Renovations make museum a state-of-the-'art'
...Going down to the second floor, you come to the most recent re-opening
(Feb. 5), the Eiteljorg Galleries of African and South Pacific Art.
Most of the 12,251 square feet of space is devoted to African art -- a total of
400 works, including 30 pieces that have never been shown in the gallery...
BY WALTER SKIBA Times Correspondent This
story ran on nwitimes.com
on Saturday, February 18, 2006 12:58 AM CST
Stepping into the new Efroymson Entrance Pavilion of the
renovated and expanded Indianapolis Museum of Art, you cannot help but see the
light. The three-storied glass-walled frontage curves outward, as if wanting to
touch the Sulphin Fountain, the surrounding gardens and public spaces, and reach
toward downtown Indianapolis. The harmonious connection with the outside world
opens onto a spacious, welcoming, non-threatening gathering place on the inside.
An escalator takes you to the Pulliam Great Hall, the central atrium at gallery
level one with escalator access connecting all three levels. To the right of the
escalator stands the LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana, which used to be located
outdoors on the museum grounds. Three tons of steel, the structure has long
served as a popular background for wedding portraits and marriage proposals.
On the wall across from the sculpture, Sol LeWitt's abstract
"Wall Hanging No. 652," a 30-foot by 50-foot wash on wall recreated
with acrylic paints, projects a vibrant mosaic of colors and patterns that seem
to further the theme of inter-connectedness.
To the left of the sculpture, the American galleries, unveiled at the IMA's
grand re-opening on May 6, house artwork from the late 18th century through
1945, including paintings by Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt and Georgia O'Keeffe.
One gallery is devoted to Hoosier art, and the new Native Art of the Americas
includes some 100 objects ranging from stone and ceramic sculptures from the
Olmec civilization in Mexico to more recent art of American Indian peoples, such
as the Cheyenne of the Plains and Iroquois of the eastern woodlands.
A sketch by the great English landscape painter J.W.W. Turner signals the
entrance to Turner & Works on Paper galleries, which will re-open Dec. 6,
along with the European galleries.
Looking up from the first level, you can glimpse the attention-grabbing
"Off the Wall" drawing that fronts the third level contemporary
galleries, which re-opened in November. "Garden XXX," done by the art
collective assume vivid astro focus mixes images from pop culture, such as video
games, science fiction illustrations and graffiti, into a wildly colored
psychedelic eye-catching wallpaper collage that appears to migrate to adjacent
ceilings and floors. This work will remain on the wall until May 14.
Until Feb. 12, you could take off your shoes and enter into a room-size
installation designed by Brazilian-born artist Ernesto Neto. You could interact
with the polyester floor covering handmade by women from Brazil or one of the
beanbag cushions as you wished. Hopefully the museum will find a way to bring
back this unique work, which has been extremely popular with kids.
An extensive collection of works by internationally renowned artist Amy Cutler
will open on March 10 and run through June 4. "Her artwork lures the viewer
into a mysterious world populated by women, some with elongated noses, teakettle
heads, broomstick arms, or wearing altered hoop skirts," says Lisa Freiman,
curator of contemporary art at the IMA.
At 25,000 square feet, the contemporary galleries offer 66 percent more display
space for works created in a wide variety of media since 1945 than before the
The $74 million project added 164,000 square feet to the IMA and renovated
90,000 square feet of existing space. More than 15,000 school children visit the
museum each year, according to communications manager Jessica Di Santo.
Going down to the second floor, you come to the most recent re-opening (Feb. 5),
the Eiteljorg Galleries of African and South Pacific Art.
Most of the 12,251 square feet of space is devoted to African art -- a total of
400 works, including 30 pieces that have never been shown in the gallery.
