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December Events at the Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indianapolis Museum of Art. AroundIndy.com staff photo, (c) 2011, all rights reserved.

By Candace Gwaltney
Indianapolis Museum of Art

The Calendar of Events for December 2011 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art includes:


Permanent Collection Tours

The IMA offers free, regularly scheduled tours of the IMA’s permanent collections for all visitors Tuesdays through Sundays at 1 p.m.; Fridays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m.; and Thursdays at 7 p.m. ASL interpreted tours occur each month on the second Thursday at 7 p.m. and third Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Tours meet on the Second Floor at the top of the escalator. Assistive listening devices are available by request. For a schedule of upcoming public tour topics, visit: www.imamuseum.org/programs/tours

Special Exhibition Tours

Special exhibition tours of Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection and Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria are available with exhibition admission. Times vary. For a schedule of upcoming tours, visit: www.imamuseum.org/programs/tours

Lilly House Tours

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
2 p.m.

The IMA offers free, regularly scheduled tours of Lilly House, the American Country Place Era home of the late Indianapolis businessman, philanthropist, and collector J. K. Lilly, Jr. Tours meet in the Lilly House lobby.

Meditation Hikes

Every Friday
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Meet at Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion

Each Friday, IMA is the site of Meditation Peace Hikes facilitated by Global Peace Initiatives. In the spirit of mindfulness, the hikes move through the IMA’s grounds, gardens, or 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, sometimes in silence and sometimes with dialogue. Hikes occur regardless of the weather. Tours depart promptly at 5:30 p.m. from the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. For more information, visit www.globalpeaceinitiatives.net.


Noon – 4 p.m.
Star Studio Classroom

Free drop-in visitor art making is available in the Star Studio classroom each Saturday. Work with a teaching artist and make your own piece of art inspired by the exhibitions and ideas on display at the IMA. Projects are designed to be accessible and fun for museum visitors of all ages and levels of experience making art. Star Studio is open for self-guided art making during all regular IMA hours.


Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection

December 2, 2011–February 12, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Allen Whitehill Clowes Gallery in Wood Pavilion
$8 Public, Free for IMA members

The Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of North American Indian art comprises more than 800 masterpieces of Native American art spanning more than 2,000 years. This exhibition features more than 80 of the most outstanding works of art drawn from this collection, now held at the Fenimore Art Museum. The exhibition highlights the beauty and virtuosity of each piece, presenting it as a milestone of creativity and individual artistic expression. The exhibition also reveals the extraordinary range of art produced by Native American cultures. While the works of art are enormously diversified in type, style, and use of materials, they exude a consistent appreciation of the power of the natural world in human affairs and the universal appeal of beautifully realized works of art. This exhibition is organized by the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown, New York.

The Universe Is Flux: The Art of Tawara Yūsaku

November 11, 2011–April 1, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Thompson Gallery, Hurwitz Gallery and Appel Gallery

The Indianapolis Museum of Art will present the first large-scale exhibition of works by Tawara Yūsaku, a contemporary Japanese artist known for his highly energetic brushstroke. Universe Is Flux: The Art of Tawara Yūsaku will feature works inspired by Tawara’s belief that the universe is unstable and constantly changing. Executed primarily in ink on paper, his works use the cumulative effect of many brushstrokes to create powerful and expressive works, apparent in even his smallest 3 in. x 5 in. paintings. Although Tawara avoided representational art, many of his paintings recall traditional ink landscapes or other forms in nature. Tawara saw all existence as composed of vibrational energy, made up of wavelike forms he called “hado.” Fundamentally based on Buddhist thought, Tawara translated his vision of reality into paintings with intense visual impact. Highlights of the exhibition include several renditions of the Japanese character “ichi,” which means “one.” Traditionally executed in a single stroke in calligraphy, Tawara painted these ichi with his method of layering innumerable brushstrokes. Featuring 77 works, Universe Is Flux will introduce audiences in the United States to this artist’s unique philosophy and its impact on his paintings. The exhibition will feature works created in the 1990s, following Tawara’s several decade hiatus from painting, as well as pieces created just before his death in 2004.

FLOW: Can You See the River?

