Visual Arts The Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, or iMOCA, has found itself a home. The law firm of Katz and Korin has agreed to provide gallery space in its recently renovated offices, the Emelie Building, located at 340 N. Senate Ave. “As lawyers we’re used to dealing with words in a rather confined setting,” says Kathleen Nevin, one of Katz and Korin’s 19 attorneys. “A lot of firms offer physical workout facilities to their associates and lawyers. I think what we’re offering is a workout facility for the mind and the imagination.” iMOCA men: Christopher West (left) and Stephen Schaf, iMOCA will open ‘Out of Place One’ May 15, 5-9 p.m. at their new home, 340 N. Senate Ave.; www.Indymoca.org.For the past year, iMOCA has called itself a “museum without walls” and produced a series of contemporary art events by itself and in collaboration with other local arts organizations in a variety of settings, including the Stutz Show, Key Cinemas and the Herron Gallery. The opportunity to set up shop in the Emelie Building provides iMOCA with visibility, a practical way to create an identity for itself and, most important, a venue in which to present cutting-edge visual art. Plans now are for six to eight shows per year. “For a lot of people it’s very challenging to make the connection with the word ‘museum’ without there being a physical location,” says Stephen Schaf, iMOCA’s president. “So it was apt that we landed somewhere, and we’re very fortunate that Katz and Korin finds contemporary art important.”
Indeed, the willingness of a business to contribute prime space in support of a local arts initiative is, while not unprecedented in other cities, remarkable in Indianapolis. But according to Offer Korin, a founding member of the firm, the chance to enter into this relationship with iMOCA was too good to pass up.
“I don’t know what it brings to us as a business from a client standpoint,” Korin says. “But it does allow us to give back to our community and help revitalize this area that used to be filled with music and dance and art. As new owners in downtown Indianapolis, it seemed like the natural thing for us to be part of the vibrant life that goes on.”
A sense of place Out of Place One, iMOCA’s inaugural show in its new space, will open to the public on Saturday, May 15. The show is being curated by Christopher West and represents the first in what will be a two-part sequence on art and the sense of place, the second part of which will open in August.
West has chosen four artists for the opening. Craig Doty is a photographer from Chicago whose work explores male identity; Theresa Gooby is an installation artist from the West Coast who raises questions about the relationship between objects and their environments; figurative painter Nicky Hoberman is based in London, England; and, from Brooklyn, N.Y., Lee Walton is a conceptual artist who does experiential projects and performances. All but Hoberman will attend Saturday’s opening.
The sense that contemporary art is a kind of energy source for fresh thinking and creative problem solving resonates with the attorneys at Katz and Korin. They’ve also made a point of decorating their offices with art by Indiana artists. “Whether you like it or not,” Kathleen Nevin says of the art hanging throughout the Emelie Building, “it stimulates the mind. For me, personally, that really enhances my work.”
“If you take a group of lawyers who tend to have some conservative views — dark wood, dark paneling — and bring modern art into their lives, that’s a challenge to the way things have always been,” Offer Korin adds. “I believe every one of our lawyers has a piece or two around here they really like. And those that don’t appreciate a particular piece still appreciate the talent behind it.”
Just a few steps away from Korin’s conference room, the preparations for iMOCA’s opening are almost complete. Korin’s eyes flash with excitement. “We know it’s going to be great,” he says. “I guess we’re putting our money where our mouth is because we’re opening it up for the world to see how great it is. We’ll be happy to give any business a tour.” Then he laughs. “And if they need a little legal help along the way …”