This winter, the Block’s major exhibition, Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies, explores the impact of centuries of collecting in Kashmir and the Western Himalayas. The exhibition showcases religious objects produced from the 7th to 17th centuries in the region.
On Tuesday, February 10, Dr. Madhuvanti Ghose, Alsdorf Associate Curator of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, explored the roots of these artistic styles.
Her “Early Art of Kashmir” lecture drew a crowd of nearly 50, all eager to learn about the art of Kashmir prior to the period covered by Collecting Paradise as a way of contextualizing the exhibition. Block Director Lisa Corrin and exhibition curator Rob Linrothe introduced Dr. Ghose, who began the night by commenting that Kashmir has always fascinated her.
Ghose has the experience to prove it: from retrospective exhibitions to site-specific installations and the Art Institute’s first show by a contemporary Indian artist, she has long studied Indian art and museum culture.
At the Block, Ghose dove into the impact of Gandharan art on the origins of an indigenous Kashmiri style from the 5th century to the period where Collecting Paradise picks up the narrative. She told the story of the region’s migrating cultures and the development of artistic styles over time, starting with the Greeks in first century BC/AD and reaching all the way to Kashmiris in fifth century AD. Ghose emphasized that Greek, Kushan and Gupta styles evolved and eventually created the distinct Kashmiri style showcased in Collecting Paradise.
A recording of the lecture is available upon request.We invite all to get at the roots of Collecting Paradise and Collecting Culture in our galleries through mid-April. Find a full schedule of free public programs and Block Cinema screenings here.