There's a bowtie artist on the wall of the Double 8 grocery at 29th and MLK streets. You wouldn't expect to find him next to the ads for bargain milk and vegetables. But James Caldwell-Acha-Ngwodo is just where Malina Jeffers wants him.
Jeffers' I Am an Artist project is, as the official description goes, both a "photographic public art exhibition" and "advocacy campaign." It features 52 Central Indiana artists through 52 portraits, all photographed by Mallory Talty. They can be seen on walls throughout the city, from the usual suspects (Big Car Service Center, Madame Walker Theatre Center) to more unlikely spots. For instance, the nearly abandoned building at 30th and College that used to house Frog's Record Mart is now home to the contemporary dance troupe Create Freedom Arts Project.
That bowtie artist is on the Double 8 wall, according to Jeffers, because he's more likely to catch the eye of someone completely outside of Indy's art scene. Maybe a kid who can't imagine becoming an artist because he's never seen a working artist up close. Let alone a guy making bowties — because all artists are snobby painters, right?
Photos can also be found on the tail of five circulating IndyGo buses and on the back of weekend bus passes. And all 52 artists (about 30 are part of the public art component) are part of a playing card deck available from Silver and the City. They're also online at the project's site, ourmosaiccity.com.
Jeffers, who launched the arts consulting and programming outfit Mosaic City this summer, won a $10,000 grant at IndyHub's 5X5 event to realize her idea. "I wanted artists who live and work in Indianapolis, with a definite slant toward what I was calling alternative artists," she says. "A tattoo artist, a drummer, a chef. A guy who does pimped-out cars: He's a painter, and he just happens to paint on cars, but I can't see him getting a grant."
Jeffers started I Am an Artist by picking approximately 30 artists on her own, then opened up the selection process to suggestions via social media. That interactivity remains a big component of the project: Participants are encourage to tweet photos of installations with the tag #IamAnArtist. As for in-person programming, a guided walking tour of downtown photos will leave from Hilbert Circle Theatre Oct. 15 at 12:30 p.m. (sharp).
James Wille Faust: Works on Canvas, Wood & Paper
Faust's first major Indy-area exhibition since 2005 focuses on our natural environment. On one side, is a typically vibrant, colorful series on canvas on wood, intended to celebrate nature's splendor. On the other, his Fossil Fuel series, rendered in subdued grays.
Gallery 924, opens Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m.
Come Here Architekt: Jan Ruhtenberg
Musician and architecture enthusiast Vess von Ruhtenberg is on a mission to tell the world about his grandfather, modernist architect A.G. Jan Ruhtenberg, who worked alongside Philip Johnson in the '20s and '30s, designed furniture for Herman Miller, worked for the Rockefellers, taught at Columbia University and co-curated a major show at MOMA before his outing as a homosexual in the late '50s lost him jobs, his second wife and, in short, compromised his career. Ruhtenberg petit-fils co-curated Come Here Architekt with longtime iMOCA mover/shaker Jeremy Efroymson.
iMOCA, opens Oct. 4, 6 p.m., through Nov. 16
Heads, Real & Imagined: Bronze Works by Tuck Langland
Langland knows his bronze: He's been teaching sculpture at IU-South Bend for 35 years and has written two books on sculpture.
UIndy's Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery, opens Oct. 4, 4-6 p.m., through Oct. 25
Curtains: Becky Wilson
Wilson's first show since returning from California, where she sojourned for several years, is inspired by the Day of the Dead. Also at the Harrison: Indy City by Bike, new work by painter Josh Rush, in Gallery No. 2.
Harrison Center for the Arts, opening Oct. 4, 6-9 p.m., through Oct. 25
Hyperraum: Holger Jager and Brian James Priest
The Dusseldorf-based Jager and Indy-based Priest, who've been friends for about seven years, designed their new exhibition around the concept of fourth-dimensional space, with its potential for alternative, concurrent outcomes.
Primary Gallery, opening Oct. 4, 6-10 p.m.; closing with artist's talk Oct. 25, 6-9 p.m.
Emily Budd put together this month's Stutz show, a showcase for Indy-area sculpture artists. The lineup? Lesley Baker, Julie Ball, Budd, Susanna Hoone, David Kleeman, Lauren Kussro, Cheryl Anne Lorance, Kipp Normand.
