Karin Zitzewitz

Associate Professor of South Asian Art Michigan State University

Karin Zitzewitz is a specialist in the modern and contemporary art of India and Pakistan. Her book, The Art of Secularism: The Cultural Politics of Modernist Art in Contemporary India was published by Hurst & Co Publishers (UK) and Oxford University Press (US/India) in 2014. Based on extensive fieldwork in three centers of the Indian art world: Mumbai, Vadodara (Gujarat), and New Delhi, the book tracks the changes wrought by the rise of Hindu nationalism on the practices of four modernist artists and on the character of art world spaces. The manuscript was awarded the Edward C. Dimock Prize in the Humanities from the American Institute for Indian Studies.

Zitzewitz’s writings have been published in ARTMargins Journal, Third Text, Visual Anthropology Review, Art History, and Journal of Asian Studies, among others.

Her guest curatorial projects for the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University include solo presentations for Pakistani artist Naiza Khan (2013) and Indian artist Mithu Sen (2014). Naiza Khan’s Karachi Elegies was supported by a publication on the artist’s work issued jointly by the Broad Art Museum and Art AsiaPacific.

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. She regularly writes for the popular art journal Art India, and has also contributed pieces to TAKE On Art and Art AsiaPacific. She collaborated with Mumbai gallerist Kekoo Gandhy on a memoir, The Perfect Frame: Presenting Modern Indian Art, which was published in 2003.

Karin Zitzewitz received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in 2006. Before coming to MSU she served as a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago.


5 Questions with Karin Zitzewitz

Karin Zitzewitz discusses significant impulses and influences on art production in South Asia, between the artists’ immediate context and practices or discourses of feminism and globalization, which have dominated since the 1980s.