Maharaja Splendor: Sanjay Patel & the Asian Art Museum

Maharaja Splendor: Sanjay Patel & the Asian Art Museum

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Tess Wilson
Nov 10, 2011

San Francisco's Asian Art Museum is hosting Maharaja: The Splendor of India's Royal Courts. Through April 8 2012, you can "explore the life and times of India's great kings by getting close to the objects they used and the art they commissioned, collected, and loved." I'm most excited, however, by local artist Sanjay Patel's "Deities, Demons and Dudes With 'Staches", which opens tomorrow!

The entire Maharaja exhibition sounds completely fascinating, and the selected 22 images available online are quite enticing. Spice boxes, jade pots, paintings, musical instruments, games, and thrones and chairs are all included, providing clues to the Maharajas' home lives. Qamar Adamjee's description of the show is a great place to start, and I especially like this: "Nearly every object included in the display has a great story and multiple layers of meaning behind it."

The inclusion of Sanjay Patel, an animator for Pixar, is particularly exciting. As Kevin Berger of The Bay Citizen writes: "After 45 years of presenting mostly ancient art in understated settings, the museum, which teetered on the brink of bankruptcy less than a year ago, is now determined to 'stand out by being bold,' said Jay Xu, 48, who became director three years ago and is the creative force behind the new direction." My favorite part was reading about the collaboration in Sanjay's own charmingly honest words. His show promises to provide an enlightening juxtaposition- as he says, "That's the whole point of my show: To show people the connection between the most ancient artifacts and my modern interpretation. To place an exquisite stone sculpture of Vishnu from the twelfth century next to a digital illustration created at this moment. Then to step back and to let people decide what's original and what's not. What's special and what's not, what's art and what's pop culture." See you there, perhaps?

Images: 1. By Sanjay Patel for The Asian Art Museum, via The Bay Citizen 2.-5. The Asian Art Museum

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