The Indianapolis Museum of Art, located 4000 Michigan Road in Indianapolis, IN is truly a treasure! Imagine great works of emotion and inspiration, history and human struggle all gathered together in one place! The best part is that, instead of locking it all up from the fumbling, child-like hands of the grimy masses, it is all there for us to see and enjoy and study and smother ourselves in ....for free! How amazing is that?
Since I last visited the museum (circa 2000 or so), lots of changes have been made. There is an amazing installation of speakers in the lobby. They are strung up on colorful wires and play a nearly inaudible symphony of human voices. The artist asked 37 people to softly say things that they might whisper into the ear of a loved one. The result is a haunting lullaby. It is an astounding marriage of technology and humanity.
Since the weather outside was less than hospitable for our desired activity of motorcycling to an annual event in Illinois, our decision to visit the museum was made after a leisurely morning full of a busy schedule of loafing around. Consequently, we didn't make it to the museum until about 2:20 and they were closing at 5. With as many great items to view as the museum has, we will definitely budget our time a bit better next time.
We didn't really have a plan of attack, so we just started at the beginning (I think). We chose the first floor and, specifically, the European artists. In the main entrance of the first floor gallery was a collection of sculpture studies by Rodin (of The Thinker fame). The collection of sculptures was from The Gates of Hell, which was a massive sculptural piece he worked on for much of his life.
Some of my favorite pieces were from the Art Deco and Art Nuveau sections of the museum. They have a flowing, feminine quality to them and display an amazing combination of form and function. Okay, sometimes form takes over function, but they are pieces in an art museum!
The section on porcelain was simply astounding. It is a clay that is so fine, it can be made into objects that are nearly paper-thin and quite fragile. The ornate vases were quite a site to behold, as was the history on porcelain itself. Because the ingredients weren't readily available in Europe, as they were in Asia where most of the pieces originated, the Europeans had to basically reverse engineer it into its component pieces. This was all done in an effort to make it more economical for people to own.