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Happy New Year!

From all of us at the IMA, wishing you a swell New Year:

Weegee, "Wagner and Champagne--Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York," about 1960. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund.  2009.288.

Weegee, “Wagner and Champagne–Keith de Lellis Gallery, New York,” about 1960. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.288.

Filled with laughter:

Weegee, "Man and Woman Laughing in an Audience," Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund.  2009.240.

Weegee, “Man and Woman Laughing in an Audience,” Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.240.

Music:

Weegee, "'Now they are really in the groove again,' Savoy Ballroom,"  about 1943. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.86.

Weegee, “‘Now they are really in the groove again,’ Savoy Ballroom,” about 1943. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.86.

Maybe a little dancing:

Weegee, "Dancing is free in Central Park," about 1943.  Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.161.

Weegee, “Dancing is free in Central Park,” about 1943. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 2009.161.

And plenty of family and friends:

Weegee, "Listening to Music," 1940.  Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 1993.241.

Weegee, “Listening to Music,” 1940. Caroline Marmon Fesler Fund, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Nancy Foxwell Neuberger Acquisition Endowment Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Cecil F. Head Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund. 1993.241.

 

“Graphite” Opens Tonight

The exhibition Graphiteopening tonight at the IMA, explores the vast artistic potential of a material most often associated with more traditional approaches to drawing.  Its flexibility  - whether it’s powder, liquid, machined, carved, or pencil – is mirrored in each artist’s unique approach to the material in their work. Below are quotes from a selection of the artists in the exhibition that highlight this range in perspective:

“What I like most about graphite, in the way I use it, is its ability to transform the surface or object to which you’re applying or transferring it.” – Dan Shaw-Town

“And drawing, especially with graphite, is one of the few things that you can control yourself. You can do what you want. And so it was a way of making this world that is comfortable for me.”  - Kim Jones

“I want to be drawing these images because I love them more than any other imagery.” – Dan Fischer

“Graphite is material that in both industrial usage and culture holds and neutralizes energy. When I was asked to be in the exhibition, I was really interested in this kind of alternate, inert quality of the material. So rather than thinking about it as a traditional artistic tool, I started to think about it conceptually and was taken by this idea of pulling in and holding energy—in this case, a kind of societal, psychic energy.” – Geof Oppenheimer (Come hear more from Geof tomorrow at noon during a lunchtime lecture in the galleries).

“I find there’s an exacting capacity to the point of the graphite pencil that, when fully attended to, reveals the inevitable limits of precision and control of the hand.” – Judith Braun

“I think what I’m doing is observational drawing. I’m just not drawing the objects that people typically think of as the things an artist draws from observation.” - Molly Springfield

“The conductivity of graphite has been central to developing the possibilities for the relationship between form, function, and materiality that characterizes these drawings.” – Joyce Hinterding

“I think I chose drawing because I was interested in that basic human connection. I drew as a child, sure, but I consciously chose drawing as an adult artist. There was a break in there where I came to recognize drawing as its own entity.” – Karl Haendel

“Every one of those drawings is the result of a different gesture or technique. They all come together because they share the same medium, same format, same paper.” – Roland Flexner

“What’s interesting about the technique I use with the graphite is the similarity there is to processing a photograph in the darkroom, where the light and dark values can be manipulated by the exposure time.” – T.R. Ericsson

An accompanying digital catalogue will launch this January and will feature a wealth of in-depth material about their work and use of graphite, including interviews with the artists, videos of their installations, a scientific analysis of the material, and much (much) more.

 

Happy Thanksgiving

Perusing the IMA’s collection for a Thanksgiving appropriate work of art, I came across a number of beautiful images of family and food, both presidential and otherwise.  I actually realized we have quite the collection of Lincoln-focused prints…more on that in a future post.  However, I thought this work by Vito Acconci could be an interesting interpretation of the holiday:

Vito Acconci, “Round Trip (A Space to Fall Back On),” 1975. materials stools, boxes, audio tape. Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. 1989.35.

The installation Round Trip (A Space to Fall Back On) echoes a space found within a traditional home, but quickly distorts your feeling of domestic comfort.  A viewer sitting on the stool in the center is disoriented by the placement of objects and a blinding light — a woozy effect that might not be too far from our post-meal haze on Thanksgiving.  Noises, such as the artist’s voice and knocking, move throughout the space, competing for the visitor’s attention and adding to the general sense of unbalance.  Sounds a bit like the cacophony and confusion of a big family gathering, doesn’t it?  Acconci plunges the visitor into the experience, controlling his or her sense of space by “inserting unexpected color, sensory experiences, and laws of physics into the gallery.”  Now if that doesn’t sum up Thanksgiving, I don’t know what does.  Here’s wishing you a day of blissful disorientation and the cacophonous sounds of family and friends.

