From Humanities: New Museums Confront Mississippi History

The ceiling sculpture, “This Little Light of Mine,” is the focus of the center gallery at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.

The chess set is so small, it’s easy to miss in a case crowded with other artifacts in the new Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson.

The pieces were fashioned from white bread and spit by Freedom Rider Carol Ruth Silver during her time in Parchman prison. The pieces—pawns roughly similar to a Hershey’s kiss and the knights and queens most recognizable by their distinctive shapes—bear the seams of tiny bits of bread, molded and pushed into place and dried, the darker pieces marked with blood. On a “board” scribbled in pencil, the set helps illuminate the larger story of determination and injustice in the movement that changed a state and a nation.

The country’s first state-owned civil rights museum and the Museum of Mississippi History opened December 9, 2017, capping the state’s bicentennial and drawing more than 25,000 visitors in the first month.

Funded by $90 million from the Mississippi Legislature and an additional $19 million in private donations for exhibits and endowments, the two museums together cover 200,000 square feet. A lobby links the two, which share an auditorium, classroom space, cafe, community room, and a shop in downtown Jackson. The museums complement each other with a complete look at Mississippi’s past—confronting the pain and celebrating the progress. Richly layered exhibits and interactive displays engage on a historic and a human scale with compelling artifacts, images, art, sound, settings, and media.

The civil rights museum focuses on the period from 1945 to 1976, when Mississippi was ground zero for the civil rights movement. The sometimes violent, often valiant history of Mississippians’ struggle against racism and oppression unfolds in stories of segregation, integration, intimidation, murder, marches, voting gains, and strength.

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Ryan White Letters at the Children’s Museum

Ryan White (1971-1990) was a hemophiliac who contracted AIDS from a blood transfusion. He was diagnosed at the age of 13. In the early 1980s, not much was known about the disease, and Ryan was not allowed to continue attending school in his hometown because parents thought he would spread the disease to others. After a fierce legal battle that brought national attention to Ryan and his family, he was allowed to return to school. However, discrimination continued, and Ryan and his family decided to move further south to Cicero, Indiana. There, Hamilton Heights schools educated their students about AIDS and its effects, and they welcomed him with open arms.

Meanwhile, Ryan became a spokesperson for AIDS communities, speaking locally and internationally about his experiences. He was friends with many celebrities and was able to speak at the President’s Commission on the AIDS Epidemic. A TV movie, “The Ryan White Story,” was made about his life, and it aired in 1989, gaining him further popularity. Ryan’s major goal in life was to have a normal childhood and normal experiences in high school. He enjoyed school and was able to skateboard, drive, and hold a job at a surf shop.

However, Ryan was still sick, and his illness caused his death on April 8th, 1990. Thousands attended his funeral in Indianapolis, including first Lady Barbara Bush. He was buried in Cicero, in part because of the warm welcome the community had given him. Ryan’s legacy lives on through the National CARE Act, IU’s Dance Marathon for Riley (as well as similar marathons at other universities), an AIDS walk at Hamilton Heights commemorating Ryan with a scholarship, and more.

In 2001, Ryan’s mother donated the contents of his room, in addition to other materials, to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. The museum opened their ground-breaking permanent exhibit The Power of Children in 2004. The exhibit portrays Ryan’s life, as well as the lives of Ruby Bridges and Anne Frank.

In 2016, The Children’s Museum received a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services to digitize letters sent to Ryan White in the 1980s in collaboration with IUPUI Library’s Program of Digital Scholarship. The archive of nearly 6,000 letters offers significant cultural information related to the AIDS epidemic, the perspective of children, and related issues of tolerance, education, and inspiration as well as a window to popular culture in the 1980s.

As part of this project, the Museum has created an online learning platform for youth in grades 3-12 to learn how to transcribe letters and research questions of interest about Ryan’s life and time period. In addition, the letters and transcriptions are available to scholars through the IUPUI Library online digital collections, allowing the letters to be used for research regarding the misunderstood disease and to share the legacy of Ryan White.

