in Algeria in 1947, he came from a family of Quranic scholars and copyists in a Sufi tradition. He trained as a calligrapher before studying painting and printmaking in Paris in the 1970s and has made the written word, as a conveyor of spiritual philosophy, poetry and politics, his primary medium. Just as language serves as a visual binder in many Islamic cultures, so it does in Mr. Koraichi’s formally diverse but completely of-a-piece show, “Love Side by Side With the Soul,” at Aicon Gallery."
"Rekha Rodwittiya’s iconic female figures loom large. An amalgamation of Indian classical and tribal images, Rodwittiya’s asexual goddesses evade easy categorization. Currently in her solo exhibition Rituals of Memory at Aicon Gallery, they command an uncanny presence and beg scrutiny."http://hyperallergic.com/276736/talismanic-and-tenacious-goddesses-that-resist-femininity/
"Prominent Baroda-based feminist artist Rekha Rodwittiya, who is the founder of The Collective Studio Baroda, is back here after two decades with a major exhibition at the Aicon Gallery, ‘The Rituals of Memory: Personal Folklores and Other Tales’, which runs from Feb. 4 through Feb. 27th."
"Pakistani artist Adeel uz Zafar skillfully blends the pleasant and the unpleasant memories we all associate with childhood. Originally a children's book illustrator, his work derives its imagery from a collective international pop culture, but the playful cartoon characters he depicts appear in a damaged, far scarier form than we are used to seeing them.
"Recently, Aicon Gallery in York exhibited Monomania — the first solo US exhibition of Karachi-based artist Adeel uz Zafar. The title of the exhibition summed up the themes that the works encapsulate. Monomania presents a commentary on the shades of insanity where thoughts focus on a specific cluster of subjects; the excessive enthusiasm for a single thing, or idea. Zafar’s work is quite obsessive to say the least."
"Rasheed Araeen should not need an introduction: he is one of the foremost pioneers of Minimalist sculpture in Britain. And yet, (with his first exhibition in Asia taking place now at Rossi & Rossi, Hong Kong), that there is a need to introduce Araeen refers to something that has driven at least part of this artist's 50-year career."
"Salman Toor is the best kind of contemporary painter: funny, insightful, and not afraid to get personal. His colorful, figurative images are both intimate and relatable, featuring crowds of people engaging in romantic or imaginative adventures, filled with references to the artist’s many travels and international background."
"New York City has facilitated my cobbling together of seemingly divergent understandings of developing societies seething in turmoil, along with the microcosms of cultures like Brooklyn’s art scene. Since I left Lahore, my work has developed in more abstract directions in order to host and superimpose imagined narratives and homelands in which personal and global concerns intersect.”
"Salman Toor’s insular scenes of life in Pakistan have vanished. Instead ghosts, hobos, poets, exiles, counts, ascetics, rabble-rousers, vagrants, and partygoers inhabit a no-man’s-land where time stands still. In Toor’s second solo exhibition at New York’s Aicon Gallery, Resident Alien, an artist possessed by a spirit to experiment and plunge into a new world has emerged."
"The Kominas brought the curtain down on Asian Contemporary Arts Week at the Aicon Gallery on November 8 surrounded by the exhibition of works from Salman Toor. Like some of Toor's art on the wall, the Kominas tackle racism, Islamophobia, American paranoia and stereotypes (the name of their latest album is, indeed, Stereotype). A fierce rock band in the classic punk vein, the Kominas's audience was flailing along with the band's energetic performance."
"A mini-retrospective of M.F. Husain — the celebrated and colorfully controversial Indian painter who died in London in 2011, at the age of 95 — runs through October 24 at Aicon Gallery in NoHo. Covering six decades in approximately 24 paintings, the show affords a rarely seen overview of India’s Picasso, with excellent examples from every decade of his wildly prolific oeuvre."
"Drawing a fine line between voyeurism and vigilance, Indian artist Abir Karmakar’s second solo exhibition “Uncanny Space” at Aicon Gallery continues with his preoccupation of seducing viewers to become surreptitious onlookers of his painted private spaces. Yet at the core of his presentation of empty bedrooms and intimate living areas lies the significance of invisibility. The nameless other, or the one who cannot be seen, lurks in the background, allowing the viewer to conjure upon these unseen figures his or her own human dimensions."
"Acknowledgement for octogenarian Rasheed Araeen’s contribution to Minimalism is long overdue. Marginalised and overshadowed for the most part by American stalwarts such as Sol
LeWitt, Carl Andre and Donald Judd, the pioneers of the movement during the 1960s, Araeen’s institutional recognition has only been recent."
