Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Airport art

Rob Fisher's suspended sculpture commissioned for the new Indianapolis Airport

On the cover of today's Indianapolis Star is an article about the art commissioned for the new airport. There is unfortunately only one image online (the print edition contains more) and each of the pieces along with their price tags are discussed here.
(first link is to Theodore Kim's article, second link about the specific pieces)

I know the submission process for this project started long before I came back to Indiana, so I wanted to get input from artists who submitted proposals. What is it like to compete with other artists from all over the country on a huge project like this? What do you think about the $3.8 million being spent on these commissions?

Were the jurors national or local? Arts professionals or community representatives? Did you find the jury process fair?

Finally, what do you think of the work and the artists selected?

I'm just curious...

14 Responses to “Airport art”

Anonymous said...
January 18, 2006 at 10:35 AM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous said...
January 19, 2006 at 8:51 AM

I kinda like the glass instalation shown on the image they published. Too bad there were no other renderings available.

carla said...
January 19, 2006 at 11:16 AM

The work chosen was appropriate. I submitted and was not chosen. As I review chosen public art work, both local and national,I realise I'm offering apples and they want oranges. And I'm not knocking the oranges they choose. Some are interesting, some not so, but it is all professional looking and this, as I said, is appropriate.

I like that real money was poured into it and I think overall the project may work well. This is not high-end decoration, but what the hell is it?......appropriated art? embedded art?

Do they plan on having an art gallery? I'm surprised how well that works at airports (viewing-wise, not sure if anything sells).

The great thing is all an artist can do without public funding. You can do political, religious, subversive, etc. It feels a tad liberating to be rejected.

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 20, 2006 at 3:05 AM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 20, 2006 at 3:50 AM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous said...
January 20, 2006 at 10:37 PM

To the creators of On The Cusp:

It would be good to start archiving old articles and keeping the homepage with a few postings.

Also, I would like to see info about shows in Indianapolis other than those at IMA, IMOCA, HERRON and the likes. Where are the really creative work?

-- An art collector

Christopher said...
January 20, 2006 at 11:47 PM

I am hoping we can have a regualar post on Wednesday announcing shows and events for the upcoming weekend. I was hoping to post one this week but ran out of time. Will try to be more consistant in the future.

I'm not sure what we can do with this site in terms of making links to archive easier. We will need to explore that but I think that's a good suggestion.

Scott said...
January 21, 2006 at 1:29 AM

Greetings Anonymous art collector,
Your advice and suggestions have been taken. I have been messing with the archiving options to see what we can do with the site. I just set it so it now archives by the month and the home page will only show the most recent 10 posts. 10 posts may still seem to many, but as our weekly readership grows, i may choose to lower that number. As it stands now this feels like a good number.

Having been unemployed and job searching for the past 2 months, i have not been out to see as many gallery shows as i had wanted. I do plan on seeing more in the coming weeks. As i do you will see more posts with pictures of works seen at these shows along with some reviews. I am also in the process of doing some interviews with some area artists, arts professionals, and art collectors to add some insight to the range of people in our art community. Let's hope these come together soon.

Anonymous said...
January 21, 2006 at 10:18 AM

When I read the first comment a couple of days ago, I couldn't believe the ignorance. I didn't have time to respond then. And now as I check back in, I am glad to see that Jeremy made my point for me. It's hard to believe that Blackburn Architecture, being a minority owned company, would hire a racist person to facilitate the Art selection on their largest project. I'm not familiar with all of the artists, but I do know that Nhat Tran is not white.

A couple of years ago, when this all began, Blackburn held a conference to which they invited many of the leaders and players in the arts community. They claimed to need our input as to what the art at the new airport should/could be. To me this seemed more like they were trying to "appease the natives” rather than take our suggestions seriously. As they introduced the project, it became clear that many of the decisions about the placement and type of art had already been made.

Like Carla stated earlier, the selected pieces are appropriate. We have to remember that public art will never be personal, political, overly conceptual or challenging. It is the nature of the beast. It is art for the masses.