Visit The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis website to learn more.

New Exhibit from IAHI Scholar-in-Residence Samuel E. Vázquez

IMMERSED is a group exhibition featuring works by contemporary visual artists whose creative processes reveal deeply rooted meanings through symbolism and narrative. The exhibition is organized and curated by Samuel E. Vázquez in collaboration with InCultur. Participating artists include Samuel E. Vázquez, Danicia Monét, Atsu Kpotufe, Elizabeth Bilbrey, Gary Gee, Shamira Wilson, Hector Del Campo, Maria Zepeda, Stephen Heathcock, and Heather Ward Miles.

According to Vázquez, “The main idea of IMMERSED is to share diverse expressions by featuring the works of artists whose focused studio practices are unique to each artist.” The title of the exhibition, which includes paintings, photographs, illustrations, and sculptures, “alludes to the immersive and continuous process of developing one’s voice.”

“This exhibition can speak to anyone interested in exploring, engaging, and interacting with the art and artists. It can also speak via the diverse global backgrounds of the featured artists. Through direct dialogue with the artists or the works, we can meaningfully engage in conversation while learning from one another. That’s the beauty of art – it speaks of and about life, making our collective human experience richer,” Vázquez said.

The exhibition, held at Butler University’s Clowes Memorial Hall, will open with a reception from 6:00-9:00 pm on Tuesday, March 20, and will close on April 23. This exhibition is presented by Butler’s Jordan College of the Arts Signature Series, which features internationally acclaimed guest artists brought to Butler University’s campus. For more details, including gallery hours and parking information, click here.

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1970, Samuel E Vázquez is a visual artist working primarily in mixed media. His inspiration is rooted in the New York City subway style writings of the 1970s and 80s, along with the works of Ed Clark, Jackson Pollock, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Vázquez’s work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and cultural institutions. He has lectured on the history of style writing in venues such as the Arts Council of Indianapolis, New York City College of Technology-CUNY, Indianapolis Public Library Central Branch, Clowes Memorial Hall at Butler Arts Center, and Indianapolis Museum of Art. Vázquez is a 2017 Scholar In Residence at the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute and a 2017-18 Creative Renewal Arts Fellow of the Arts Council of Indianapolis.

From Herron School of Art + Design | Kinetic Artwork by Zilvinas Kempinas

For more information or to see the original press release, visit the Herron School of Art + Design website.

Zilvinas Kempinas, “Parallels” (partial installation view), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania

The spring exhibitions in the Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design open March 7, 2018, headlined by a survey of works by kinetic artist Zilvinas Kempinas, including the international debut of a new, 112-foot-long site-responsive work.

Using VHS magnetic tape and other unconventional materials, Kempinas crafts dynamic sculptures and installations that are activated by natural phenomena such as light and the circulation of air.

Among eleven works in the exhibition are eight new sculptures on view for the first time, including “V Formation,” a large-scale installation conceived for Herron’s main gallery space. “V Formation” (2018) incorporates lines of unspooled VHS tape stretched across the length of the gallery. The installation creates a low ‘ceiling’ of shimmering reflective tape just above visitors’ heads. As the bands traverse the 112-foot-long gallery, the tape torques from a horizontal plane to a vertical one. The result is a monumental yet ethereal installation that transforms the experience of Herron’s space in unexpected ways.

Zilvinas Kempinas” runs through April 21, 2018, in the Berkshire, Reese, and Paul Galleries.

Also on view in the Galleries at Herron:

In the Marsh Gallery: Celebrating Herron’s Painting program, an undergraduate painting exhibition showcases a variety of works that explore traditional and contemporary methods and practices.

In the Basile Gallery: “Drawing Now: Recent Student Artwork” features a selection of work from students in Herron’s Drawing and Illustration program. Shannon M. Linker, vice president of the Arts Council of Indianapolis and director of Gallery 924, will serve as guest juror for the exhibition.
All three exhibitions open with a public reception on Wednesday, March 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St. The student exhibitions run through April 18, 2018. The Galleries at Herron are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, visit HerronGalleries.org.

