A cultural critic writing on art, photography, performance and visual media, Sadanand Menon is known for bringing a political and historical lens to his writing. Menon has also curated several exhibitions, including three retrospectives on Indian artists at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru: In The Realm of The Visual (1998) on the late designer Dashrath Patel, Inner Resonance – A Return to ‘Sama’ (2013) on SG Vasudev and Sculpting In Time (2018) on Balan Nambiar. Menon has also collaborated extensively with the performer, choreographer and managing trustee of SPACES, Chandralekha.
Menon writes reviews and opinion pieces for a variety of political and art periodicals like India Today, The Wire, Outlook and Scroll.in. He also writes the column “Reverse Swing for Asiaville”, in which he covers matters related to politics and popular culture. In 2016, he published On Nationalism, a book which Menon co-wrote with Romila Thapar and AG Noorani, which featured his essay, “From National Culture to Cultural Nationalism”. Apart from his writing and curatorial work, Menon has also taken on various teaching and managerial positions. He has held seminars at several Indian institutions and cultural events, such as the LILA Foundation for Translocal Initiatives in 2013, India Theatre Forum in 2012 and the Kerala Literature Festival. Menon has worked as a lecturer at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai (ACJ), he is a member of the Executive Council at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi and the Advisory Committees of the National Museum and NGMA, Bengaluru. He has also worked as a stage lights designer.
In 2017, a list of Indian academics with allegations of sexual harassment was compiled on Facebook by law student Raya Sarkar, in which Menon’s name was also mentioned. In May 2018, an ACJ alumnus contacted the college administration saying that she had been sexually harassed by Menon at SPACES in 2012. The ACJ’s Internal Complaints Committee refused to conduct an investigation on the grounds that the alleged offence had occurred off-campus and after the student had left the college prompting outrage from the arts and academic community. Menon soon stepped down from his lecturer position at the university but claimed that the allegations were false.
At the time of writing, Menon lives and works in Chennai.
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