Art Critique: The Selected Writings of K. B. Goel
In Indian modern art, the recovery of significant but lesser known voices, moments and narratives from the shadow of a few dominant ones is an ongoing project in recent times. And within it, the field of art criticism – its conscience keeper – has borne greater neglect, with little contemporary appreciation of the historicity or tenor of its modernist project. One such significant voice, lost today but heard in its own time with respectful attention, is that of the art critic K.B. Goel. This book is an attempt to address such gaps in our knowledge by bringing together his major writings accompanied by a critical introduction to his practice as an art critic, his frameworks and methodologies. The book sheds new light on the Indian modern journey over the twentieth century and into the present day through the substantial body of Goel’s writings that cover half a century of Indian art.
This volume of K.B. Goel’s selected writings will bring together his critical writings from the late 1950s to the late 1990s, organized into thematic sections. This material was received as chosen by Mr Goel himself but some additions have been made to it – of writings that have value because of the significance of a given exhibition or a historic moment or Mr Goel’s articulation therein.
K.B. Goel (1930–2018) was a Delhi-based art critic, his career spanning the mid-1950s to the late 1990s. Operating primarily in the review space, the dominant mode of Indian art criticism from the 1940s to the 70s, Goel wrote for several reputed and national-level leftist culture magazines and newspapers in his long career, and covered art exhibitions in Delhi – both Indian and, to a lesser extent, international – over a fifty-year period. With his great commitment to the ideals of enquiry, belief in the new and challenging the canon, K.B. Goel emerges through his writings as a significant ‘modernist’ art critic of the twentieth century.