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Iftikhar Dadi teaches and researches modern and contemporary art from a global and transnational perspective, with emphasis on questions of methodology and intellectual history. His writings have focused on modernism and contemporary practice of Asia, the Middle East and their diasporas. Another research interest examines the film, media, and popular cultures of South Asia, seeking to understand how emergent publics forge new avenues for civic participation.
Publications include Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia (2010), which has been widely reviewed in academic and art journals and received the 2010 Book Prize from the American Institute of Pakistan Studies. Informed by postcolonial theory and globalization studies, the work traces the emergence of modernism by selected artists from South Asia over the course of the twentieth century. More broadly, it offers a way of writing histories of nonwestern modern art by situating modernism as transnational rather than located primarily within a national art history. Other publications include the edited monograph Anwar Jalal Shemza (2015), the co-edited catalog Lines of Control (2012), and the co-edited reader Unpacking Europe (2001). His essays have appeared in numerous journals, edited volumes, and online platforms.
Dadi currently serves on the editorial and advisory boards of Archives of Asian Art and Bio-Scope: South Asian Screen Studies, and was member of the editorial board of Art Journal (2007-11). He is advisor to the Hong Kong based research organization Asia Art Archive. He is currently co-director of Cornell's Institute for Comparative Modernities, and has served as Chair of Cornell's Department of Art (2010-14) and Director of Cornell's South Asia Program (2015-16).
Co-curated exhibitions include Lines of Control on partitions and borders (Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell, 2012 and Nasher Museum at Duke, 2013); Tarjama/Translation on the contemporary art of the Middle East and Central Asia (Queens Museum of Art, 2009 and Herbert F. Johnson Museum, 2010); and Unpacking Europe on the relation between Europe and the postcolonial world (Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Rotterdam, 2001).
As an artist, Iftikhar 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 at the Bienal de São Paulo, Brazil; Asia-Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia; Fukuoka Asian Art Triennial, Fukuoka, Japan; Liverpool Biennial, Liverpool, UK; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Kunstmeuseum Wolfsburg, Germany; Miami Art Museum; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Art Gallery of Windsor, Canada; and Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh.
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
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
- History of Art and Visual Studies
- Asian Studies
- History of Art, Archaeology and Visual Studies
- Near Eastern Studies
- Anwar Jalal Shemza: Calligraphic Abstraction. Perspectives 1. 2009
- Contemporary Pakistan. Indian Highway. 201-203. 2008
- Shirin Neshat’s Photographs as Postcolonial Allegories. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 34:125-150. 2008
- Political Posters in Karachi, 1988-1999. South Asian Popular Culture. 5:11-30. 2007
- The Pakistani Diaspora in North America. The New Cosmopolitanism: South Asians in the US. 37-70. 2006
- BioScopic and Screen Studies of Pakistan, and of Contemporary Art. BioScope: South Asian Screen Studies. 1:11-15. 2010
- Ibrahim El-Salahi and Calligraphic Modernism in a Comparative Perspective. South Atlantic Quarterly. 109:555-576. 2010
- Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia. The University of North Carolina Press. 2010
- Allegories of Encounter. Naiza H Khan: The Skin She Wears. 12-23. 2008
- Body and Shelter: On Lida Abdul’s Videos. The Architecture of Desire. 34-42. 2008
- Art in Pakistan: The Early Decades. Hanging Fire: Contemporary Art from Pakistan. The Asia Society Museum. 39-49. 2009
- Nuclearization and Pakistani Popular Culture since 1998. South Asian Cultures of the Bomb: Atomic Publics and the State in India and Pakistan. Indiana University Press. 173-194. 2009
- Rethinking Calligraphic Modernism. Discrepant Abstraction. 94-114. 2006
- Chughtai's Revival of Mughal Cosmopolitanism. Cosmopolitanisms in Muslim Contexts: Perspectives from the Past. Ed. MacLean, Derryl. Edinburgh University Press. 2012
- Ibrahim El-Salahi and Calligraphic Modernism in a Comparative Perspective. Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist. Ed. Hassan, Salah. New York: Museum of African Art. 2012
- Transaesthetics in the Art of Shirin Neshat. The Migrant’s Time. Ed. Mathur, Saloni. Yale University Press. 2011
- Bani Abidi: Videos, Photographs and Drawings. Green Cardamom. 2010
- Ghostly Sufis and Ornamental Shadows: Spectral Visualities in Karachi’s Public Sphere. Comparing Cities: The Middle East and South Asia. Oxford University Press. 159-193. 2010