Join the Curator: Vivan Sundaram

Join Dr. Paul Sternberger for a conversation with Delhi-based artist Vivan Sundaram focused on the development of his multifaceted practice. The subject of the 2019 book Vivan Sundaram is Not a Photographer by Ruth Rosengarten, Sundaram crisscrosses boundaries of genre and medium to produce powerful installations that are both shaped by and transcend photographic modes. How can we better understand the artist’s diverse world of methods and materials? How are the museum’s own photo holdings from Sundaram’s Re-Take of Amrita series best situated in his broader oeuvre? Following the discussion, Sternberger and Sundaram will take questions from the audience in this special live event. This program is offered as part of The Studio, the Freer and Sackler’s virtual contemporary art space.

Vivan Sundaram (b. 1943, Shimla, India) received his BFA from The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda in 1965 and his Post-Diploma from the Slade School of Fine Art, London, in 1968. His work, which is exhibited across the globe, incorporates diverse media including painting, photography, video, sculpture, archival materials, found objects, and performance. Recent solo shows include Terraoptics (2017), 409 Ramkinkars (2015), Re-take of Amrita (2014), and Postmortem (after Gagawaka) (2013). Sundaram is a founding member of the Kassauli Art Center, the Journal of Arts & Ideas, the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, and is a managing trustee of the Sher-Gil Sundaram Arts Foundation. He is represented by the gallery sepiaEYE in New York City.

Paul Sternberger received his PhD in Art History from Columbia University and joined the faculty of Rutgers-Newark in 1997. His publications include Between Amateur and Aesthete: The Legitimization of Photography in America, 1880-1900 (2001) and By Its Cover: Modern American Book Cover Design (2005). Sternberger cocurated the groundbreaking exhibition India: Public Places, Private Spaces: Contemporary Photography and Video Art in 2007. His articles and reviews have appeared in journals such as History of Photography, American Art, Photographies, The Journal of the History of Collections, The Woman’s Art Journal, and Arts of Asia.

Image credit: Father-Daughter, from the series Re-take of Amrita, Vivan Sundaram, India, 2001, archival digital pigment print, Gift of Drs. Umesh and Sunanda Gaur, Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, S2019.6.19