Namaste USA: An Illustrated Lecture by Alexander Keefe


Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Asia Art Archive in America
Video documentation by Asia Art Archive in America

Now an obscure figure in the history of Indian classical dance, Shanta Rao was once among its most visible representatives, touring the globe and appearing on stages from the Peking Hotel to the Museum of Modern Art. In 1955, she performed live on CBS television, twice, with millions watching.

Namaste USA, is an illustrated lecture presented by Alexander Keefe, which explores the context behind these television appearances, including a landmark 1955 MoMA exhibition titled Textiles and Ornamental Arts of India, as well as a third television appearance by Rao that same year in New Delhi at the Indian Industries Fair. What did it mean for Indian classical dance to be broadcast on early network television in this way? What did it mean to stage Indian classical dance inside a modern American museum?

Following the presentation, Keefe engaged in a conversation with the artist Chitra Ganesh on their shared interest in the history in the US of South Asian art on stage, in museums, in archives, and the media.


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Alexander Keefe
writes about art, media and aesthetics in the US and South Asia. His recent projects on David Tudor, Pandit Pran Nath, the Dia Foundation, Robert Rauschenberg, and early video art have appeared in Bidoun, Cabinet, East of Borneo and other publications. In 2014 he completed Sarkari Shorts, a year-long online excavation of documentary films produced by the Government of India. A 2010 grantee of the Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program, he has also received a Fulbright for research in India and currently holds the Inaugural Alan Erasmus Fellowship in Unpopular Culture at NYU’s Colloquium for Unpopular Culture.

Chitra Ganesh was born and raised in Brooklyn and Queens, and is currently based in Brooklyn. She completed her BA in Comparative Literature and Art—Semiotics from Brown University (1996), and her MFA from Columbia University (2002). Ganesh has exhibited locally and internationally, including at Berkeley Art Museum, Bronx Museum, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and Baltimore Museum. International venues include Fondazione Sandretto (Turin), the Saatchi Museum (London), with solo presentations at PS 1/MOMA, the Andy Warhol Museum, and Brooklyn Museum. Ganesh has most recently been awarded a Hodder Fellowship for the 2017-18 academic year at Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.

Image caption: Adventure: Hinduism (still), aired May 15, 1955, CBS. Courtesy of The Paley Center for Media and Alexander Keefe.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.

