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Favorites of 2007

For me, 2007 was an amazing year at the IMA. Here are just a few of my favorite moments from the last 12 months:

*Filming in Paris and Rome for Roman Art from the Louvre webisodes.
*Interviewing video artist Sam Easterson for the exhibition Nature Holds My Camera.
*The backyard barbeque on the lawn of the IMA for the opening of Emily Kennerk: Suburban Nation.
*The launch of the IMA’s new Web site.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I’m not one for picking absolute favorites. However, this year, it’s an easy decision. Far and away, my favorite memory of 2007 was the opening weekend of the exhibition Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything is Separated By Water. I can’t remember a happier time at work.

Magda and I on opening night

Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons and I on opening night.

 

Here’s a recap:

Friday, February 23, 2007

A.M.
I got a phone call a few minutes after getting into my office. It was the Curator of Contemporary Art, Lisa Freiman, asking if I wanted a sneak peek of the show. I immediately ran upstairs to the exhibition and was greeted by both Lisa and the artist, Magda. After working for more than 4 months on the marketing for the exhibition, it was such a joy to finally see it installed. The sneak peek was a treat made even sweeter due to the fact that I got to share it with Magda. Lisa was very proud and giddy and Magda was joyous, but also obviously anxious about the opening gala that would take place that evening. My first impression of the show – I felt like I had stepped into the artist’s mind. It was emotionally stirring to be able to see the visual expression of another person’s passion. The exhibition was remarkable. I was overwhelmed by the experience and the joy spilled out into the rest of the workday. Friday flew by as I helped set up for the evening’s gala.

P.M.

I can’t explain it, but I felt like I was floating that entire night. Maybe it was the exhaustion of working so hard to get the show ready. Maybe it was the remains of the joy that I still felt from that morning, but everything during that time feels like it was a dream. Dinner was exceptional though I can’t tell you what we ate. Just after dessert, Magda gave a beautiful and heartfelt speech. Then, the crowd was released upstairs to preview the exhibition and join the afterparty.

With over 500 guests, several bars and a large band, Pulliam Great Hall was packed. For me, the most exciting part of the afterparty was the diversity of the guests. Guests from 27 to 77 filled the dance floor dancing to the beats of the Spam Allstars. Never before had I attended an event at the IMA that had such a young, hip vibe. It was incredibly fun and fulfilling to see so many people enjoying the night and the exhibition.

 


Saturday, February 24, 2007

On Saturday afternoon, Magda gave a performance piece in the same space that had held the revelers the night before. Regalos was a special work that the artist had created as a gesture of appreciation for the support she had received while working on the exhibition. Wearing a long dress that had dozens of tiny bags tied to it, Magda invited visitors to untie the bags. To the delight of the audience, each bag contained a gift of a tiny handmade piece by the artist. The performance was extremely dramatic and filled with Magda’s gratitude, affection and sacrifice.

After the performance, the IMA’s Contemporary Art Society held a reception for Magda. I attended with my copy of the exhibition catalogue tucked under my arm. It was my last chance to see Magda before she left, and I desperately wanted her to sign my book. I waited in line as her family, friends and fans congratulated her. Finally, I had my chance. As I handed the book to her, I gushed about how much I loved working on the exhibition and how honored I was to have worked with her. She smiled warmly at me as she scribbled into the cover. I hugged her as she handed the catalogue back to me, and then left her to greet the next person in line. As I walked away, I cracked the book open and saw what she had been “scribbling.” It was a drawing of water spraying up into the air with a note written under it, “Meg- You are a fountain. With Love and Gratitude, Magda”. The drawing and the words meant so much to me. She couldn’t have given me a more thoughtful gift. It was a perfect end to one of the most remarkable weeks of my life.

So do you have any favorite memories of the IMA from 2007? Share your favorite IMA moment of 2007 by responding to my story with one of your own.

Filed under: Exhibitions

14 Responses to “Favorites of 2007”

  • avatar
    Despi Says:

    Unbelieveable that 2007 is already over!

  • avatar
    Daniel Says:

    It’s so last year.

  • avatar
    Jenn Agee Says:

    My favorite? So I’ll admit, I’ve not been to the IMA in several years. Once you recover from the shock of my lack of cultural savvy, you can rejoice in the fact that my recent experience was the Roman exhibit. Making the visit with me was my husband, parents, and grand-parents (who rebelled and visited the American Art gallery instead). However, we had an interesting debate at lunch when I posed the question “What were you thinking?”. Curious to know what everyone thought and felt as they observed their various exhibits, I posed the question and got a variety of responses: “How did they sculpt clothing – what were the tools like?” “What were their lives like?” “Wow – this is really old!” My own – what was it that allowed a particular image or statue to be identified as a particular god/dess or personage? And then I had the thought that getting these thoughts and feedback should be part of the exhibit itself. A computer where folks could put their thoughts, and then they’d be projected on the walls throughout the exhibit.

    Other thoughts – we wished we could touch the carvings. Feel the differences in texture and style. How children might engage and experience the exhibit.

