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Interpreting “Graphite” through Performance

Our guest blogger today is Mr. Kinetik who writes about his performance during the opening of "Graphite."

The artwork in Graphite that really got me was Staumauer by Michaela Früwirth. The piece was seemingly larger than any other piece. I was immediately drawn to it because honestly, I did not understand why someone would create such a large and seemingly “blank” piece of art. As an educator, graphite is largely confined to pencils, number 2 pencils to be exact. These pencils, while they are instruments we use to write and express ourselves in other written formats, have come to symbolize testing to me; typically of the standardized variety. Usually, you have to have a number 2 pencil sharpened and ready for the completion of your standardized test. Technology has taken us into a digital era, however most tests are still conducted with the use of pencil and paper in some aspect. Seeing that large graphite filled piece of art in a room of many other artworks that rely on graphite made me think, “We are so wrong about how graphite can be used in schools.” Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Contemporary, Public Programs


Back in the Saddle Again: Project IMA

Project IMA: Fashion Unbound, 2010. Winner: Jeremy B. Hunt.

The first IMA organized fashion show, Project IMA, debuted in 2008 on an idea and a shoestring. The idea was simple: engage our community through fashion in order to promote the traveling exhibition, Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Permanent Collection, Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It seemed therefore fitting to draw from the community for participants. Having only moved to Indianapolis six months prior, I scoured the web and attended multiple fashion events to quickly discover, much to my delight, a strong assembly of designers, wearable artists and stylists within the city. As a result, we asked 16 designers to participate in the fashion show. They had four months to visit the exhibition, study the accompanying catalogue and devise a plan for one to two ensembles that “featured outrageous, beautiful, irreverent and glamorous designs.”

Not only were the pieces created interesting, varied, and thought-provoking, but the public’s response was overwhelming. So many people attended the show we had to schedule an impromptu second show for all those who couldn’t make it in the first round. There are even rumors that the amount of traffic flowing into the parking lot actually (temporarily) shut down 38th Street. Not bad, eh?

Project IMA: Fashion Unbound, 2010. Designs by Francis Stallings

So, in 2010, we decided to try it again. Only this time, we used our own exhibition, Body Unbound: Contemporary Couture from the IMA’s Permanent Collection, as the stimulus and opened the call for entries internationally. The response was exuberant.  We had over 50 people submit proposals for inclusion. Of those 50, we selected 40 participants who met the guidelines and, just like that, Project IMA: Fashion Unbound was in full swing.  Two back-to-back shows (having learned from experience) took place in The Toby to enthusiastic crowds. The concepts employed and the quality designs, almost 80 in total, were impressive. There were pieces made from paper, plastic bags and rubber bands while others, confronted, amused and referenced history. After much deliberation, the judges selected a piece by Jeremy B. Hunt as the best of show and awarded him the Elizabeth Kraft-Meek fashion design award. Afterwards, guests, designers, models and crew attended the official Behind the Seams after party, hosted by the newly formed affiliate group, FAS. Here audience members viewed garments up close, lined up for photos by Got Shot, and listened to the music of local pop sweethearts, Beta Male.  All in all, the event was a success.

So, here we go, again…

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Filed under: Public Programs, Textile & Fashion, The Toby, Uncategorized


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


Sun Boxes

Today's guest blogger is sound artist Craig Colorusso, writing about his upcoming 100 Acres installation.


Sun Boxes is a solar-powered sound installation.  It’s comprised of twenty speakers operating independently, each powered by the sun via solar panels. Inside each Sun Box is a PC board that has a recorded guitar note loaded and programmed to play continuously in a loop.  These guitar notes collectively make a Bb chord.  The loops are different in length and therefore continually overlap, evolving the piece slowly over time.

The work creates space; it’s an environment for one to enter and exit.   The footprint this environment occupies is similar to that of a city.  A metropolis. It’s a burst of technology in the middle of nature.  However, unlike most cities I have been to, it does not just take over the space. Rather, Sun Boxes interfaces with the environment and collaborates with nature.  Participants are encouraged to walk amongst the speakers and surround themselves with the piece.  Certain speakers will be closer and – as a result – louder, so the piece will sound  different to different people in different positions.  Allowing the audience to move around the piece will create a unique experience for everyone.  Sun Boxes is not just one composition, but many.

There are no batteries involved, so Sun Boxes is reliant on the sun.  When the sun sets the music stops and doesn’t start until the sun rises.  The piece changes as the length of the day changes.  Since the amount of sunlight varies from day to day, so does the composition.  We are all reliant on the sun.  It is refreshing to be reminded of this.  Karlheinze Stockhausen once said, “Using short-wave radios in pieces was like improvising with the world.”  Similarly, Sun Boxes collaborates with the planet and it’s relation to the sun.

The IMA is celebrating the Spring Equinox with a three-day installation of Sun Boxes starting Friday, March 18.

Filed under: Art, Art and Nature Park


Onion Noise

And carrots and bell peppers and pumpkins and….

I’m here at the Indianapolis International Airport waiting for the 11 members of the Vienna Vegetable Orchestra to arrive.  They perform at The Toby this Saturday night, 7 pm.

Since seeing their picture in a cooking magazine five years ago, I’ve been obsessed with bringing them to perform at IMA.  I love that they take an everyday object like an eggplant and mine it for its expressive sonic properties.  I love that they wear all black and let the colorful veggies create a visual pop.  I love that they treat vegetables as sculptural objects.  I love that their music is experimental.

Here’s a listen to their latest CD, Onionoise. I especially like Brazil.

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Filed under: Public Programs, The Toby


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