Through February 26, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion and 100 Acres

Mary Miss’ project titled FLOW: Can You See the River? reveals important and unique elements of the White River water system through a series of installations at stopping points along the river and the canal, engaging visitors and increasing awareness of the watershed and the role that it plays in the life of the city and its inhabitants. The project is the first new work to be commissioned for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park since the Park’s opening in June 2010. Miss’ installation in the IMA’s Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion serves as an introduction to her expansive project outside the museum’s walls. In a continuation of Miss’ tagline for FLOW—“All property is riverfront property. The river starts at your door.”—visitors can utilize a large map covering the floor of the Entrance Pavilion to locate their homes in relation to local bodies of water. Miss’ indoor installation makes visceral the environmental impact of everyday actions of Indianapolis residents, by illustrating the watershed in relation to homes and demonstrating how easily the White River and other bodies of water can be impacted by the daily activities of locals.

Brian McCutcheon: Out of this World

Through March 4, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
McCormack Forefront Galleries

Comprised entirely of new works commissioned by the IMA, Brian McCutcheon: Out of this World crafts a story that unfolds throughout the entire exhibition. Created to mimic a children’s book narrative, the exhibition explores the Mercury and Apollo space programs in relation to contemporary culture. Visitors encounter the first work of the exhibition upon entering the IMA’s Pulliam Family Great Hall, where the base of a currently untitled “flight path” sculpture is sited. Consisting of a curvilinear metal track, the sculpture traces the imagined trajectory of a toy rocket. With the “launch pad” on the IMA’s second floor, the sculpture extends three stories before “landing” in the McCormack Forefront Galleries. Within the galleries, Out of this World continues to evolve as an imaginative narrative, including the launch, space travel, and lunar landing, before arriving at the theme of the splash down—the return to reality at the conclusion of the exhibition.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria

Through January 16, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Hulman Pavilion, Floor 3
$8 Public, Free for IMA members

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria presents a glimpse of the extraordinary artistic accomplishments of Ife, the legendary royal city-state of the Yoruba people during the 12th-15th centuries. Technically and visually the artworks of Ife, including near life-size heads and figures of humans in terra cotta, bronze, and copper, are among the most remarkable in the world. This landmark exhibition of African art brings together for the first time these celebrated works, resulting in a display of more than 100 objects that present a fascinating depiction of Ife.

Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria is co-organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, and Fundación Botín, Santander, Spain, in collaboration with the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Nigeria. The exhibition has been supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. Conservation at the Spanish Patrimony Conservation Centre is supported, in part, by Fundación Botín.  Locally, the exhibition is underwritten by a grant from the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation.

Material World

Through February 6, 2012
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Paul Textile and Fashion Arts Galleries

From court dress to couture, the objects in Material World feature extravagant ornamentation of textiles and personal adornment from cultures around the world while highlighting the significance of textiles in displaying wealth, status and power. The exhibition showcases items adorned with luxurious materials including gold and metallic threads, beads, shells, mirrors, semi-precious stones, bones, fur and feathers, ranging from a Buddhist bone apron to Dior and Chanel couture pieces, spanning several centuries to the present day.

The Old Masters
Through December 31
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Conant Galleries

The Old Masters provides a quick tour of the history of printmaking from 1470 to 1800 through a selection of 51 of the finest examples from the IMA’s collection of Old Master prints. Works by Dürer, Goltzius, Callot, Rembrandt, and Goya, among others, show how the graphic arts developed as an important form of personal artistic expression. 


We Were Here

Thursday, December 1
11 a.m. – 6 p.m. (continuous showings)
DeBoest Lecture Hall
(2011, dir. David Weissman, 90 mins.)

On World AIDS Day, view a film that takes a deep, reflective look back at the arrival and impact of AIDS in San Francisco, and how the city’s inhabitants dealt with the unprecedented calamity.  Five people who survived describe how the AIDS epidemic challenged everything they knew about themselves and their adopted hometown.  The film explores what was not so easy to discern in the midst of it all – the parallel histories of suffering and loss, and of community coalescence and empowerment.  We Were Here speaks to our societal relationship to death and illness and the importance of community in addressing unimaginable crises with compassion and determination.  Writes Mike LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle: “[The film] has the force of a great war documentary…if any movie can bridge that distance between those who were there and those just hearing about it, it’s this one.” Closed Captioned.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

Wednesday, December 28, 2 p.m.
Thursday, December 29, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Friday, December 30, 7 p.m.
DeBoest Lecture Hall
$9 Public, $5 IMA members
(2010, dir. Werner Herzog, 90 mins.)

