Karin Zitzewitz is an Assistant Professor of South Asian Art History & Visual Culture at Michigan State University. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University in New York and previously taught at the University of Chicago, where she was Collegiate Assistant Professor and a Harper Fellow. Her book, The Art of Secularism: The Cultural Politics of Modernist Art in Contemporary India, was published by Hurst & Co. and Oxford University Press this summer. The book describes how four renowned artists—M. F. Husain, K. G. Subramanyan, Gulammohammed Sheikh, and Bhupen Khakhar—developed their practice in an era when secular nationalism grappled with the recent re-enchantment of signs. The Art of Secularism also describes the effects of the rise of Hindu nationalism on India’s art world, drawing upon Zitzewitz’s collaboration with legendary Mumbai gallerist Kekoo Gandhy, which resulted in a memoir, The Perfect Frame: Presenting Modern Indian Art, which was published in 2003.
Zitzewitz's writings on modern Indian art have been published in Third Text, Visual Anthropology Review, Art History, and Journal of Asian Studies, among others. Her latest essay is forthcoming in the October issue of ARTMargins Journal. In addition to her writing for more academic audiences, she has contributed to catalogs for Midnight to the Boom (2013), held at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, and The Sahmat Collective (2013), which originated at the Smart Art Museum at the University of Chicago.
In 2013, Zitzewitz curated Naiza Khan: Karachi Elegies at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum, Michigan State University. One of Pakistan’s most influential contemporary artists, Naiza Khan captures the experience of living and working in Karachi, where everyday life is affected by natural disaster, urban migration and political struggle. Khan's practice includes paintings, sculpture, wall drawings, performance, and video. Zitzewitz also contributed to Naiza Khan’s first major monograph, Naiza Khan, which was co-published by the Broad Art Museum and ArtAsiaPacific in 2013.
Image: Naiza Khan, Homepage, 2010, single-channel video, 13:10 min. (still). Copyright Naiza Khan. Courtesy the artist and Rossi & Rossi Gallery, London.