- Contemporary Art at the Gardner
- ExhibitionsPast Exhibitions
- Jean-Michel Othoniel: Secret Flower Sculptures
- Nari Ward: Divination X
- Luisa Rabbia: Waterfall
- Carla Fernández: The Barefoot Designer: A Passion for Radical Design and Community
- Sophie Calle: Last Seen
- Hamra Abbas: Wall Hanging I
- Adam Pendleton: Untitled
- Raqs Media Collective: The Great Bare Mat & Constellation
- Stefano Arienti: Wild Carrot
- Luisa Lambri: Portrait
- Magic Moments: The Screen and the Eye–9 Artists 9 Projections
- (TAPESTRY) RADIO ON: New Work by Victoria Morton at the Gardner
- Points of View: 20 Years Artists-in-Residence at the Gardner
- Stefano Arienti: Ailanthus
- Danijel Zezelj: Once
- Taro Shinoda: Lunar Reflections
- Su-Mei Tse: Floating Memories
- Luisa Rabbia: Travels with Isabella, Travel Scrapbooks 1883/2008
- Cliff Evans: Empyrean
- Stefano Arienti: The Asian Shore
- Sculpture and Memory: Works from the Gardner and by Luigi Ontani
- Henrik Håkansson: Cyanopsitta spixii Case Study #001
- Michele Iodice: A Pagan Feast
- Variations On a Theme by Sol Lewitt and Paula Robison
- Danijel Zezelj: Stray Dogs
- Dayanita Singh: Chairs
- Maurizio Cannavacciuolo: TV Dinner
- Elaine Reichek: madamimadam
- Joseph Kosuth: Artist, Curator, Collector
- Nari Ward: Episodes: Bus Park & Forevermore
- Manfred Bischoff
- Ackroyd & Harvey: Presence
- Laura Owens
- Joan Bankemper: A Gardener's Diary
- Lee Mingwei: Living Room
- Josiah McElheny
- Abelardo Morell: Face to Face
- Mona Higuchi: Bamboo Echoes
- Juan Muñoz: Portrait of a Turkish Man Drawing
- Denise Marika: New Works by Denise Marika
- Dorit Cypis: The Body in the Picture
- Artists By 2004
- Singh looking at Mrs. Gardner's travel scrapbooks, 2002.
- Singh looking through archival photographs in Conservation, 2002.
- Dayanita Singh, <em>Titian Room, Boston</em>, 2002.
- Dayanita Singh, <em>Raphael Room Chair, Boston</em>, 2002.
- Dayanita Singh working with 8th graders from the Mission Hill School.
- Dayanita Singh working with 8th graders from the Mission Hill School.
- Fausto Calderai and Dayanita Singh discuss a gilded chair in the Titian Room, 2003.
2002, 2003, 2004, 2005
Dayanita Singh (b. 1961 India) is best known for her captivating photographs of the less obvious side of Indian society. Her images of people working, celebrating, or resting show Indian life without embellishment and capture insights into contemporary life that often challenge the disaster or exotic stereotypes of the West. In addition, Singh has explored interior spaces, personal museums, architecture, and moved to color film to capture cityscapes in her recent Blue Scenery series, 2006-08. Publishing has also become a significant part of the artist's practice. In her books, often published without text, she experiments with different ways of producing and viewing photographs.
Dayanita Singh's work is in numerous international art collections and has been exhibited at venues such as the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum, Berlin, Recontres Arles, France, Gallery Nature Morte, New Delhi, Frith Street Gallery, London, Studio Guenzani, Milan, London's Tate Modern, the Asia Society, New York, the Kunsthalle, Vienna, and the Serpentine Gallery, London. In 2010 a major retrospective of Dayanita Singh's work was shown at the MAPFRE Foundation, Madrid. Singh is the recipient of many awards including the prestigious Prince Claus Award by the government of The Netherlands (2008), the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography from the Harvard University Art Museums (2008), and the Andreas Frank Foundation grant (1997). Her published books are Zakir Hussain (1986); I am as I am (1999); Myself, Mona Ahmed (2001); Privacy (2003); Chairs (2005); Go Away Closer (2007); Sent a Letter (2008); Blue Book (2008); and Dream Villa (2010). Dayanita Singh has worked extensively as a photojournalist and studied Visual Communication at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, and at the International Center of Photography in New York. She lives and works in New Delhi and in Goa, India.
During her residency the spring of 2002, Dayanita Singh made her first artist book for her friend Amitav Ghosh, a response to his book Crystal Palace, in the Artist-in-Residence apartment. She has since utilized this format for several single editions as well as commercially printed publications. In the museum, Singh spent the month looking at materials in the archives and photographing the collection and building. She found that she was particularly drawn to the chairs in the galleries and began to photograph their distinct personalities as though they were people. This revelation marked the beginning of her series of Chair Portraits that she shot in India, Italy and the U.S. Three years later, these portraits were featured in Chairs, a collaborative exhibition with furniture scholar Fausto Calderai, designer Andrea Anastasio, educator Carla Hartman, filmmaker Michael Sheridan, and Gardner Museum curators Pieranna Cavalchini and Alan Chong.
Dayanita Singh returned to the Gardner Museum several times and gave several talks during these visits. In 2002 she discussed her new book, Myself Mona Ahmed, with contemporary curator Pieranna Cavalchini. The evening also included a staged reading of letters in the book from Mona Ahmed to the editor by Thomas Derra, a longstanding member of the American Repertory Theatre Company in Cambridge, MA. In 2003, Singh joined another Artist-in-Residence, Jyotindra Jain, to explore contemporary visual popular culture in India at an Eye of the Beholder Lecture. Jain, then the Director of the Crafts Museum in Delhi, and Singh discussed how culture influences the way people in the region present themselves to the image maker and the concepts and contextual reconstructions in which photographic images are taken and manipulated as an instrument of cultural force in modern India. Singh spoke about her Chair Portraits and residency with Cavalchini when her exhibition opened as well as invited Amatov Gosh to come to do a reading in the gallery and to talk about her work.
During several weeks in May 2003, Dayanita Singh worked closely with a group of ten 8th graders from the Mission Hill School. Singh visited the students at their school and talked extensively about her experiences working as an artist and a photojournalist. She gave them disposable cameras and provided instructions on how to approach their subjects stressed that they needed to be conscious of what they included, or left out of, the frame. Next they focused on journalism and how to create a portrait of someone through an interview. The class also came to the museum to visit Dayanita Singh and spend time in the galleries. After Singh reviewed the first sets of photographs, she gave each student a special assignment for the next roll of film such as: take all still lifes, all pictures of people, or all self portraits. Photographs from the two assignments were selected and compiled into individual journals and a collaborative book. On their trip to the museum, Singh had photographed each student in the Courtyard and together in the carriage house apartment. She gave each a contact sheet of their portrait and a print of the group together.