Year-in-Review

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The spring semester is coming to a close but before the IU Art Museum begins to embark on summer festivities, events, and programming, we are taking a look back at this year’s newsworthy topics written about by students like you in the Indiana Daily Student:

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Advancing American Art
Advancing American Art: Art Interrupted (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

This year’s first Special Exhibition, Advancing American Art: Art Interrupted, recreated an exhibition from the World War II era. The original exhibition intended to exhibit to foreign nations the ideas of American art, freedom, and democracy, but was considered by many to be too controversial due to the employment of artists who were perceived as leftist and due to artistic styles.  The United States Congress ultimately cancelled the exhibition and auctioned it off.  The traveling exhibition featured 117 paintings from the original exhibition that were on view through December.

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In October 2013, a temporary exhibit took root in the IU Art Museum’s Thomas T. Solley Atrium. Presented by the members of the Indianapolis Bonsai Club, this pop-up exhibition presented a unique artistic experience on sculpture demonstration in the IU Art Museum atrium for the Bonsai Tree Exhibition Visitors to the museum were invited to learn the skill behind this Japanese art form as Scott Yelich, the president, demonstrated to visitors how to craft these whimsical creatures of Mother Earth.

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Shadowy Figures
Stories with Shadowy Figures (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

More life entered the IU Art Museum in the Gallery of the Arts of Asia and the Ancient Western World as theater professor and shadow puppet performer, Jennifer Goodlander, enlivened the Indonesian shadow puppets as part of Stories with Shadowy Figures.  Having studied in Indonesia last summer, Goodlander talked with museum visitors about the ancient performance art and about her opportunity to learn the tradition.

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Among the new events and exhibitions taking place at the IU Art Museum this year, museum visitors were assured that the annual Art of Chocolate gala would not be forgotten.  This year’s gala celebrated the Art of Chocolate’s 10th year running and its ongoing support for LIFEDesigns, a local nonprofit that serves children and adults with disabilities.  Leslie Abshier, LIFEDesign’s community development officer said it best, “who doesn’t like chocolate?”

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Faculty Artists
Faculty Artists From the IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

Launching the first of many second semester exhibitions, the Faculty Artists From the IU’s Hope School of Fine Arts opened in the Special Exhibitions and Steward Hexagon Galleries in January.  Having “something for everyone,” as curator Jenny McComas described, this exhibition represented nearly all artistic mediums including sculpture, photography, and graphic design.  This exhibition provided visitors and students the chance to see contemporary works by IU faculty in one space that have been exhibited in a variety of public and private exhibitions.

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Exploring the IU Art Museum’s three permanent galleries, museum docent Monica Kindraka-Jensen began eye-ing  in on works through her thematic tour, The Eyes Have It.  Beginning in the third floor gallery, Raymond and Laura Wieglus Gallery of the Arts of Africa, the South Pacific, and the Americas, Jensen explored with visitors the role of eyes in art across diverse cultures.  Various eye shapes and types were discussed such as “coffee bean eyes” and the “curse of the evil eye.”

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YAM
Youth Art Month (COURTESY PHOTO: IDS)

March marked the celebration of Youth Art Month with the opening reception welcoming approximately 600 student artists, their families, and community members in support of local youth artists from the Monroe County Community School Corporation.  Commemorating the IU Art Museum’s 19th year hosting Youth Art Month in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium, children ages kindergarten to sixth grade were invited to display their water color, pastel, colored pencil, paper cutouts, and other works of art.

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More colorful works filled the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery with the opening of Matisse’s Jazz and Other Works from Indiana University Collections.  Acclaimed as one of the most important modern artists of the 20th century, this exhibition highlights Matisse works from the last 30 years of his life during which he had to re-invent himself as an artist.

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In the first floor atrium, students from the Giving Back to Africa Student Association showcased their month-long photographs of Beta Histoire, which opened in early April.   These photos depicted children from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their daily lives with the goal of the exhibition aimed at educating IU students about the political, social, and economic issues in the DRC.

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Wrapping up the spring semester, more educational experiences took place at the IU Art Museum in conjunction with the Evan F. Lilly Memorial Lecture Competition.  Four IU students selected pieces from the IU Art Museum’s permanent collection, researched, and composed a paper and lecture on their findings.  Objects and ideas explored included male nudes, ancient Roman religion, hermaphrodites, and bilingual eye cups.

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S.D.