Review: 'Expedition Bogota-Indianapolis'

Alberto Baraya and Danielle Riede's informative installation blends humor and local botany.

3 stars

Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art (iMOCA); through Nov. 16.

This show is a collaboration between two artists who happen to be collectors. Herron professor Danielle Riede and Columbian artist Alberto Baraya met at the Venice Biennial and realized that they had common interests; this show is a result of their ongoing collaboration. You can see hung up on the wall facing you, when you walk into the gallery, their collection of more than 100 fake plants bought at places like Goodwill and Hobby Lobby. Each is tied with an identification tag. Baraya has collected fake plants in other parts of the world, and on this expedition to the Hoosier state he likewise wanted to document his finds.

You may wonder, disconcertingly, if it's easier to collect fake foliage than real foliage in the Hoosier state. And aside from the serious issues that revolve around this show, such as the impact of European colonialism in the Americas, there's humor to be found. Take, for example, the photos of various Brownsburg High School football players posed with a fake pumpkin. The videos that document the planting of fake flora in real forests are also humorous, and watching them gives you a sense of thematic context. But if you find yourself still unable to wrap your brain around it, you might check back with Riede and Baraya next year and see where their collaboration leads.

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Arts Editor

Dan Grossman is NUVO's arts editor.