Art & Nature Park

June 6, 2008
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Here's more on the works that will be part of the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Art and Nature Park, courtesy of IBJ reporter Jennifer Whitson.



Atelier Van Lieshout, a Danish studio run by artist Joop van Lieshout, will create a group of benches resembling large bones. Seen from a distance, the benches will look like a stylized skeleton.

They might be placed in an area of the park prone to flooding, making the view of the piece change as the water rises and recedes. This is one of the works that will likely hang around for multiple years.

Two locations are under consideration – in the meadow, which is the area northwest of the large 38th Street loop, or dispersed throughout the park.



Kendall Buster will create a dock-like structure that juts into the park’s large lake but mimics the curves and shapes of nature. The dock will be made from recycled material (although just what material is still being decided).

Park Director Lisa Freiman said Buster and her husband came to visit the park for a week and were rarely seen in the main building. Instead they spent their time out tromping through the park and crawling through the brush observing how people use the natural area now.

Buster is a former microbiologist and, according to Freiman, her works often draws from natural shapes.



Type A, an artistic duo inspired by team building exercises (and addressing issues of functionality and accessibility), will create a climbing station, turn it upside down and suspend it so viewers can see it but not reach it.

Type A is talking with IMA about repurposing the piece when it’s done, passing the climbing tower along to a team-building facility.





Andrea Zittel’s work explores the idea of creating self-contained spaces for living and fantasy. Though her final concept for the park hasn’t been nailed down, it will be a floating island in the lake.

For previous works, Zittel has lived in her pieces. For the local island, the IMA and artist are weighing whether visitors would be able to take a paddle boat out to visit the piece or if it would be built close enough to shore that the viewers would just see it from the banks.

(These images are of an existing work--not her proposed IMA work--and are copyrighted and provided for use by the artist.)



The Visitor Center designed by Marlon Blackwell is the only new, permanent building for the park. The 3,000-square-foot structure will meet green-building standards. Blackwell reportedly took his inspiration for the airy look from a desiccated leaf.

Photos of the park:

In case you’re having trouble visualizing it, here’s a bird’s eye view. That's 38th Street on the right, Michigan Road at an angle across the top. The park is everything from the Canal to the looping White River.


And here’s an IMA shot of the nature that’s inspiring everyone:


And, last (because there are no images yet) but not least, six more artists:

- Tea M?kip?? is working on a sculptural profile of a ship emerging from the Art & Nature Park’s lake. It will resemble Noah’s Ark and include a multimedia depiction of the interior of the boat.

- Los Carpinteros is a Cuban-based art cooperative whose work often juxtaposes practical and imaginary images. The IMA has attempted to send officials to meet with the group but is facing visa challenges. Likewise, the artists have been unable to travel to the site. While the group is working on proposals, the IMA is trying to find alternative ways for them to experience the park. They’ve considered sending video over the Internet, but Los Carpinteros’ connection isn’t good enough.

- Jeppe Hein, an artist who produces experiential, architectural and kinetic artworks, is still finalizing his idea, which is likely to have a corollary exhibit in one of the museum’s galleries. Hein did tell the museum it might be a “subtle piece” that “not everyone will notice” at first glance.

- Alfredo Jaar, a conceptual artists whose work often tackles weighty themes such as the tension between the developed and Third World, is still firming up his proposal for the park.
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  • This is simply one of the most exiting things to happen to this city in a very long time. I'm just amazed!

    I really wish that they had decided that the pathways in the trees idea was a viable one, but I have to say there is more than enough to make up for that!
  • Great project . . . . too bad the IMA didn't engage at least one local artist to participate.
  • I saw the original plans for this park back in March, and was completely blown away. I am sad to see that the elevated pathway has been removed from these updated plans, as that would have been unique. I am also shocked to see that there were no local artists asked to participate. However, I am looking forward to seeing the completed project.
  • I'm very excited by a couple of the artists who haven't turned in renderings yet. Tea Makipaa and Alfredo Jaar's links really made me anxious to see what they'll do at IMA.

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