Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bhupen Khakhar, India’s First Openly Gay Artist at UK's National Gallery of Art

By Laura Cumming
Hathyogi (1978) by Bhupen Kakkar
UNITED KINGDOM---Bhupen Khakhar (1934-2003) was born in Bombay, studied economics and qualified as a chartered accountant. After meeting the painter Gulam Mohammed Sheikh in 1958, he became interested in painting, eventually attending art school in Baroda. He saw pop art for the first time in 1962 – its traces are occasionally apparent in his street scenes and acid colours – though the influence of Henri Rousseau and David Hockney may be more obvious to western eyes. It is hard to tell how faux-naïf are his allusions to naive art (although there is no evidence of some deliberately suppressed finesse) but there is a strain of intense feeling in these late works, where the art meets the subject head on: the struggle to live is matched by the struggle to paint. [link]

Tate Modern: "Bhupen Khakhar 'You Can't Please All'" (Ends November 6, 2016); Bankside, London, UK; SE1 9TG;
Flouting of sanctions on the categories of gender and sexuality gained momentum since the 1970s' sexual liberation. the significant canvas Two Men in Benaras (1982) by Bhupen Khakhar shows two men standing in a naked embrace with their visible genital excitement transgressively encroaching upon the aura of a religious setting.