To address some of the questions that Christopher asked in the original post, I have the following to offer:
What is it like to compete with other artists from all over the country on a huge project like this? They asked for a RFQ with just a brief mention of the nature of the project you would later propose. While it is understandable that they would not like to go through 550 individual detailed proposals, this process is a disadvantage to most local artists simply because we do not have the experience required for public art. Before this call for RFQ's, there had been very limited opportunities locally to get involved in any public art projects. Watch out here comes the clique' - If you don't have any experience, you can't get the job. And if you can't get the job, then you can't gain any experience. So, to answer the question, most local artists didn't stand a chance from the get-go. Entries came from around the world from professional artists, many of who had extensive experience doing public art. Even the local artists selected - Willie Faust and Nhat Tran, both have extensive resumes.
What do you think about the $3.8 million being spent on these commissions? Although this number has increased almost 4x since the "artistic meeting" I referred to earlier (originally $1 million), it still seems pretty pathetic for a $1 billion project. That is .38% of the total budget. Of course we all know of the 1% for art programs enacted in other states, but not here - no way, no how.

-Somewhat Appeased Native

Redvelvetto said...
January 21, 2006 at 12:44 PM

It is amazing he was a finalist in the first place. I am sure he has lots of ideas that are as big as his head.

Redvelvetto said...
January 21, 2006 at 1:34 PM

An open question: What makes an artist famous or even "good"? Is it real talent or how many friends in the right place you have? Does it come down to someone in power liking an artist's work? Looking back at your favorite did they become well known? What about people who do similar things but never get noticed? Like Ray Johnson in the Warhol movement, he got was sort of forgotten until that documentary, How To Draw A Bunny, came out.
Just fill me in on how it works and why artists, some artists, act like a bunch of little princesses...good book by the way, Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Jeremy Tubbs said...
January 22, 2006 at 7:38 AM

The New Indianapolis Airport did not want to recreate the controversy of the Denver International Airports mural by artist Leo Tanguma: "The Children of the World Dream of Peace"

Conditions Governing Art in the New Indianapolis Airport

A. PLACEMENT OF ARTWORK It is to be understood by the artist that the primary purpose of the Indianapolis International Airport is to provide air travel arrival and departure services, ticketing and baggage handling facilities, passenger waiting areas and associated amenities such as parking, dining and retail to the traveling public in a secure environment. Artwork in the airport may not interfere in any way with these activities by blocking access to them, or by blocking or distracting from signage designed and placed to provide information and directions to airport visitors.

This was the tough part!
B. SUBJECT MATTER Artwork placed in and around airports must take into consideration the sensitivities of the majority of the traveling public and common fears about air travel. The nude human figure or sexually suggestive imagery is not acceptable subject matter for the Indianapolis International Airport. Also unacceptable are images such as planes crashing, aircraft wreckage, fire or flames, dead bodies or coffins, bombs, guns, masked figures, knives or box cutters, any iconography that in the public’s perception could relate to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, blood or gore, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards or any other weather phenomenon that, in the public’s perception, could negatively affect the safety of air travel. Partisan or other political statements are not appropriate, nor are commercial messages or images that could be perceived by the public as a commercial message. Images promoting or representing a specific, identifiable religion or spiritual tradition are also inappropriate in the airport unless it is in the context of documenting historic or contemporary landmark structures, individuals or artwork. Please contact the Public Art Administrator if you are unsure if specific images planned for your proposal are consistent with these guidelines.

C. DESIGN Artwork not placed in a protective case is subject to handling, smelling or tasting by members of the public if it is within their reach. It is the artist’s responsibility to ensure the safety of the artwork and the public by using durable, non-toxic materials and by conforming to ADA regulations regarding projecting elements. Although interaction with the public is not anticipated with this artwork, nevertheless it should be safe for public access and resistant to vandalism. Proposed designs must be low-maintenance, and ongoing maintenance tasks should be able to be accomplished by unskilled staff.

Aparently, the art selection committee for the Denver Airport consisted of New World Order Free Mason Neo-Conservatives.

Jeremy Tubbs

Anonymous said...
January 22, 2006 at 11:19 AM This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Anonymous said...
January 23, 2006 at 3:40 PM

Why did the airport created this grant for artists?

To tell the world that Indianapolis is a cultured city.

Indianapolis is bland and that is what makes it Indianapolis. Embrace it. Art doesn't move there.

They are only teasing the arts community in Indianapolis. Throwing a bone to quiet the critics. To bad most of the so called "top" Indianapolis artists danced to the beat of the airport.

I stopped entering my work for grants "competitions." If someone likes what I do then they can commission. Grants are attached with too many restrictions. At the end it is what they want to see and not what you are creating.

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