    Mission accomplished. For the museum and me. OKAY OKAY!!! I GET IT!!!! NO MORE EXCUSES!

  • avatar
    DiSo Says:

    I agree Meg…Campos-Pons was a thought-provoking exhibition Magda and work with her.

    Personally, my favorite moment was bringing my five year old daughter Emma into the IMA galleries for the first time (usually I can’t get her off of the escalators). On this occasion, she was being photographed in the European galleries with her grandma for an IMA print piece. Emma was acting just like Emma…being goofy and bouncing off the walls in the Pont-Aven collection (the mustard colored walls and Paul Gauguin’s “Landscape near Arles” just aren’t her thing). She really wasn’t making a good subject for the photograph until she entered in the Neo-impressionist space and spotted Georges Seurat’s “The Channel at Gravelines, Petit Fort Philippe, 1890.” She stopped and stared, and stared and kept on staring. There was silence. The camera snapped several pictures. I finally leaned in and said “Emma, what are you doing?” She declared “Momma…that painting has dots.” Art history 101 began that day for Emma. Now, there’s an easel in my basement with Emma’s name on it. But I hope medical school is on her B Plan.

    It’s My Art!

  • avatar
    Jo Says:

    Though I don’t live in Indy (I’m from the southwestern corner of the state,) I’ve been an IMA member for two years and have greatly enjoyed the occasional opportunities I’ve had to explore the IMA galleries and see the special exhibitions. But, the additional coverage of the art and artists via your website, the new media productions, the e-newsletters and Previews magazine, etc., has greatly enhanced my overall experience. It’s beginning to feel as if “it’s MY IMA” – so your ads and your work are succeeding.

    Hey, keep up the wonderful work and I look forward to all the upcoming artistic offerings within the museum and on the web.

    Oh, and my favorite museum moment in 2007, too, was standing within Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons’ exhibit and getting an unexpected gut-wrenching reaction to her art. The domestic symbols she used to suggest the lives of her female family members and the life she left behind in Cuba were both poignant and haunting.

    The Roman Art from the Louvre was terrific, as expected. No visceral reactions, yet there was a thrill seeing pieces that were looked upon by others thousands of years ago.

  • avatar
    Jenn H. Says:

    Gyuto Monks and, of course, Roman Art!

  • avatar
    Ed Says:

    I really enjoyed reading the activity on the Nature Holds My Camera blog and strolling by the gallery during Roman Art from the Louvre to see people engaged with Virtual Rome (and, of course, the exhibitions themselves!). It was a real pleasure to be a part of the teams that developed those interactive elements. I’m looking forward to more exciting projects in the new year.

    As for things that I wasn’t involved in, I really enjoyed the visit of the Gyuto monks. Both the sand mandala ceremony and the evening of chanting were fascinating glimpses of their culture.

  • avatar
    Meg Says:

    The Gyuto Monks were amazing. Looking back, one of my best memories involved them as well. I was standing out in front of the IMA very early on a foggy spring morning. As I looked down the Sutphin Mall, 3 monks dressed in their saffron colored robes walked from the LOVE sculpture through the fog and towards the Sutphin Fountain. It looked as if it were choreographed. The silence of the morning combined with the vividness of the monk’s garbs against the fog left a lasting impression.

  • avatar
    jyl Says:

    One momentous occasion that comes to mind was the announcement of the first artists to do commissions in IMA’s Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. It was thrilling to see the IMA splashed across international headlines, announcing the 10 inaugural artists and artist collectives that will set the tone for this one-of-a-kind contemporary art park, which is certain to be a jewel for Indianapolis.

  • avatar
    Mel Says:

    Email isn’t listed as a favorite of 2007? Kidding. This was a great recap of experiences, Meg. Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything is Separated By Water was the best of the best. Who knew such a rocking party could be thrown at the IMA? We sure do now, so can you please tell us what you have up your sleeve for 2008?

  • avatar
    emily Says:

    I’ve spent far too little time at IMA this year, but certainly enjoyed both my “happy hour” outing with friends who’d never visited before and the opportunity to see such amazing works in the Roman Art from the Louvre exibit. I wish I would have had the opportunity to visit the Campos-Pons celebrations…sounds wonderful!

  • avatar
    kath Says:

    My favorite IMA 2007 memory was Meg’s excitement and inspiration from her earliest thoughts about the Romans coming to Indy to calling her after our visit to the exhibit. I have no ancient history in my education, background or TV viewing, but enjoyed the webisodes as the clift notes to my Romans experience. We had a snow storm in Indy the weekend we visited the Romans – was this the first snow for them?

  • avatar
    Mos Doc Says:

    The Romans were astounding. The Romans were astounding.

  • avatar
    Matt Says:

    Sooo… I definitely don’t go to the awesome, free IMA nearly enough, but I can say that the Romans snagged my attention, like the rest of Indy. There were a number of other exhibits that I wanted to see, but I guess I’ll have to try harder in the Ocho! What’s coming up next?

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