The first exhibition of its kind in the United States, Edge of Desire: Recent Art in India brings together an extraordinarily diverse selection of contemporary works by artists from throughout India, echoing the many ethnicities, languages, religions, political ideologies, and social strata that define the modern nation. Explaining the title of the show, exhibition curator Chaitanya Sambrani wrote in the catalog: At one level, all art making is about desire. The artist's desire-even need-to be acknowledged and sustained by audiences is matched by desire to learn, see, consume, or simply to be entertained. It is a two-way contract; it entails effort on both sides; in the best instance, the effort enriches both parties. . . . Edge of Desire proffers visual delight. It also poses questions about the world we inhabit, in India and elsewhere. Incorporating references to folk and tribal traditions as well as popular culture and sophisticated international contemporary art, the work in Edge of Desire reflects the great changes that have been underway in India in recent decades, both in rural areas and in major urban centers. Much of the art in the exhibition addresses religion and politics. In the form of portable shrines carried from village to village across the countryside, Gulammohammed Sheikh depicts the destruction of the Babri mosque in 1992 that led to many years of sectarian strife. The same event was the inspiration for N. N. Rimzon's moving installation Speaking Stones. The Delhi-based Raqs Media Collective (the Persian and Urdu word “raqs” describes the ecstatic state of “whirling dervishes”) captures images from the World Wide Web to communicate issues of contemporary global concern, using an interface that evokes nineteenth-century public health pamphlets. Power politics is the subject of Atul Dodiya's painted triptych, and Nilima Sheikh's large paintings suspended from the ceiling describe the Kashmir of her youth, before it became a site of conflict. The reach of Western popular culture is seen in sister and brother Swarna and Manu Chitrakar's appropriation of the film Titanic. Professional storytellers from West Bengal, the Chitrakars retell the tragic tale in the form of painted scrolls of a type historically used to recount secular and religious narratives. Similarly, self-taught artists Raj Kumar Koram and Ganga Devi Bhatt draw on folk art to create autobiographical narratives in sculpture and painting. Ranbir Kaleka's hand-colored film refers to popular film and soap operas. The monitor is enclosed in the sort of tent that houses puppet theaters in local festivals. Edge of Desire encompasses the work of nearly forty artists representing three generations. Some-such as Nalini Malani, the Raqs Media Collective (Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, and Jeebesh Bachi), Ranbir Kaleka, Atul Dodiya, and Nataraj Sharma, all of whom represented India in the 2005 Venice Biennale-have shown widely on the international stage. The exhibition also delights and surprises with work by artists previously little known outside South Asia. A fully illustrated catalog accompanies Edge of Desire; public programs throughout the run of the show will expand on its themes. A complementary exhibition on view in the Asian Galleries, Centers of Artistry: Indian Paintings from the Collection,provides additional context, and this summer, the Pacific Film Archive presents an array of films from India in the series Desire Under the Banyan: Beyond Bollywood. In the fall, PFA presents the work of acclaimed Indian documentary maker Ali Kazimi. Several of the artists in Edge of Desire have been residents at the Montalvo Arts Center's Sally and Don Lucas Artists Programs in Saratoga, and, concurrent with the presentation of the exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum, a selection of works from Edge of Desire will be exhibited at the at Montalvo Arts Center gallery.