Opie art dancing on Mass Ave.

January 18, 2008
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ reporter Jennifer Whitson takes over the blog today with news on new downtown artwork. Take it away, Jennifer:

First came the Tom Otterness public art exhibit in 2005. The roly-poly brass sculptures captured some hearts, including those beating in some folks with large pocketbooks. Private individuals raised $550,000 to buy three Otterness pieces that are now a permanent part of the cityscape. Plus a retired business executive bought a fourth and displays it at St. Clair and East streets.

Then came Julian Opie in 2006. He took a bit more work to get used to but by the time his pieces left in September, many were sad to see them go. The Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission and the Cultural Trail pitched in to split the $150,000 tab to buy and install a NEW Opie piece (excuse the emphasis but this is being misreported elsewhere) that is being installed on Mass Ave as you read. Find our story here.

The council contracted with firms to rehab the box and LCD panels used in a previous Opie work (“Sara Dancing”) but “Ann Dancing” is a new work created exclusively for this display. Sort of.

Indianapolis will have the only four-sided, large format version of “Ann Dancing.” But if, on one of your drunken nights out on Mass Ave, you fall in love with Ann, you too can have her. Opie sells a 42-inch LCD screen version of Ann that can be hung on a wall.

All of which begs the questions: Should the city arts peeps just lobby for a permanent piece as part of the contract for any citywide exhibition? (Arts Council Public Art Guru Mindy Taylor Ross said it’s something they’ve bandied about but decided no. The contract for this year’s Chakaia Booker exhibit doesn’t include a purchased piece.) And what made private sector folks line up to buy the Otterness pieces?

PS – Anyone out there a fan of Opie’s pole dancing series featuring Shahnoza? Find a link here. Now that’s no Otterness.
  • I like Opie's work. I think it adds a bit of pedestrian energy to a city that needs to be taught how to walk again. I'm disappointed that Emily Kennerk's work didn't make it, but this is a good first purchase for the trail.

    As a Herron grad, I obviously support public art downtown. I don't think this city fully realizes the impact that the aesthetic experience has on tourists and citizens alike.

    I don't support the rent-a-sculpture approach. It's hard for me to fully enjoy any of the pieces we've had the last couple of years because I knew they were leaving. As soon as they become landmarks and part of the urban fabric, POOF, they're gone.

    As a citizen, I'd prefer the Arts Council invest in one quality, well-placed piece per year, than rent several that disappear as soon as they become part of the family.
  • I like it how it is. A big upside is that with temporary exhibitions, the city is able to take more chances with the art and artists it choses to exhibit. I believe risk taking for any museum is essential to keep it interesting. And that essentially is what downtown being used as for these exhibitions, a large sculpture garden. What this has done is create a conversation about the arts in the everyday, and how an artist can have a conversation with a city environment more so than anyone piece could enable that.
    That being said, I am always happy when one of these pieces comes back to roost permanently.

Post a comment to this blog

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by