Surprise! I’m writing to you from Indianapolis!! I decided (a little on a whim) to fly out to visit my dear friend. She has been doing an internship in Illinois but drove a couple of hours to meet for a few days. One of the things she said to me as we were planning this was “Well, there’s an art museum in Indy…so we’re definitely doing that.” Boy was that the right call! The Indianapolis Museum of Art is located at Newfields which houses other spaces for nature and the arts. We didn’t do any research beforehand to see if there would be more local or global works housed there, if there were any special exhibits, or even how big it was. We bought our tickets online the night before and drove out!
We started in the European art wing and made our way through the American, African, Asian, and Design galleries. Many of the artists had some local significance which provided us with the opportunity to learn more about the area as well as the art! I spent three hours with my face pressed as close to the art as I could get without a security guard yelling at me. I didn’t even get a warning!
There were lots of works from more contemporary movements that I had never heard about which was really fascinating. The Chicago Imagists (which don’t make up a movement but still) were a group whose work gave me a good chuckle and made me look very closely at. It was nice to learn about new works, but it was absolutely insane to get to see work from artists that I had learned about this past semester! I kept turning to my friend and saying “THEY HAVE WALLPAPER BY WILLIAM MORRIS” and “DID YOU SEE THE O’KEEFFE??” and “IT’S THE HORSE FAIR BUT AS A TRAY!” Needless to say, I had a few major nerd moments in the gallery.
Seeing art (in person!!) at all is an absolute treat, but then seeing a huge Georgia O’Keeffe flower painting, a painting by Braque, a Degas dancer statue, some wallpaper by William Morris, a painting by Gauguin (which you probably know was met with mixed emotions) a few designs by Frank Lloyd Wright, an Auguste Rodin, and MORE?? I genuinely could not contain my excitement. Art history classes have been preparing me for this very day. It was so much fun to look at the text that accompanied the artwork knowing what kind of thought and work goes into providing context for the viewer. I found myself also marveling at the lighting and wall colors used in each of the galleries. In the featured image of this post, the Asian exhibit had dark red painted walls with low lighting that really emphasized the objects behind the glass! The details that go into curating an exhibit never really caught my eye before, but they didn’t go unnoticed in this visit.
My first museum experience post-quarantine could not have been lovelier. 🙂 Thanks for reading!