Dual shows at Indiana State Museum and Herron School re-create Indianapolis art scene of ’80s and ’90s

386205_w296INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Museum and Herron School of Art and Design have collaborated to present a window into the Indianapolis art scene of the early 1980s and 1990s. The iconic institutions will exhibit “431 Gallery: Art and Impact” and “Ed Sanders/Life and Art,” respectively.

A June 27 opening reception featuring passed hors d’oeuvres, beverages and live music will begin at the museum from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and continue at Herron from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Ticket information is available at the Indiana State Museum ticket counter, 317-232-1637.

“431 Gallery: Art and Impact” will feature a partial re-creation of the gallery, where visitors can view two- and three-dimensional works by former Herron students from the original cooperative. The exhibition is funded in part by the Buckingham Foundation, the Arts Council of Indianapolis and the City of Indianapolis and is free with museum admission after the opening reception.

“The 431 Gallery was one of the original galleries operating on Massachusetts Avenue from 1984 to 1993,” said Mark Ruschman, the museum’s curator of fine art. “The area is considered Indianapolis’ first arts district and was integral in driving the downtown renaissance. The exhibition will connect many people to a time in Indianapolis when there were few venues for artists to showcase cutting-edge, contemporary works.”

Featured artists include Bill Adkins, Anita Giddings, Larry Kline, Carla Knopp, Steve Paddock and Ed Sanders. “431 Gallery: Art and Impact” will continue through Sept. 14.

“Ed Sanders/Life and Art” is a posthumous, solo exhibition of paintings and drawings. Critics and fellow artists recognized the Herron graduate as a major figure in the Indianapolis art scene of the time. He died in 2006 at the age of 59.

Bret Waller, director emeritus of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, organized the exhibition and authored the companion, illustrated catalog. He said Sanders supported himself by architectural work during the day, painting in his studio until late at night, producing a remarkable body of work. One observer wrote, “[I]t often seemed that Ed was trying to tackle bigger game than most artists attempted, here or anywhere else. Ed’s paintings seemed like a no-holds-barred wrestling match with existence … he painted as if painting really mattered, as if truth itself depended on it.”

“Ed Sanders/Life and Art,” in the Berkshire, Reese and Paul galleries of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall, will bring together important works spanning Sanders’ quarter-century career. The free exhibition will continue through July 24.

On Saturday, June 28, there will be two panel discussions related to the exhibitions, funded by the Efroymson Family Fund, a Central Indiana Community Foundation Fund, and moderated by Steve Mannheimer, a professor in the School of Informatics at IUPUI who, as a professor of painting at Herron, challenged his students to create the 431 Gallery, and David Hoppe, contributing editor at NUVO. Panelists will include Bill Adkins, David Andrichik, Dave Lawrence, Richard Emery Nickolson, Mark Ruschman, Constance Scopelitis, Joyce Sommers and Jim Walker.

“431 Gallery,” a conversation about the gallery’s role and impact on the Central Indiana art scene, will take place from 10 a.m. to noon in the museum’s Dean and Barbara White Auditorium. “Our Journey: 30 Years of Art,” a look at what’s next for the larger art scene in Indiana, will take place from 1 to 2 p.m. in Herron School of Art and Design’s Basile Auditorium. Both exhibitions will be open. The discussions are free and open to the public, but due to limited seating, reservations are required. RSVP by calling the museum at 317-232-1637. The deadline is June 22.

“This is the first time Herron and the Indiana State Museum have partnered on a major program, and we’re excited about it,” Ruschman said. “Since the 431 Gallery was founded by former Herron students, and Ed Sanders was a founding member, the collaboration on the exhibitions and panel discussions makes perfect sense.”

For more details, contact Mark Ruschman at 317-232-1633 or mruschman@ indianamuseum.org, or visit the museum website at www.indianamuseum.org.

Herron well-represented in upcoming Indiana State Museum’s exhibit “Fearless Furniture”

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.

Alison Bechdel, Graphic Artist and Novelist, to Speak in Indianapolis

The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute Lecture Series and The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series present:

Alison Bechdel

February 28, 2013; Dean and Barbara White Auditorium, Indiana State Museum; 7:00 pm

Tickets: free to the public; available here

Sponsored by the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series, Office for Women, Office of Housing and Residence Life, Office of Student Involvement, IUPUI Women’s Studies Program, IUPUI Department of English, IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI

Alison Bechdel is the creator of the long running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.  Judith Levine in Ms. Magazine called Bechdel’s work, “one of the preeminent oeuvres in the comics genre, period.”  In 2008, Dwight Garner of the New York Times reported that the weekly comic strip, published for over 20 years, “has been as important to new generations of lesbians as landmark novels like Rita Mae Brown’s “Rubyfruit Jungle” (1973) and Lisa Alther’s “Kinflicks” (1976) were to an earlier one.”

In 2006, Bechdel published the graphic memoir Fun Home, hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by numerous sources, including The New York Times, amazon.com, The Times of LondonPublishers Weekly, salon.com, New York magazine, and Entertainment WeeklyTime named it the best book of 2006, calling it “a stunning memoir about a girl growing up in a small town with her cryptic, perfectionist dad and slowly realizing that a) she is gay and b) he is too. … Bechdel’s breathtakingly smart commentary duets with eloquent line drawings. Forget genre and sexual orientation: this is a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.” Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award in the memoir/autobiography category.

Bechdel released her second graphic memoir, Are You My Mother?, in May 2012.  Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated called the book “a work of the most humane kind of genius, bravely going right to the heart of things: why we are who we are. It’s also incredibly funny. And visually stunning. And page-turningly addictive. And heartbreaking.”

In her work, Bechdel is preoccupied with the overlap of the political and the personal spheres. Dykes to Watch Out For was an explicitly community-based and politically engaged project. But in her deeply intimate memoirs about her father’s life before the gay rights movement and her mother’s life before the women’s movement, she turns a microscopic lens on the internal mechanisms of oppression and liberation.

Bechdel edited Best American Comics 2011. She has drawn comics for Slate, McSweeney’s, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times Book Review, and Granta. Her work is widely anthologized and translated.

In the spring of 2012, Bechdel was a Mellon Residential Fellow for Arts and Practice at the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center at the University of Chicago. She is also the recipient of a 2012-13 Guggenheim Fellowship.

The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute was founded in 2012. Its mission is two-fold. First, it serves as a liaison between IUPUI and the greater Indianapolis community, supporting collaborations and running public programs such as lectures and performances. Secondly, it fosters interdisciplinary faculty research and creative activity in the arts and humanities at IUPUI.

The Rufus & Louise Reiberg Reading Series is presented by the Department of English in the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. It was founded in 1997 in honor of former English Department chair Rufus Reiberg and his wife, Louise. The Series annually brings national and regional writers to the IUPUI campus to present their work.