Parking is available courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis in the visitor section of the Sports Complex Garage (west of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall), or on the upper floors of the Riverwalk Garage (south of the Sports Complex Garage) until 6 p.m. Park on any floor after 6 p.m. Bring your parking ticket to the Herron galleries for validation.

About Zilvinas Kempinas

Kempinas was born in Plungė, Lithuania in 1969. In 2009, Kempinas represented Lithuania at the 53rd International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale in Italy. He has had solo exhibitions at Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, U.K.; Reykjavik Art Museum, Iceland; Museum Tinguely, Basel, Switzerland; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; Kuntshalle Wien, Vienna, Austria; and the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, among others. Group exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. Kempinas lives and works in New York City.

About Herron School of Art and Design

Founded in 1902, Herron School of Art and Design is the premier accredited, professional school of art and design in the state of Indiana and is part of the thriving urban campus of IUPUI. With more than 50 full-time faculty serving 11 undergraduate and three graduate programs, Herron’s curriculum prepares graduates to be leaders in a world that requires a unique combination of creativity, conceptual skills, and technical abilities. Herron is an engaged community and regional partner including five public galleries; community learning programs; and the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life.

Herron announces spring 2018 speaker series featuring Carrie Mae Weems, Lori Waxman, and Tom Loeser

From the Herron School of Art + Design:

The Galleries at Herron School of Art + Design is pleased to announce three exceptional public talks during the spring 2018 semester with art critic Lori Waxman, furniture maker Tom Loeser, and internationally renowned artist Carrie Mae Weems.

Each year, artists, designers, and other cultural producers are invited to speak at Herron School of Art and Design on timely issues related to contemporary art and culture. This spring, the talks will explore the role of the contemporary art critic, one furniture designer’s irreverent challenge to tradition and expectations, and an artist’s life-long investigation of cultural identity and systems of power.

Spring 2018 endowed talks

Lori Waxman will speak on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. as part of the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation Visiting Artist Lecture. Waxman has written about contemporary art for the Chicago Tribune, Artforum, and other periodicals for the past 18 years. Her books include “Girls! Girls! Girls! in Contemporary Art” and “60 wrd/min art critic,” which was also the name of Waxman’s live performance of art criticism at dOCUMENTA (13). Waxman teaches art history at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Tom Loeser will speak on Monday, March 5, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. as part of the Phillip Tennant Furniture Artisan Lecture. Loeser has been head of the wood/furniture area at University of Wisconsin–Madison since 1991. Loeser designs and builds one-of-a-kind functional and dysfunctional objects that are often carved and painted. His work is always based on the history of design and object-making as a starting point for developing new form and meaning.

Carrie Mae Weems will speak on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. as part of the Jane Fortune Outstanding Women Artist Lecture. One of the most important and celebrated contemporary American artists, Carrie Mae Weems has investigated issues of race, gender, and class for over thirty years. Her artwork continues to raise important questions about cultural identity and the politics of representation. Weems is the recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” grant, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Prix de Rome.

Support for Herron’s endowed talks is made possible by Jane Fortune, Phillip Tennant, and the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Great Frame Up Indianapolis.

All talks are free, open to the public, and held in the Basile Auditorium at Eskenazi Hall located at 735 West New York St., on the IUPUI campus. For more information, visit HerronGalleries.org.

 

Herron’s 2017 Undergraduate Student Exhibition

View the original announcement here.

The Galleries at Herron School of Art and Design are pleased to present the 2017 Undergraduate Student Exhibition, located in Eskenazi Hall on the IUPUI campus.

The exhibition is an annual tradition featuring exceptional works produced by Herron students across a variety of artistic disciplines. Chris Reitz, gallery director of the Hite Art Institute, will serve as a guest juror and will award prizes for the top student entries.

