Anuradha Vikram’s Decolonizing Culture is a collection of seventeen essays that address questions of race and gender parity in contemporary art spaces. Originally published between 2013 and 2017 through Daily Serving’s #Hashtags column, Vikram’s text considers the specifics of equality and representation in the context of current events in the field of arts and culture in the United States and internationally. The columns cover a number of racially charged incidents in arts institutions during this period that received significant press attention, but little meaningful analysis. Vikram examines how arts institutions construct space and select programming in accordance with their expectations of their audience, and how a disconnect between the realities of contemporary urban demographics and the leadership at many arts institutions has led to controversy and embarrassment on numerous occasions. Contrasting with these case studies in institutional exclusion are a number of profiles of artists and artworks that bring art’s potential for inclusivity to fruition, working within institutions as well as outside of them to bring change.
Anuradha Vikram is a Los Angeles-based writer, curator, and educator who has guest-curated exhibitions for the Craft Contemporary (formerly CAFAM), Shulamit Nazarian, Mills College Art Museum, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, ProArts, and the DeYoung Museum Artist Studio, and held curatorial positions at 18th Street Arts Center, UC Berkeley Department of Art Practice, Headlands Center for the Arts, Aicon Gallery, Richmond Art Center, and in the studio of artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Vikram is the author of Decolonizing Culture, a collection of seventeen essays that address questions of race and gender parity in contemporary art spaces (Art Practical/Sming Sming Books, 2017). As a writer, she has contributed to ARTnews, Leonardo, KCET Artbound, Artillery, Hyperallergic, Daily Serving, Art Practical, The Brooklyn Rail, and OPEN SPACE, the blog of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; to catalogues on the work of Young Joon Kwak, Kal Spelletich, Sonya Rapoport, Chitra Ganesh, Ana Mendieta, and Om Prakash; and to the Paper Monument collection As radical, as mother, as salad, as shelter: what should art institutions do now? Vikram holds an MA in Curatorial Practice from California College of the Arts and a BS in Studio Art from New York University. She is faculty in the UCLA Department of Art, USC Roski School of Art and Design, and Otis College of Art and Design, a member of the Editorial Board of X-TRA, and a member of the Board of Directors of the College Art Association.
This title is included in “Holding Space: A Shortlist Exploring the Complexity of Asian American Identity”. Publications that address the complexities of the Asian American and Asian diasporic experience in the field of contemporary art are few and far between. As an organization based in the U.S. and serving a diasporic Asian community, we have experienced firsthand both the desire for knowledge in this space as well as the frustration due to its paucity. “Holding Space” is a shortlist composed of a selection of publications housed at our reading room that begins to redress this scarcity. This list is by no means exhaustive; rather, it represents the start of a continued commitment to fill this gap.