Raymond James Stutz Art Gallery, opening Oct 4, 5-9 p.m.; through Oct. 25
Modern architecture walking tour
Indiana Landmarks' modern committee is participating in a national Tour Day celebrating modern architecture and landscape design with a walking tour making stops at buildings designed by Michael Graves, Evans Woolen and Wright, Porteous and Lowe. Wear sensible shoes.
Meets on southside of NCAA National Headquarters, Oct. 5, 1-2:30 p.m., $5 (more info firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lois Main Templeton
It's Templeton week at the Conrad and Long-Sharp Gallery. The Herron Distinguished Alumna and, of course, NUVO Lifetime Achievement Winner, who recently relocated from Indy to Maine, will host several events Oct. 5-11, including a Herron student reception and awards ceremony, a high tea. The public is invited to a "Sunday Art Matinee" Oct. 6, 1-4 p.m., in the London Room at the Conrad Indianapolis.
Tickets are still available for tonight's screening at Do317 Lounge of Muscle Shoals. It's the second of four installments in the Indy Film Fest's music-themed Fall Series. Doors at 7 p.m. for live DJing by Jon Rogers, the film begins at 8 p.m., and the whole thing is 21+ with beer and popcorn available. Here's Taylor Peters' three (out of five) star capsule review of the doc:
Muscle Shoals illustrates the history of the Alabama recording studio by vacillating between two visual and narrative styles. The first, and most effective, is quick-moving and factual, relating the stories of watershed sessions with Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, and The Rolling Stones. The second is more contemplative, focusing on the character of Rick Hall (the founder of FAME studios, out of which Muscle Shoals Sound Studio grew) and the mythology around the place. Unfortunately, these latter sections tend to drag; they feel well-intentioned but aren't sufficiently fleshed out. Regardless, the film presents an interesting vision of a vital piece of American musical history.
And while we're at it, a trailer:
It was a "blessing in disguise," Sarah Green says of her exit last week from the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where she'd worked as a curator of contemporary art since 2007. "If I hadn't felt compelled to leave there, I wouldn't be in the place I am right now."
And it's a place she's "truly, genuinely" thrilled to be in. Sarah is partnering with her husband, the YA author and expert vlogger John Green, to launch The Art Assignment, a weekly show for PBS Digital Studios. Sarah Green, the project's creator, will host; John Green is on board as an executive producer and will often serve as an on-camera everyman without Sarah's knowledge of art history.
The show, which begins shooting next month, will debut in January 2014 via PBS Digital Studios' YouTube channel. PBS has the option of picking it up for broadcast on one of its traditional, terrestrial channels.
Each 8-10 minute episode of The Art Assignment will profile a working artist, who will then in turn issue an "art assignment" to viewers.
For Sarah, it's a way of tapping into the Internet's DIY culture, where people are being creative even if they aren't aware that what they're creating could very well be labeled as art.
"Silly memes like planking aren't too dissimilar from early conceptual art ideas, where an artwork consisted of the documentation of instructions given to an artist," Sarah says. "I think there are a lot of people who are or would be or will be interested in contemporary art if they realize how broad the field is now. People get stymied in this idea of what art can or should be. But it's a multi-disciplinary phenomenon now."
While each artist will ultimately determine the assignment he or she gives to viewers, Sarah will play a role in shaping the series' syllabus, so that, by end of the season, viewers will have the opportunity to work on a variety of assignments, from video to sound pieces, and not just drawings, paintings and photos.
Through it all, she aims to present contemporary art as a "highly accessible" entity. "The show won't be so much about the artist-as-genius, but more about showing what the creative process really looks like," she says. "We want to show people that they shouldn't be afraid of creating an assignment."
Sarah still thinks of herself as a curator in her new role, which will find her meeting with a variety of artists and making studio visits. Her work at the IMA included Andy Warhol Industries, which considered Warhol as a businessperson (and was, appropriately enough, sponsored by PNC Bank); and Graphite, which explored recent, innovative use of the titular material. She also led the charge in bringing the first, full-scale North American retrospective of work by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei to the museum this spring.
The Greens are working with an largely Indianapolis-based crew on the series, including members of the production team behind John and Hank Green's fast-paced, educational series Crash Course. Sarah is taking cues from that series in terms of pacing and editing: "The brilliance of Crash Course has been its ability to present information quickly - and also with a good amount of nuance." She plans for each show to include a one-minute animated segment illustrating the art historical background for any given art assignment.
