Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ingrid Calame's: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Project

[image from the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania web site]

Last year during a week long stay at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, artist Ingrid Calame along with a team of local helpers began making tracings of marks on the track, including the victory donut left behind by Sam Hornish Jr. after winning the Indianapolis 500 in 2006.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced this week that Ingrid Calame’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway Project will premiere at the Museum on November 2, 2007. The exhibition, which will feature large-scale colored pencil drawings and enamel-on-aluminum paintings created over the course of 18 months, marks the first time that all of the artist’s work in this series has been exhibited in one venue. The exhibition, which will be on view through March 16, 2008, will include the largest paintings in enamel-on-aluminum that Calame has ever created. The IMA commissioned this new body of work by Calame as part of the Museum’s broadening contemporary art program. -IMA press release

My first experience with Calame's work was at the Extreme Abstraction show at the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo. I must say that her large scale enamel on mylar wall works were memorable, making me interested in seeing how the works she makes for the IMA compare or are different from those.

“Like the works in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, Ingrid Calame: The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Project will encourage visitors to consider the relationship between art and the environment, looking closely, even obsessively, at one of Indianapolis’ most well-known locales,” said Lisa Freiman, curator of contemporary art at the IMA. “By tracing the racetrack’s distinctive patterns and transforming them into elegant abstract paintings and drawings, Calame has captured a unique, locally relevant form and elevated it to the realm of aesthetics.” -IMA press release

[image from the Albright Knox web site]

22 Responses to “Ingrid Calame's: Indianapolis Motor Speedway Project”

Anonymous said...
May 28, 2007 at 3:14 AM

This sounds so incredibly boring, someone just shoot me.

diong said...
May 28, 2007 at 11:13 AM

Nice feature on you guys in IndySunday... :-)

Scott said...
May 28, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Could you elaborate? Is it her work in general you think boring or is it the fact that she is drawing (no pun intended) from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as content?

Thanks. I have not actually read it although it has been sitting on my counter all day. Reading interviews that I have been on the answering side of makes me nervous. I never have a problem reading reviews or commentary on my work but when it comes to how I sound or come off in an interview, well... Just makes me feel on the spot. For those who have not read the interview you can read it here:

Anonymous said...
May 28, 2007 at 5:43 PM

Ok. For me, the described work sounds really vapid and random. Ground markings strike me as very unexciting, and I say "shoot me" when reading the space and prominence given to yesterday's foot/tire shufflings. I would much rather see artist inner visions. To each his own though....I'm just sour grapes I guess.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2007 at 12:32 AM

Yes, I thought this sounded rather boring, too, though I didn't see the finished product. Can anyone explain to me why this isn't boring? (and this has nothing to do with sour grapes.)

Scott said...
May 30, 2007 at 4:03 AM

In the spirit of discussion I would like to make this argument as to why this work may not be as boring as it may appear to some on the surface.

While this particular works connection to the race does not interest me at all, I do not think that is what interests the artist either, at least not as the driving component for creating the work. Rather, I believe Calame's work is most interesting when viewed in the context of american Ab-Ex works, in particular artists like Pollock. Where Pollock was creating art works from drips and splatters of paint, Calame searches out these marks left behind as waste in our day-to-day environment. Marks free from purpose or context (spills, stains, drips, etc.), traced and compiled, only to take these random markings and working with them, composing them, altering them, to create new works. Much in the same way as one would create a collage. Works that on one level are interested purely in an aesthetic experience but layered with an underlying history that may be deconstructed leaving subtle layers of context.

Since this work has yet to be completed it is hard to know how I will feel about it. Maybe works that are to be enjoyed mostly on an aesthetic level are boring to some people, and I realise this is a common issue for abstraction, but I do think art can exist with out representation or narrative to make it interesting.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2007 at 7:16 AM

Well....thank-you, that explanation will do, but it brings to mind a textbook, telling me why I should feel something that I really don't.
Hopefully I'm wrong (since it's a done deal I guess) but I think 90% of people would look at something like this for 60 seconds, then walk on by thinking "weird wallpaper".
Not the kind of thing to turn heads or wag tongues (except for press tongues/keyboards, who must wag).
Hopefully it won't be as dull as it sounds, and the artist works very hard to make it visually exciting.

