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A Major New Museum in India Tackles Art World Bias and the Male Gaze

A Major New Museum in India Tackles Art World Bias and the Male Gaze

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Major new museum in India tackles art world bias and the male gaze

A major new museum in India is taking aim at the art world's persistent male gaze by redefining what high art means. MAP Museum of Art and Photography (MAP) is situated across five stories in Bengaluru, often referred to as "India's Silicon Valley".

This 60,000-item collection showcases pre-modern, modern and contemporary art as well as an extensive archive of textiles, crafts and print advertising.

MAP aims to make art accessible

MAP, Bangalore's first major private art museum, seeks to break down boundaries between high art and more everyday forms of creativity. Established by Abhishek Poddar, the museum will open its doors in February as an inclusive platform for all.

India may boast a rich artistic tradition, yet the country remains relatively underserved when it comes to art and museum visitors. Most of India's museums are funded by private philanthropists and often lack adequate educational infrastructure, according to Hyperallergic.

Researchers note a serious shortage of resources to understand Indian art history. That is why an international team of scholars have launched the MAP Academy Encyclopedia of Indian Art, an open-source encyclopedia spanning over 10,000 years of South Asian visual culture.

The project boasts more than 2,000 peer-reviewed entries, which cover various aspects of art history from the 10th century to today. For instance, its article on bazaar paintings illustrates how artists adapted European styles and aesthetics for local audiences in the early 20th century.

It also addresses issues like colonization and subjugation in South Asia, as well as the male gaze which has shaped art throughout history. According to its team, the encyclopedia's mission is to make art histories more accessible, with hopes that this project will have a beneficial social impact by broadening perspectives on humanity, heritage and culture.

One of MAP's most significant exhibitions, "Visible/Invisible," examines the representation of women in Indian art over 11 centuries. It features works by renowned artists such as Jamini Roy, Bhupen Khakhar, Mrinalini Mukherjee and Ravinder Reddy.

At MAP, they strive to make art more accessible while also preserving India's vibrant cultural heritage. Their collection includes paintings, sculptures, photographs and textiles from across the Indian subcontinent since the 10th century until today.

MAP's digital programs are another area of focus, with the museum planning free video workshops, webinars and an online encyclopedia of Indian art curated by expert scholars. This encyclopedia seeks to foster a greater appreciation of Indian art and its history while contributing to an ever-expanding list of open-source resources in art history.

The building

India's new major museum is challenging the art world's gender bias and male gaze. Situated in Bengaluru, it strives to make art "fun, hands-on and not elitist".

Abhishek Poddar, the founder of MAP, believes that making art galleries accessible and dispelling any perception of them as exclusive institutions is integral to his vision for creating a "museum culture" in India. Their 44,000 square foot building designed by local architecture firm Mathew & Ghosh includes four galleries, an auditorium, conservation center and research library - all open to visitors.

The museum's collection of 60,000 artworks includes paintings, sculptures and graphics from throughout India's history. For instance, the Visible/Invisible series examines female roles within Indian culture; it challenges longstanding practices of depicting women as goddesses or mothers but also asks whether this has changed over time.

To celebrate this shift, the exhibition highlights women's role in painting, sculpture and textile design. It includes Nalini Malani's 1991 painting that imagines mythical women as both caring and violent; Nilima Sheikh's radiant "Mother and Child 2," which conveys a mother's love for her children; plus six original works commissioned to fill in gaps in the canon such as Renuka Rajiv's quilt made out of fabric by non-binary artist Renuka Rajiv or LGBTQ collective Payana.

Visible/Invisible challenges the stereotypical view of women as nurturers and commodities by showcasing a range of feminine forms and celebrating the diversity within this country's people.

This collection showcases pan-Indian artifacts, such as 19th century Jaipur chuskis (wine flasks) modelled on dancing figures; gold earrings worn by tribal women in Nagercoil, Tamil Nadu; and mukhnaals or gold hookah mouthpieces used by maharajas.

It also displays objects related to daily life in ancient India, such as a 21-piece metal royal picnic set and weighing scales from Kochi and Kashmir. These artifacts showcase ancient wisdoms such as using utensils made of clay mixed with neem leaves for protection against insects.

As with many of India's art institutions, MAP relies heavily on private donations for its operations. Despite receiving an annual budget from the Ministry of Culture of 30.1 billion rupees (about $362 million), its operating costs are only 46% higher than those faced by America's largest museum - The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

The collection

The new MAP museum in Bengaluru boasts a 60,000-item collection that strives to make art approachable, tangible and not elitist. With its wealth of textiles, crafts and print advertising pieces on display, MAP museum strives to blur the line between fine and everyday art.

At a time when India's multi-layered history is being deconstructed by an increasingly radical agenda and people's identities are being challenged, museums offer us an opportunity to reflect upon and celebrate our shared roots. Initiatives such as The Heritage Lab's These Mughal Women campaign that encouraged people to share objects related to women in Mughal court, along with interactive spaces like Bengaluru's Indian Music Experience that encourage visitors to tap and hum along with musical installations, have made an impact.