 

Opening Tonight: Snapshot

Henri Evenepoel, "Louise at Wépion," summer 1897. Modern gelatin silver print, 2011.

With the myriad of ways in which we visually record our day-to-day (Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, the list goes on), it’s hard to imagine a time when spontaneous documentation of our lives wasn’t possible. In 1888, the invention of the easy-to-use Kodak camera gave birth to the “snapshot”, forever changing how we document and share our favorite moments, both large and small. The IMA’s new exhibition Snapshot: Painters and Photographers, Bonnard to Vuillard (opening tonight!), explores the influence this camera had on the lives and work of seven painters in the Post-Impressionist era.

Ellen Lee, Wood-Pulliam Senior Curator at the IMA and co-curator of Snapshot, discusses the connections between this invention and influence on artistic practice:

In this audio clip, Todd Gustavson – Curator of the Technology Collection at the George Eastman House – discusses how these artists approached the process differently (for more like this, check out the free TAP mobile tour in the exhibition):

Share your own snapshots (digital camera, scanned film, Instagram filtered, whatever you’ve got!) and enter our online competition for a chance to win monthly prizes.  Photos will also be projected outside the exhibition at the IMA.

 

Google Art Project + IMA

This morning, in a room at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, I joined a group of museum colleagues (representing 151 institutions, from 40 countries!) and journalists for the launch of the next iteration of the Google Art Project. For those of us who worked on the project, this was our first look at the results of an all-hands-on-deck effort to prepare images and gather contextual information about the works in our respective collections. Each participating museum’s logo flashed on the screen as the revved up to the big reveal. Sorry for the blurry photo, but I got a little excited at this moment!

The big reveal

Google has made an incredible 30,000 + high-res images available in this wave of the project. At the IMA, we selected over 200 works from our collection to feature – a number that will continue to grow as we add more to the site. For us, this opportunity came at a moment when we were beginning to re-assess the content that’s available on the collection pages of our own website, coinciding perfectly with a major effort to expand this information and re-think the layout of these pages (more to come on this later!).

Art Project organizer Amit Snood revealed a number of features throughout the site demo, including search options that allow users to browse by artist’s name, artwork, type of art, museum, country, collections and the time period. To highlight the cross-collection capabilities, Amit walked us through a search he did for Van Gogh’s The Bedroom, which revealed not only the three versions on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, Van Gogh Museum and Musée d’Orsay, but also pulled in an artist he was previously unfamiliar with named Kyung Min Nam, who was inspired by Van Gogh’s work.

Search functionality demonstration

Users have the capability to create their own collections by saving their favorite works into galleries, adding comments, and sharing with friends.  Amit also featured the expanded street view and gigapixel options with a view of the galleries below us at the Musée d’Orsay:

Street view of the Musée d'Orsay

Of course, as soon as the demo was over we all made a beeline to the computers in the hallway to check it out, necks craning over shoulders to scope out our neighbor’s museum and our own.

Exploring the site for the first time, plus another shameless IMA plug

I’m looking forward to delving into the site further to look at the IMA’s collection in context with other works of art across the globe. Looking around the room this morning, Google’s goal of developing connections and providing access seems to be off to a pretty good start. Take a look and see what you think.

The IMA on Google Art Project

 

 

About Rachel Craft

Job Title: Director of Publishing and Media
Interests: travel, film photography, the great outdoors, food, fashion, music, all things vintage.
Favorite Movies: Butch Cassidy, The Godfather, Rear Window, Sunset Boulevard, The Graduate, classic movies in general.
Favorite Music: 60s soul, Tom Waits, Devendra Banhart, jazz/swing, Stevie Nicks, Kanye
Favorite Food: Pretty much everything. I could eat Indian, Vietnamese, or Thai food at every meal.
Pets: I have a cat named Vito Corleone. He's much more cuddly than his namesake.
Something Extra: My knowledge of pop culture is pretty expansive, and I watch way more teenage melodramas than I should probably admit.

Rachel has written 16 articles for us.