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Venetian Views: The Grand Canal

Though divided by thousands of miles of water and differences in language, what is one thing that Indianapolis and Venice have in common? Canals! Though Venice’s infrastructure is based on these waterways, the original purpose of the Indiana Central Canal was to provide a trade route, connecting the Wabash and Erie Canal to the Ohio River. Due to budgetary shortfalls, the full scope of the project was never completed, with the operational Canal now serving as a place of recreation, adding to the beauty of our city.

Here’s the Central Canal in 1894, in a work from the IMA’s collection by Richard Buckner Gruelle:

Richard Buckner Gruelle, "The Canal Morning Effect," 1894, John Herron Fund.

Venice’s Grand Canal also has its roots in trade, and provides the main connecting thoroughfare in the heart of Venice.  We’ve been getting to know the Grand Canal very well – it’s our main route to and from the U.S. Pavilion and the evening events (that is – when we’re not walking, which is another experience in itself!).  Here’s a work by Vaughn Trowbridge (featured in the Venetian Views exhibition!) created eleven years after Gruelle’s view of the Indiana Canal:

Vaughn Trowbridge, "The Grand Canal, Venice," 1905; Bequest to Delavan Smith.

And here a photo of the Grand Canal today, as we head towards work:

The boats have been updated, and it’s definitely more crowded (and even more so, now that the Biennale crowd has kicked in), but a lot remains the same from that 1905 artwork.  Being surrounded by that level of preserved history is something we are conscious of every day, even if it means reminding ourselves to pause in between work to look around and take it all in.  Plus, it’s been pretty surreal taking a boat to work every day – maybe it’s something I should look at working into my IMA commute?

Filed under: Art, Exhibitions, The Collection, Travel, Venice Biennale


Video di Venezia

This past weekend, the IMA’s video team (Daniel Beyer and I) arrived in Venice to film the installment and opening of Gloria by Allora & Calzadilla at the U.S. Pavilion for the 54th Biennale di Venezia. Venice is a glorious backdrop, it is as romantic and complicated and ancient as it looks in pictures. In fact, it is hard to take a photo or video shot that doesn’t look suitable for a postcard or commercial. Everything is just too perfectly picturesque. Because of this, Venice makes a great foil for telling stories about the global cutting edge contemporary art scene, all of which it seems, lands here every other year for the Biennale.

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Filed under: Art, Exhibitions, New Media, Travel, Venice Biennale


Hello, Venice!

Claude Monet, "The Church of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice;" 1908; The Lockton Collection.

“It seemed in the distance like a floating city, its domes, spires, cupolas, and towers, glittering in the sunbeams, and looked so glorious, that I could have fancied it one of those optical illusions presented by a mirage.” – Marguerite, Countess of Blessington, 1882.

Paris may be the City of Light, but nothing can quite compare to the luminescence of Venice.  Monet – in this work from the IMA’s collection – highlights this experience better than most, with his masterful approach to capturing the reflections of water and light.

In addition to showing you the behind-the-scenes workings at the Biennale, I’ll be highlighting works in the IMA’s collection that relate to Venice – plus an upcoming exhibition of artists who, similar to us, traveled here from America and documented what they saw.

The last group of IMA staffers arrived today, ready for a busy opening week.  It’s not exactly Monet, but here’s a glimpse of  the light at play in Venice, soon after I arrived in town:

Filed under: Art, The Collection, Travel, Venice Biennale


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Summer Partnership with IndyGo

IndyGo Youth PassGreat news for parents looking for some extra time this summer and teens looking for a little independence. The IMA has partnered with IndyGo to offer a Summer Youth Pass with added IMA perks! When purchasing an IndyGo Summer Youth Pass, children and teens—ages 18 and under—can hop aboard the bus and ride to museums, the zoo, the movies, a ball game, the mall and other destinations throughout Marion County from June 1 to August 31 for only $30. That’s summer-long transportation at a price lower than the cost of a tank of gas for most vehicles! A gas and money-saver, the Summer Youth Pass is also a great opportunity to discuss the environmental benefits of taking the bus while also teaching your children how to responsibly navigate through public transportation, a life-long valuable lesson.

So, where does the IMA fit in?

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Filed under: Local, Thornton Dial, Travel


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


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