Productive failure: Writing queer transnational South Asian art histories

This book sets out to write new transnational South Asian art histories, making visible the histories of artworks that have been marginalized within the discipline. It does this through a deliberate ‘productive failure’ – rejecting the dominant genealogical methodology in favour of a more active, performative approach.

The book considers an array of conventional frames – authorship, subject matter, form – but only as points of departure fro exploring artworks and the broader visual culture. It also examines ‘whiteness’ as a fraught yet productive site for writing art history. In effect, the book queers or destabilizes conventional approaches, exploring alternative forms of art historical ‘writing’, including autoethnographic narratives relating experiential knowledge of space, curatorial knowledge-making via exhibitions organized by the author and affective encounters with visual culture.

This queering offers a more sited, nuanced and encompassing method for generating art history, one that acknowledges the complex web of factors within which art and its history are produced, as well as the different forms of knowledge-production that can be counted as art history.