"Overlooked amid all these accomplishments was Mr. Araeen’s art, a selection of which is at Aicon Gallery inhis first New York solo exhibition. Trained as a civil engineer, he became an artist after seeing Anthony Caro’s sculptures. His own early pieces combined Mr. Caro’s use of industrial materials with openwork structures adapted from architecture. In the early 1960s he developed a version of what would come to be called Minimalism before its introduction in New York by Donald Judd and others."
"THE DAILY PIC: I raved about the British Minimalism of Rasheed Araeenwhen it was on view last year in the Jewish Museum group show called “Other Primary Structured". Now Araeen has a solo at Aicon Gallery in New York; it includes today's Daily Pic, titled First Structure and conceived in 1966-67 (i.e., at the same moment when New York's Minimal art was coming together)."
"After Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid posted a picture of this beautiful work on social media, it quickly became the fair’s most photographed piece of art. The suspended black cube, laser-cut with Islamic patterns that cast shadows on the wall from a single light bulb within it, is a 2014 piece by Pakistani artist Agha and was exhibited by Aicon Gallery from New York. Throughout the event, streams of people gathered around it to catch it at the best angle."
"Aicon Gallery, a New York and London-based gallery that specialises in art from the Indian subcontinent is one of the 97 galleries bringing their art to Art Dubai next week. Interestingly, Harry Hutchison, the gallery director decided that as well as the four day fair, he would collaborate with a local gallery Empty 10 to put on a short exhibition preceding the fair. I find this a fascinating way to penetrate the local audience and so, ahead of the VIP opening tomorrow night, I caught up with him for a chat."
"Aicon Gallery is a contemporary art gallery specializing in emerging Indian and Pakistani artists. Formerly Gallery ArtsIndia, Aicon Gallery was one of the first platforms for Indian art in the United States. Today, the primary goal of the gallery is to foster dialogue between South Asian and Western art at their New York and London locations."
"The Aicon exhibition illuminates the astonishing fluidity with which Suri moves between worlds. "I like his drive, which goes in so many directions — writing, music, visual arts," says Salman Rushdie, the author with whom Suri has kindled an unlikely friendship. "And he's helped me to get a better understanding of a younger generation of Indian Americans."
"The show fuses Pakistani with Indian, Islam with Hinduism and North American with South Asian, without highlighting the major chasms separating these dichotomies in the Eastern world. The subtext of the works largely communicate with Suri’s music: both are compendiums of deep knowledge of pop culture and both American and South Asian."
"57 Great Jones is also just a block away from the Aicon Gallery, where as part of the lead-up to his first full-length solo album, Eat Pray Thug, Heems curated an art show of the same name, featuring desi artists like Ratna Gupta, Ranbir Kaleka and Abdullah MI Syed — as well as art he created in partnership with Chiraag Bhakta, aka Pardon My Hindi. As in his music, Heems’ visual art references borrow heavily from his north Indian family’s experience in the United States"
"Now, however, Suri has jumped into the (marginally) more serious business of curating his own gallery show: “Eat Pray Thug,” the same moniker he’s given his forthcoming solo album, which runs through March 10 at Aicon Gallery on Great Jones Street. The multimedia group show of artists with ties to India and Pakistan, including Suri himself, also features a parallel series of live events, including an appearance from Muslim punk band The Kominas on March 7."
“This show is really cool, we have American artists, Indian artists, Pakistani artists. It’s interesting to see it all together and how they interact,” Bhakta said. “Instead of putting us in an ‘Indian’ bucket, this show is trying to burst that bubble. That first layer of American culture is pretty special. We are not Indian, we are American. It’s cool to experiment with that and see what comes out of it.”
"The show is a collection of etchings and silkscreen prints that thrived on shared experiences of looking, and of semblance. As arbitrators and translators of their respective cultures, the artists, through their works, revealed a yearning for a kind of order. Collectively their works swayed between the creating and breaking of repetitive forms and grids."
"Aicon Gallery in downtown Manhattan currently has an excellent exhibition up,Readymade: Contemporary Art from Bangladesh. It’s the obscure object of my art desire: a summer show offering a take on materials and craft that ranges from the familiar to the utopian-exotic. That the show seems to stand in for real politics with an indignant view of the use and abuse of labor, activism, and the status of women in Bangladesh — and that it does all this while hinting that it’s just the tip of the sinking iceberg — make Readymade a must-see."
"The Bangladeshi contemporary art scene began to grow in the 1990s, twenty years after the country gained independence from Pakistan in 1971. Today, Dhaka burgeons with young talent, with new art venues sprouting up alongside established art spaces. The exhibition “Readymade” features nine exciting Bangladeshi artists who explore diverse social, political and economic issues in their country."
