Summer course takes students into the world of Parisian Impressionism

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Paul Signac (French, 1863 to 1935), Opus 217. Against the Enamel of a Background Rhythmic with Beats and Angles, Tones and Tints, Portrait of M. Felix Fénéon in 1890, 1890-1891, oil on canvas, 29 x 36-1/2 in. Fractional gift of a private collector, The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Digital image © The Museum of Modern Art/Licensed by SCALA/Art Resource, NY. | PHOTO COURTESY INDIANAPOLIS MUSEUM OF ART

A summer II session history course in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI will take students out of the classroom and into the Indianapolis Museum of Art to study firsthand the impact urban Paris played on Impressionist artists and the artists’ role in Parisian society.

Cultural History of Modern France-Impressionism begins Tuesday, July 1, and runs through Thursday, Aug. 7. The class meets Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6 to 9:15 p.m. and will include visits to the Indianapolis Museum of Art for guided tours of relevant galleries and the print vaults.

“The beauty of the French galleries at the IMA is you can watch French modern art evolve,” course instructor Kevin Robbins said. “By turning your head 90 degrees you can watch four decades of French culture go by.”

The course focuses on the origins and developments of Impressionism as a broad cultural movement based largely in Paris. The class begins with a look at Paris’ development under imperial urban renewal and the development of a leisure economy within the city. From there, the class expands to examine the many artists, patrons, and critics assembled in the Impressionist movement.

Students will examine Impressionist works from artists such as Monet, Degas and Renoir for evidence of how the artists saw and understood the Parisian urban world.

“Students are empowered as detectives,” Robbins said. “It turns every painting into a readable document that needs to be decoded. This makes paintings into a much more accessible, malleable subject matter for history students. You can read the images critically, you can read them using documentary analytical strategies developed in other classes and it makes the course more accessible to many people who don’t have training in art history or art.”

The class does not require any previous background in art or art history study and is open to all IUPUI students and students from other colleges and universities.

Robbins said the course will be beneficial to students with an interest in urban history, modern history and politics.

“This is not a standard art history course,” he said. “This is more about asking relentlessly: ‘Where does Impressionism come from as an urban historical phenomenon and an urban visual phenomenon?’ The emphasis is on how Paris becomes the essential incubator of Impressionisms.”

To help students gain a better grasp of Impressionistic influences, the course will also explore popular cultural events like ballet, opera and music.

“One of the things the Impressionists had in common was they were all passionate devotees of music in one form or another — be it dancehall music, popular song or classical music of the era,” Robbins said. “These were individuals who reveled in all the musical possibilities Paris presented.”

“This really is an intensive tour of all the various expressive art forms of Paris at the time.”

For more information about the course, contact Robbins at krobbin1@iupui.edu or 317-274-5819.

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.

Leibman Forum to tackle legal and cultural issues surrounding ‘The Art of the Steal’

Was the $25 billion art collection of Albert C. Barnes “stolen” decades after his death, as some say, or was it simply “moved in the public interest”?

Art and legal pundits and interested others can judge for themselves during a lively examination of the facts during the annual Jordan H. and Joan R. Leibman Forum on the Legal and Business Environment of Art on Friday, Nov. 1, at the IU McKinney School of Law.

This year’s forum, “Donor Intent vs. Public Interest,” examines the issues raised in the film “The Art of the Steal,” a documentary about the disposition of the Barnes collection. The program includes a screening of the film, followed by a panel discussion featuring legal, art and philanthropic experts.

“Donor Intent vs. Public Interest” takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. in Inlow Hall, 530 W. New York St. The film screening takes place at 4 p.m., followed by the panel discussion at 6 p.m., both in Wynne Courtroom. A reception will follow the discussion at 7:15 p.m. in the Atrium.

At his death in 1951, Barnes had amassed a matchless collection of modern and post-impressionist art. He also left a will with strict instructions for the collection to remain forever at an original location in a Philadelphia suburb. After a battle that included a lawsuit by one faction of Philadelphia residents and a countersuit by another, the collection was relocated to downtown Philadelphia in 2012.

The public debate over moving the collection was one of the most “significant, heated and widespread debates about art, culture and place in Philadelphia” around the turn of the 21st century, said Laura Holzman, a forum panelist.

Holzman, assistant professor of art history and museum studies at the Herron School of Art and Design and the IU School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI, is working on a book project about civil discourse and visual culture that includes a study of the discourse about moving the Barnes collection.

“The use of extreme language (like describing the relocated collection as ‘stolen’) is significant because it demonstrates the fervor behind people’s beliefs about what was best for the collection and its publics,” Holzman said. “It also suggests that debates about the ethics of relocation were steeped in concerns about cultural capital, or who has ownership of the art.”

