Friday, November 21, 2008

Catching up with the IMA

While I have been busy these past few weeks job hunting, working on having a catalog printed and preparing for the IDADA Annual Event, I have let lapse a number of topics I wanted to discuss here about the IMA and some of the recent changes and new things they have to offer. So, be forewarned, that this post will be both fragmented and abbreviated but hopefully insightful and possibly begins some discussion. Before I get started with some commentary and links, I would like to remind everyone of another lecture at the IMA this Sunday. I am hoping to make it out to hear this one.

Making Waves: Museums and Cultural Influence
Sunday, Nov 23
4:30 pm
Tobias Theater
Tickets Required

The Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution encompassing two institutes, a museum and a foundation devoted to the visual arts. Join Dr. Anderson for a public conversation with James N. Wood, president and CEO of the J. Paul Getty Trust. The pair will discuss the state of the museum field and the Getty’s strategic efforts to serve local communities while having a global impact. This talk is underwritten by the Carl Weinhardt Jr. Memorial Lecture Fund.

Certification Renewal Credit Eligible

Conversation Series: Museums in a Global Context
In honor of the IMA's 125th anniversary, Dr. Maxwell L. Anderson, the Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO, converses with leaders from museums around the world.

New Design Center:
Before I knew of this particular talk I had started writing a post about the opening of the new Design Center this past October at the IMA. I have known of the opening of this store for awhile and even had the opportunity to talk to a few of the museum staff about the space before they actually opened. A day or two after they opened I made my way into the store to check it out. The woman watching over the space that day was quite pleasant and helpful, and I must say that I quite liked a few of the bric-a-brac type items they had for sale. If I had some extra income I would of purchased this nice carafe.

Before the space opened and now that I have visited, I am still a bit reluctant about the idea of a commercial store at the IMA, outside the usual gift shop sort of space. I am shooting from the hip here, but my initial reaction is that I am against the idea of an art museum, now intent on building a design collection, to house and operate a commercial store. Is it the ethics issue for me? I don't know actually. Earlier tonight I talked with a couple of my friends about the IMA Design Center and they both, in essence all for it. They felt (and I am only paraphrasing my understanding of their stance) any opportunity to turn museum patrons into buyers is worth while. But, I ask where does this end? Earlier this year the blog world was chatting up the inclusion of Louis Vuitton store being included in a Murakami exhibition. Personally, I find the idea ridiculous to the point it makes me laugh, which may in fact be the point but should the IMA (or any art museum) be using their space for commercial ventures. Should museums then start opening clothing stores as well. At this rate, is not the museum simply going to become the new model of a mall. Should museums begin to open their own commercial galleries selling works by the artists they have in their collections? What about renting out space to a gallery trying to represent (currently unknown) emerging artists?

All that said, I like a number of the items and with the holidays coming up, perhaps on your next visit to the IMA, you can stop on in and do some of your holiday shopping.

The Toby:
Another recent inclusion to the IMA is the new Randall L. and Marianne W. Tobias Theater, aka The Toby. "[the Toby] the newest place to experience culturally adventurous performances, speakers and cinema in Indianapolis. Programming includes cutting-edge performers, thought-provoking conversations with artists, designers and museum directors, and international films and art cinema."
The Toby has 600 seats, including a balcony and "alternative" seating -- come see what we mean! Experience performances, films and talks, enhanced by a new sound system and high-def digital and 35 mm projection with Dolby surround sound. After the programs, linger in the lobby decorated with high-style furniture to talk with friends and colleagues about what you have just seen.

Having long been a fan of lectures, talks and particularly cinema I look forward to seeing any number of fabulous events in this new space. Check out their site to see some of the films and events they have lined up for the space already. I give it two thumbs up!

If you have not been to the IMA in the past couple months, I highly recommend you check out the top floor as they have reinstalled a good amount of their collection. Some works I had not seen before are currently up now and some pieces I find I cringe at are finally down (the Lee Krasner piece, ugggh). Not that I am not a fan of Krasner or dislike her work, just I never liked that painting though somehow the Hans Hoffman painting managed to stay in public view. I am a fan of Hoffman but the one currently on view I have never liked. I am sounding like a hater, but you know... A fabulous Helen Frankenthaler work is now being exhibited, I love this piece and didn't know we had it? I was thrilled to see the orange and brass Donald Judd wall piece finally got a long over due cleaning. I was always taken aback by the countless fingerprints that tarnished the sheen of the brass, lets hope all those pesky art touchers leave their mits off this one for awhile. I was quite shocked to see one of Emily Kennerk's red awnings juxtaposed beside a Tony Feher work and a nice Richard Tuttle sculpture. Congrats to Emily. The rehang, I must say was successful. It helped to liven up the collection a bit and we are given the opportunity to see some new works and some of the usual suspects in a new context. Check it out.

I have not yet seen the newly installed Orly Genger work, Whole, but plan on seeing Sunday. I unfortunately missed her talk but heard good things. I can only hope that the IMA media staff recorded the talk and will make this available online or at least on dvd in their library. But the Orly Genger work is not the only new install at the IMA, we have a brand new Robert Irwin light sculpture. Its huge. Three stories tall. From the IMA site:
A three-story fluorescent light installation by Robert Irwin entitled Light and Space III was specifically designed for the Museum's main 60-foot atrium Pulliam Great Hall. Unveiled as a commission in honor of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s 125th anniversary this October, the work is the IMA's newest and largest addition to its fast-growing contemporary art program.

Light and Space III transforms the experience of entering the Museum's galleries with a 60x60-foot screen stretching across three adjacent planes by the main escalators. A series of white floor-to-ceiling scrim panels brackets five channels of fluorescent light mounted in a grid-like pattern across the wall surfaces. Visitors are blanketed by a tunnel of light as they move between the three gallery levels of the IMA. The commission is funded in part through a gift from Ann M. and Chris Stack, longtime supporters of the IMA's contemporary collection.

3 Responses to “Catching up with the IMA”

The Urbanophile said...
November 22, 2008 at 9:22 AM

The Irwin piece is astoundingly good.

Anonymous said...
December 3, 2008 at 12:24 PM

It should be solar powered.

Anonymous said...
December 12, 2008 at 4:50 PM

Robert Irwin piece is getting some rave reviews or so I hear and read.

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