Saturday, March 16, 2013

A Smile at the Top of the Stairs

Yesterday evening, I met a group of other women for a class 
at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, where we were to examine and sketch 
the layouts for numerous still life paintings in the IMA's collection.
While I enjoyed our conversation and became engrossed 
in my sketches of a couple paintings, the high point was when 
I got off the escalator to the second floor of the museum 
and found Ai Weiwei's 2003 installation, Forever, at the entrance
to the second floor galleries.

 Of course, I'd seen photos of the piece in 
numerous art publications, but encountering its gleaming self
here, in Indy, was special. I only had the opportunity to take a couple
of pictures, but I enjoyed the rhythm of the bicycle frames and wheels,
the contrast in size, and the shadows cast onto the floor; 
Ai Weiwei had taken an everyday object and turned 
it into something else, had given it deeper meaning.
We here in the United States may be barely aware of Ai Weiwei
as an artist, but very aware of him as a dissident voice in his own country,
where he has been openly critical of the Chinese government and their
positions on democracy and human rights. We may also be more aware 
of him as the designer of the "Bird's Nest" stadium, the main arena 
for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Forever is at the IMA as a precursor to the exhibition,
Ai Weiwei: According to What? which will feature over 30 of his works,
including models for the "Bird's Nest." The exhibition opens
April 5th and will remain until July 32, 2013.


dive said...

Good grief; what's wrong with me? Whenever I see sculpture like that all I can think about is what a nightmare it must be to keep it clean.

Speedway said...

Well, if you know me at all, you know that dusting is virtually never on my mind. The upkeep on the thing must be in the IMA budget, along with the rest of their pieces, though. I don't think their cleaning staff has many to do, so each piece is well looked after. and the filtration systems for the place must be cleaned more often than anything gets dusted.

RedPat said...

Very cool!

Speedway said...

It is cool, RedPat! The pictures I'd seen of it don't do it justice because they tend to not show the differences in scale/perspective, front to back, or the neat shadows. And it's polished, too, not flat and dull.

Petrea Burchard said...

Wonderful photo!

Speedway said...

Thank you, Petrea. I think this same exhibit was at a museum near you. I read about it on-line and don't recall the details. I like the installation better "in person" and in my own pictures than I do in any publicity photos.