Sunday, March 10, 2013

Imran Qureshi becomes the first South Asian artist to exhibit at the MET, NY

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Imran Qureshi Invited to Undertake Roof Garden Commission at Metropolitan Museum This Summer
May 14–November 3, 2013 (weather permitting)

Location: The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden
Press Preview: Monday, May 13, 10:00 a.m.–noon

(New York, March 7, 2013)—Pakistani artist Imran Qureshi will create a site-specific work atop The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden this summer, the Museum announced today. Considered one of the leading figures in developing a “contemporary miniature” aesthetic, integrating motifs and techniques of traditional miniature painting with contemporary themes, Qureshi is the first artist to create a work that will be painted directly onto the surfaces of the Roof Garden. The work will relate to elements from his earlier works while responding to the broad vistas of nature in Central Park that can be viewed from the Roof Garden, as well as to the area’s architectural and historical contexts. The installation, The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi, will be on view from May 14 through November 3, 2013 (weather permitting).

The exhibition is made possible by Bloomberg.

Additional support is provided by Cynthia Hazen Polsky and Leon B. Polsky.

“We are so excited and honored to invite Imran Qureshi to cast his perceptive gaze on the Metropolitan Museum,” said Sheena Wagstaff, the Museum’s Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art. “As a painter, his sensitivity to the environment in which he finds himself—whether the hallowed symbolic space of an old courtyard, a neglected vestigial area of construction or seepage, or an 18th-century palace in the middle of a war-zone city—has resulted in remarkable installations across the world over the past decade. His art is wonderfully complex at the same time as appearing quite simple: it reckons with the realities of contemporary ideologies while reveling in the ability of paint and color to actively both cause and depict regeneration.”

Qureshi (born 1972, Hyderabad, Pakistan) is renowned for his skillful interpretations of traditional miniature painting, which first flourished in the Mughal courts of the Indian subcontinent at the end of the 16th century. Combining the motifs, symbolism, and ornamental techniques of Islamic art with modern conceptual approaches, Qureshi’s paintings reflect his artistic reconciliation of the region’s history with the reality of Pakistan today, as well as using art as a means to reconsider the contemporary relationship between Islam and the West.

Qureshi is equally adept at creating large-scale environments in architectural space, addressing the building’s proximity and the site’s historical and political associations. In these works, ornamental foliate motifs sourced from miniature drawings are transposed to a large scale through the careful layering of spilled and hand-applied paint. The result surrounds the viewer and transforms the site.

Qureshi received his B.A. in Fine Art in 1993 from the National College of Arts in Lahore, where as assistant professor he now teaches a new generation of artists. He was named Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” for 2013 and will inaugurate the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle in Berlin this spring with a major solo exhibition. He won the 2011 Sharjah Biennial Prize for his installation Blessings Upon the Land of my Love. Qureshi was also one of 15 Pakistani artists featured in the Asia Society exhibition Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan (2009-2010). Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the Rohtas Gallery in Lahore (2010), Chawkandi Art in Karachi (2010), Corvi-Mora Gallery in London (2007), Canvas Gallery in Karachi (2007), Modern Art Oxford (2007), and Lalit Kala Akademi in New Delhi (2006). His work was also featured at the Singapore Biennale in 2006 and the Sydney Biennale in 2012.

The artist lives and works in Lahore.

The installation at the Metropolitan Museum is organized by Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman, and Ian Alteveer, Associate Curator, of the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art.

It will be featured on the Metropolitan Museum’s website at

The Roof Garden Commission: Imran Qureshi—the first in a new series of paperback books providing artist perspectives and other contexts in which to consider the annual Roof Garden projects—will be published in conjunction with the installation. It will feature an interview with the artist by Navina Najat Haidar, Curator in the Department of Islamic Art, and Ian Alteveer that explores Qureshi’s creative process and the artistic traditions that have informed it. The volume will be published in May 2013 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press.

A related display of objects from the Museum’s collection, organized by the artist and including historical miniatures as well as selections of his own paintings, will be on view in the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia.

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