An extensive exhibitions programme includes a strong focus on contemporary art. A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives. These exhibitions are presented in the Kamalnayan Bajaj Special Exhibitions Gallery (KBG) in the main Museum building and may involve interventions into the vitrines holding the permanent collections. The Museum also hosts exhibitions in collaboration with galleries and other institutions in the Special Project Space (SPS) in the Museum Plaza. The Museum has successfully partnered with international museums and institutions to showcase contemporary artists and exhibitions which relate to the Museum’s permanent collection.
A series of curated exhibitions titled 'Engaging Traditions', invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives, addressing issues that speak directly to the traditions and issues that underlie the founding of the Museum, yet evoke the present by challenging orthodoxies and questioning assumptions. Several distinguished contemporary artists including Jitish Kallat, Sudarshan Shetty, L.N. Tallur and Ranjini Shettar have participated in this programme.
Through collaborations with international institutes, the Museum has hosted several exhibitions. Contemporary Photography and the Olympic Posters were presented from the V&A Museum, London. German artist Eberhard Havekost's works were presented in collaboration with the Dresden State Art Collections and the exhibition Social Fabric was showcased with INIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts) London, and the Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan, Mumbai. The Museum collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum, New York, to present the BMW Guggenheim Lab in Mumbai,and the Ermenegildo Zegna group on the project ZegnArt Public in 2013. Most recently, the Museum hosted an acclaimed masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance, Lorenzo Ghiberti’s (Italian, 1378-1455) The Gates of Paradise (1425-52), through a special collaboration with the Guild of the Dome Association, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institute, and the Museum of the Opera del Duomo. Folk Archive, a vibrant, visual account of contemporary popular British culture was held in collaboration with the British Council.
The Museum's Contemporary Art Collection consists of works by renowned Indian artists: Archana Hande, Atul Dodiya, CAMP, Jitish Kallat, L.N.Tallur, Nalini Malani, Praneet Soi, Ranjani Shettar, Reena Kallat, Rohini Devasher, Sheba Chhachhi and Thukral & Tagra. These artists have presented exhibitions at the Museum.
Most of these artworks were part of the ongoing ‘Engaging Traditions,’ an exhibition series that invites artists to respond to the Museum’s collection, history and archives.
The Museum is one of the few public institutions in India that collects contemporary art works. This is the first time we are exhibiting all the works together.
Who is asleep and who is awake in this city, this home, this settlement, and this fortress of nothingness? Sudarshan’s exhibition ‘Shoonya Ghar’ is titled after a poetic work by 12th century poet Gorakhnath who also influenced his celebrated successor Kabir.