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Indiana by the Numbers

Commissioned in 1980 for the 20th anniversary of Melvin Simon & Associates (now Simon Property Group), Robert Indiana’s eight-foot-tall polychrome Numbers are iconic works from one of America’s most recognizable artists. The new exhibition Indiana by the Numbers (opening this Friday, May 24) traces the history of their design and fabrication, tells the story of their display before they were donated to the IMA in 1989, and provides a glimpse into their recent restoration and repainting by the IMA conservation department.

Robert Indiana (American, b. 1928), Numbers, 1980-1983, painted aluminum, 8x8x4 ft. (each), Gift of Melvin Simon and Associates, 1988.246. (c) 2013 Morgan Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Robert Indiana (American, b. 1928), Numbers, 1980-1983, painted aluminum, 8x8x4 ft. (each), Gift of Melvin Simon and Associates, 1988.246. (c) 2013 Morgan Art Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

I asked Richard McCoy, conservator of objects and variable art, about the exhibition.

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John Hughes Vote


They were the films that defined the 80s. The music. The clothes. The dialogue. The angst. It was all so perfect. John Hughes had a genius for capturing both an era and an age. This summer, the IMA celebrates John Hughes in the final film of The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights Film Series. We’ve narrowed the field down to three, now you get to vote for your favorite. The winner will be shown on Friday, August 30 under the stars.


What John Hughes film would you like to see on August 30?

  • The Breakfast Club (1985) (52%, 346 Votes)
  • Sixteen Candles (1984) (35%, 229 Votes)
  • Pretty in Pink (1986) (13%, 88 Votes)

Total Voters: 663

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The National Bank of Indianapolis Summer Nights is presented by:

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When Art History and Sports History Collides

While flipping channels this past weekend, I stopped on a program on the  Indianapolis PBS affiliate WFYI called “From Naptown to Super City.” The documentary outlines Indianapolis’s progress from a city with a dying (if not, dead) downtown to the vibrant Super Bowl host city that it is this week. It’s a great program full of fascinating interviews, anecdotes, and images of this city. If you haven’t had a chance to see it and you live in Indy, the program will re-air on Saturday at 6 p.m.

One image from the documentary, in particular, caught my attention. It was of the National Sports Festival that was hosted in Indianapolis in 1982. I can’t find a copy of the image anywhere online so I’ll try to describe it to you (by the way, I have a VERY unreliable memory, so I might be remembering the details wrong…). Essentially, the image is of a stadium with a track, the stands are filled with fans and the infield is filled with athletes. In the center of the image stands 1, 2, and 3 from Robert Indiana’s Numbers. After doing a little research, (a.k.a. reading Richard McCoy’s blog from April 5), I discovered that they were used as backdrops to the gold, silver, and bronze medal platforms for the games.

The more I’ve thought about the image, the more I appreciate the connection to the current configuration of Numbers. We are currently displaying 4 & 6 in the Museum’s Welcome Center. 1, 2, 3, 4, & 6 now have a place in art history and sports history. Fingers crossed that 5, 7, 8, & 9 will have their chance one day, as well.

Robert Indiana, "Numbers," 1980-1983. Gift of Melvin Simon and Associates; 1988.241. © Morgan Art Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Indianapolis stands at the crossroads of the U.S., but now more than ever, it also stands at the crossroads of sports and art. The balance of the aesthetic and the athletic makes Indianapolis a vibrant host for the Super Bowl, but an even better home for the 1.7 million people that live in our Metro area.

Robert Indiana’s Numbers are just one of the many examples of art and sports intersecting in the Circle City this week. For a full list of all the fun cultural events organized in celebration of the Super Bowl, click here.


Vote Now! Project IMA:Fashion Unbound Audience Choice

Vote now for your favorite designer from Project IMA: Fashion Unbound. Let us know who’s piece was the best by picking from the list below. The person/s with the most amount of votes by 11:59 p.m.  on Saturday, October 23 will win the Audience Choice Award.

Who was your favorite Project IMA:Fashion Unbound designer?