Kamini Sawhney, the director of MAP, says the museum will offer five permanent galleries as well as space for traveling exhibitions. She envisions it being a "hub for ideas and conversations".

To achieve this goal, she draws from MAP's entire collection -- from pre-modern and modern art, textiles and crafts, folk and tribal art - so that different groups are represented. "It is essential to include a range of artists, ages and styles so we can reach as many people as possible," she emphasizes.

Curating exhibitions, she strives to 'create an emotional connection' with viewers. She's particularly fascinated by artists' reimagination of traditional forms to produce works that explore contemporary experiences. Additionally, she seeks to fill gaps in the museum's canon by commissioning original works by female artists and working alongside LGBTQ collectives and non-binary individuals to reframe how women are viewed in art history.

This collection houses an incredible 5,000 years of art from around the world, from Buddhist manuscript painting and Hindu court paintings to South Asian arms and armor. It's one of the largest collections of Indian art outside of India itself.

Sujan Poddar, the museum's founder-trustee and co-founder, strives to foster a "culture of museums" in India by enabling anyone with internet access to view its collection anytime and promoting the idea that art belongs to everyone. To this end, he's implemented free admission for some exhibitions as well as an initiative that waives ticketed costs one afternoon each week.

The exhibitions

The newly opened MAP Museum of Art and Photography in Bengaluru, India, seeks to make art more accessible and help reframe the subcontinent's art history. Spread across five stories, this private museum showcases pre-modern, modern, and contemporary pieces.

The institution is supported by a small board composed of philanthropists and businesspeople; the remainder comes from ticket sales. Abhishek Poddar, the founder, states his objective to foster "a culture of museums" in India by making much of their collection accessible and waiving fees for tickets one afternoon per week.

Poddar explained his mission for the institution: to make it more inclusive, particularly among young people. He believes that most people don't enjoy visiting museums, so he is striving to address this problem.

He believes that making galleries more approachable helps combat the negative perception of museums as exclusive institutions. Furthermore, he hopes that by bringing more people into the art world, more people will take an interest in its collections.

One of the most significant challenges museums must confront is how objects are chosen for their collection and what is written on their walls. Wajid Kasmani emphasizes that language used on exhibition panels is a political act, with word choices having an impact on how viewers interpret material displayed therein.

She also points out that some collections were founded by wealthy donors who gained from colonial empires. For instance, the British Museum was founded with proceeds from Sir Hans Sloane - a physician and collector whose fortunes were made through East India Company slave plantations in Jamaica.

Unfortunately, these legacies remain present in many museums today, inhibiting their capacity to tell diverse stories. This is especially true when it comes to preserving and honoring the contributions of artists of color and women.

At MAP, many exhibitions such as VISIBLE/INVISIBLE: Representation of Women in Art through the MAP Collection prompt conversation about gender and how art can be used to challenge social norms. This exhibit examines how women have been depicted in Indian art throughout its history and examines how this has affected their status as women.

NASA all systems go for manned launch to ISS Monday morning

NASA All Systems Go For a Manned Launch to the International Space Station (ISS) Monday Morning

On Monday morning, NASA is ready for a manned launch to the International Space Station from SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket. If all goes as expected, astronauts will be taking off from Earth's orbiting outpost for their next assignment.

This mission marks the launch of NASA's Artemis program, sending women and people of color to the Moon. Additionally, it serves as a test for Orion's heat shield - a spacecraft rated to carry humans.

The Orion Spacecraft

The Orion Spacecraft is NASA's next vehicle for sending astronauts on missions to explore the moon and Mars, as well as other destinations within our solar system. It is scheduled for launch no earlier than May 2022 with an orbital mission and landing mission following shortly afterward.

Before its mission begins, Orion Spacecraft goes through rigorous testing to guarantee it can withstand any challenges that come its way. It boasts many systems designed for long-term missions like advanced environmental control and life support systems, radiation protection, heat shields that can withstand a blast back of more than 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once in space, Orion crew module is equipped with a launch abort system and jettison motor that will pull the capsule away from the rocket in case something goes awry during ascent. In case Orion fails to reach its destination, it will use its own propulsion systems and escape rockets to safely return to Earth for landing.

One of the key tests will be a flyby of the moon, which is 30,000 miles farther from Earth than any previous orbit by human-rated spacecraft. As part of its half orbit around the moon, ISS will make an anticlockwise rotation in its direction of rotation.

Another significant test will be how the spacecraft handles reentry into the atmosphere. The crew module will be put to its limit as it enters at nearly 40,000 km/h with temperatures as high as 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit.

Reentering Earth's magnetic field will shield the crew from radiation damage with a dense radiation shelter, or "pillow fort", built around them with stowage bags. They'll also be equipped with radiation sensors which will alert them if they enter the inner Van Allen Belt - an area of cosmic and solar radiation trapped by Earth's magnetic field.

Once Orion Spacecraft touches down in the Pacific Ocean, it will shed part of its cover and deploy 11 parachutes rapidly in order to slow its descent for splashdown. After that, it'll be pulled onto a waiting vessel in the waters beyond.

