Sonal Khullar's Worldly Affiliations takes its readers on a deep dive into the production and praxis of four of the pillars of India's twentieth-century art scene: Amrita Sher-Gil (1918–41), Maqbool Fida Husain (1915–2011), K. G. Subramanyan (1924–2016), and Bhupen Khakhar (1934–2003). The book's four interior chapters begin with Sher-Gil's paintings during the 1930s and end with Khakhar's paintings and performative works of the 1970s. Whereas Husain, Subramanyan, and Khakhar continued to work into the twenty-first century, Khullar restricted her survey of these artists’ works to the 1970s, a decade generally understood within art historical discourse to lie at the chronological frontier between modernism and postmodernism.

Why were these four artists selected? Khullar indicates that each was an exemplary representative of Indian modernism by dint of his or her biography, exposure, and access (p. 12). As a group, they were insider-outsiders; they exceeded or escaped cultural regionalism and parochial nationalism to...

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