In this week’s episode Duncan talks to Lisa Freiman of the Indianapolis Museum of Art. This wide-ranging discussion looks at her work with the 2011 Venice Biennial/Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, what it takes to make a relevant sculpture park, and what is up with our neighbor in the blogosphere Art Babble. Hold onto your hats it’s bound to be a bumpy ride.
Lisa appears with the generous support of SAIC’s Visiting Artist Program and we thank them for their assistance. And special thanks go out to Andrea Green and Thea Liberty Nichols.
The following bio was “borrowed” remorselessly from the 54th international art exhibition known as the Venice Biennial. Maybe you’ve heard of it?
Lisa D. Freiman is senior curator and chair of the Department of Contemporary Art at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In fall 2010, Freiman was appointed by the United States Department of State to be commissioner of the U.S. Pavilion in the 54th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia. In 2011, she will present six newly commissioned, site-responsive works by Puerto Rico-based artists Allora & Calzadilla, the first collaborative to be presented in the U.S. Pavilion. Under Freimanâ€™s vision and direction, the IMA opened 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park to international critical acclaim in June 2010. 100 Acres offers a newÂ resilient model for sculpture parks in the 21st century, emphasizing experimentation, place-making, and public engagement with a constantly changing constellation of commissioned artworks. Inaugural installations included works by eight artists and artist collaboratives from around the world including Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Jeppe Hein, Alfredo Jaar, Los Carpinteros, Tea MÃ¤kipÃ¤Ã¤, Type A, and Andrea Zittel.
During her eight-year tenure at the IMA, Freiman has transformed the experience of contemporary art in Indianapolis. She has created a dynamic and widelyÂ renowned contemporary art program that has become an influential model for encyclopedic museums as they engage the art of our time. Actively seeking out the works of emerging and established international artists, Freiman continues to provide a platform to support artistsâ€™ work through major traveling exhibitions, commissions, acquisitions, and publications. She has realized major commissions by artists including Robert Irwin, KayÂ Rosen, Tony Feher, Orly Genger, Julianne Swartz, and Ghada Amer, and curated numerous exhibitions of works by international contemporary artists includingÂ Amy Cutler, Ingrid Calame, Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Ernesto Neto, and Tara Donovan. Freiman has published extensively on contemporary art, including books on Amy Cutler (Amy Cutler, Hatje Cantz, 2006), and MarÃa Magdalena Campos-Pons (MarÃa Magdalena Campos-Pons: Everything Is Separated by Water, Yale University Press, 2007), and Type A (Type A, Hatje Cantz, 2010).
Prior to joining IMA, Freiman worked as assistant professor of art history, theory, and criticism at the University of Georgia, Athens and served in the curatorial department of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. She earned her doctorate and masterâ€™s degrees in modern and contemporary art history from Emory University and has a bachelorâ€™s degree in art history from Oberlin College. Freiman is currently editing the first collection of Claes Oldenburgâ€™s writings from the Sixties, which will be published by Yale University Press in London in 2013. She is also adapting her dissertation, â€œ(Mind)ing The Store: Claes Oldenburgâ€™s Psychoaesthetics,â€ into the first scholarly monograph on Claes Oldenburg entitled Claes Oldenburg and the Sixties.
The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today that it will represent the United States at next summer’s Venice Biennale, June 4 through November 27, 2011. They will present the work of Puerto Rico-based artist collaborative Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. According to the New York Times, this is “the first time a collaborative, rather than a single artist, will represent the United States and the first time that a combination of performance and installation will occupy the pavilion.”
Allora and Calzadilla, you’ll remember, had a solo exhibition in 2007 at The Renaissance Society (you can view a video of the artist talk they gave at The Ren here, and Hamza Walker’s essay on the duo here). They’re also featured in art:21’s documentary Paradox, available for viewing here, and Eyeteeth blogger Paul Schmelzer conducted a great interview with these artists during their residency at The Walker Art Center).
Art Babble has for a while been for me a great example of a institution just putting a few people to work and creating something on the net that is both useful, fun, well designed and not covered from head to toe with the trappings or promotion of the parent institution. Conceived, initiated, designed, built, sculpted, programmed, shot, edited, painted and launched by a cross-departmental collection of individuals at theÂ Indianapolis Museum of Art Art Babble takes IP that they already have and presents it in a way that is greater then the sum of it’s parts. Too bad Art institutions haven’t been able to do the same with the net or social media on average.
ArtBabble, the Indianapolis Museum of Art‘s new online site for videos about art and artists, goes public tomorrow (Tuesday, April 7th). The Beta site has been up for a few months by invitation only (which were not hard to get), and so far it looks pretty great. The Indianapolis Museum asked institutions including the New York Public Library, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to contribute content that includes interviews with artists, profiles of museum professionals, and videos of exhibition works in situ. The strength of ArtBabble lies in its collaborations with other institutions–the more shared content, the greater its use-potential. It’s a genius example of how centralized online content can benefit multiple institutions. It’ll be interesting to see whether other museums clamor to join in, or choose instead to use ArtBabble as a model for their own online presences.