Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is the first in-depth exploration of the contemporary practice of artist Rina Banerjee, co-organized by the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and the San José Museum of Art (SJMA).
Though Banerjee’s work has been shown extensively in Europe and South Asia, PAFA and SJMA will be the first North American museums to delve into the artist’s complex and fanciful worlds. Bringing together several of Banerjee’s monumental installations in conversation with 15 to 20 of her sculptures, as well as a selection of works on paper, Make Me a Summary of the World will transform PAFA and SJMA into otherworldly and multi-sensory spaces.
Known for her large-scale sculptures and installations made from materials sourced throughout the world, Banerjee’s works investigate the splintered experiences of identity, tradition, and culture, prevalent in diasporic communities. Using a variety of materials ranging from African tribal jewelry to colorful feathers, light bulbs, and Murano glass, Banerjee’s art celebrates diversity at the material level. These sensuous assemblages present themselves simultaneously as familiar and unfamiliar, thriving on tensions between visual cultures and raising questions about exoticism, cultural appropriation, globalization, and feminism.
In turn, her wider practice challenges current nativist political leanings by proposing a multi-faceted nature of identity; not based exclusively on a person’s culture of origin or gender, but instead on self-identity. These inclusive and freeing conceptions of the “self” manifest themselves throughout Banerjee’s ever-evolving work – in fragmented figures, riotous use of color, and symbolic materials. Paired with her thought-provoking and poetic titles, Banerjee’s works relentlessly query contemporary modes of artistic production and societal engagement.
Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is accompanied by public programming throughout the run of the exhibition and a full-color, 160-page exhibition catalog, co-published by the San José Museum of Art, featuring essays by Jodi Throckmorton, Lauren Schell Dickens, and Rachel Kent, with an interview of Rina Banerjee conducted by Allie Biswas, and a chronology, researched by Laurel V. McLaughlin.
Co-organizer San José Museum of Art, California (May 18 - October 6, 2019)
Fowler Museum at University of California, Los Angeles (December 8, 2019 - May 31, 2020)
Frist Art Museum, Nashville, Tennessee (July 24 - October 25, 2020)
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina (February 18 - July 11, 2021)
Art at Lunch: Postindustrialism: Design Routes Between Colonialism and the Cold War
Wednesday, January 16th 12:00 pm
Points of View Speaker Series: Kukuli Velarde and The Complicit Eye
Saturday, February 9th 2:00 pm
PAFA Performances: A Night with the Ballet
Saturday, February 16th 6:00 pm
Points of View Speaker Series: In Conversation: Rina Banerjee and Jodi Throckmorton
Saturday, March 16th 2:00 pm
Educator’s Workshop: Connecting Historic and Contemporary Art
Saturday, March 16th 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Director’s Tour of Rina Banerjee: Make Me A Summary of the World
Saturday, March 30th 2:00 - 3:00 pm
PAFA Performances: Interludes: Make Me a Summary of Music
Saturday, March 30th 6:00 - 9:00 pm
JANUARY 27 | Make Me a Summary
Combine wild colors, surprising materials and personal memories into sculptures that tell a story about all the things that make you unique.
FEBRUARY 24 | Fantastic Beasts
Make your own mythological creatures inspired by the fierce and funny beasts roaming the historic galleries this winter
MARCH 10 | Collaged Connections
Create colorful collages using various patterns inspired by Rina Banerjee’s Make Me a Summary of the World.
MARCH 24 | Fused Plastic
Take a cue from the giant pink Taj Mahal sculpture in PAFA’s galleries and experiment with using fused plastic as a creative material.
Amid a turn toward nativist politics in the United States, the work of Indian-born, New York-based artist Rina Banerjee (born 1963) seems particularly relevant, reflecting as it does the splintered experience of identity, tradition, and culture prevalent in diasporic communities. Banerjee's fanciful sculptures are made from materials sourced throughout the world—in a single work one can find African tribal jewelry, feathers, light bulbs, Murano glass, and South Asian antiques. Make Me a Summary of the World, the first in-depth examination of the artist's work uses a selection of Banerjee's large-scale installations along with her sculptures and paintings to consider the artist's place in both American and global frameworks.
Rina Banerjee: Make Me a Summary of the World is made possible by the William Penn Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Exelon Foundation and PECO, the National Endowment for the Arts, Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris/Brussels, Ota Fine Arts, Shanghai/Singapore/Tokyo, Isabel Stainow Wilcox, Emily and Mike Cavanagh, The Coby Foundation, Charles and Kathy Harper, Connie and Jules Kay, and the Lenore G. Tawney Foundation, with additional support provided by the Armand G. Erpf Fund, Bank of America, Ralph Citino and Lawrence Taylor, the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Ro King, and Vesna Todorovic Sacks and Howard Sacks, along with Pia and Shantanu RoyChowdhury, Dennis J. Alter, Linda Lee Alter, Jane and Casey Brandt, Joan and William Goldstein, and Ashish and Viraj Parikh.
Special Exhibitions in 2018-19 are supported by Jonathan L. Cohen.
Contemporary Exhibitions in 2018-19 are supported by Laura and Richard Vague.