The Art Assignment has a one-year contract with PBS, though more seasons may follow. "There are so many artists in mind that I want to work with, and I won't be able to work with them all within a year," Sarah says.
LeBron Banks Benton, who passed away on September 17 at the age of 52 in Chattanooga, Tenn., was one of a kind. He was an actor, director and teacher; brilliant, kind, witty; an excellent host and guest; and, for all of his jocularity, a serious artist and a man sensitive to the needs of others. And he lived a full, productive, creative life, even as kidney disease began to weaken his body.
Benton's upbringing doubtless contributed his uniqueness. His father was in the oil business, and he lived in places like Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and England. Luckily for us, he remained in Indianapolis for several years after graduating from Butler University, and our theatre community is a better place for it.
He was a versatile actor, appearing in musicals, straight plays and children's theatre. He did everything from the Queen of Hearts on tour and the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz for Civic Theatre, to roles in Albee, Ayckbourn, Busch, Durang, Frayn, McNally, Miller, Pinter and Shaw (to name but a few) at the Phoenix Theatre and Theatre on the Square. He gave each role the same preparation and loving care.
Benton was oft-quoted for his LeBronisms:
"I have a little query, but then, what prep-school boy hasn't?"
"Take me, feed me, show me, buy me."
"I love you more than my luggage."
He'll be remembered by this friend for his amazing dinner parties, brilliant wit and the comic timing of a marksman and his heightened appreciation of all things beautiful.
Memorial contributions may be made to The National Kidney Foundation and The Phoenix Theatre, which will host a celebration of his life December 1.
"In the course of staying alive, I always love to hear people laugh. I never trust people who don't laugh... " Maya Angelou has accomplished a myriad of things - she's sung opera, danced on TV, starred in films, on Broadway, recorded albums, written plays, books, poetry. And it's poetry that sings like a song, moves like a dance, touches like love, sends us soaring like commandments from above.
Regal in a V-necked black gown, simple silver chain, sparkling drop earrings, she sung her message of human dignity Sept. 25 at Clowes Memorial Hall, laughing with us through her hard-scrabble life, finding laughter to mitigate hate. From the inspiration of the first landing of Africans in 1619 to the present day, she's found her way out of the mire; turned "Inner mystery" into desire to move beyond closed doors to where wisdom soars in simple homilies, to be the rainbow in the clouds when the sun won't shine.
It's twenty-five years since Ms. Angelou inaugurated Butler's Distinguished Lecture Series, and she brought us full circle last night, amplifying the nobleness of human spirit that she embodies, shares and inspires. She came and left us better for her coming. "Sometimes you have to stop to think where your rainbow comes from." And "I am a human being. Nothing human can be alien to me," she quotes from Terentius Afer, sold into slavery, freed to become a popular Roman playwright.
"Freedom, a chance to see hope," is the rainbow in the clouds. As long as one person is enslaved, no one is totally free. From "A Brave and Startling Truth": "We, this people, on a small and lonely planet /Traveling through casual space /Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns /To a destination where all signs tell us/ It is possible and imperative that we learn /A brave and startling truth ... .We, this people... Have the power to fashion for this earth /A climate where every man and every woman /Can live freely without sanctimonious piety /Without crippling fear."
My capsule review of Drinking Buddies is as follows. Also feel free to consult my Q&A with Swanberg, conducted ahead of Indy Film Fest.
3.5 stars (out of five)
There are limits to realism in film. And we're not just talking phenomenology here (how can something be real if we see it on a screen?) Chicago filmmaker Joe Swanberg's films have sometimes just been a little tough to sit through, with their long conversations about relationships, and long, awkward sex scenes. And for a while, there was new one every few months. Drinking Buddies is Swanberg's first "commercial" effort, and it nicely combines Swanberg's penchant for realism (it's filmed, in part, in Chicago's Revolution Brewery) with some old-school comedy tropes (romantic comedy relationship shuffling with an authentic flavor). It stars Olivia Wilde (Thirteen on House M.D.), Jake Johnson (Nick on New Girl), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Ron Livingston (Office Space) and, in an uncredited role, SNL vet (and Wilde's husband) Jason Sudeikis. It's all improvised, and he's working with a cast that can whip up great lines on the spot: "They have a girl who plays the cello. I think that's ironic, but I can't tell anymore" (Livingston's character on a band he's recording) and "It's like swallowing a burnt condom fill of gas" (Sudeikis on a particularly intense liqueur).
