Dance is everywhere in the arts of the Indian cultural sphere: from the sacred dance of a god bringing the world into being to the elaborate choreography of modern Bollywood, every move has meaning. From March 31 through July 10, 2023, the Asian Art Museum presents Beyond Bollywood: 2000 Years of Dance in Art, inviting all to discover the power of dance in the visual arts of India, Southeast Asia, and the Himalayas, where dancing plays a significant role in religion, mythology, and ceremony.
Featuring more than 120 artworks borrowed from 20 of the finest museums and private collections, Beyond Bollywood immerses museumgoers in a multimedia showcase of dance, bringing a wide array of historic and contemporary sculpture, painting, textiles, jewelry, photographs, and more to vivid, passionate life. Through encounters with artworks from countries including India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia, Beyond Bollywood reveals the enduring capacity of dance to inspire a diverse range of artists and audiences alike. “We hope visitors will come away with a transformed notion of the importance and power of dance,” says co-curator Forrest McGill, “what it has meant in the past, and what it can mean in their own lives today.”
The exhibition’s design takes full advantage of the theatrical and technical capabilities of the museum’s new Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion, incorporating experiential elements from subtle musical backdrops to gallery-spanning video installations. Several live dance performances will take place within the main pavilion itself; through these and numerous other associated dance events and programs, viewers can experience the magic of dance in person.
Beyond Bollywood is organized by the Asian Art Museum and the Cincinatti Art Museum and co-curated by Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Forrest McGill and Ainsley M. Cameron, curator of South Asian Art, Islamic Art and Antiquities at the Cincinnati Art Museum. An exhibition catalog published by the Asian Art Museum includes essays by McGill, Cameron, Laura Weinstein, Padma Kaimal, and Esha Niyogi De.