Iftikhar Dadi’s research examines art as a global and networked practice from the late nineteenth century to the present. He engages with theorizations of modernity, contemporaneity, and postcoloniality to analyze the modern and contemporary art of Asia, the Middle East, and their diasporas. Another research interest is his study of media, crafts, and popular culture with reference to ongoing socio-aesthetic transformations in South Asia, seeking to understand how emergent urban publics forge new avenues of civic participation. Dadi’s curatorial projects and his work as a practicing artist have further served to enrich his academic scholarship.
Recent Courses Taught
VISST 2000 Introduction to Visual Studies
ARTH 2500 Introduction to History of Photography
ARTH 2600 Introduction to Modern Art
ARTH 3600 Contemporary Art
ARTH 3611 Art of South Asia, 1500–present
ARTH 4100/6100 Proseminar: Methodologies
ARTH 4690/6690 Comparative Modernities
ARTH 4695/6695 Studies in Global Modern Art (topics vary)
ARTH 6000 Graduate Research Methods in Art History
ART 6203 Graduate MFA Seminar
Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (University of North Carolina Press, 2010).
(Indian edition published by Munshiram, 2012). Informed by postcolonial theory and globalization studies, this book traces the emergence of modernism by selected artists from South Asia over the course of the twentieth century. More broadly, this study offers a new way of writing histories of nonwestern modern art by situating modernism as transnational rather than located primarily within a national art history. The book received the 2010 Junior Book Prize from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and has been widely reviewed in academic and art journals.
Urdu Cinema, 1947-1980 (In progress).
Pioneering scholarly work on the foundational decades of Urdu Cinema, situating its development in relation to history of Hindi cinema and to emerging social and aesthetic transformations from the mid to later twentieth century.
Art, Publics, and Urban Popular Culture in Contemporary South Asia (In progress).
Analyzes the emergence of new publics, counterpublics and non-state actors, whose venue of social, political, and aesthetic interventions are increasingly enacted in the realm of the “popular.” Studies largely unstudied visual transformations as persistently intersecting with organized civic life, creating unanticipated and dynamic sites for new forms of text and image based politics and aesthetics.
Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (Ithaca: Herbert F Johnson Museum of Art, 2012). Co-edited with Hammad Nasar. A major critical reader and catalog (240 pages) associated with the exhibition Lines of Control. Featuring scholarly contributions and the work of 33 international contemporary artists and groups.
Tarjama/Translation: Contemporary Art from the Middle East, Central Asia, and its Diasporas. Co-edited with Leeza Ahmady and Reem Fadda (ArteEast, 2009). 80 pages. Catalog of exhibition Tarjama/Translation featuring 28 artists.
Unpacking Europe: Towards a Critical Reading. Co-edited with Salah Hassan (Netherlands Architectural Institute, 2001). 465 pages. A major critical reader in two parts released in conjunction with the exhibition Unpacking Europe.
Co-curator (with Hammad Nasar, Ellen Avril & Nada Raza), Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Jan 21 - Apr 1, 2012. A major exhibition on partition, borders and the nation-state in South Asia and beyond. Traveled to Nasher Museum, Duke University, Sep 19, 2013-Feb 2, 2014.
Curator, Anwar Jalal Shemza: Calligraphic Abstraction. At Green Cardamom, London, Oct–Nov 2009. Selected by ArtAsia Pacific magazine’s 2010 annual Almanac as among the most memorable exhibitions of the year. [Brochure]
Curator (with Leeza Ahmady and Reem Fadda), Tarjama/Translation, a major exhibition featuring 28 contemporary artists from Middle East & Central Asia, at Queens Museum of Art, May-Sep 2009. Traveled to the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Aug-Oct, 2010.
Curator (with Salah Hassan), Unpacking Europe, a major international exhibition by 19 leading contemporary artists at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Dec 2001 - Apr 2002.
As an artist, Dadi works collaboratively with Elizabeth Dadi. Their work investigates the salience of popular media in the construction of memory, borders, and identity in contemporary globalization, and the potential of creative resilience in urban informalities. Their work is frequently realized in large-scale installations and has been exhibited and published internationally, including the 24th Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil, Third Asia-Pacific Triennial, Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia, and Let's Entertain: Life's Guilty Pleasures at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany, and Miami Art Museum. Their work has been included among 100 emerging global artists in Fresh Cream (Phaidon Press).
Border Cultures: Part One (homes, land), Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada (2013)
Where Three Dreams Cross, Whitechapel Gallery, London (2010)
Fatal Love, Queens Museum of Art, Queens, New York (2005)
Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool, United Kingdom (2002)
First Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial, Japan (2000)