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An artist who saw a hand on a breast as some lines on a circle

Posted 06/13/11 in News | 0 Comments | Write Comment

The last time Akbar Padamsee met MF Husain was 10 years ago, but he spoke to him on his 90th birthday that Husain was bringing in, in Dubai. “He phoned me to invite me to his 90th birthday celebrations, but I refused. I told him, I didn’t want to be one of the crowd,” says the 83 year-old artist softly. Leaning back in his chair, Padamsee’s recollections are precise but told, more often than not, from an observer’s eyeview.

Their association goes back six decades, and if there was one thing the two artists shared, it was that they both attracted the ire of fundamentalists who charged them with obscenity and ‘corrupting public morality.’

While Husain faced intense criticism by the Hindu right wing in the ’90s over nude paintings of a Hindu goddess that were actually made in the ’70s, Padamsee had his brush with the law fairly early on in his career ” in his first solo exhibition in fact.

The year was 1954, and Padamsee, who had come down from Paris, had an exhibition at the newly-opened Jehangir Art Gallery. A painting titled, Lovers showed a nude man and woman, with the man’s hand on the woman’s breast.

“On the first day of the show, an inspector walked in, took a look at the painting, and told me to take it down.

I told him I won’t since he was an agent of the law, and not a judge so he couldn’t order me to take down my painting,” says Padamsee, smiling. The case was eventually heard at the Small Causes Court, where the judge called Padamsee to the witness box and asked him ‘What was the need to use this gesture?’ to which Padamsee replied that only a lover could touch his lover’s breast.

When called upon, the inspector argued that such things may accidentally happen between a husband and a wife, but only a baby was allowed to touch a woman’s breast.

Needless to say, the judge and the courtroom were quite amused.

As the case wore on, several interesting things happened. For one, the paintings of Khajuraho were brought in to argue the defendant’s case. The inspector objected to the depiction of pubic hair on the figures, Padamsee said the inspector was mistaking the texture of the painting for hair.

Padamsee eventually won the case, but the inspector appealed to the High Court. One of the witnesses invited this time was Husain.

When Padamsee’s lawyer asked Husain what he thought of the hand on the breast, Husain replied, ‘I see some straight lines on a circle.’

Eventually the case was dismissed, and the High Court decreed that the police had no right to enter art galleries, which was deemed a special place, like a church or a temple. “The police could not slap an artist with section 292 inside an art gallery. Of course, now galleries themselves decide what constitutes obscene, and choose not to show some works,” says Padamsee.

Padamsee met Husain as a third year student at the JJ School of Art in the late 1940s. “That was the time Raza, Souza and Tyeb were also at the school with me. We would help the seniors in putting up their exhibitions, and it was at one such exhibition that I met Husain, who was 15 years older than me,” recalls Padamsee. At that time, Husain was known among the art circles, but back then, well known didn’t quite carry with it the celebrity status it does today.

“Roshan Alkazi wanted someone to paint her children’s furniture, and someone suggested Husain for the job, who did a series of Mickey Mouse paintings on chairs and stools. He even crafted and painted toys ” something that he did even when he was world famous,” says Padamsee.

In 1951, when Padamsee graduated from the School, artist Sayed Haider Raza who was also a close friend, asked Padamsee to join him in France. Raza had just received a scholarship from the French government to study art, and Padamsee joined him.

“Husain came a year later, where his friend Ram Kumar was already in Paris where he had joined the studio of a French painter. Husain never stayed at one place. Even when he was young, he was always moving around. He was always uneasy,” says Padamsee.

Husain may never have studied painting formally ” according to Padamsee, Husain was not the sort of artist who agreed with such formal teachings ” but he was competitive with his contemporaries.

“Husain was responsible for the prices of art going up. Bal Chhabra started the first gallery in Mumbai in 1959, called Gallery One. The first exhibition was a group show where we all showed our works. Husain was furious that Raza priced his works at Rs 2,000. Husain had marked his own for Rs 700, while I had put mine for Rs 300,” says Padamsee. “He was angry. ‘How could anybody put up a painting priced higher than mine,’ he said. There was always a sense of competition. Not officially, of course, but in private.”

The last time Padamsee spoke to Husain ” on the latter’s 90th birthday ” Husain’s sons told him that their father was nearly 100 years old according to the lunar calendar. So Husain lived to be longer than all his peers, something that would have pleased him very much.


Weiner May Have Violated 2257 Requirements Piccionelli Says

Posted 06/13/11 in News | 0 Comments | Write Comment

Rep. Anthony Weiner and all media outlets that have broadcast his clothed and unclothed bottom half may have violated the federal record-keeping requirements of 18 U.S.C. 2257, adult entertainment industry attorney Greg Piccionelli told XBIZ on Saturday.

“He is in violation of 2257 because of 18 U.S.C. 2256 (1)(A)(v), which specifically says that the record-keeping requirements apply to the lascivious exhibition of genitals or pubic area,” Piccionelli said.

“In fact, not only is he in violation, but all broadcasters who have shown his [bottom half] as well as what was shown via a naked cellphone picture on the radio show in Florida.

“This applies to commercial and non commercial use of its replay and all reproduction by all of the media outlets in this country.”

Piccionelli, an authority of record-keeping requirements for the adult entertainment industry, says Weiner’s conduct could be a boon to the porn industry’s drive to do away with the costly restrictions that cost millions to the biz.

“Maybe we can get Congress’ attention, and America’s attention, about these crazy requirements called 2257,” he said.

Weiner on Saturday said he will seek professional help in the wake of a still-raging scandal over his online sexual liaisons with at least six women.


Weiner took sexting shots at Congressional gym: reports

Posted 06/13/11 in News | 0 Comments | Write Comment

Still more revealing photos of randy Rep. Anthony Weiner emerged today, showing the sexting Democrat posing nearly nude in a Congressional gym.

Celebrity gossip website TMZ.com reported the new photos – some of which show Weiner with a towel wrapped around his midsection and a chokehold on his penis – were sent to at least one woman.

Congressional sources told CBS the photos were taken in the basement gym at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

Weiner shot the new photos with his Blackberry while standing in front of a mirror.

Fellow Dems, meanwhile, turned up the heat on Weiner to resign a day after he entered an undisclosed rehab facility.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the party chairman, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she and other Democratic leaders “have made clear that he needs to resign.”

But she says that “at the end of the day a member of Congress makes their own decision.”

Weiner said Saturday he is seeking treatment but will not resign.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus blasted Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi for not moving more quickly.

He said Democratic leaders are “defending a guy who deserves no defense.”