The SpaceX Crew Dragon

Monday morning, a new crew will launch to the International Space Station as part of NASA and SpaceX's joint initiative to keep the orbiting laboratory fully staffed. A NASA astronaut and Russian cosmonaut will join two United Arab Emirates astronauts aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule. Launch is set for 1:45 a.m. EDT (Greenwich Mean Time), according to officials from both organizations on Tuesday morning.

Crew Dragon boasts a launch escape system that deploys eight SuperDraco engines to launch it and its crew away from the booster and into space. Additionally, it features a reentry system which separates the vehicle from its rocket and deploys four parachutes to slow it down in the atmosphere.

SpaceX engineers note that their vehicle is far more capable than its winged predecessor, however there may still be a risk of roll instability when reentering the atmosphere. If the capsule rolls too much during reentry, it could catch fire and burn up.

If this occurs, the pilots of SpaceX Dragon spacecraft can use their touchscreen displays and emergency systems to safely bring the capsule down. The Dragon's design, known as "two-fault tolerant," ensures that any two parts of it can fail simultaneously while still providing a secure landing.

The spacecraft features three large touchscreen displays that give the commander and pilot full control over their mission. These modern conveniences mark a huge improvement from past spacecraft like the Space Shuttle that relied on analogue buttons and dials for navigation.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, asserts that his vehicle is far safer than winged vehicles like the shuttle or Soyuz. Unlike the space shuttle, however, the Dragon lacks a seat or cockpit controls - unlike its winged counterpart.

Elon Musk says the spacecraft's launch escape system fires eight SuperDraco engines at 16,000 pounds of force during ascent, which could separate it from its rocket if there's an issue and deploy parachutes to slow it down in the atmosphere if necessary.

The SpaceX Crew-4

On Monday morning, SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will be ready for a human launch to the International Space Station (ISS). NASA and SpaceX will begin countingdown to takeoff from pad 39A at Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:52 a.m. EDT; weather permitting, liftoff is anticipated to occur shortly thereafter.

SpaceX Crew-4 mission will launch a four-man crew into orbit for an extensive science research expedition, the company announced. This group includes NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren, Robert Hines and Jessica Watkins as well as European astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti.

They are the inaugural crew members aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft, launched aboard Falcon 9 with the name "Freedom."

After more than 2,700 orbits around Earth, the crew will dock with the space station's Harmony module, according to SpaceX. They are expected to spend six months aboard the lab complex before returning home in the fall of 2022, according to the company.

During their stay in orbit, the Crew-4 astronauts will perform scientific experiments and maintain the station. Furthermore, they'll get to know the seven other crew members currently aboard, including three NASA astronauts and an ESA astronaut who flew on SpaceX Crew-3 last year.

Once the crew has settled in and become familiar with their environment, the spacecraft will be undocked from the ISS depending on a variety of factors such as recovery team readiness and weather conditions. We anticipate that this process to be complete by Friday, Oct 14th.

SpaceX's next crew rotation mission to the International Space Station will mark their third in a year and is also the fourth to carry NASA and ESA astronauts as part of NASA's Commercial Crew Program, which has been operating since 2020.

This week, the United Arab Emirates welcomes Sultan Alneyadi as an Emirati astronaut to the space lab complex. This marks the first time a UAE national will serve as an astronaut on an extended mission to the station for five months, according to SpaceX's news release.

The SpaceX Crew-5

On Thursday morning, a SpaceX Falcon 9 and Crew Dragon capsule stood poised on Pad 39A at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, ready for liftoff on their first manned mission of the year to the International Space Station. The mission is set to launch early Monday morning from Florida with four astronauts from three nations aboard.

The crew consists of two American astronauts, a Japanese spaceflier and the first Russian cosmonaut to fly on SpaceX vehicle. Their mission will take them to the International Space Station (ISS) to conduct experiments such as printing human organs in space, understanding fuel systems operating on the Moon and furthering research into heart disease.

On the ground, astronauts from NASA, United Arab Emirates and Russia carried out dry dress rehearsals and static firings of the rocket's nine engines. A few hours before launch, astronauts began donning their suits and climbing up a crew access arm that leads into Endeavour.

Meanwhile, a team of engineers was on the ground monitoring the launch process to guarantee both the rocket and crew capsule were prepared. Additionally, they took this chance to inspect the launch vehicle for any potential mechanical issues.

Finally, the four astronauts and cosmonauts emerged from their vehicles on a walkway leading into space. They were joined by a SpaceX drone ship which carried away the first stage of Falcon 9; shortly after launch it separated from its booster.

After eight minutes of separation from the rocket, the first stage landed on a droneship in the Atlantic Ocean. Both components - the first stage and Crew Dragon capsule - are reusable, enabling them to launch multiple times and return multiple times to Earth.

Over the course of their six-month mission, astronauts will conduct more than 200 science experiments and technology demonstrations, including testing a bioprinter capable of printing human tissue in space. They'll also evaluate the ISS' fuel systems, learn how to operate a robotic tool used for cargo transportation in and out of the station, as well as research into drug manufacturing technology and heart disease.

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