When you think of Indianapolis, you are more likely to picture motor racing than art. That might change after you read this post! Following a weekend exploring the city, I was impressed with the volume and quality of art in Indy, as well as the creativity that is evident in its cultural districts. Here are some of my art highlights of Indianapolis including pieces from the Indianapolis Museum of Art; 100 Acres: Virginia Fairbanks Art & Nature Park; and the Cultural Trail.
Robert Indiana’s “Numbers”
“Numbers” are an exploration of numbers and symbolism throughout our life. Each number holds a personal significance for Indiana, such as building numbers he lived in. However, there is also a general reference to life, one representing birth and ending in zero as death.
Robert Indiana’s original “Love”
The original Robert Indiana “Love” sculpture. Though you may have seen similar Indiana works before, this was the first. Robert Indiana was born in New Castle, Indiana as Robert Clark. He began using “Indiana” as his surname to honour his childhood home when he moved to New York City in the late fifties.
Ingrid Calame “From #258 Drawing”
Ingrid Calame created this abstract artwork by visiting the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and making tracings of skid marks and tyre tracks made by racing cars. These tracings formed the basis of the design, which was built up in layers of oil-based enamel paints like those used on race vehicles, to produce an exuberant expression of the Indy 500 race.
Donald Judd, untitled
Donald Judd, created this minimalist piece as part of a series of works he began in 1964. The artwork consists of a brass bar and five steel boxes in cadmium red, a signature colour of the artist. From right to left, the boxes double in length, while the negative space between them shortens at a similar rate, creating a pattern.
Above: Donald Judd, created this minamilist piece as part of a series of works he began in 1964. The artwork consists of a brass bar and five steel boxes in cadmium red, a signature colour of the artist. From right to left, the boxes double in length, while the negative space between them shortens at a similar rate, creating a pattern.
Frank Weston Benson’s “Sunlight”
American Impressionist, Frank Weston Benson, painted this piece modelled by his daughter Eleanor in Maine. Benson was known for his plein air paintings and regularly had his wife and daughter pose for his works.
El Anatsui’s Duvor (Communal Cloth)
Viewed up close, one can see this “cloth” is composed of recycled lids from liquor bottles, flattened and threaded together with copper wire. From a distance, this glittering wall sculpture conjures images of Gustav Klimt’s paintings. Ghanian artist, El Anatsui, created the cloth out of these unconventional materials as a comment on consumerism and the ongoing impact of the colonial run trade in Africa. The pattern was inspired by traditional West African textiles.
Tim Hawkinson’s “Möbius Ship”
Möbius Ship is the work of American artist Tim Hawkinson, who created the piece from various materials including wood, plastic and acrylic. He was inspired to create the fascinating 10-foot sculpture by the story of Moby Dick and the mathematical concept of a Möbius strip. Hawkinson employed methods used by “ship in a bottle” makers, to construct the artwork.
Roy Lichtenstein’s “Five Brushstrokes”
Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein created Five Brushstrokes as a satirical take on the Abstract Expressionist paint movement. The magnified brushstrokes are caricatures of the pouring, dripping and splashing techniques used by artists such as Jackson Pollack.
Free Basket by Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters)
Havana-based Cuban artist collective Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters), were commissioned in 2010 by the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the result was “Free Basket.” The sculpture located in 100 Acres: Virgina B Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, makes the trajectory of a bouncing basketball a tangible arc of colour. The piece is a nod to the popularity of basketball in Indiana.
Michael Kuschnir’s “Looking Through Windows”
Michael Kuschnir created “Looking Through Windows” while a student at the Herron School of Art & Design at Indianapolis University Purdue University Indianapolis. His gestural sculpture won a competition for a temporary art project on the site, and he later donated the piece to the Indianapolis Cultural Trail. Kuschnir was inspired by talking to people in the neighbourhood and took existing windows from Indiana Ave to use in the artwork.
Tara Donovan’s untitled sculpture
This larger-than-life abstract sculpture was created by American artist Tara Donovan in reflective Mylar. The untitled piece depicts organic shapes that are a signature of Donovan’s work. The molecular form was created by rolling Mylar circles into cones, and clustering them into various sized spheres.
Michael Jordan’s Mari Evans mural
Author, poet and tv personality, Mari Evans, was honoured in this mural on Mass Ave by Michael “Alkemi” Jordan painted in 2016.
Donald Lipski’s “The Tent”
The Tent by Donald Lipski was commissioned in 2008 for the 50th anniversary of the Indy 500 Festival. The coloured panels are hinged so that they move with the wind. Additionally, the sculpture is lit from the interior at night to create a flickering, pixelation effect.
Roland Hobart mural
The faded 1973 mural of Austrian artist Roland Hobart, who relocated to the United States in 1966. Hobart won the Indianapolis Urban Walls Project competition for the design that originally occupied two walls.
Robert Bentley mural
Local Indiana street artist, Robert Bentley, completed this mural as a class project while he was studying at Herron School of Art and Design in 2012.