"The IMA holds one of the nation's most important collections of African
art," says curator Ted Celenko. "We cover the entire continent, not
just the lower two-thirds, and the artworks range from ancient to
Watching the 15-minute orientation video on a flat screen, you learn about the
themes of diversity, connections and change. Though it is difficult to
generalize about African art, one common feature is that the artworks served
important functions in traditional African life. Masks and figures, for example,
were created for religious or spiritual use. Jewelry and altars were created to
symbolize leadership. Chairs, vessels and cooking utensils were created for
household or personal use.
Enlarged photomurals, with accompanying text as needed, help explain the
religious, social and political contexts of the art. About 15 to 20 second video
clips, projected on another flat screen, show actual ceremonies and artists at
The Eiteljorg Gallery of South Pacific Art (1,045 square feet) is showing more
than 50 art objects, ranging from ritual masks to bowls, drums and weapons.
Dramatic colors and forms call attention to the Melanesian art, which
constitutes most of the display.
Located in the center of the area, the Eiteljorg Gallery for Special Exhibitions
(1,100 square feet) presents "West African Ceramic Vessels" (through
July 7, 2007). Varied shapes, colors and surface textures bring out the beauty
and sophistication of utilitarian objects.
Most of the art objects throughout the three galleries are displayed out in the
open on raised platforms rather than behind glass.
Workshops, films and performances help celebrate the re-opening of the African
Galleries and Black History Month.
A few examples:
* Art-Making for Families-Personal Adornment: Creative Designs Inspired by
Africa (1 to 4 p.m. Feb. 25)
* Family Workshop-Breakdance 101 (noon to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 25)
* Silent film with live music-"Siliva Zulu" (2:30 p.m. Feb. 25)
* Short animated tall tales-African-inspired Folktales (1 to 2 p.m. today,
Sunday and Feb. 25)
What to bring ...
1. A camera. You're allowed to take pictures of artworks from the permanent
collection, gardens and grounds for personal and educational use. You're not
allowed to use flashes or tripods in the IMA galleries, or take pictures of
special, limited-run exhibitions.
2. Extra cash to purchase souvenirs, books and museum reproductions at the IMA
Store and the Gallery Shop. Enjoy fine dining at Puck's, casual dining at the
IMA Café or beverages and pastries at Peet's.
3. Walking shoes and comfortable clothing. Come prepared to explore three floors
of artwork. Take advantage of the free coat check available in the Efroymson
Entrance Pavilion. (Wheelchairs also are available here.)
If you go ...
Indianapolis Museum of Art
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays,
Where: 4000 Michigan Road, 38th Street and Michigan, Indianapolis
Cost: $7 for adults, $5 for students and seniors, free for children
younger than 12. (Free general admission Thursdays) Free parking available
outdoors and in the new 250-space underground parking garage.
FYI: (317) 923-1331 or (317) 920-2660 or www.ima-art.org
How to get there ...
Take I-65 into Indianapolis. (Don't get off on I-465.) Take the 38th Street exit
and go east to Michigan Road. Turn left (north) and go one block. The main
entrance is located on the west side of the street and marked by a traffic
What's there ...
Situated on 152 acres of gardens and grounds, the IMA is among the largest
general art museums in the U.S., with a collection of more than 50,000 works
encompassing the range and scope of art history. The expanded and renovated
museum opened May 6. The American, African and contemporary galleries currently
are open. The Asian, Paul Textile Art and Paul Fashion Arts Galleries will open
June 11. The European and Clowes Galleries will open Dec. 3.
You'll like ...
The inviting, spacious, light-filled ambience of the expanded facility and the
overall exhibition quality comparable to the Art Institute of Chicago.
The kids will like ...
On Saturdays the IMA Art Labs offer art-making classes for children from
preschool through high school years, designed to be taken with adults. The Star
Studio offers direct access to working artists and participation in the creation
of art. The X Room is devoted to technology. Online Activities engage young
children as well as middle and high school students. For more information, visit
And don't miss ...
The first-class dining experience at Wolfgang Puck's Restaurant. Plan to spend
at least an hour and a half.
read also: Indianapolis Museum of Art