Chitra Ganesh

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Chitra Ganesh
Born1975 (age 43–44)
EducationBrown University
Columbia University

Chitra Ganesh (born 1975) is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, New York. Ganesh's work across media includes: charcoal drawings, digital collages, films, web projects, photographs, and wall murals. Ganesh draws from mythology, literature, and popular culture to reveal feminist and queer narratives from the past and to imagine new visions of the future.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Chitra Ganesh is the daughter of Indian immigrant parents.[3] She works in various media including drawing and installation[4]

Ganesh graduated from the prestigious Saint Ann's School, and magna cum laude from Brown University with a BA in Comparative Literature and Art-Semiotics. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2001 and received her MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University, New York in 2002.[5]


Chitra Ganesh is inspired by non-canonical narratives and figures, botched love stories, present-day imperialism, lesser-known Hindu/Buddhist icons, nineteenth-century European fairytales, girl rock, and contemporary visual culture, such as Bollywood posters, anime, and comic books.[6]

Ganesh’s series, The Unknowns—a series of mixed-media works on canvas—explore “the relationship between anonymity, mass-mediated images, and the monumental, in the construction of a feminine iconography.”[7] The series brings to mind large subway advertisements and posters and utilize various techniques including painting, collage, and commercial printing processes.

In “Knowing ‘The Unknowns’: The Artwork of Chitra Ganesh,” Svati P. Shah encourages viewers to consider the formal elements of Ganesh’s work instead of simply viewing them as existing in opposition to the art history canon. Shah describes the origins of the subjects’ of The Unknowns as coming from the “margins of a mythic history” and Ganesh’s ability to interrogate "the gaze" through this series.[8]

Ganesh has also contributed to publications such as the anthology Juicy Mother 2, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards and was edited by Jennifer Camper. She has held residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York University, Headlands Center for the Arts, Smack Mellon Studios, and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, among others.

Ganesh's works have been widely exhibited across the United States including at the Queens Museum, Asia Society, Berkeley Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and the Contemporary Arts Museum, along with solo presentations at MoMA PS1, The Andy Warhol Museum, and Goteborgs Konsthalle. International exhibition venues include MOCA, Fondazione Sandretto, Monte Hermoso, Kunsthalle Exnergrasse, Kunstverein Göttingen, and the Gwangju Contemporary Arts Centre. Her works are also represented in prominent international collections such as the Museum of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, San Jose Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, the Saatchi Collection, Burger Collection, and Devi Art Foundation.

Awards and honors[edit]

Ganesh is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships that include:[5]

  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in the Creative Arts (2012)
  • The Art Matters Foundation Grant (2010)
  • The Joan Mitchell Foundation Award for Painting and Sculpture (2010)
  • The New York Foundation for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship (2009, 2005)
  • Columbia University Dean's Fellowship (2000)

Selected exhibitions[edit]

  • The Scorpion Gesture, 2018, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY[9]
  • Protest Fantasies, 2015, Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco, California[10]
  • Chitra: Ganesh: Eyes of Time[1], 2014-15, Brooklyn Museum, New York[11]
  • Drawing from the present…, 2014, Lakereen Gallery, Mumbai, India
  • Secrets Told: Index of the Disappeared, 2014, New York University, NY
  • A Zebra Among Horses, 2013, Gallery Espace, New Delhi, India
  • Chitra Ganesh, 2013, Twelve Gates Gallery, Philadelphia
  • Her Nuclear Waters…., 2013, Socrates Sculpture Park Billboard Series, NY
  • Flickering Myths, 2012, Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco (catalog)
  • She, the Question, 2012, Gotenburg Kunsthalle, Sweden
  • The Ghost Effect in Real Time, 2012, Jack Tilton Gallery, NY
  • The Strangling Power of Dust and Stars, 2011, Gallery Nature Morte, Berlin
  • Word of God(ess):Chitra Ganesh, 2011, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh
  • On Site 2: Her Silhouette Returns, 2009, MoMA PS1, organized by Klaus Biesenbach[5]
  • Contradictions and Complexities, 2008, d.e.n. contemporary art, Culver City, California[12]
  • Upon Her Precipice, 2007, Thomas Erben, NY
  • Chitra Ganesh, 2007, Haas & Fischer, Zurich, Switzerland [5]
  • The Gift: Building a Collection, 2005, Queens Museum of Art, New York
  • 1 x 1, 2005, Jersey City Museum, New Jersey
  • 739 feet running wall, 2005, Gwangju Contemporary Art Museum, Gwangju, Korea
  • Her Secret Missions, 2003, Momenta Art, Brooklyn, NY (catalog)[5]
  • Charlie, 2002, MoMA PS1, New York
  • East of the Sun West of the Moon, 2004, White Columns, New York


  1. ^ a b "Brooklyn Museum". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  2. ^ Vadera, Jaret (2017-04-04). "Between, Beneath, and Beyond". South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  3. ^ Ken Pratt (May 2008). "Chitra Ganesh - Breathing between the lines". [Wound Magazine]. London. 1 (3): 278. ISSN 1755-800X. Archived from the original on 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  4. ^ "Chitra Ganesh". Indo-American Arts Council. 2002. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Chitra Ganesh > About > About Chitra Ganesh". Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  6. ^ Gopinath, Gayatri (2009). "Chitra Ganesh's Queer Re-visions" (PDF). GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.
  7. ^ "The Unknowns – Chitra Ganesh". Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  8. ^ Shah, Svati P. (2011). "Knowing "The Unknowns": The Artwork of Chitra Ganesh". Feminist Studies. 37 (1): 111–126 – via JSTOR.
  9. ^ "Chitra Ganesh". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  10. ^ "Gallery Wendi Norris | Chitra Ganesh: Protest Fantasies". Archived from the original on 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2015-11-07.
  11. ^ Yoshimura, As told to Courtney. "Chitra Ganesh discusses her installation at the Brooklyn Museum". Retrieved 2016-03-05.
  12. ^ Shana Ting Lipton (19 June 2008). "'Contradictions and Complexities: Contemporary Art From India' at d.e.n. and Western Project". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-07-23.

External links[edit]