Galleries fight, Indian artist’s show cancelled

Sujeet RajanPosted online: Sunday, February 10, 2008 at 2238 hrs

Leading gallery calls off Amitava Das show after another says he has contract with themNEW YORK, FEBRUARY 9:An ugly legal spat between two high-profile Indian art galleries in Manhattan saw the cancelling of the opening of a much-touted solo show by Indian artist Amitava Das, which was to open at the Aicon Gallery on Thursday.

The gallery, run by the Dutta brothers, Prajit and Projjal, was served a legal notice on February 1 by Kent Charugundla, who co-owns the Tamarind gallery. The notice claims Das is on contract with Tamarind.

Aicon cancelled the opening, for which Das was to be present, and instead mounted an exhibition of 'Winter Moderns' from their archives.

Aicon is one of the biggest sellers of Indian contemporary art. Prajit and Projjal Dutta are sons of Ajit K Dutta, who had served as chief executive of the Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi.

Their challenger Charungundla is a New York-based entrepreneur. He runs a multi-million dollar telecom conferencing business. He first hit the art headlines this decade when he bought a mammoth 12-panel, 10 x 60 feet work by M F Husain titled Lightning, which the artist painted after he turned 60, for a record $400,000 plus in December 2001.

Prajit Dutta said Charungundla was to blame, and that he did not know Das was on contract with Tamarind, but would not go into details of what happened. Charungundla, on his part, did not comment, saying legal proceedings were on.

Contacted in Delhi, Amitava Das said: "The exhibition has been cancelled, but I would not like to speak about it."
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