INDIAN ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
Interested in seeing more Indian art, but confused as to where to find Indian art in the Bay Area? Here is an overview of Indian art galleries and museums to get you started. If you’re serious about staying up to date, we also recommend following these institutions on social media or signing up for their newsletters to get notified about upcoming events of Indian art and artists.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, we are lucky to be close to several art museums with extensive collections of Indian art, from ancient times through today. The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco has one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world, including six permanent galleries dedicated to showing artworks created over a period of two thousand years in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. In the fall of 2018, the museum also organized an exhibition and artist visit on traditional Indian Mithila (Madhubani) art. The Cantor Art Museum at Stanford University is home to another extensive Asian art collection featuring Indian art, in addition to changing exhibitions throughout the year. The university also programs the Stanford Center for South Asia (CSA), which is the central forum on the study of South Asia and convenes many lectures, often inviting artists from India to participate.
There are also many contemporary art museums in the Bay Area that have presented recent exhibitions of Indian artists. For residents in Mountainview, Sunnyvale or even Fremont, the San Jose Museum of Art runs an incredible exhibition program that reflects the diverse cultures and energetic spirit of Silicon Valley. In 2019, for example, they organized a major exhibition of South Asian artist and sculptor Rina Banerjee. For those in the heart of San Francisco, SFMOMA is a major museum of contemporary that has presented Indian artists in the past, including Bangalore-based artist Ranjani Shettar’s first US exhibition in 2009. For those in Oakland or Berkeley, the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive has presented work by many Indian artists and filmmakers, including a screening of three short films by Amit Dutta on Indian painting.There are also plenty of smaller museums and arts institutions in the Bay Area that present artwork by Indian artists. For example, Peninsula Museum in Burlingame—just outside of San Mateo—presented a new installation by Indian artist Sudnya Schroff in 2019.
Beyond museums, there are a number of thriving Indian art galleries. Pacific Art League in Palo Alto not only offers a variety of art-making classes but also organizes changing exhibitions in their gallery space. In March 2019, Laasya Art collaborated with PAL to host an exhibition of contemporary Indian art. The world-renowned PACE Gallery in Palo Alto represents Indian painter and sculptor Prabhavathi Meppayil as well as Indian painter Raqib Shaw, and their changing exhibitions are always . As a plus, art galleries generally offer free admission to all visitors.
Our own Laasya Art gallery, open by appointment only, is located in Palo Alto and offers tours of the highly curated collection of traditional and contemporary Indian paintings.
Several local nonprofits also promote contemporary and traditional Indian art. Art Forum SF champions visual, literary and performing arts from South Asia, often bringing Indian artists like dancer Dr. Mallika Sarabhai and writer Amish Tripathi to the Bay Area. Society for Art and Cultural Heritage of India (SACHI) is another vibrant nonprofit organization devoted to Indian art and culture. They host all over the Bay Area to promote education and appreciation for the landscape of Indian art, culture and heritage. Montalvo Arts Center, located in Silicon Valley’s Saratoga Hills, hosts many exhibitions and events throughout the year including the South Asian Literature & Art Festival.