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New series of affordable books on Indian art, artists

New Delhi: For enthusiasts as well as those just initiated into the world of art, a new series of publications seeks to take an analytical look at the evolution of art and the careers of prominent artists in India.

Under the "Dialogue Series", publisher Popular Prakashan explores the careers of some of India`s acclaimed artists with emphasis on concerns and contexts they explore in their works through extended conversations between the authors Ranjit Hoskote and Nancy Adajania.

The text of the books are based on interviews and conversations that Hoskote and Adjania – considered to be two of the most authoritative critics in the country – had over a span of several years.

The first of the books which are priced at Rs 175 each is on Mumbai-based contemporary artist Atul Dodiya.

"Our books are not comparable to anything available in India. They are content rich giving analytical portraits of the artists. They provide a critical insight of the journey of each artist, their individual style of working and distinctive transitions and breakthroughs in their work," says Harsha Bhatkal, Chairman, Foundation B&G.

The series also situates the imagination and life of the artists within larger art-historical genealogies, both Indian and global. It aims to create a discursive space in which both enthusiasts and scholars can reflect on arguments that art and criticism conduct with history.

"The books aim to fill a gap in the market where art books are available in the price range of Rs 3000 to Rs 5000 and upwards. These are meant to cater to the general reader who wants to read about art and artists and do not have access to documentation," says Bhatkal.

With five published titles in English and 9 titles under compilation, the publisher says it has a long way to go.

The series are being translated into Hindi and Marathi and would be available in stores soon.

"Whatever is available on art in the public domain say on the internet is dominated by information put out by gallerists etc and there is no comprehensive coverage of the life of these artists. Our approach is to create knowledge," says the publisher who has previously brought out coffee table books on art.

The Foundation says it will work towards achieving a convergence among artists, critics, curators, viewers and readers. It has planned a publishing programme that includes entry-level, intermediate and specialist books.

"We have to concede that art is art and it may not be as popular as cricket or cinema. However, just like classical music where you can buy a CD or DVD for Rs 99, art should also have a take away quality for the general reader. We aim to provide that with our affordably priced series of books," says Bhatkal. .

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