Some beloved rooms will have a new home

When Newfields installed The Lume on the fourth floor of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, many art lovers wondered: where would that leave the beloved contemporary art pieces that resided there?

The museum chose the 30,000 square foot fourth floor, which previously contained contemporary artwork, for The Lume because the space had the highest ceilings and the amount of space needed for the immersive installation and multisensory, said COO Katie Haigh. The Lume contains around 150 state-of-the-art projectors that project Vincent van Gogh’s art onto floors and walls, as well as a soundtrack, fragrances, a boutique and a café.

Next month, visitors will see the start of a dramatic new plan for the galleries. Many contemporary pieces will be integrated throughout the museum as part of a vision that will reinstall the galleries of the permanent collections according to themes more accessible to a wider audience.

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Visitors will see the start of this process with “Incarnate: Human Figures in Art”, which opens in December. The refreshed Clowes Pavilion will open in March with pairings that will bring new perspectives. 2022 and 2023 will bring more exhibitions dedicated to objects from the museum’s contemporary collection. Upcoming artists are also working on new pieces for the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.

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The IMA has set dates for the return of some older works from the fourth floor and other favorites. In the coming years, the staff also hope to make plans for new works and fan favorites, like “Acton,” the flat rectangle that turns out to be a piece of diffused light. Haigh said she knew the love for James Turrell’s play and was on a mission to find a place for it. Most of the previously exhibited works undergo a thorough cleaning process.

Here is the IMA plan for seven contemporary rooms on the fourth floor and elsewhere.

“Two digits”

By Barbara Hepworth. Back to the bill in December.

Two Figures, a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, was brought inside for conservation.  Photo taken Wednesday, November 3, 2021 in Newfields.

Recent cleaning and repairs have improved the appearance of the 1968 sculpture since it was outside. Abstract figures fit into Hepworth’s larger body of work which focuses on human figures and form. The piece will be part of “Incarnates”, which extracts works from the IMA’s permanent collection that showcase the human form.

‘Duvor (communal fabric)’

By El Anatsui. Returning to the bill in March 2022.

The 2007 El Anatsui Duvor (communal fabric) will be back in the IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art in Newfields, Ann M. Stack Fund for Contemporary Art, 2007.25 © El Anatsui.)

The artist created the golden curtains for the 2007 metal wall sculpture by intricately weaving discarded alcohol bottle caps with copper wire. Resembling traditional strip-woven textiles from West Africa, the artwork overlaps with themes of consumerism, what is easily discarded, and the role of colonialism in the rum trade. The piece will hang in the refreshed Clowes Pavilion.

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“The Quintet of Silence”

By Bill Viola. Returning to the bill in March 2022.

The Quintet of the Silent by Bill Viola from 2000 will be back in the IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Dan and Lori Efroymson Fund, acquired through Art for Today 2002, an exhibition organized by the Contemporary Art Society, 2001.381AJ © Bill Viola, Long Beach, CA)

The artist positioned five actors in a manner reminiscent of a Renaissance painting and then asked them to show the onslaught and release of pressure, tension and stress. The 15-minute looping, soundless video is shown in slow motion so viewers can see the intensity of their facial expressions. The work, created in 2000, will be hung in the relocated Clowes pavilion.

“They made beautiful white people while they lasted (Sez one girl to another)”

By Kara Walker. Returning to the bill in April 2023.

They Waz Nice White Folks While They Lasted (Sez One Gal to Another) by Kara Walker from 2001 will be back in IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art in Newfields, Gift of the Contemporary Art Society, 2002.1AP © Kara Walker.)

An overhead projector maps the 2001 work on the wall. The figures, which include stereotypical black figures and symbols from the pre-war South, are cut from black paper in reference to the hand-cut paper figures that wealthy women of the 19th century made. The unfolding tale is meant to be weird and unsettling to make viewers question the story. When they get closer, they are also part of the story.

‘Towards a’

By Lee Krasner. Returning to the bill in April 2023.

Lee Krasner's Towards One from 1967 will be back in the IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of the Herron Museum Alliance, 69.36.7 © 2021 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.)

The title of the 1967 work plays against its lack of focus, as do the colors and lines, which create limits and push them back. The artist wanted to spread the interest of viewers throughout the canvas, using features that direct their eyes to the world around him.

“Who is your tree?” ”

By Nam June Paik. Returning to the bill in July 2023.

Who's Your Tree by Nam June Paik from 1996 will once again be exhibited in the IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Now and Future Purchase Fund and Robert and Ina Mohlman Art Fund, 1996.321 © The Estate of Nam June Paik.)

The IMA commissioned the work from 1996, and its tree of TV monitors shows topics that are close to the hearts of the Hoosiers, such as drag racing, native wildlife, and local residents. It goes through a thorough handling process to ensure that the hardware and electronic components are in good condition, said Allison Slenker, assistant curator of objects at the IMA.

‘Round trip (a space to fall back on)’

By Vito Acconci. Returning to the bill in July 2023.

Vito Acconci "Round trip (a space to fall back on)" from 1975 will return to the IMA galleries.  (Indianapolis Museum of Art in Newfields, Gift of the Alliance of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1989.35A-AA © 2021 Vito Acconci / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY.)

The artist uses familiar furniture and accessories in the 1975 artwork, but sets them up in a way that baffles viewers. Add to the experience a blinding light and startling sounds that keep people from feeling in control.

Contact IndyStar reporter Domenica Bongiovanni at 317-444-7339 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @domenicareports.


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