Contradiction Remains Vital to Pakistan and Its Art

Randy Kennedy in the New York Times:

ScreenHunter_03 Sep. 03 08.47 “Hanging Fire,” which opens next Thursday, is the first major survey of contemporary art from Pakistan to be presented by an American museum. And for many artists and curators who have long worked in relative obscurity in Pakistan’s contemporary art world — one that has been thriving since the 1980s despite and perhaps in some ways because of the country’s instability — it is a highly anticipated event.

“I think it’s difficult for people outside Pakistan to understand what this kind of recognition on an international stage means within the country,” said Melissa Chiu, the museum’s director. “It’s a big moment.”

The exhibition features the work of 15 artists, almost all of whom live and work in Pakistan. Most have passed at one time or another through the National College of Arts in Lahore, an influential force in the country’s artistic life, where the show’s curator, the painter and writer Salima Hashmi, taught for many years.

More here. [Thanks to Feisal H. Naqvi.]