Kabuki Night in the Galleries

 The IU Art Museum’s education department and the IU Asian Culture Center presented Kabuki Night in the Galleries on April 18, in the Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World.


Museum graduate assistant Lesley Ham, curator of the Legends of Kabuki installation, discussed the stories behind the Japanese woodblock prints with IU graduate student and Japanese traditional performing artist Monica Ham.


After the performance, Lesley and Monica answered the audience’s questions and lead a group discussion.  Many audience members had experience with Kabuki, while others were learning about the Japanese dance-drama for the first time.


Audience members viewed the Japanese woodblock print installation Legends of Kabuki in the second floor gallery after the discussion.


IU Art Museum staff and audience members enjoyed traditional Japanese food and drinks on the second floor of the Thomas T. Solley Atrium to conclude the event.

If you missed this event, be sure to attend Looking for Art in Contemporary China on Saturday, April 21, 2:00-3:00 pm, in Fine Arts 102.  Professor Xiaobing Tang, Professor of Comparative Literature and Helmut F. Stern Professor of Modern Chinese Studies, University of Michigan will present a lecture about the different dimensions of art in China. A light reception will follow in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium.


Mobilizing Poetry in Protest Songs of the Arab World

Songs like “This Land is Your Land” pop into my head when I hear someone talking about protest songs. If you don’t like Woody Guthrie, then perhaps you think of hippies sitting in a park singing “Give Peace a Chance.” Regardless of musical preference, we all feel these songs carry universal messages surrounding the idea that people can come together and change the world. Throughout history and around the world, we can see how visual art and music disseminate ideas and act as a catalyst for social change. Some of the messages conveyed in past paintings or songs still remain relevant to today.

On Tuesday, April 17, from 7­–9 p.m., the museum is hosting an event to showcase poetry and songs that have helped unify and mobilize cultural revolutions in the Middle East. Put into the context of the “Arab Spring,” it is interesting to consider that many of these mobilizing songs have been around for centuries. During the event, Dr. David McDonald and the Salaam Musical Ensemble will explore the many ways in which Arab poetry has been set to music in the service of popular protest, and our 2nd floor gallery will be open for a self-guided tour.

Knowing very little about Middle Eastern music and poetry, I decided to call Dena El Saffar, who plays in the band Salaam that will be performing at the event on Tuesday evening. El Saffar says her band normally plays love songs, but she knew of several songs in Salaam’s repertoire that aligned with the event, including music from several Egyptian composers whose songs were sang by protestors in Tahrir Square.

I’m no expert on Middle Eastern music, but I have done a little “research” via YouTube and found that a lot of current protest songs were in the form of rap songs. Deeb “Mashrah Deeb” is one of my favorites. In the short time I have been “researching”, I’ve found several videos that suddenly disappear, and it makes me consider how lucky Americans are to be able to speak their mind, be it in the form of speech, protest, or in the form of song.

Ann Fields, Guest Contributor
Event Support Coordinator


Here is a courtesy photo of The Vallures from tall + small photography.

It’s finally time for the Art on Tap event. The Vallures will play from 6 to 7 p.m. and again from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, April 14 at the outdoor Sculpture Terrace. The Vallures member Jes Franco shared with us her excitement about the event and how The Vallures feel fortunate to live in a community that values art and music.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: How did you get involved with the event? And why did you want to get involved?

JES FRANCO: We were asked by the events coordinator Anita DeCastro to be a part of the first ever fundraiser for the IU Arts Museum. And we love supporting the art and music community in any way we can. Playing benefits are great because you know you are contributing to something larger than yourself. And it’s being held in the museum’s beautiful outdoor Sculpture Terrace so we jumped at the opportunity to play in such a unique venue for such a great cause.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: Can you describe your style of music to people who have never heard you perform?

FRANCO: The Vallures play a lot of classic soul and motown as well as popular girl group, rock, and obscure songs from the sixties. Our current catalog includes everything from Otis Redding,  to Irma Thomas, with some Ronettes, Smith, and Martha & the Vandellas in between.  We are working on writing our own “nu-soul” originals that have the classic sound of an oldie that no one remembers. But we’re more than just a sixties cover band, we’re an experience. We are five ladies and one bearded lady who dress the part too. The Vallures do the whole “coordinated dresses and big hair” thing that was a signature look for a lot of girl groups from that time. So, in a way it’s a little bit of theater too.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: How long have you been performing together? Has it always been in Bloomington? Does this community mean something special to you all?

FRANCO: The Vallures were formed just over two years ago right here in Bloomington,IN. And although we’ve had many lineup changes over the short time we’ve been a band we’ve created some lasting friendships. We’ve had the pleasure of playing all over the Midwest together with hopes of taking our show to more audiences in far away lands. But home is never far from our minds when out on the road, we just can’t wait to get back. The Bloomington community has been essential to our very existence as a band in more ways than one. Where else can you find a concentrated variety of talented musicians? Where else can you go see a different show every night of the week thanks to our outstanding local venues? And most recently after having all of our equipment stolen in Chicago the Bloomington community stepped up and helped us raise funds to help replace it. Local musicians and businesses loaned us equipment in the meantime and the folks at “The Switchyard” gave us their space and equipment so that we could continue to practice twice a week. So, in short we feel very fortunate to be a part of a community that values art and music and has an active role in it’s preservation.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: What can people expect from you on the night of Art on Tap?