The 2013 Skip McKinney Fellowship was awarded Wednesday to Vandra Pentecost, an Indianapolis Art Center painting and drawing instructor who has taught at the center since 2001 and headed up the drawing and painting department since 2011. The $20,000 fellowship is awarded to an Art Center faculty member who "exhibits excellence in his/her art, excellence in teaching and focuses on building community through art."
Pentecost was selected from among six finalists. The other five finalists - Dan Helrigel, digital arts instructor; Patrick Flaherty, printmaking instructor; Tom Laird, woodworking instructor; Irina Smulevitch, painting and drawing instructor; and Glen Evens, Sculpture instructor - will receive $1,000 each.
Beyond the cash award, Pentecost will present a solo exhibition in Dec. 2014 at the center.
Mistaken for Strangers (Sept. 25), which is a little bit about The National and a lot about the relationship between the filmmaker and his brother, who happens to be the band's lead singer.
Muscle Shoals (Oct. 3), a profile of the titular northern Alabama town whose recording studios pumped out hit after hit through the latter half of the 20th century.
The History of Future Folk (Oct. 24), a super low-budget comedy about a crash-landed alien who comes to fall in love with humankind and take up the banjo after hearing their delightful traditional music.
And a documentary about Los Angeles indie hip-hop label Stones Throw Records, Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton (Nov. 7).
Doors open for all screenings at 7 p.m. for pre-show tunes provided by DJ Jon Rogers. All films start at 8 p.m. Tickets run $10 or $30 for all four screenings.
We have our eye on Yarn Bombing (Oct. 11), Australian Rules Football (Oct. 22), Celebrate and Reclaim Your Menstruation (Nov. 4), Create Your Own Smash Book (Nov. 9) and Trade School mainstay Raising Backyard Chickens (Nov. 14).
Keep in mind that Trade School classes aren't free - at least in the monetary sense. Rather, classes work on a barter system - and what you ought to bring to barter for a class depends on the instructor. Don't say we didn't warn you that several classes have sold out or will sell out soon.
Slideshow: Penrod Arts Fair 2013
Penrod opened up a few hours early this year for an Evening with Penrod featuring high-end snacks and drinks, plus all the music and art you've come to know and love.
Indy's "nicest day" seems so magically easy. Ask anyone "Who makes this happen? Why?" and you'll likely get a blank stare. So this year my quest was not just to find the perfect gifts in the myriad of artists' booths, spot amazing new talent on the stages, engage with arts organizations' representatives and enjoy entertainment and food. I wanted to find out how and why.
"I want to be involved in a meaningful way," volunteer Jim Barry told me. "I am distressed by the loss of arts in the schools. We're not all alike. Some of us need the arts to anchor ourselves, find our purpose. We need to find the funding to bring all the arts into our schools and to keep the arts alive for everyone all over the community. We need people to make art, people to enjoy art."
Barry is one of 600-plus active Penrod devotees involved in yearlong planning. He and his cohorts put in beaucoup hours to transform the spacious grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art into a wonderland of fun. It's all a fitting legacy for its namesake, Penrod Schofield, the 11-year-old Midwestern boy dreamed up by author Booth Tarkington.
Others agreed, and one voice added maybe the essence of 'Who' and 'Why' is in Flat 12's Penrod 22. It's not just a glass of beer. It's a way of honoring the original 22 people who nearly five decades ago recognized arts are essential to our well-being.
Slideshow: HorrorHound Weekend 2013
You never know what might be lurking in the dank corners of our city's hotel convention centers. HorrorHound Weekend returned to the eastside Marriott Sept. 6-8 for a condensed cluster-fest of autograph signings, screenings, panel discussions and makeup demos.
Halloween may still be months away, but those looking for their fix of the macabre found plenty of pushers at last weekend's Horrorhound, held on the city's east side. The big draw was an appearance by monster icon Robert Englund (aka Freddie Kruger) along with three cast members from The Walking Dead. One convention hall was devoted to "MaskFest", a gathering of top makeup and special effects artists from across the country.
[A+E] Visual Arts + Museums
[A+E] Festivals + Parties
[A+E] Festivals + Parties
[A+E] Written + Spoken Word
[A+E] Festivals + Parties