Contemporary Design at Indianapolis Museum of Art

A couple weekends ago, Zoë, Ty, and I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA). We'd been to IMA several times in the past, as it's easy to get to, and offers free admission. The first time we went as a threesome, Zoë and I dragged Ty up to the top floor, where Ty's least favorite type of artcontemporary artis housed. His contempt for some of the pieces made us shake with silent laughter.

Our main reason for trekking up to IMA this time, however, was to see its exhibit on Modernism, a collection that Zoë had described as "assaulting to the senses." There were stools you couldn't sit on, chairs that were without a seat, and crooked bookcases made of scrapped furniture. There was even a tea kettle whose design, according to the caption, "overpowered its function." An Italian manufacturer described the kettle as a "beautiful fiasco," and the artist himself said it was "aerodynamic and useless." Though I found the exhibit interesting, it was clear that most of the pieces embodied "form over function."

"You know," Zoë said, "I typically like my stools to be of the You-can-sit-on-them variety." She shook her hands in the direction of a stool, which resembled the three-pronged "claws" that never properly grip that stuffed animal you so desperately, desperately want to snag because you just paid three dollars to try and win something and damn it, just grab something already. "This is not a stool," Zoë hissed. "It is a sculpture." 

"With that you on that one, Hayes," I said. "You know why? You know why, Hayes? Because I am never sitting in that." I pointed at a chair made entirely of glass. "Not only is it a chair you can't sit in, but it is also a chair you have to clean. Tell me, Hayes, who cleans chairs? Do you clean chairs? I don't clean chairs." 

We continued our antics and our rants, both real and exaggerated. When Ty pointed out a lamp that had been painted white and had had bird wings glued to the top of it, Zoë turned, gestured toward a knife rack shaped like a human head, and said, "That's what this exhibit makes me feel like."

After worming our way around the exhibitwhich did have several Macintosh computers on display, as well as a few sleek, minimalist pieces by designer Naoto Fukasawa--we wandered around the rest of IMA.  It is a solid museum, truly. I particularly enjoy looking at the American art, especially the O'Keeffes and the Hoppers. Other collections include African art, Asian art, Native American art, European painting and sculpture, Oceanic art, and textile and fashion art. Given that it costs nothing to explore IMA, it's an excellent place to spend an afternoon. Furthermore, IMA's grounds are beautiful; it's one of the best places in the city to have a picnic, and if certain blogging friends were ever to visit*cough* Ayla *cough* Mary *cough cough*I'd definitely take them here. 


  1. What a beautiful museum! Funny thing about me though, I actually really don't like going to art museums! I'm like a 5 year old and I get really bored just looking at things! At the same time I really love art though...maybe I just need to find away to appreciate art museums more hahhaa.

  2. Haha. My very favorite places are free art museums, and I especially love museums that have a good mix to encourage people to explore more "difficult" art (i.e., modern, conceptual, etc.). I don't like everything I see either, but I usually try to get what the artist was trying to do. I can appreciate various types of art without really liking it all. Having said that, I do love modern and contemporary art--of course I do--and the 4th floor sounds fantastic to me. :)

  3. The fourth floor sounds good to me too, haha, I love modern art. I think its good to not like some things though - art is meant to evoke emotions - good and bad. Though I love most art to be honest, the only thing I don't really like is surrealism

  4. Also, now I want to paint a wall in my house like the one in he first photo - I bet I could talk Thomas into it haha. Maybe not our landlord though :)

  5. Looks like a museum I would love to visit (although I am not a big fan of modern art, but maybe one day a work of art might be able to make me change my mind). That head freaks me out! And I love the idea of free museums, I haven't met a museum over here that's free :-)


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