Sunday, August 06, 2006

Where do we Stand?: Contemporary art in Indiana

A recent post by Portland artist/curator/writer Jeff Jahn for the blog PORT, discussed the (at the time) upcoming Oregon Biennial and the art and artists in the show. The show has since opened and you can find out more about it here. I have for some time followed the scene in Portland via PORT, and find it to have a wonderfully rich and diverse art scene with some great shows. The article written about the Oregon Biennial started me thinking about the art and artists in Indiana. Could Indiana sustain an interesting and viable contemporary art biennial? What would be the purpose of having one? How would we hold up to other cities? Who would be included?

I have thought about this scenario before when the "Greater New York 2005" show was taking place. Often when I here the idea of a biennial being discussed in connection with the art world I tend to feel skeptical and I can't even express why. But there is something about these events that I think are exciting and publicly educational, both to artists as well as the general public. A sort of State of the Union for the Arts. While this is almost impossible to pull off on a grander national or international scale, maybe it is possible on the smaller scale of state to state. Of course there would be politics involved and sides may be taken but that is how the world really is. I for one would love to see an event like this take place in Indianapolis. As long as it was approached seriously and given an appropriate space to exhibit in. There would be the question of who would jury it? Imagine the amount of work it would take to go through so many artists submissions, then to follow up on those with studio visits, etc. until you finally come to a decision on the core group you plan on exhibiting. That would be a lot of work.

Who might we expect to see in a show of this nature? James Darr? Lenore Thomas? Jamie Pawlus? Emily Kennerk? Casey Roberts? Stuart Hyatt? Carl Pope Jr.? Ed Sanders? Brose Partington? Peg Fierke? Lori Miles? Katrin Asbury? James Wille Faust? The list could go on and on. What artists are there that I do not know? Who are the "A" list artists in Indiana? Are there "A" list artists in Indiana? One of the biggest problems I have started to understand recently about the Indy scene is this "Generational Gap" between artists. Most of the artists I know rarely exhibit with artists 10+ years their senior or junior. Aside from not exhibiting with each other I don't think most of the younger artists even know what the older artists are doing or are about as artists. I would like to see this change. We can all learn a lot from each other. Perhaps older artists will find some new found inspiration from some of the younger artists and I am positive that many of the younger artists could learn a lot from the older artists who have continued to survive in this market for years. Perhaps having a biennial, a triennial, or some other semi regular exhibition of the arts would help break these walls down some. To allow for the art to have its own dialogue.

Maybe, someone who is willing and adventurous enough will soon attempt to make something like this happen. I hope they do. That is as long as they are willing to not settle for anything less than the best possible turn out. A well curated, diverse cross section of the best contemporary art in Indiana. I know that there are some names that I would likely nominate to be included in such a show. Who would you choose? Why?

8 Responses to “Where do we Stand?: Contemporary art in Indiana”

Liriodendron said...
August 6, 2006 at 8:06 AM I'm curious....the annual Hoosier Salon doesn't satisfy this need? Why not?

carla said...
August 6, 2006 at 1:32 PM

Perhaps something similar to "The Indiana Arts Competition", sponsored by American States Insurance from about 1988-1998.

Anonymous said...
August 7, 2006 at 8:50 AM

hey, remember when the IMA had a consignment gallery...

oh, i already said that.

carla said...
August 7, 2006 at 9:17 AM

Does anyone have more info on the American States competition? I was mostly under a rock that decade, but from what I peripherally gleaned, it had some merit.

Anonymous said...
August 7, 2006 at 11:02 AM

People I would like to see in this Beinnial:

Jeremy Tubbs
Judith G Levy
Brian Presnell
Artur Silva
Emily Kennerk
Carl Pope

Not sure I want to see any more of Jamie Pawlus, thought her show was weak at IMOCA.

Anonymous said...
August 7, 2006 at 11:53 AM


Have a panel of renowed critics, writers, artists, and curators (from outside of Indiana) with a world arts perspective to select the artists.

Anonymous said...
August 11, 2006 at 5:56 PM

enough of Artur Silva already. I hate it when people riff past artists so blatantly. Robert Rauschenburg called, he wants his concept back.

Anonymous said...
August 16, 2006 at 3:48 PM


Midwest Biennial

Indiana and surrounding states... held in Indianapolis. Get people to visit our city and see what is happening... Julian Opie and what not! Good to get attention for the entire region... move the biennial to different cities each year (maybe) I would like to see a focus on the midwest in Flash Art.

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