Nearly 85 percent of Indiana’s dentists were trained on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. Nearly half of the state’s lawyers have their legal roots on the IUPUI campus. Now an upcoming museum exhibit reveals many of the state’s “best of the best” furniture artists also have IUPUI academic roots.
The “Fearless Furniture” exhibit opens Oct. 5 and runs through May 2014 at the Indiana State Museum, just south of Eskenazi Hall, Herron School of Art and Design’s main academic building and home to its furniture making department.
Hundreds of furniture craftspeople either born, trained or living in Indiana submitted proposals to have their works displayed in the exhibit. Eleven of the 24 artists have ties to Herron: Six are students or graduates; one is faculty/staff; and four are both.
“So many of the people who submitted pieces were Herron graduates. … When you look at how many (Herron graduates) were accepted, it is pretty much obvious Herron has an exceptional program,” said David Buchanan, the museum’s curator of decorative objects and furniture.
The selected artists include recent students as well as graduates from as early as 1982, reflecting Herron’s history of success in training students over the years. “Herron’s built an incredible furniture design program. It’s at the very pinnacle now,” Buchanan said.
The exhibit’s name reflects a trait considered essential for anyone making a career of designing and building furniture in a studio. “We were commenting on the idea that people who do this must have a strong sense of fearlessness. They are creating one-of-a kind pieces and trying to make a living,” Buchanan said.
Cory Robinson, associate professor and fine arts department chair at Herron, is one of three artists the museum invited to anchor the show. Robinson, also a Herron alumnus, was chosen “because of the program Herron has built and the direction it’s going,” said Meredith McGovern, the Indiana State Museum’s arts and culture collections manager.
Another show anchor is Laura Drake, assistant professor of industrial design at Purdue University. Drake, also a Herron alumna, was chosen because of Purdue’s industrial design program and its furniture component, the museum said.
In addition to Robinson and Drake, Herron-related artists in “Fearless Furniture” are Erin Behling, BFA ’99; Ray Duffey, MFA ’11 and Herron shop technician; Reagan Furqueron assistant professor and director of foundations; Matt Hutton, BFA ’99; James Lee, BFA ’82; Phillip Tennant, retired professor; Steven Sander, BFA ’12; Robert Sibley, completed foundation studies at Herron; and Colin Tury, second-year MFA degree candidate.
Fifty-eight artists submitted a total of 139 pieces for the juried component of the exhibition. Wendy Maruyama, professor emerita of woodworking and design at San Diego State University, juried “Fearless Furniture.” Maruyama will present a lecture at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at the Indiana State Museum, followed by a reception celebrating the opening of the exhibition. Museum admission tickets are not required to attend the lecture or reception, which are free and open to the public, but seating is limited. To reserve seats for Maruyama’s talk, call the museum at 317-232-1637.
Regular museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Regular admission tickets, which include admission to the “Fearless Furniture” exhibit, are $5.50 each for children 12 and under; and $10 each for adults.