From acclaimed documentary filmmaker Werner Herzog (Grizzly Man) comes a film about the earliest human impulses for visual expression.  Herzog’s cameras penetrate the nearly inaccessible Chauvet Cave in France, home to the most ancient drawings known to have been created by humans—over 30,000 years ago.  Our eyes linger over images of bison, horses and big cats depicted in ecstatic motion in this cave of drawings that may represent, in Herzog’s words, “the origin of the soul.” Writes Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times: “A sacred space where the human and the mystical effortlessly intertwine, and we are in Werner Herzog’s debt for that great gift.” Closed Captioned.


A History of Beads

Thursday, December 8
7 p.m.
The Toby

Beads have been used throughout history and around the world as charms, status symbols, religious objects, and media of barter.  Lois Sherr Dubin, author of The History of Beads: From 100,000 B.C. to the Present, explores the power and purpose of these symbolic objects in indigenous American cultures, in relation to the IMA exhibition Art of the Americans: The Thaw Collection and the Nigerian beading tradition as well, visible in another IMA exhibition, Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art in Ancient Nigeria.

Emerging Voices in Indianapolis Design

Thursday, December 15
6 p.m.
DeBoest Lecture Hall

Join members of the IMA Design Arts Society for presentations by local designers who share their recent projects and aesthetic approaches.  Presenters include architect/designer Adam Buente of ProjectionOne, product and graphic designer Tom Renk, and painter Matt Eickhoff.  Architect Donna Sink will host the evening’s presentations.


Art of the American Indians: The Thaw Collection Opening

Thursday, December 1
6-8 p.m.
Pulliam Family Great Hall and Allen Whitehill Clowes Gallery
$35 public, $25 IMA members

Be among the first to preview this extraordinary exhibition. Enjoy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar and a special performance by the Miami Nation of Indiana’s Twigh Twee Singers. Purchase tickets by November 23 at imamuseum.org/thawopening or call 317-955-2339.

Christmas at Lilly House

November 12–December 31
11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
Lilly House

Lilly House will be decorated in the style of the 1930s and 1940s, when Christmas cheer often had to overcome Depression-era budgets or wartime shortages. See how familiar motifs such as trees, wreaths and evergreens are enlivened with refreshing touches of new fashions in this historic home.

Christmas at Lilly House Open House

Thursdays, December 8 and 22
5:30–8:30 p.m.
Lilly House and IMA Greenhouse

Hundreds of flickering luminaria in the gardens transform the landscape of Oldfields into a winter wonderland. Visitors can warm up inside Lilly house, an American Country Place-era home, featuring holiday décor from the 1930s and ’40s—and enjoy a hot beverage and pause to hear live seasonal music. At the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse, attendees can shop for a special gift in a festive atmosphere.

IMA Member Night

Thursday, December 8
5:30–9 p.m.
Nourish Café
Free (For IMA members only)

Every second Thursday of the month, bring your friends and family after work to unwind and enjoy all that the IMA has to offer. Stop in at Nourish Café for happy hour, check out our signature member drink of the night and take advantage of your discount. During Member Night, we also offer an exclusive tour to members and their guests. December’s tour theme is: Baby, It’s Cold Outside. Warm up inside the museum with a special tour of works from our permanent collection. For reservations, email jborgo@imamuseum.org.

Holiday Hullabaloo
Thursday, December 8
5–9 p.m.
Museum Store, Greenhouse Shop and Lilly House Christmas Shop

Enjoy a spectacular evening of holiday shopping and festivities at the IMA Museum Store, Greenhouse Shop and Lilly House Christmas Shop. Find a unique gift for a loved one or shop for an extra special something to deck the halls for holiday parties to come. The evening features special promotions available only during Holiday Hullabaloo and complimentary gift wrapping. IMA members will receive a 20% discount on all purchases during this event.

Winter Solstice

Thursday, December 22
5:30–8 p.m.
IMA Grounds

Enjoy a special outdoor presentation by the Indiana Ballet Conservatory, ice carving, hot drinks, art-making, holiday décor at the Lilly House and last minute shopping at the IMA. Free parking.


