After the Barney madness 

Visual Arts

This year had its share of the usual comings and goings; galleries opened, galleries closed, and others simply shifted focus…or, even better, upped the ante. As we look ahead to the new so-called arts season, we welcome at least two new spaces to the growing cultural mecca in Fountain Square: Keith Hampton has taken over the old Eyeblink space where David Kadlec offered fine and diverse works by other artists and himself. It looks as if Hampton will adopt the same approach. Up the street, across from the Shelby Street Diner, is Gallery 22, opened this summer by Barb Stahl who also plans to make a go of it in the show-your-own-work in addition to others’ vein. Stahl’s inaugural show was an audience success: the exhibit this summer brought in the usual arts crowd, eager, as always, for a “new” place to hang out and check out the art … and each other. Also in Fountain Square, Doris Vlasek-Hails and husband Stan are still showing darn good art in the Woodburn & Westcott space where a sense of humor and a sense of seriousness combine to make this a solid venue. Next year, the duo will bring back Robert Berkshire, and Brian Fick will exhibit Quite a Few Paintings, among other highlights. While W&W is among the relatively new, the tried and true are also offering both known and unknown: Ruschman Gallery, perhaps the city’s oldest commercial venue, other than Editions Limited up north, is of the known variety, with Robert Kingsley, Nick Hill and Anne McKenzie Nickolson slated. Herron professor Robert Eagerton will reveal “New Works” in a solo exhibition there that is long in coming and … ahem … eagerly awaited. On Massachusetts Avenue, Dean Johnson is in the upping the ante category this year: with gallery coordinator Julie Grelle at work orchestrating combinations, we can look forward to a multi-cultural show this fall. The gallery will still offer its famous One Piece Show during the holiday season. Kudos go to Shawn Miller of 4 Star Gallery, also on the Avenue, for bringing back Installation Fest. Fest 4 will take place early in the season — on Sept. 4 — so mark your calendars now. Other gallery shows are TBA — but Miller tends to be somewhat progressive, a much-needed approach in this city. Along these lines, Jeff Martin, back in Fountain Square, continues to find a way to make ends meet while showing provocative art — perhaps the city’s most provocative in a relatively small venue. Closing out the season with Brian Priest’s artist-in-a-bubble performance piece, we can look forward to more aesthetic shenanigans with the beloved Paul Moschell opening the season with Secrets From the Second Floor. Martin will also reveal the compelling documentary photographs of Amber Marks later this fall. Martin’s new collaborative gallery, the Primary Colours space that he co-directs with Fred Shields, will offer more installation art and the reprise of the TOYS benefit exhibit. In the same building as Primary Colours, the Harrison Gallery proved it was worth its exhibit space last year with numerous, if varied, exhibitions. Those who enjoyed Seeing Red should look forward to Wintergreen. Early in the season is the intriguingly titled Mapping Air, following the quirky Scrabble Rules. One of the newest kids on the block, the down to earth LAMP space in Chatham Arch will continue to show mostly emerging and some mid-career artists, balancing out the scope of offerings from experimental to traditional. These aren’t the only commercial and smaller non-profit spaces offering up shows of interest by any means — see this edition’s Arts Guide Calendar for more info and make up a hot list of your own. On the institutional scene, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will bring back its annual Fellowship of Native American Art. The museum will also offer a special exhibition of the work of Kay WalkingStick, one of the country’s best known and renowned Native American artists. Head north to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and witness the construction cranes. No — it isn’t the latest installation piece; it’s the latest renovation. The museum will close many of its exhibition spaces gradually beginning this fall (including the contemporary spaces) in order to complete its multi-million dollar remake. The museum will offer A Genius for Place: American Landscapes of the Country Place Era May 22-Oct. 10, 2004 so you can still enjoy the grounds and some good art. The exhibition will be installed in the upper level of Lilly House instead of the museum proper. Also on the docket is a major collaborative effort at the Indianapolis Art Center. In Search of Spirit, opening mid-November, will focus on contemporary religious and spiritual art. In conjunction with the Spirit&Place Festival, the exhibition will include classes, workshops, discussions and lectures on topics from Islamic Calligraphy to Mask-making. Last but certainly not least, Herron Gallery at Herron School of Art/IUPUI will bring in some big names this fall with a retrospective of world renowned Agnes Denes. In addition to its student and faculty exhibitions regularly offered throughout the year, the venue will present an iMOCA (Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art — a virtual museum at this point) collaboration, as well as the compelling sounding Outside IN focusing on Outsider artists from Europe. Speaking of iMOCA and Primary Colours, as this arts guide hits the press, Indianapolis art fans will just have experienced the mind-expanding (or numbing, as the case may be) experience of watching Matthew Barney’s The Cremaster Cycle brought to you by these entities. The question is, will this year’s Indy season live up to the Barney madness? Stay tuned.

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