Kishore Singh is chief editor with Roli Books, and has also launched lifestyle and design monthlies, edited Business Standard Weekend, scripted documentaries, and written as well as edited books across a diverse range of subjects. He continues to be a newspaper columnist that includes a weekly column on art, and currently heads exhibitions and publications at Delhi Art Gallery. Here, Seema Seth talks to him about how he has helped the Art Industry and the Artists evolve and establish over a long period of time..
Seema Seth (SS) : What according to you are the best outlets of retail and why?
Kishore Singh(KS): Art is not about, or at least not only about retail. Art is a process you enjoy, and therefore come to view. Naturally, the premier art museum in the country is the National Gallery of Modern Art in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. Besides, organisations such as saffronart, which sell and/or auction art online, are amazing for their access and how they reach out to art lovers. Osian’s has done similar pioneering work, though it has now slowed down because of some problems it must first resolve.
SS: Name your favourite art galleries in India.
KS: Several, doing different things, but these include Jehangir art gallery, Sakshi and Chemould in Mumbai, Delhi art gallery (of which I am a part), Vadehra, Espace, Kumar, Nature Morte and others in Delhi and Apparao in Chennai.
SS: Name some art institutes in india.
KS: Lalit Kala Akademi in a sense chronicles Indian art history and has had a fresh lease of life. There is, of course, NGMA, as I have already mentioned. Art practices such as Khoj for the cutting-edge way of viewing art that they bring to the art environment.
SS:Since the prices are as high as gold and diamond, do they also have resale value? If yes, how does it work?
KS: This is a silly comparison. Gold and diamonds are tradeable commodities. Art is something subjective which you buy for the love of it. Investment forms only a small part of it, though unfortunately it gets talked about the most. Do you buy a wedding lehnga as an investment?
SS: Which artists sell the most?
KS: That depends, but on a sustained basis there has been no one to beat the progressive artists, the movement that was established in the 1940s. Of them, M F Husain, F N Souza and S H Raza lead the market. Among younger contemporaries, Subodh Gupta, Atul Dodiya, Jitish Kallat, Bharti Kher and so on.
SS: How does an artist promote his work? What are the marketing strategies?
KS: An artist paints, or sculpts, or makes works of art. It is a gallery that represent them and decide on the packaging and marketing. This includes exhibtions, catalogues, media interviews, sales to museums, but also representation at International Art Fairs.
SS: How much can a renowned artist earn by way of sale?
KS:This is irrelevant and differs too widely to be worthy of a simple answer. Suffice to say, an artist can live comfortably, even luxuriously.
SS: What is the demand of Indian work in abroad?
KS: It had reached a crescendo in 2007, and there is still a strong interest, but international buyers stung by recession are being cautious about how they spend.
SS: Your take on fakes and what are the legal recourse available for the artist?
KS: Fakes exist. Artists, or their estates, are attempting to rope this in by issuing certificates of authenticity. Unfortunately, not too many are taking legal advise or recourse (unless there has been an open case of faking). This is something urgent and we will see more action here as artists realise that faking is more rampant than they suspect, and end up muddling the market for them in the case of rumours about faking. Galleries too are ensuring that the environment of transparency and records is very important.