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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


Sharing a Moment, Experiencing a Life: My Day with Mr. Dial

Mr. Dial at the opening of the exhibition, "Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial." Photo by Tad Fruits.

The first time I learned about Thornton Dial was last fall in my Introduction to Museum Studies course at IUPUI.  As preparatory work for a visit to the IMA, my class watched the documentary Mr. Dial Has Something To Say, which is now continually on view in the Davis Lab.  I highly recommend it!  Knowing all of the work he has accomplished in his life, I was overwhelmed when my boss, Cliff, told me that I was to escort Mr. Dial around the museum the morning that Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial would open.

On Thursday, February 24th, I stood in the the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion with butterflies in my stomach.  Let me tell you, the anticipation of meeting a person you know to have such strength of spirit is extremely intimidating.  Then I met Mr. Dial, and though his spirit is just as strong as I thought it would be, his personality was amazingly warm and inviting.

As we moved into Hard Truths, Mr. Dial saw, for the first time, his life’s work exhibited in a way that truly represented the emotion and care that exists in each of his pieces.  He released a sigh, as though he had been holding his breath for twenty years.  It was like friends meeting again after a long separation.

Though I was a silent observer, I was able to share an amazing experience with Mr. Dial – both of us seeing, for the first time, the most extensive and complete exhibition of his artwork to date.  “You made it so beautiful,” Mr. Dial kept saying.  Joanne Cubbs, Adjunct Curator of American Art, would continually reply, “You are the one who made it beautiful.”  Walking with Mr. Dial was both amazing and humbling, and it made me appreciate his work and skill all the more.

Something that will stay with me is that when he spoke, though his voice was soft, everyone listened.  People didn’t just stop talking out of courtesy or because Mr. Dial was the man of the hour, although he was that.  People listened to what he said.  They listened because when Mr. Dial spoke, he said things.  His words, filled with stories and emotions, are windows into his artwork, and his artwork acts as windows into life.  His artworks tell stories that really say things. When you walk into Hard Truths: The Art of Thornton Dial, I hope you take the time to discover his stories for yourself, because each piece really does have something to say.

Filed under: Art, Exhibitions, Thornton Dial


Party at the Factory

April 21, 1964, established Andy Warhol’s studio, the Factory, as a hub of social life for New York’s hip and elite. Earlier that evening, Warhol had attended the opening of his second solo exhibition in New York at the Stable Gallery. The gallery had been filled with hundreds of Warhol’s box sculptures—Brillo Soap Pads, Heinz Tomato Ketchup, Campbell’s Tomato Juice, Kellogg’s Corn Flakes and Del Monte Peach Halves—which Warhol had painted with his assistant over the previous two months. Mimicking assembly-line style methods of production within Warhol’s studio allowed for this massive amount of work to be accomplished in a short period of time. Within the gallery, the sculptures were stacked along walls and in the middle of rooms, a method of display recalling a storage room or warehouse and forcing visitors to navigate narrow or cramped spaces.

The Stable Gallery opening wasn’t as commercially successful as Warhol had hoped, but the night wasn’t over then. Stable Gallery owner Eleanor Ward and Warhol patron Ethel Scull had organized a big party at the Factory, and those invited traveled from the warehouse-like display of box sculptures within the Stable Gallery to the festivities at Warhol’s studio. The party guests, which included fellow Pop artists Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg, were present for the debut of Warhol’s studio, which served as a social destination as well as a place for artistic production throughout Warhol’s career.

Warhol once said of his studio,

“Factory is as good a name as any. A factory is where you build things. This is where I make or build my work. In my art work, hand painting would take much too long and anyway that’s not the age we live in. Mechanical means are today, and using them I can get more art to more people. Art should be for everyone.”

Similarly, my workplace will transform into a social destination this Saturday at the opening of Andy Warhol Enterprises. Come see the IMA’s reinterpretation of a Factory-style party on October 9th, where you can review the exhibition before the public opening, then join the party in Pulliam Great Hall. Mod dress appreciated!

Filed under: Art


Dawoud Bey Opening

Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey opens tomorrow night at the IMA with a conversation with artist Dawoud Bey followed by an opening party. For the exhibition, Bey photographed young people from all parts of the economic, racial and ethnic spectrum in both public and private high schools. I had the pleasure of asking Bey about his work earlier this year:

Interview with artist Dawoud Bey
As published in the fall issue of the IMA’s Previews membership magazine

Q. Can you tell us when you became interested in portraiture?
As I began to figure out what I wanted to do as an artist, I was spending a lot of time going to museums and galleries looking at work by other photographers. The pictures that resonated for me most strongly were those that were of human subjects. There seemed to me something quite powerful about a person confronting the camera, returning the attention of the photographer. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Art, Current Events, Exhibitions


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