Picasso painted Le Demoiselle d Avignon after seeing an exhibit of African Masks and sculptures at the MOMA. Paul Gauguin’s life’s works come from Tahiti, where he retreated to after his giving up his profession as a stockbroker. Cultures outside their own have often inspired artists to push the boundaries of their work. It is equally engaging see a culture that is known and familiar (by heritage, or place of birth) to artists, re-interpreted, contended with, and assimilated into new contexts. Nostalgia, yearnings for that elusive place called home and the immigrant experience in itself becomes the basis for their art.
This is the nerve that the curators at the Queens Museum have touched with their phenomenal exhibition called “Fatal Love- South Asian American Art Now.” The exhibition follows “Crossing the lines” (also featured at the Queens Museum) in 2001, in which artists were asked to create pieces that focused on their particular communities. The museum takes its responsibility to represent the ethnically diverse community that inhabits New York seriously. It makes a fitting venue, therefore, for “Fatal Love,” which is dedicated solely to the creative and cultural engagements of first and second generation American artists of South-Asian descent.