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Edge of Madness

It has been a bit rainy of late. But much of that rain has come in the evening or night or early morn. What has come during the workday has tended to be light enough to remain out and continue working. Well, except for Wednesday afternoon when the sirens went off. It didn’t seem reasonable to stay out even though the weather looked fine. It’s really not wise to play games with tornadoes. So I’ve been desperately trying to get as much planted as possible, while trying to not damage wet soil, and while keeping an eye on the sky. It’s enough to drive you mad.

In addition to devoting many hours to planting the annuals and tropicals, I have been edging the beds.

I know they should be edged every year to keep them nice and sharp, but I just don’t get to it every year – which is a mistake, or rather, two mistakes.

First of all, I lose that nice clean edge. Your garden can be full of weeds, the perennials needing deadheading, the shrubs needing pruning, but……. if you have a nice crisp edge on the bed? Nobody sees the flaws. It’s like the eyes just stop traveling past the edge cut.

The other mistake created by not edging is especially problematic if you have turf bordering your beds. That grass sneaks into the plantings. Before you know it, the damn stuff is twelve or eighteen inches into your perennials or annuals. And it is always harder to get it out of the areas you don’t want it than to get it into the areas you do want it!

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Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Horticulture


Making the Impossible Possible

As you may have seen by now, the U.S. Pavilion at the Venice Biennale – organized by none other than the IMA! – was recently featured in the New York Times.  The article takes place at the Circus Warehouse in New York City as gymnasts rehearsed on mock-ups of the artwork they will perform on in Venice.  They’ll be performing within artists Allora and Calzadilla‘s exhibition Gloria, alongside an upside-down tank with a treadmill, a pipe organ ATM, a video projection, and a statue lying in a sunbed.  Yes, you read that all correctly!  I think IMA curator and Pavilion commissioner Lisa Freiman summed it up best when she said, “It’s all about making the impossible possible.”

A large part of what makes this project so complex (and fascinating to watch unfold) is the live performance element, a first for the U.S. Pavilion.  An athlete associated with USA Track and Field will run on the treadmill (atop the overturned tank) and gymnasts affiliated with USA Gymnastics will perform on replicas of business class airline seats on either side of the Pavilion. As Carol Vogel described it as she watched them rehearse, “…(she) bent her body in graceful movements over a seat: wrapping herself around the tray table, draping her body along the edge of the seats, limbs splayed, forming a perfect split, and finally alighting on the divider, a leg gracefully extending high in the air — Brancusi’s “Bird in Space” sculpture come to life.” Look for frequent updates from us and our partners at USA Gymnastics and USA Track and Field on next week’s big performances.

The Venice Biennale takes place every two years and features cutting edge, contemporary art that represents a record 89 countries this year, along with additional exhibitions throughout the city.  Along with the activities happening inside the U.S. Pavilion, we’ll also be documenting the Biennale at large to show Gloria within the larger context of international contemporary art.   So far, we’ve been hearing lots of glowing updates from IMA staffers as they are busy installing for next week’s opening.  Here’s the exhibition banner freshly unfurled on the wall:

Along with updates here, we’ll also be continuously adding content to our microsite – expect behind-the-scenes glimpses, video interviews, images of the installation, and much more.  And perhaps the most active place for updates will be our Twitter handle devoted to the project: USPavilion11.  Stay tuned!

Filed under: Art, Contemporary, Travel, Venice Biennale


Art for Our Sake

Art can be selfish. I definitely have times when I’m writing “just for me” because performing your art without an audience can be extremely therapeutic. I think that’s why so many people are silent in galleries—they don’t want to disturb anyone so everyone can have their own experience; effectively making each piece you pass “just for you.”

I don’t think Julianne Swartz had me in mind when she constructed Terrain, but maybe I was more in the process than one would think. Terrain is a contemporary work that was originally in the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion but has been re-strategized to spider web the Caroline Marmon Fesler Gallery in the Contemporary Art Collection. It has a network of speakers that hang over head from a rainbow of wire.