Indianapolis Museum of Art: Free
Lilly House: Free


11 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays
11 a.m.–9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays
Noon–5 p.m. Sundays
(Lilly House closes at 5 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, except Dec. 8 and Dec. 22.)


Visitors are charged a flat fee of $5 to park in the IMA’s underground garage or in the large surface lot. IMA members receive free parking in the garage or on the large surface lot by scanning their IMA membership cards; and visitors who purchase more than $50 worth of merchandise at the Museum Store or the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse Shop also receive free parking. More than 170 free parking spaces are available in outlying lots at the Museum, including the 100 Acres parking loop.


For regularly updated information about IMA exhibitions, programs and events, visit imamuseum.org.


The Museum Store and the Gallery Shop offer souvenirs, books, handcrafted jewelry and Museum reproductions. The Greenhouse Shop includes a retail garden shop and display area. Hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday noon–5 p.m.


The IMA strives to be accessible to all visitors—physically, emotionally and intellectually. The Museum building and Lilly House are accessible for wheelchair users, strollers and rollators. To borrow a wheelchair, stroller or rollator, visit the IMA box office on the first floor. Open captioning and assistive listening devices available.  ASL interpretation is available during select public programs. Service animals welcome. Family restrooms and nursing mothers room available. Visitors may request ASL interpretation for any program by calling 317-923-1331 at least three weeks prior to the event. For more information, visit www.imamuseum.org/visit/accessibility.


Open during Museum hours, Nourish Café serves a variety of fresh, healthy and seasonal options sourced from local vendors whenever possible. The menu includes hand-crafted soups and salads, artisan sandwiches, pasta dishes, snacks, to-go items, vegetarian and children’s options, and a barista service offering gourmet coffee and other hot beverages. The Café staff will accommodate special dietary needs.


The Stout Reference Library is a non-circulating research library that is open to the public. The collection includes more than 40,000 books and museum publications, plus more than 150 art-related magazines. Call 317-923-1331 for more information.


The Davis LAB is an interactive space where IMA visitors may view original video content on ArtBabble.org, read the IMA blog, check out IMA images on Flickr, become an IMA fan on Facebook and learn more about the Museum via four computer stations and a theater-style area outfitted with large-screen projection and lounge furniture. Visitors to The Davis LAB are encouraged to offer feedback by rating videos and leaving comments on the IMA blog.


Designated a National Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens is an elegant 26-acre estate located on the grounds of the IMA. At the heart of Oldfields is Lilly House, the mansion that was once the home of J.K. Lilly Jr., the late Indianapolis businessman, collector and philanthropist. Lilly House is an historic house museum and has been restored to its 1930s splendor. Oldfields’ magnificent gardens and grounds were designed in the 1920s by Percival Gallagher of the famous landscape architecture firm Olmsted Brothers. A 10-minute orientation video is available.


Adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art and comprised of woodlands, wetlands, meadows and a 35-acre lake, 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and features the ongoing commission of site-responsive artworks. 100 Acres presents art installations and programs that focus on the unique relationships between contemporary art and the natural world.


In 2009, the IMA acquired Miller House and Garden in Columbus, Indiana, through a generous donation by members of the Miller family. One of the country’s most iconic examples of mid-century Modernist residential architecture, it was designed by Eero Saarinen, with interiors by Alexander Girard, and landscape design by Dan Kiley. The property is the fully realized expression of a modern mid-twentieth-century residence set within an equally important garden. The IMA recently completed a restoration of the house and opened it to the public for the first time in May 2011. Tours are offered daily Tuesday through Saturday at 1 and 3 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m.; visitors should arrive at the Columbus Visitors Center at least 30 minutes before their scheduled tour time. Miller House is closed Mondays. Due to limited capacity, advanced reservations are strongly encouraged; tickets are available online at www.imamuseum.org and at www.columbus.in.us. Tickets are $20 per person. To order by phone or to book a group tour, visitors may call (800) 468-6564.  Miller House and Garden is owned and cared for by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Tours at Miller House and Garden are made possible through the Columbus Area Visitors Center.  Miller House and Garden is made possible through the generosity of Members of the Miller Family, Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation and Cummins Foundation.  The inaugural year of Miller House and Garden is sponsored by Herman Miller.

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