Articles

A&E: Indianapolis public art made easy

The guitar player slumping over White River State Park and the atfirst-fun-but-now-getting-annoying electronic pedestrians downtown will both be leaving Indy Sept. 1, ending the run of the “Julian Opie: Signs” exhibition. What will be the lingering effects of such a high-profile show? Perhaps one effect will be an increased likelihood that we will notice the public art that is already here, permanently. To that end, I’d like to point you to publicartindianapolis.com, a new Web site that will, in turn,…

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A&E: Freshening the familiar at IMA

This week, two contemporary art exhibitions and a lawn full of bluegrass. If you believe art is about teaching us new ways to see the objects in our lives, then Emily Kennerk succeeds in her first museum show, “SuburbanNation.” If you believe art is also about form and design and harmony, it’s still a winner. And if you like to catch artists on the brink of career breakthroughs, this show is a must-see. The title notwithstanding, Kennerk’s big, minimal and…

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A&E: Gospel, Garland and more

“Smoke on the Mountain” belongs-along with “Nunsense,” “Forever Plaid,” and a handful of others-to an interesting phenomenon in contemporary theater: Musicals that don’t have Broadway pedigrees or familiar composers, yet celebrate long, popular runs with group sales and word-of-mouth buoying their box office. Theater artists despise these shows because of their perceived pandering and artlessness. Theater managing directors love them because they bring in the cash. As with many of these populist shows, “Smoke” (currently running at Beef & Boards…

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A&E: At Herron, those who teach, can

One of the things that keeps people from fully engaging with art exhibitions is the sense that the work has to be considered in a vacuum-that it’s not OK to bring your own life to it. I’m not talking about your history with art or anything as highfalutin as that. I’m talking about mundane or not-so-mundane details of your dayto-day existence. To site a very trivial example: On my way out of the office to see the Herron Faculty Exhibition…

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A&E: ‘School’ most likely to succeed

If there’s anyone in your household under 16, you’ve no doubt heard about the phenomenon that is “High School Musical.” The little Disney-Channelmovie-that-could has aired in what seems like a permanent loop on TV, spawned the best-selling album of 2006 (blowing past the likes of “Nickelback” and Justin Timberlake), and launched concerts for its cast, a touring stage version, and even an ice-show version. So far, Indy has been spared the skates. In a canny business move, Disney tossed out…

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A&E: Building connections at IU Museum

This week: An architectural art show at IU, Kurt Vonnegut’s board game, “Sissies” on stage, and an Indy Jazz Fest question. An art museum exhibition doesn’t have to be a multi-room blockbuster to be enormously satisfying. Case in point, “Architecture, Real and Imagined” (running through Sept. 2 at Indiana University Art Museum). It’s a must-see for architects and architectural students, but also an accessible show for anyone interested in where we live and how we adorn and perceive our environments….

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A&E: Stanza by your men

This week: A trio of Indiana poets, a virtual artist at Big Car and the first edition of “Lou Empties the Notebook.” From June 24-27, the nation’s Poets Laureate (now there’s an awkward plural) will descend on Indy. And while this convention may not be as attention-getting as GenCon, it did inspire me to take a look at recent books by a trio of less-celebrated Indiana poets. Purdue’s Donald Platt calls one of his poems “Snapshot,” but that title could…

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A&E: Strange ‘Sisters,’ Liberace and more

This week: an author’s art show, Vegas night with the ISO, and new life for a beloved theater. Audrey Niffenegger is a well-established printmaker, artist and best-selling author (you might have read her outstanding-so far, at least, I’m only halfway through-bestselling debut novel, “The Time Traveler’s Wife”). So I’m guessing that the last thing she would want her work compared to would be Beavis and Butthead. Sorry. If Beavis and Butthead had a trio of goth cousins, they might look…

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A&E: Oz, Aussies and the oversized

Henry Arthur Jones’ more-than-100-year-old quote referred to dramatists, not critics. But his words seem a good guide for this column, where I’ll be coaxing excellence by watching everything I possibly can, attempting to lure you to the stuff that excels and serving as your guide to the sometimes confusing array of possibilities Indy offers. And I plan on having a good time doing it. I hope you’ll have as good a time reading. Sparks flew 40 years ago when Sidney…

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