The speakers play the voices of 37 different volunteers whispering. They start and end on their own accord and echo thorough out the space. As you move through the room and pick-up on varying voices it’s like you’re the conductor of 37 hushed ghosts. Basically, it’s really creepy. Logging time in the gallery, I watched quite a few people enter, get freaked out and leave. However, those who stay just long enough to read the label are rewarded.

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Filed under: Art, Contemporary, The Collection


CBS Sunday Morning to Feature the Miller House & Garden

If you’re a resident of Indianapolis or Columbus, it’s probably no secret that Charles Osgood and the crew of CBS Sunday Morning have spent the week looking at architecture and art in Columbus.  There’s been a lot of newspaper and television coverage of their work.

I’m looking forward to seeing the show, which airs this Sunday morning at 9:00 am.

Charles Osgood Getting Ready in the Dining Room.

As an art conservator, I was assigned to help the crew film at the recently-opened Miller House and Garden.  This work was a team effort and many from the IMA were involved in helping the CBS folks get what they needed for the show.

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Filed under: Conservation, Miller House


Stars and Sequins

Our guest blogger today is Allison Daly, who worked as an intern in the Textile and Fashion Arts Department from January through April. Recounting her experience at the IMA, the following post was written by Allison before the close of her internship.

I had the honor of interning at the IMA during what I think is a very exciting period for the museum’s Textiles and Fashion Arts department. Inviting exhibitions and what I gauged as a growing interest in fashion arts only reinforces the notion.  Material World opened Friday, April 22nd, following a year long demonstration of avant-garde fashion in the exhibition Body Unbound, Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Collection. And of course, there was the unforgettable touring exhibition Read My Pins: The Madeline Albright Collection of influential and unique jewelry.  Meanwhile, the Fashion Arts Society consistently engages members in events that compliment the collection, such as a private tour through storage and a virtual meeting with film director Matt Tyrnauer following the screening of his documentary Valentino: The Last Emperor in The Toby.

Through Read My Pins I learned the former Secretary of State, Dr. Albright, communicates messages by carefully choosing what pin to wear: a turtle when she felt negotiations were moving slowly, a gold dove to symbolize a partnership for peace, the sun as a sign of hope in difficult situations. The pendants also add to her outfits. I was inspired by the idea of small accessories communicating messages and influencing outfits from day to day.

Like a pin, a printed silk scarf has the same potential to communicate a message and update suits.

After reading a post on a Pucci scarf in the collection, my interest grew in regard to other scarves housed at the IMA. While in storage, I discovered a charming Yves Saint Laurent design for The House of Dior, stumbled upon a Balenciaga scarf of tiny poly-loop bows, and peeked at gorgeous shawls from Turkey.

Right now, I am in a dream. As a student of design, it is such a privilege for me to study the construction and design of quality works up close.

Before moving from Austin to Indianapolis for this rare opportunity, I was eager to learn more about the projects I would be working on as a curatorial intern. Petra’s post “So…What exactly do you do?” prepared me for the hunt data clean-up initiates and Jessica’s post on “Building a Bird(man) House” got me excited for the hands-on construction I might be participating in with object storage.  As expected after reading these posts, my scarf search evolved into a storage maintenance project. Keeping up with the housing and organization system for objects – there are over 7,000 in the textile collection – is an ongoing responsibility. The task of re-housing the scarf entailed rolling it in Tyvek® around a supportive, archival tube. The new housing received a content identification label to prevent unnecessary handling, and then the roll was carefully threaded onto a rod across a large drawer suitable for flat textiles, like scarves.

While searching, a vibrant, branded Norell, silk twill scarf stood out to me, perhaps because I am patiently waiting for spring to stay here in Indianapolis.

Scarf, 1969 by Norman Norell (1988.298) Gift of Mrs. Max Fisher in memory of Norman Norell

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Filed under: Art, Public Programs, Textile & Fashion


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