Our Adventure through 200 years of Indiana Art

Event Dates:Now through October 2, 2016
Company Site:www.indianamuseum.org
Notes:Located on Level 3 and throughout the museum
Hours:Monday - Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m
*Please check our calendar for exceptions.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post below are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I love the Indiana State Museum for so many reasons but one major reason is they have some of the most interesting exhibits. Most are about Indiana and its very fascinating history including the latest, 200 years of Indiana Art.

Located downtown right along the canal, the Indiana State Museum building faces the canal on one entrance and Washington St. on the other. You can also enter through the parking garage which is where we typically enter from. In fact I recommend this entrance for this particular exhibit as one of the shiniest exhibits is right there at the entrance!

Right when you walk in you will see a very shiny, beautiful art piece…a wall of CDs and DVDs! I think there are even some video games on there. The artist Leticia Bajuyo created this piece, Event Horizons, specifically for this exhibit.

ism200yrsartreview (3)The museum had a bin asking the public to donate their CDs and DVDs for use in this project and as you can see there were plenty of donations.

“These CDs and DVDs still hold coded information but their usefullness has waned as streaming and downloading the same content has increased. The essence of these discs has not altered: it is society’s perception and expectation that has changed.

To encourage dialogues about perception memory and waste, Bajuyo has designed this site-specific piece with multiple vortices, transforming the museum’s entryway into a series of colorful, science-fiction inspired black holes.”

I love this wall. My kids loved it too but they were asking what movies they were. We still use DVDs although admittedly not as much as we do digital streaming…and they’ve never even heard of a CD. The colors in the tunnels change over time and reflect off of the many disks inside them creating what looks like a way into Wonderland…well to me it does.

ism200yrsartreview (11)Another piece that we saw before we even entered the main gallery, was Intersections by artist Anila Quayyum Agha. This was a very beautiful and meaningful piece. Anila grew up in Pakistan and was never allowed to enter sacred places and some public places simply because she was a woman.

She responded by creating “a place of community and creativity that is open to all, where the visitors themselves become part of the piece of the patterns of shadows it casts.”

The room in which her piece is housed is white with a black, intricately designed and laser-cut cube hanging in the middle with a single light bulb inside it. At first glance it looks exactly as I described…which doesn’t make it sound great I know.

Walking around the room you start to notice the patterns on the wall which are in reality shadows coming from the cube itself. The entire room has them and as you walk around the cube and look closely at the detail you realized you are also “wearing” the patterns. You are part of the artwork.

Every where you look is a level of detail I would never have the patience to achieve on anything. This laser-cut wooden cube must have taken a long, long time to create. The whole room will have you in awe and once you learn about the artist you will be even more amazed at this wondrous accomplishment. You can watch a video of the artist and the cube below. Provided by the Indiana State Museum.

Once you are able to leave the room…it took us a bit as we were admiring every inch of this gorgeous piece…you will want to check out the Heritage Spectrum 10 Years Later. Located on the first floor near the canal entrance, this exhibit showcases some amazing artwork by artists of a project done by the museum in 2006.

They invited students from the Herron School of Art to submit artwork for the Heritage Spectrum exhibit in 1996 and then again in 2006. Now, 10 years later again, you can view their artwork as part of the the 200 years in Indiana Art exhibit. There are several that stand out and one or two that are a bit intense.

You are greeted with the beautiful and talented Lupita Nyong’o….in blue. Next to this, however, is an intense piece about the unfortunate violence that is plaguing the world today…as it almost always has in a way.

A simple vase with bullets coming out of a broken part on the bottom. Upon closer inspection, however, you will see the images on the vase are that of a shooting victim. Pictures of them, their funeral and family and friends grieving. It is an urn…but instead of ashes…bullets. A very powerful piece, Fallen Shells, by artist Asia Atkinson.

There are a great many amazing art pieces in this gallery. Some are painting, some are sculptures and some are a mix of various media but all are worth checking out. Once you are ready the main galleries on the third floor await.

ism200yrsartreview (35)They split the main exhibit up..well sort of all over the museum which I love, but specifically into two galleries. The Ford and the NiSource galleries on the third floor each hold 100 years of Indiana art history. The first hundred in the NiSource and the second hundred in the Ford gallery.

When we went they were still setting up so I was the only one allowed to go in…which was fine as I didn’t have to freak out about my kids wanting to touch everything…I’m so worried they will end up breaking some 200 year old item. Almost everything is on the wall, in cases, on pedestals or not easy to break though so that is a good thing.