FRANCO: You can expect an amazing high energy live show with loads of singing, dancing, and hand claps coming from the audience…as well as The Vallures too!

ARTFROMALLANGLES: What are you looking forward to most?

FRANCO: Personally I’m looking forward to giving back to the community with our music. I want to be looking out over the terrace and see people smile and dance to our music, sip local beer, enjoy some delicious pork belly and watch fire spin into the night.

For more information on Art on Tap, view our previous post.

Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine

Perle Fine
American, 1905–1988
In Staccato, 1939–41
Oil on canvas
IU Art Museum 79.73
© Perle Fine

This spring, the IU Art Museum is proud to host Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine, a traveling retrospective on the lesser-known 20th century female abstract artist. This exhibition opened to the public in March, coinciding with National Women’s History Month—an opportune time to rediscover the vibrant and sophisticated work of Perle Fine, especially given that the theme for Women’s History Month 2012 was “Women’s Education—Women’s Empowerment.”

Perle Fine (1905–1988), one of only a few women in the inner circle of Abstract Expressionist artists, was mentored by abstract painter Hans Hofmann (1880–1966), who taught at New York’s Art Students League after leaving his native Germany in 1932. Hofmann strongly influenced American artists to experiment with abstraction, including the group that founded the American Abstract Artists in 1936. Through her involvement with this organization, Fine also met the great Dutch painter Piet Mondrian, whose austere geometric grids are echoed in many of her works. Fine later served as a teacher and mentor herself, employed as a faculty member in the fine arts department of Hofstra University from 1962 to 1973.

This retrospective gives a unique look at an artist’s career: the pieces trace 40 years of Fine’s work (1930–1970), as well as the evolution of her style through paintings, drawings, collages, wood assemblages, and prints. Photographs of Fine and her artist friends, taken by Fine’s husband, photographer Maurice Berezov, complement this exhibition.

To further supplement this retrospective, an abstract painting by Charmion von Wiegand, one of Fine’s female contemporaries, will be on display in the first floor Art of the Western World gallery until June 3rd, 2012. Also, there will be an educators’ workshop titled “What is Ab Ex?” on April 20th from 1:00–3:00 p.m. in the museum’s third floor conference room, in which curators, conservators, and educators will explore Abstract Expressionism.

Tranquil Power: The Art of Perle Fine will be on display in the first floor Special Exhibitions gallery and the Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery through May 27, 2012. The exhibition catalogue and the artist monograph are available at Angles Café & Gift Shop.


IU students Matt Starr and Taylor Bryant are going to project onto the Sample Gates for the first time ever. If you missed Starr’s video projection in the Grunwald Gallery a couple weeks ago, then make sure you don’t miss his new project projecting onto the Sample Gates at 9 p.m. Thursday April 5. Check out his Vimeo as well to see his previous projection on the Chase building in downtown Bloomington.

A face is projected onto the Sample Gates downtown.
Video projection is used for the first time on the Sample Gates in downtown Bloomington.


The IU Art Museum has invited students, falculty and the community to stretch their minds and bodies with a new weekly yoga program beginning from 11 a.m. to noon this Saturday, April 7, in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium on the second floor. Classes are free.

Beginner classes take place on the first and third Saturdays of every month, while experienced yoga participants should attend classes on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month through October 27, 2012.

You must bring your own mat and dress in appropriate yoga attire. This Saturday’s class will be led by an instructor from the Lynda Mitchell Yoga Studio.

Q&A with Riley Manion

Riley Manion is a senior in the American Studies and Anthropology of Food programs at Indiana University.  She will be leading a papercut workshop at the IU Art Museum on Sunday, April 1, from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m to help kick off IU Arts Week Everywhere.  Participants in the papercut workshop will be able to create their own artwork to take home and share with family and friends.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: When and how did you discover the art of papercutting?

MANION: I have always been attracted to high contrast black and white images. In the early 2000s, as film processing became more expensive and less common I strayed from photography a bit and started experimenting with other art forms. I loved old silhouette portraits and old political posters that were woodcuts or lithographs, and especially the art of Nikki McClure. Her papercuts were stunning to me and inspired me to really study them to figure out how they worked, then try to make my own.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: Where do you typically do your work?

MANION: At home on a big table. Papercutting isn’t a travel-friendly art, unless a large sturdy surface is where you are going. It also produces a shower of tiny pieces of paper, which isn’t the best thing to leave behind in a coffee shop.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: Who and what inspires you when creating papercuts?

MANION: My inspiration tends to be seasonal. For five years, I have made a Halloween papercut inspired by vintage Halloween styles. I am most motivated to create a papercut for an individual, where the purpose of the gift and the person’s personality will lead to a design just for them. This summer I am going to create a series about food to complement my studies at IU.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: How important is the subject matter to your artwork?

MANION: Very. What I design in papercuts often reflects what I feel is important to think about, and what I find aesthetically pleasing. Oftentimes they are made to create memories, like photographs do so well.

ARTFROMALLANGLES: Is papercutting easy enough for most people to execute?

MANION: Yes. The hardest part is understanding the positive and negative space. As long as you can cut paper with a knife, you are on your way to being a paper cutter!

While at the papercut workshop, be sure to visit the museum’s special installation of papercuts by Professor Qiao Xiaoguang in the second floor Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World.  Docents will be leading tours every 15 minutes from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Check out one of Manion’s favorite papercut creations!