Other forum speakers are:

  • Kenan Farrell, attorney and adjunct professor teaching art and museum law at IU McKinney School of Law.
  • Kathryn Haigh, deputy director for collections and exhibitions at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  • Robert A. Katz, professor of law at IU McKinney School of Law and professor of philanthropic studies at IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

An additional free screening of “The Art of the Steal” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, in Room 375, Inlow Hall. Online registration is suggested.

The Jordan H. and Joan R. Leibman Forum was established at IUPUI in 2004 to examine issues on the legal and business environment of the arts. It is co-sponsored by the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, the IU Herron School of Art and Design and the IU Kelley School of Business Indianapolis.

The forum is free of change, but registration is required online. Indiana continuing legal education credit of 1.4 hour is available free of charge.

For questions, contact Beth Young at ejmoody@iupui.edu.

Rachel Armstrong to Deliver Lecture at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on October 30

The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and the Indianapolis Museum of Art will co-sponsor a free public lecture on “living architecture” by TED Fellow Rachel Armstrong on October 30 at 7pm. The event, part of the IAHI’s Lecture & Performance Series and the IMA’s STEM to STEAM Lecture Series, will take place at 7pm in the DeBoest Lecture Hall at the IMA. Reserve your free tickets below.

Rachel Armstrong is Co-Director of AVATAR (Advanced Virtual and Technological Architectural Research) in Architecture & Synthetic Biology at The School of Architecture & Construction, University of Greenwich, London. Senior TED Fellow, and Visiting Research Assistant at the Centre for Fundamental Living Technology, Department of Physics and Chemistry, University of Southern Denmark. Rachel is a sustainability innovator who investigates a new approach to building materials called ‘living architecture,’ that suggests it is possible for our buildings to share some of the properties of living systems. She works collaboratively across disciplines to build and develop prototypes that embody her approach.

Dr. Armstrong was a member of the RESCUE “Collaboration between the natural, social and human sciences in global change research” Working Group, an interdisciplinary body of European experts making recommendations to the EU for strategic investment in interdisciplinary/scientific research of climate change. She was also part of the TARPOL report Targeting environmental pollution with engineered microbial systems, for the European Commission which will be published by Wiley this year. In 2011 Rachel was named as one of the top ten UK innovators by Director Magazine, featured in the top ten ‘big ideas, 10 original thinkers’ for BBC Focus Magazine, and selected as one of BMW/Wired’s Change Accelerators. She has also just released a TED Book on Living Architecture.

“Scientists need to work outside their own areas of expertise to make new technologies that are pertinent to the 21st century and to collaborate, both with other scientific disciplines and the arts and humanities.”

Rachel Armstrong

Dr. Armstrong innovates and designs sustainable solutions for the built and natural environment using advanced new technologies such as, Synthetic Biology – the rational engineering of living systems – and smart chemistry. Her research prompts a reevaluation of how we think about our homes and cities and raises questions about sustainable development of the built environment. She creates open innovation platforms for academia and industry to address environmental challenges such as carbon capture & recycling, smart ‘living’ materials and sustainable design.

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Dr. Armstrong’s work includes the study of protocells.  Protocells are a form of organic hardware that is not technically ‘alive’ since they do not possess any DNA. Yet they are capable of life-like behaviour that draws from the self-organizing potential of their ingredients. In keeping with Stuart Kauffman’s notion of ‘order for free,’ the protocells are equipped with remarkable, emergent properties such as, movement, sensitivity and the production of microstructures.

While protocells have numerous engineering applications, which Dr. Armstrong explains in this short video, ‘Toward a Living Architecture’.

Dr. Armstrong is also interested in investigating the artistic potential of new materials, working collaboratively with specialists in the arts and humanities.  With the architect Philip Beesley and the cybernetic engineer Rob Gorbet, she participated in the Hylozoic Ground installation shown at the Venice Biennale in 2010. The group enlarged protocells and encased them in flasks, which were distributed throughout a lattice of small transparent acrylic meshwork designed by Beesley and Gorbet. The protocells performed like smell and taste receptors, sensing carbon dioxide produced by people in the gallery. When carbon dioxide was present, the protocells changed from blue to green or pink to purple.  See a video of the installation here:

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In addition to her other accomplishments, Dr. Armstrong has given a number of TED and TEDx talks.  Her talk, “Architecture that Repairs Itself,” will be featured at TEDxIndianapolis on October 22.

TEDFellows Talk: Creating Carbon Negative Architecture

 

TEDFellows Talk: Architecture that Repairs Itself

 

Get you free tickets to see Rachel Armstrong’s lecture on October 30 at 7pm at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.