"Aicon Gallery’s first solo exhibition in New York of contemporary art from Bangladesh is off to a good start. Tilted “Readymade,” which consists of work by established and emerging artists compressed into a relatively short time frame that began after Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971, displays an art scene edgy for its political content, talent and imagination."
"Adeela Suleman, resorting to the absurd and the bizarre, makes light of grim realities by toying with the subversive; she uses politically-inflected satire to probe the spectre of death that we continue to confront due to terrorism, militancy, target killing, vandalism, street crime and affiliated violence."
"Following in the tradition of miniature painting, these finely rendered enamel works continue Suleman’s theme of beheaded figures with a surreal and engaging undertone. Implications of cruelty, pointless mayhem, and the continuing aftermath of colonialism are implied through the nuanced narrative. Lush Victorian landscapes and colonial figures feature in a mash up of genres and styles that effectively combine different periods from the 13th century painting technique to the gold filigree porcelain borders of the 18th century and make for a lively contemplative space."
"Aicon Gallery is currently showcasing Tempered Branches, a solo exhibition of new works by G. R. Iranna. The work continues to build upon Iranna’s career-spanning investigation into how social frameworks and religious dogmas, traditionally viewed as net-cultural positives, either directly or indirectly serve to suppress freethought and organic growth, often with complex and disastrous consequences."
"Alternately playfully irreverent and hauntingly solemn, these sculptures all ultimately speak to the ongoing social and ecological crises that continue to unfold not only in increasingly commodifying consumer societies such as India and China but on a global scale."
"Similarities in approaches and content of this art with parallel situations elsewhere are such that the general resonance of conflict and change, vagueness and clarity, mix of Eastern and Western vocabulary, hybridity and mutation is easily identifiable. New generation artists are flexible and free from the weight of traditional art methodologies. Using renewed methods of thinking and addressing problems to create relevant art, they are creating a vocabulary that global audiences are also able to understand, and relate to."
"The London-based artist Saad Qureshi shows his latest mixed media works at Manhattan’s South Asian art hotspot, Aicon Gallery, until the end of this month. Although he is trying to adopt a more universal visual language, his work remains, like so many Pakistani artists, rooted in the rich cultural metaphors and latent violence of his country of origin."
"The exhibition explores the very essence of the dichotomy of the word Brut(e) through chance, experimentation, collaboration and real and imagined narratives while drawing on an obsession with the effects of history and geography on questions of performed identity and the construction of multiple contrasting ‘Others’."
"Abdullah M. I. Syed’s first solo exhibition at Aicon Gallery, New York, which was held from July 18th to September 7th 2013, takes his concerns with strained US-Pakistan relations to a new level of investigating Pakistani identity and self-image. Through various mediums Syed casts light on Pakistan’s precarious political position with a more nuanced and complex presentation of its culture and people."
"Syed takes his cues from both Western and Eastern vocabularies of art history and theory to re-contextualise and re-frame contemporary issues. The contents of the show may impact foreign audiences as a potent and exotic mix of Diaspora related anxieties but they emit a more measured resonance here."
"The varied pieces on display come together to put forward a cohesive commentary on these issues and how they transcend boundaries as well as how they impact US relations with predominantly Muslim countries, in this case Pakistan, where Syed is from. One piece that drew a significant amount of attention was a circular installation made of American dollars intricately cut into miniature guns, rifles, and military planes."
"Already, Abdullah M I Syed’s first major US exhibition generates plenty of mystique. Not only is it a rarity– an Australia-based Pakistani artist exploring Muslim male identity– but it’s also the narrative. “Brut-Nama: The Chronicles of Brut,” stems from Faberge’s popular fragrance, “The Essence of Man.” Syed will examine the essence of Brut, as a male ideal, as well as the arts and crafts tradition of “Art Brut,” or Outsider Art."
"Most of the seven sculptures by Adeela Suleman recently on view at Aicon Gallery (all works 2010) may be called reliefs. Crafted from hammered steel, the works rises slightly from the gallery walls, appearing abstract as they glisten with intricate detail. They are, in fact, elaboratley figurative: Birds, often flanking large plants, ornamentally proliferate, as do vases, drapery, and crowns. Suleman is Pakistani, and acknowledges that her art is about Pakistan, a nuclear state plagued by suicide bombers. But her work,with its traditional cultural imagery celebrating life, ironically disguising contemporary barbarism,also speaks to the violence that threatens life and civil society everywhere."