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2007 at 12:00 PM

what next making rubbings of the brick yard

Anonymous said...
May 30, 2007 at 12:40 PM

Thanks, Scott, I was afraid this would be the explanation (not your fault! It's what she's doing!) Ab ex painting and Pollock's work in particular were EXPRESSIONISTIC, in that there was a human intention behind it- emotion. Yes, he used drips, which added randomness, but he was in control of those drips (just look at all of the poor imitators to see just how MUCH control he had) Finding incidental markings and blowing them up or isolating them is boring to me because it has very little basis in what I find compelling and beautiful in art- human emotion and communication. That is not to say that I don't like decorative art, or abstract art. But this seems like a short cut to art to me- almost laziness and an unwillingness to claim responsibility for the work she is producing.

Anonymous said...
May 31, 2007 at 3:05 PM

If no one told me (I am not from Indy) I would think it was just another abstract painting. Yes this piece will be exciting for the people of NASCAR, they may even visit the museum.

But, should a museum hold a opening of artwork that has never been seen by the public before? (Fresh from the studio) I thought most pieces in museums were from private collectors, galleries, pieces that have stood up to a bit of time and criticism. What if the show is a flop or becomes old very quick? Or am I way out in left field on this?

Scott said...
May 31, 2007 at 3:31 PM

It is actually a very common practice for museums exhibiting contemporary art, to commission original artworks for installations in their gallery spaces. This is usually the norm when it comes to "installation art" and large scale works.

Anonymous said...
June 1, 2007 at 11:04 AM

Emotion is overrated.
I think the work is amazing and I love the idea and cannot wait to see the project completed. A far cry from boring, it make me think of caputuring brief, fragile histories., collecting a moment of movement.
Oh and about laziness, and lack of willingness to claim the work,,I bet these are a bear to produce labor wise,,and she putting it out there, and that's the best way to stand behind anything!

Anonymous said...
June 1, 2007 at 2:41 PM

This could describe just about anything- any activity that takes a long time. Why are there no standards anymore? "Just do it" and hope enough people buy the shtick.

Scott said...
June 1, 2007 at 2:48 PM

What sort of standards?

Anonymous said...
June 2, 2007 at 10:43 AM

standards standards,,wow seems like you have a very specific idea about what art can be and what it is boring. hope enough people buy into your "shtick"

Anonymous said...
June 3, 2007 at 1:56 PM

Yeah, I do have really strict ideas about what art should be. I think it should not be boring or sterile or extremely repetitive. But you know what? That's my OPINION and the point of having a site like this is for us all to state our opinions. If you don't agree with me, state another opinion, don't waste your time just telling me I'm wrong. I don't care if you think I'm wrong. I might care if you actuially had an opinion YOU bothered to express!

Anonymous said...
June 3, 2007 at 3:26 PM

Actually I did express my opinion, I think it is interesting work, love the idea and excited to see the finished project. And as I mentioned before I think it’s a far cry from laziness or a lack of artist responsibility. It’s all good banter here, don’t get upset. Just trying to create a fair dialogue.

Anonymous said...
June 4, 2007 at 9:37 AM

Ummmm.... is that a birds nest on her head?

Anonymous said...
June 4, 2007 at 1:43 PM

I didn't attack your opinions, though, did I? Just stated my own. Your idea of good banter is rudeness.

Anonymous said...
June 4, 2007 at 5:21 PM

I wasn’t attacking your opinion, I was stating an alternative opinion. That’s not being rude, that creating a fair dialogue about the work.

Scott said...
June 4, 2007 at 7:00 PM

Ok, ok. Back to the dialogue. I am still interested in this idea of artistic standards that was brought up. Could you further elaborate on what these standards should be and why this particular work (still as yet unseen) may not have these standards? Can standards in art be universal?

Anonymous said...
June 4, 2007 at 8:41 PM

Standards for what constitutes good or worthy art used to change constantly with the changing of art movements, but what our post-modern art educational system has wrought is the idea that there can be no standards, because no one has the authority to set those standards. Or rather, no one should have the authority. To believe that human beings share any common, universal traits or desires is considered to be on par with Nazism. Now what we see is that the standard for what is good or exceptional in art is set by the market- collectors and gallerists. Of course! If artists, critics and educators won't come up with anything- the work that sells for the highest price is necessarily the best piece of art. The result is a lot of artists running around trying to come up with a shtick that will sell, or will at least ensure a tenure track teaching job.

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