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ARTISTS, CRITICS, CURATORS, AND OTHER CONTRIBUTORS

Aisha Khalid, Aki Onda, Aki Sasamoto, Alexander Keefe, Alexandra Chang, Alexandra Munroe, Alf Chang, Amy Lien, Amy WOOD, Annysa Ng, Anthony Tino, Anthony Yung, Arin Rungjang, Ashley Billingsley, Ashok Sukumaran, Bahar Behbahani, Bahar Behbani, Bani Abadi, Bani Abidi, Barbara London, Benjamin Moskowitz, Beth Citron, Betsy Damon, Bing Lee, Birgit DONKER, Boon Hui Tan, Boris Groys, Brinda Kumar, Cai Guoqiang, CAMP, Cao Fei, Casey Tang, Chang Chao Tang, Chang Yuchen, Chen Chieh-jen, Chen Tong, Chen Wei-ching, Chen Xiaomei, Chihoi, Chitra Ganesh, Chris Wu, Christoph NOE, Christopher Ho, Christopher K. Ho, Christopher Phillips, Chương-Đài Võ, Cici Wu, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Cosmin Costinas, David Smith, Desire Machine Collective, Dinh Q Le, dmp editions, Dooeun Choi, DREAMER FTY, Ei Arakawa, Eleanor Heartney, Enzo Camacho, EPOXY Art Group, Erin Gleeson, Eugene Wang, Fang Lu, Farah Wardani, Fei Dawei, FENG Yuan(馮原), Franklin Furnace, Frédéric Dialynas Sanchez, Fully Booked, Furen Dai, fwf, Gao Shiming, Gianni Jetzer, Glenn Phillips, Go Hirasawa, Hajra Waheed, Hammad Nasar, Heman Chong, Herb Tam, Hiroko Tasaka, Hitomi Iwasaki, Ho Tzu Nyen, Howie Chen, Hsu Chia-Wei, Huang Chien-Hung, Huang Hua-Chen, Huang Po-chih, HUANG Xiaopeng, I-Hua Lee, Il Lee, Ingrid Chu, Interference Archive, Jaeyong Park, Jane DeBevoise, Jean-Hubert Martin, Jen Hoyer, Jen Liu, Jennifer Davis, Jewyo Rhii, Joan Lebold Cohen, Joanne, John Pirozzi, John Tain, José Maceda, Julian Ross, Jun Yang, June Yap, Kaho Albert Yu, Katherine Grube, Kim Yong-Ik, Kimia Maleki, Kit Yi Wong, Koki Tanaka, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Laurel Ptak, Lê Thuận Uyên, Lee Kit, Lee Mingwei, Lee Weng Choy, Lesley Ma, Levi Easterbrooks, Li Ming, Li Ran, Li Xiaofei, Liang Jianhua, Lin Yilin, LinDa Saphan, Lisa Ross, Liu Ding, Liu Shiyuan, Louiza Ho, Lynn Gumpert, Lyno Vuth, Maline Yim, Mao Chenyu, MAP Office, Margaret Lee, Margo Machida, Mariam Ghani, Martha Wilson, Marvin Taylor, Meghan Forbes, Meiya Cheng, Mel Bochner, Miao Ying, Michelle Wong, Michelle Yun, Midori Yoshimoto, Ming Fay, Minoru Yoshida, Miwako Tezuka, Moe Satt, Morgan Wong, Mukaddas Mijit, Murtaza Vali, Museum of Unknown, Nadim Abbas, Naeem Mohaiemen, Nate Hun, Nico Baumbach, Nikhil Raunak, Nonny de la Peña, Nora Taylor, nos:books, Ocean Leung, Onejoon Che, Pad.ma, Pak Sheung Chuen, Pan An-yi, Park Chankyong, Passenger Pigeon Press, Patty Chang, Pi Li, Polit-Sheer-Form Office, Prem Krishnamurthy, Qiu Anxiong, Qiu Deshu, Qiu Zhijie, Rabbya Naseer, Rania Ho, Raqs Media Collective, Reiko Tomii, Richard Vine, Rina Banerjee, Risha Lee, Rob Smith, Roslisham Ismail a.k.a. Ise, Ruijun Shen, Ryan Lee Wong, Saadia Toor, Sabih Mohd Ahmed, Sadya Mizan, Sam Hart, Samita Sinha, Samsom Young, Samson Young, Sareth Svay, Sean Anderson, Sen Uesaki, Shaina Anand, Shanta Rao, Sharmini Pereira, Shauba Chang, Shen Xin, Shiraga Kazuo, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Simon Leung (梁碩恩), Simon Wu, Sming Sming Books, Sohl Lee, Son Ni, Song Dong, Sopheap Pich, Stephanie Comilang, Stephanie H. Tung, Stephen Teiser, Su Hui-Yu, Su Yu-Hsien, Sung Hwan Kim, Sunghee Lee, Tabaimo, Takahiko Iimura, Takako Tanabe, Takeshi Ikeda, Tammy Nguyen, Tang Kwok Hin, Taro Hanaga, Teresa Kwong, The Dunhuang Foundation, The Otolith Group, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Tiffany Chung, Tishan Hsu, Tobias Madison, Tom Looser, Trần Minh Đức, Uli Sigg, Umber Majeed, Vivian Sming, Wang Jianwei, Wang Jing, Wang Wei, Wang Xu, Waterfall, William LIM, Work on Work, Wu Shanzhuan, Xiaoyu Weng, Xie Xiaoze, Xin Wang, Xu Bing, Xu Tan, YANG Jiechang, Yang Wang, Yin Xiuzhen, Ying Kwok, Yoon Hwan Bae, YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES, Yu Cheng-Ta, Yung MA, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang Peili, Zheng Shengtian, Zhenzhen Qi, Zhou Tao, Ziying Duan, Zoe Butt