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.


Indian Popular Visual Culture: The Conquest of the World as Picture

APR 09, 2017 - APR 30, 2017

Curated by Dr. Jyotindra Jainy

Curated by Shukla Sawant

The exhibition offers a critical viewing of the role played by popular Indian imagery of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in the construction of cultural, social and national identities. Nineteenth century India witnessed several major cultural and technological transformations – the pedagogy of the colonial art school; exposure to European pictures circulating in the Indian market; the advent of the techniques of engraving, lithography and oleography; the emergence of photography and the proscenium stage – that led to the growth of a new popular imagery. The colonial art school’s emphasis on perspective and realism endowed the idealized, traditional imagery with a more tangible and sensual presence. In combination with influences from the newly introduced proscenium theatre, which used powerful iconic and narrative formations, and from photography, which could depict heightened corporeality and individuality, this engendered a new class of popular cultic, mythological and nationalist imagery. Mass production and circulation of this imagery became a potent instrument in creating and negotiating interstices between the sacred, the erotic, the political and the colonial modern.

Autobiography as Memory

MAR 10, 2017 - APR 4, 2017

In collaboration with Focus Photography Festival

Culled from an international Call for entries, this flagship exhibition of FOCUS Photography Festival presents the work of photographers from around the world.

Possible Futures

DEC 3, 2016 - FEB 28, 2017

By Marie Velardi

In collaboration with Swiss Arts Council ProHelvetia at the Special Project Space

Marie Velardi employs fact and fiction, to both imagine and question the future. Her work closely examines movements of the earth, such as the continuous shift between land and sea, as seen in the work titled ‘Terre-Mer’, or Sea-Land. Pages of a hypothetical Book of Possible Futures, with a series of watercolor drawings named ‘Temporal Maps’ includes short texts in English and Marathi, inspired by discussions with Indian women on their hopes for the future.