Informatics students help create app to enhance Dream Cars exhibit experience at IMA

Dream Cars Image from IMAmuseum.orgThousands of people are expected to visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see a unique type of motor spectacle when it opens Sunday. When they do, their experience will be enhanced by the Dream Cars Design Studio app created in cooperation with two Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing students at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas, May 3 – Aug. 23, will feature rare concept cars from the early 1930s to the 21st century, showcasing some of the most unique vehicles ever created by top names in the automotive field, including General Motors, Porsche, Bugatti and BMW.

Visitors to the exhibition will be also able to learn about the car design process in the Damon C. and Kay D. Davis Lab — on the second floor of the museum—through videos, images and a number of participatory activities, such as designing their own dream car using the Dream Cars Design Studio iPad app.

The app will guide children (6 and older) and adults through a number of steps, such as selecting fuel and engine types, the car silhouette, various accessories and colors. At each step, visitors will be able to see how their design and engineering choices affect a number of variables including cost, fuel efficiency and speed. The completed cars can be shared with family and friends by email, and will also be projected on the wall in the Davis Lab. The app will also be available for download, free of charge, in the App Store.

The app was developed by graduate student Vance Vaden, project manager and animator, and freshman Michael Auer, interaction developer.

Vaden and Auer began working on the app in September 2014, and collaborated with the IMA’s interpretation and technology team on the project. The app was completed in December.

“It’s fairly experimental for all of us right now,” said Zeb Wood, media arts and science lecturer at IUPUI. “The museum wanted to try using technology to enhance the exhibit, and we wanted to give students the chance to work on a real-world project for real clients.”

Among the app requirements: It had to be entertaining and easy to use for all ages, yet more informative for adults.

“It was a difficult challenge,” Wood said. “But these two wanted the opportunity, we briefed them, and they have been dealing with an entire committee at the IMA ever since.

“We have students who sometimes graduate without creating something like this. Now we have a freshman and a first-semester graduate student creating fully functional apps. This is a huge jump for us,” Wood continued.

“The success of the project will open the eyes of other students. “They are going to say, ‘I don’t have to wait four years to try to create something for a community partner. I can get started right away.’”

The experience is one Auer won’t forget.

“This project has given me the chance to learn about working with a professional development team,” Auer said. “My previous projects were mostly solo ventures, and so making the transition to a team-based one was incredibly enlightening. Since most projects in the real world are centered on group work and deadlines, experiencing these things really improved my skills.”

Auer, who volunteered for the project, said his ability to write algorithms and solve problems increased ten-fold. “There is a big difference between working for yourself and working for a large art museum, and I believe that it really pushed me to become better at what I do.”

Vaden also found the project to be an interesting experience.

“Having an actual client definitely changed the way I approached each task, since everything I did was for them, rather than for a grade and myself,” said Vaden. “I found myself communicating more and paying close attention to wording and detail a lot more than I usually would. “The internship was probably the best experience I had this semester since I got more professional experience and worked in a different environment than I had ever worked in previously.”

“What makes this particular project unique is the fact that the museum was so willing to work in tandem with the school’s students, treating this as a learning experience for both student and the professionals on the IMA side of things,” said Travis Faas, media arts and science lecturer at IUPUI.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this project is the skill levels involved, Faas said.

“The primary developer, Michael, was a first-semester freshman going into this project,” he said. “Working along with this team, he has had more opportunity to learn ‘how it is done’ in the real world compared to many of his peers. It is a real eye-opener to learn just how much work goes into the production of an even relatively simple app.”

Interpretation materials and content for the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s presentation of Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas were created with the support of an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The exhibition will open at the IMA on May 3, 2015. Tickets are $18 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 to 17. Admission is free for children under five years, college students from non-profit and public colleges and universities in Marion County, and IMA members.

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 by email or by phone at 317-274-5819.

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

386205_w296The 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.

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.