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Writing Queer Transnational South Asian Art Histories

Writing Queer Transnational South Asian Art Histories
Alpesh Kantilal Patel in conversation with Natasha Bissonauth


Alpesh Kantilal Patel’s art historical scholarship, art criticism and curating reflect his queer, anti-racist, and transnational approach to contemporary art. Twelve Gates Arts will present a reading from the author's monograph “Productive failure: writing queer transnational South Asian art histories”, published by Manchester University Press (2017).

With this book, Alpesh Patel is queering, or making unstable, conventional notions of writing transnational South Asian art histories by not upholding the strictly genealogical approach that is regularly assumed for them. He considers a range of “practice-led” research forms and creative methodological approaches to analyzing visual culture, such as autoethnographic narratives, curatorial knowledge-making, and his affective encounters. Also, he examines “whiteness,” the invisible ground upon which racialized art histories often pivot. Overall, his queering of art history aims to offer a more sited, nuanced framework and method for generating art history by more capably acknowledging the complex web of intersecting factors within which art and art history is produced and the different forms of knowledge-production we might count as art history.

Natasha Bissonauth is Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing and Writing Fellow at Haverford College. Bissonauth's doctoral research at Cornell  centers on queer and feminist aesthetics situated in contemporary global visual cultures with an emphasis on South Asian and South Asian diasporic circuits of art. She received a Ph.D. in Art History from Cornell University, and completed her M.A. at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2006) and B.A. at McGill University (2005). She has published artist interviews, exhibition reviews, and articles in publications such as Art Asia Pacific, Art India, Photography & Culture and Art Journal.

Alpesh Kantilal Patel is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art and Director of the MFA in Visual Arts program at Florida International University (FIU) in Miami. He is currently working on the book projects “Transregional Entanglements: Contemporary Queer Eastern European art histories” and “Exhibition as Studio.” He has published articles in numerous anthologies and journals and his research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Endowment of Humanities, Arts Council England, Fulbright Foundation, and Cranbrook Academy of Art. Currently editor of contemporary art book reviews for, he often writes exhibition reviews for, Art in America, frieze, Artforum, and He has organized exhibitions in England and the US and worked in the curatorial departments and director’s offices of the Whitney Museum of American Art and New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. He received his BA in art history from Yale University and his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester in England.


Earlier Event: November 2
Artissima 2017