Robert Horvath, Gold Room, 2017

Coinciding with the student exhibition is “Petit Mort,” a selection of oil paintings and digital compositions created by Associate Professor Robert Horvath during a recent sabbatical. Inspired by the complex nature of 18th-century figurative porcelain, Horvath’s newest body of work juxtaposes homoerotic imagery and Rococo style to raise questions of censorship in relation to present-day social issues for the LGBTQ community.

The exhibitions open with a public reception at Eskenazi Hall, 735 W. New York St., on November 29 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. The Undergraduate Student Exhibition will take place in the Berkshire, Reese, Paul, and Marsh Galleries, with “Petit Mort” showing in the Basile Gallery. During the reception, visitors can shop locally from a selection of affordable prints and ceramic wares made by Herron artists while supporting student clubs. The student sale will take place in the grand hallway of Eskenazi Hall from 4 to 8:30 p.m.

The Galleries at Herron are free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For more information, visit HerronGalleries.org.

Parking is available courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis in the visitor’s section of the Sports Complex Garage (west of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall), or on the upper floors of the Riverwalk Garage (south of the Sports Complex Garage) until 6 p.m. Park on any floor after 6 p.m. and bring your parking ticket to the Herron galleries for validation.

IUPUI Center for Digital Scholarship goes 3D

View the original press release by reporter Vanessa Richards at the IUPUI newsroom.

Jenny Johnson demonstrates 3D scanner

The handheld Creaform 3D scanner looks like an old-school video game controller, a clunky throwback to the early days of Atari. But these mobile 3D scanners used by the staff in the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship are very advanced, and they are changing the way we record recent history, ancient history, and even the future.

“About two years ago, we decided to explore 3D technology and what scanning could look like,” said Jenny Johnson, head of digitization services for the Center for Digital Scholarship. “Every community and cultural heritage institution that we work with has 3D objects. As the technology has gotten better, computer processing has gotten better, and because costs have been reduced a little bit with the technology, we decided to dive into the specifics and see what we could do. The Benjamin Harrison team was really interested in this, and they’ve got an eCollection initiative to document more of their items.”

This statue of Harrison has been 3D printed using the 3D scan file

The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site houses a large collection of former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison’s belongings in his former home, including furniture, pottery, silver, plates, and dresses. In collaboration with the Center for Digital Scholarship, these items will soon be scanned, and the digital files will be available online to view and to download. This means that anyone with access to a 3D printer will be able to create copies of the collection items. The Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site eCollection initiative is planned to go online around November.

Archaeologists are using the technology, as well. The Lawrenz Gun Club is a Mississippian Period fortified Native American village and mound complex in the central Illinois River Valley, active between the years 1150 and 1425. Jeremy Wilson, associate professor of anthropology at IUPUI, studies it; he and his team have been working on the site since 2010. He works with the IUPUI 3D digital archivists to record what they have found. Wilson’s ultimate goal, in partnership with associate professor Dan Johnson from the geography department, is to build a virtual representation of the site and how the village changed over time.

 

The digital renderings of these items are available in the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship’s online collection.

Video installation by Ragnar Kjartansson and The National headlines summer exhibitions at the Herron Galleries

This summer, the Herron School of Art and Design will feature the first Indiana exhibition of “A Lot of Sorrow,” a video installation by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson and indie-rock band The National.

“A Lot of Sorrow,” one of Kjartansson’s most well-known and acclaimed works, is a six-hour, single-channel video of a performance recorded at MoMA PS1 in 2013. For this piece, Kjartansson, best known for his durational performance and video work, invited The National to play their hit song “Sorrow” live on stage repeatedly and continuously for six hours, nine minutes, and 35 seconds. As hours pass and fatigue sets in, the band members experiment and improvise, yielding unexpected outcomes while Kjartansson periodically steps on stage to offer food and drink.

Kjartansson explores the creative potential of repetition by stretching a single pop song into a six-hour concert. Filmed with multiple cameras, Kjartansson’s large-screen video projection becomes an immersive experience that ARTnewscalled “astonishingly riveting,” and The New YorkTimes critic Roberta Smith described as “unimaginably expansive.”

