New at the Met Breuer

Raghubir Singh (Indian, 1942–1999). Pavement Mirror Shop, Howrah, West Bengal, 1991. Chromogenic print, 19 1/2 x 29 1/2 in. (49.5 x 74.9 cm). Collection of Cynthia Hazen Polsky. Photograph copyright © 2017 Succession Raghubir Singh

The Met Breuer has a wonderful exhibit of the street color photography of Raghubir Singh—Modernism on the Ganges— photography of his native India.  I was looking forward to this as I love photography exhibits and this is wonderful.  In fact, I intend to return this Saturday.  He was active from the late ‘60s until his death in 1999 and this retrospective situates Singh’s

Photography at the intersection of Western modernism and traditional South Asian modes.  It features 85 of his photos together with the work of his contemporaries who were friends and collaborators.

Catching the Breeze, Hathod Village, Jaipur, Rajasthan

Singh embraced color as part of a continuous Indian aesthetic tradition that reaches back to the miniature paintings of the Mughal period (1526-1857).  He was also deeply influenced by the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson and American photographers such as Helen Levitt, Lee Friedlander and William Gedneywhose work is also on exhibit.  Singh forged a distinctively Indian

Style of modernist photography that stands, as he put it, “on the Ganges side of modernism, rather than the Seine or East River side of it.”

There’s also a wonderful Indian film on view with it that I enjoyed enormously.


Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates Publicity, a boutique agency in Manhattan. She may be reached at silverbergm@mindspring.com.

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