I started with the first hundred years…because it just makes sense really. I love old paintings but I also love the frames they are usually found in. They do NOT make frames that these anymore. Each one is an art piece in itself and always showcases the artwork beautifully.

If you are like me you will want to examine each piece carefully and soak up every bit of beauty and then be jealous that you don’t have that kind of talent…or just the first part. I do not want to spoil anything and I could not even begin to describe any of the pieces in detail or well enough to give you the sense of awe and wonder you get from looking at them. I can show you a few things from the whole exhibit in this gallery below…but you will want to go and see everything I am not showing and the things I am in real life…so much better in real life.

One that you will notice right away is of Indiana’s 14th Governor, Oliver P. Morton. It is taller than I am at 5’3″ (I think) and beautifully done in a gorgeous gold frame with a lot of wonderful detail. When a Governor leaves office they do a portrait of them only these days they are about a forth of the size!

Another stand out piece is Civil War by artist William McKendree Snyder. An oil on canvas piece done in 1883. The inspiration likely came from when he was a drummer boy in the Civil War. He enlisted with his father in 1861 to fight with the Union Army and after the war studied painting.ism200yrsartreview (38)

There are too many brilliant pieces for to try to describe and the rest of the gallery is full of various pieces of art both on the wall and on display on the floor. They were still setting some of them up and from what I saw they were going to have a create and share your own art section for kids. I cannot wait to go back and check this out!

Look out the window and sketch the scene you see before you. This is the idea behind the share your art section in the first 100 years of Indiana art and I think its brilliant. We actually do this sometimes and my kids love it. I love that the museum has an area for kids to showcase their creativity.

Another painting in the gallery is an oil on canvas of T.C. Steele by artist Wayman Adams done in 1913. There is an historic site in Indiana that is named after T.C. Steele. Located in Nashville, IN this historic site showcases the artwork of Steel and you can see where he got much of his inspiration in the nature around the building.

The last 100 years of Indiana art is over in the Ford gallery and is just as impressive as the first 100 years. It houses one of my favorite pieces from the whole exhibit and one of the most impressive that I’ve seen. Again I am not going to spoil it too much but I will highlight a few of them.

ism200yrsartreview (40)An oil on board piece by Cecil Head titled, Evening Light, stands out in its color and style but it doesn’t have vibrant colors like you would expect a stand out painting to have. The colors are all the same tone in that one does not stand out over the other but the painting as a whole stands out.

A family portrait showing a large family titled Dr. William Weir Stuart Family Portrait is owned and loan from Tony Stuart who happens to be the youngest person IN the portrait! The artist is William Edouard Scott and the painting is a beautiful oil on canvas.

James Spencer Russell created an interesting piece using circle tabs in color and a display board. 100 Letter Words: Tags was done in 1964 and is just one of many pieces Russell did during his life. I think I see the letter H in there…but it is interesting piece.

My favorite piece is not a painting…I doubt I could choose just one painting anyway. It is a bit taller than me and made out of bronze, steel, brass, nickel, lead and wood and is wonderfully detailed. Done in 1988 by William T. Wiley, The Anvil has a wooden tree trunk type base with a detailed anvil on top and has a sword coming out form the top of that.

I love this piece and probably because it reminds me of King Arthur and medieval times. The piece is beautifully done and extremely detailed. The mix of metals is amazing and I can honestly say I do not know which area is made of what metal or how any of it was done…except the wood…I get how that was done.

ism200yrsartreview (41)The most fascinating piece in the entire exhibit is also not a painting and in fact is labeled as “mixed media on canvas” The piece is called Dark Fantasy and was done by artist Walter Lobyn Hamilton in 2001. You may have seen one of his other pieces on the HBO show Empire

The canvas hangs on a wall in the gallery  and when you first look at it you will see a woman with a rather tall hairdo and what might be a flower or other accessory in her hair. She is looking left and her eyes appear closed. It is more of a silhouette than a portrait and is done is mostly black with a bit of color here and there.

From far away it is beautiful, subtle and memorizing. Up close it is truly magnificent. The entire piece is made out of broken records. Literally broken up records pieces come together by the artists hand and imagination to create this image and it is a thing of wonder and fascination.

I know I cannot do any of these magnificent art pieces any justice in describing them so you will have to go see for yourself. In the mean time here is a video of our adventure through 200 years of Indiana Art at the Indiana State Museum. When you do go don’t forget to tag us and the museum in your own adventure! @MyGeeklings #ISM200 @IndianaMuseum

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
~ Pablo Picasso

Author: sandyz