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.