  • Amanda Helmsing (Fox of the Grotto Clothing) (29%, 2,231 Votes)
  • Sylvia Schieber (27%, 2,043 Votes)
  • Kelly Gray (12%, 934 Votes)
  • Amanda Jensen (10%, 754 Votes)
  • Vanessa Walilko (5%, 390 Votes)
  • Lyndsey Helling of Discardia (5%, 372 Votes)
  • Margarita Mileva & Iva Mileva (3%, 210 Votes)
  • Alyssa Benner (2%, 121 Votes)
  • Linda Sweany (1%, 86 Votes)
  • Jessica Dionne Artistry (1%, 55 Votes)
  • Nancy Todd (1%, 54 Votes)
  • Jeremy B. Hunt (1%, 50 Votes)
  • Joan Wyand (0%, 36 Votes)
  • Joseph Chang & Ali Graham (0%, 30 Votes)
  • Emilliner by Emily Clark (0%, 27 Votes)
  • Gretchen Lach and Stephannee Wysong (0%, 26 Votes)
  • Liz Alig (0%, 25 Votes)
  • Nikki Blaine Couture (0%, 24 Votes)
  • Heather R. Davis (0%, 21 Votes)
  • Damian Michael (0%, 18 Votes)
  • Casey Maas (0%, 15 Votes)
  • Quil Jewelry by Elizabeth Brooks (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Jo Dean (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Eimaj Designs by Dampier (0%, 14 Votes)
  • Catherine Fritsch (Sweet Revenge) (0%, 14 Votes)
  • pLopLop (John Clark) (0%, 11 Votes)
  • Ann Radtke (0%, 10 Votes)
  • Sarah Preston (0%, 9 Votes)
  • Maria Rusomaroff (0%, 7 Votes)
  • Jerry Lee Atwood (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Nataliya Kitic (0%, 6 Votes)
  • Beth Bennett (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Francis Stallings (0%, 5 Votes)
  • Jie-Euen Choi (0%, 4 Votes)
  • One-Of-A-Kind Pieces by Zoë Renee Ashley (0%, 4 Votes)
  • Deanna Webb (0%, 4 Votes)
  • GAVAN (0%, 3 Votes)
  • DLAN designer and producer of IFT "Indy Fashion Time" (0%, 3 Votes)
  • Jeanne Leimkuhler of Discardia (0%, 2 Votes)
  • d. lamont-couture (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 7,659

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IMA to Represent the US at the 2011 Venice Biennale

The IMA has been keeping a secret for a while, but as of 6 p.m. yesterday, we received permission to tell the world…

The Big News

The IMA has been selected to represent the United States at the 2011 La Biennale di Venezia (Venice Biennale) and present the work of Puerto Rico-based artist collaborative Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. Often described as the Olympic games of the contemporary art world, more the 70 nations present the newest and best works from their respective countries every other year at the Venice Biennale. This year marks the 54th International Art Exhibition.

A Few More Details,r:4,s:0&biw=1440&bih=689

U.S. Pavilion

The IMA will present the work of Allora & Calzadilla at the U.S. Pavilion in Venice, Italy from June 4 through November 27, 2011. The U.S. pavilion is presented by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, which supports and manages the official United States participation at selected international exhibitions. Lisa Freiman, Chair of the IMA’s Department of Contemporary Art, will serve as Commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion.

More to Come

More details about the Venice Biennale and Allora & Calzadilla’s work will be posted in the coming weeks and months.

Read All About It

The New York Times:

Wall Street Journal:

Indianapolis Star:




About Meg

Job Title: Director of Public Affairs. Interests: (Top 3 at this point in time) Travel, Contemporary Art, Baking. Favorite Movies: (Top 3...) Age of Innocence, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Amelie. Favorite Music: (Top 3...) Josh Ritter, Jay Z, The National. Favorite Food: (Top 3.) The Chop Salad from Taste Café, Momma Liffick's waffles, and Cupcakes. Pets: Siamese Cat: Lord Elgin. Something you should know about me: I've been called irrationally optimistic. I have a tendency to be enthusiastic about everything. Because of this, I've never been able to pick a favorite anything, I'm more of a "top 3 at this point in time" person (see above). I hold degrees in Art History, History and Arts Administration (top 3 again!). My innate need to share my zeal for art with others makes Director of Public Affairs at the IMA my ideal job.

Meg has written 66 articles for us.