Sunday, January 01, 2006

Indianapolis Top 5 Art Openings of 2005

It's a new year and a great time for reflecting back on the previous year. So I decided to come up with my Top 5 art shows in Indianapolis for 2005. I must stipulate that there are a number of great shows that I am sure I missed. I have hopes of seeing a lot more shows this year. In the meantime, what are your Top 5 art shows in the Indianapolis area for 2005? Add yours in our comments section below...

1: The reopening of the IMA's Contemporary Art galleries. After several months of being closed, November offered us the new look at the Contemporary wing. I must admit I was never a fan of their contemporary collection before. It always seemed to me that the collection consisted of a checklist of artists that should be in the collection and they went out and bought the cheapest piece of work by that artist they could find. This isn't to say that they didn't own any good work; I liked several of the pieces but the installation of the works always seemed squeezed into each room, and the James Turrell piece (a big draw to all the school kids that went to the museum) was always dirty when I went, thereby destroying the illusion. Alas, Lisa Freiman has brought hope and promise to Indy by allowing the works to breath, to remove many of the works i despised from the gallery walls, and to acquire several new pieces that have added some life to a previously stale collection. I look forward to what she will bring to us in the future. Go and check it out if you have not yet seen it.

2: "Next in the Gallery" at the old Herron School of Art gallery. This show by the wonderful gallery director David Russick, brought together works by regional, national, and internationally known artists together in rotating groups for several months with an opening every two weeks. Now that's Ambitious! I wait to see what the new Herron School of Art and Design gallery will bring to us in 2006. Though I hope they stay clear of anymore dreadful shows like the recent John Mellencamp show, what they hell was that crap about.

3: "Magma" by Casey Roberts at the Harrison Center for the Arts gallery. I will admit that I have been a fan and a friend of Caseys for several years, I was a fan of the prints he did at Herron before I actually met him. Now after several years it was great to see for the first time a large body of his work shown together. And after the show, brought to us by Casey, we got the chance to see The Dirty Projectors play live in the basement of the Harrison Center. What a treat that was. I always feel that seeing a large body of an artists work will allow the viewer to better understand the artist and their work. This his first solo exhibition marked a wonderful step in his career and I expect to see his work grow in the coming years.

4: "Different Dreams, Different Promises" works by Paul Harris and Michael Begley at Ruschman Art Gallery. Pink! That was the first thing that hit you. The calm, serene gallery interior that has always been Ruschman Art Gallery was now painted this intense pink color. I think the thing that I liked about this show the most is the fact that it took place at Ruschman's gallery. Mark Ruschman has, in my mind, always been the premiere example of a successful gallery in Indianapolis. Consistently showing good work. (though, to my tastes, it is sometimes feels the works are a bit safe) Never the less I often enjoy the shows there, but on this occasion we were taken into a pink, punk world that i think even shocked Mark. It goes to show ya, you never know where the next surprise is going to come from.

5: The opening of Flux Space. With only 3 shows under her belt for 2005, DeAnne Roth (artist, curator, my favorite bartender, and owner of Flux Space) has made a wonderful contribution to the city's art scene. Flux Space is a grassroots gallery/project space in the storefront level of DeAnne's home and studio. So far she has shown a collaborative artists project from Old Brush Projects, an installation by Emily Stergar, and most recently the captivating paintings of Nicci Herren. Flux Space promises to bring us more wonderful work this year. Keep up the good work.

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