The video will start from the beginning each day, allowing interested visitors to watch the entire 6-hour performance during gallery hours.

“A Lot of Sorrow” debuted at Luhring Augustine Bushwick in New York City in 2014 with more recent screenings at The Art Institute of Chicago, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.

An opening reception will take place from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, July 7 in conjunction with the Indianapolis Downtown Artists & Dealer’s Association’s (IDADA) monthly First Friday art tour. The exhibition runs June 14 to September 2, 2017 in Herron’s Berkshire, Reese, and Paul Galleries. All Herron exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Also on view this summer in the Herron Galleries:

  • “Mirror Mirror,” featuring new paintings and a site-specific installation by New York-based artist Jaqueline Cedar (June 14 to September 2) in the Marsh Gallery;
  • “Fold, Staple, Riot: The Art and Subculture of Zine Making” highlighting local and national self-publishing communities (June 14 to July 15) in the Basile Gallery;
  • New work by Herron alumnus Samuel Levi Jones (B.F.A. Photography ’09) from July 26 to September 2 in the Basile Gallery.

Parking is available courtesy of The Great Frame Up Indianapolis in the visitor section of the Sports Complex Garage (west of Herron’s Eskenazi Hall), or on the upper floors of the Riverwalk Garage (south of the Sports Complex Garage) until 6 p.m. Park on any floor after 6 p.m. Bring your parking ticket to the Herron galleries for validation.

To view the original press release for this event, visit the Herron School of Art and Design website.

IUPUI University Library begins 3-D digitization of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum items

As the Indianapolis Motor Speedway adds another chapter to its history with the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500, the University Library Center for Digital Scholarship at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis is continuing to preserve some of the historic items that have been a part of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

Through a pilot project with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, University Library has scanned several museum artifacts in 3-D, creating a new database where race fans can view historic items from all angles with a click of a mouse.

Among the items scanned are helmets from legendary drivers Mario Andretti and Rick Mears, uniforms from Peter Revson and Bill Vukovich, vintage hood ornaments from cars, and a cross-section of a piece of the racing surface that shows its 108-year evolution from crushed stone to bricks to multiple layers of asphalt.

“We’re fortunate to have thousands of artifacts in our possession, but there are limitations to how we can share them with the public, from museum floor space to just the delicate nature of some items,” said Betsy Smith, executive director of the IMS Museum. “Scanning historic — and sometimes fragile — pieces in 3-D and saving them in a digital collection is a wonderful way of making more of our collection available, and we’ve been delighted to begin to do that in partnership with the IUPUI University Library.”

Thirteen items have been scanned and cataloged so far in the project, with the IMS Museum and University Library hoping to do more if funding materializes.

“There’s so much more in the IMS Museum to discover, and with this 3-D technology, we can create as vibrant of a database as we have with other pieces of IMS and Indianapolis 500 history,” said Jenny Johnson, head of digitization services for the IUPUI University Library Center for Digital Scholarship.

The Center has scanned and posted a searchable collection of thousands of images from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in recent years, and last year it launched a “500” Festival database with more than 8,000 items including programs, tickets, badges, photos of celebrities, and more. There are also audio race summaries of every Indianapolis 500 through 2014, featuring Indianapolis Motor Speedway Radio Network clips and commentary from IMS historian Donald Davidson.

To view the original press release, visit the IUPUI Newsroom article.

Love and Affection in a Hostile World – Phyllis Bramson Exhibit

“It’s an Old Story … But a New Day”

This exhibition surveys three decades of work by the Chicago-based artist Phyllis Bramson. Bringing together more than 25 paintings and assemblages, Love and Affection in a Hostile World explores Bramson’s ongoing interest in Eastern mythology and iconography from the perspective of the Western imagination.

Bramson will deliver the 2017 Christel DeHaan Family Foundation Visiting Artist Lecture at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 8, in the Basile Auditorium of Eskenazi Hall. An opening reception will immediately follow the talk. The exhibition will then be on display in the Berkshire, Reese, and Paul Galleries until April 15.