Tag Archive | art museum

Circus Trip 2018: Newfields

Day 25, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Indianapolis, Indiana

After I toured Oldfields, I was ready for a bit of a break – luckily, the grounds at Newfields has a little outdoor café with a limited menu.  I stopped there for a bit and had a glass of white wine, some water and the charcuterie plate.  It was a nice respite on the hot, sunny day – because all that walking around in the sun wears you out!

After my light lunch, I went inside to check out the main museum building; it is incredible too.  There are four floors of exhibits, spanning a number of different artistic styles.  I have written before about the fact that I prefer traditional art to modern art, so I visited the traditional art exhibits.  There was so much to see!

I had no idea that the LOVE sculptures were originally an Indianapolis thing – they have caught on and moved to other cities around the U.S. and the world, but the original one is in Indy.  It was fun to see!

Let me just say that although I love visiting art museums, I rarely have the patience to record who painted or created what…  It makes it better if it is a mystery right?  I did capture some of the artists of these works, so enjoy!

 

Circus Trip 2018: Oldfields Gardens

Day 25, Thursday, August 9, 2018

Indianapolis, Indiana

I went to the Indianapolis Art Museum!  But first, I must try to explain the names…  Newfields is the official name of the Indianapolis Art Museum complex; it is named for the newer house built on the site that the museum is on.  The art museum is just one building on the site, though.  In 1966, Ruth Lilly and Josiah K. Lilly, the younger generation of the pharmaceutical king family, donated the estate to the Art Association of Indianapolis for their museum complex.  The donation included the country homes of the family; the original home was named Oldfields, and the new house was Newfields!

The Newfields complex includes the Oldfields gardens, the Oldfields Mansion (also called Lilly House), which was accessible through a self-guided tour, and the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Clowes Pavilion (another mansion which is currently closed for restoration) as well as the 100 acre Virginia B Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which I did not have time to visit.  Admission is $18, which is high, especially after they had no admission fee for years, but it is incredible!  I feel like that $18 was good for two days, but I can’t remember, and I couldn’t turn up any mention of it on their website.

I started with the gardens, figuring that I could spend some time outside earlier in the day before it got unbearably hot.  Well, to be honest, it was already unbearably hot, but I am nothing if not dedicated to my touristing.

The gardens were designed for the original owners of the home; and include a sunken formal garden, a ravine garden, an orchard, a fountain, the Grand Allée (vista) and a border garden. When the Lilly family purchased the estate in 1933, the gardens were mature and thankfully the family didn’t change the design of the gardens.  It is incredible to have these historic gardens available to the public!

There is a lot to see, and outdoor art installations also add a touch of whimsy to the gardens.  I have to admit though, the brightly colored, nearly life sized bears, alligators, meerkats, turtles and other animals scattered around added a bit too much whimsy for my taste.  I prefer my art a bit more traditional.  It was fun to wander around and check everything out though!

 

 

Atlanta 2018: The High Museum of Art

Day 5, Thursday, January 25, 2018

Thursday morning I got up early and took the subway over to the High Museum of Art.  The High Museum was founded in 1905 and its first permanent home was a residence that had been donated.  Today it has a home in a complete art center, and the museum is home to over 15,000 works of art, and is considered one of the premier art museums in the south.

I started on the top floor, like the woman at the ticket counter suggested, but found that it was the modern art exhibit, and not really what I like.  It was weird, but at least it wasn’t bizarre!  I really liked the second and third floors that had more traditional art.  There were paintings and sculptures, cut glass, majolica, furniture (including lots of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture).  They had a room of religious art and icons, and a lot of portraits.  They also have a collection of mid-century home décor.  The High Museum really has an interesting and widespread collection and I really enjoyed wandering through all the rooms.

I have chosen a few of my favorites to show you in photos – I hope you enjoy them as well!

After I saw the collections, I went across the courtyard to have lunch at Twelve Eighty Café, which is named after the address number for the Woodruff Art Center, which includes the High Museum.  I had the Deviled Eggs appetizer (5 for $5), and the Baja Signature Mahi Mahi tacos with fries.  I also had a Pom Collins cocktail, which had Tito’s Vodka, Pomegranate Liqueur, house-made sour mix, simple syrup, mint and pomegranate seeds.  The deviled eggs were good, the fries were just ok, and the tacos and Pom Collins were excellent!

Costs: Museum admission is $14.50.

 

Detroit’s Bankruptcy Breaks an Art Lover’s Heart.

I don’t normally post on current events.  I decided when I started this blog that I didn’t want to provide commentary on the state of affairs of our country or our world.  I wanted this blog to be cheerful and upbeat.  But this news makes me sad.  Detroit, Michigan has declared bankruptcy.  What was once one of the grandest cities in the nation, if not the world, with its majestic art deco architecture and auto industry money.  A city that has lately been much more known for its grand photo essays of urban decay.

But a bright spot in all that blight has always been the Detroit Institute of Arts.  If you live in one of the counties immediately surrounding Detroit, it is free to visit.  We visited there in September, 2012 and I wish I could have spent days wandering its galleries – I blogged about my visit here.  Quite simply put, this museum is amazing.  And not just when you compare it to its surroundings.  The DIA and its collections stand up as one of the finest art museums in the world.  The museum is housed in a 1927 Beaux Arts building that is just as spectacular as the art it contains.  The DIA received its first piece of art as a donation in 1883 and since that time, has grown to a collection of over 65,000 pieces.  The DIA is the second largest municipally owned museum in the world.  The art it contains is valued at an impressive $2.5 billion.

The DIA has works by Picasso, Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and numerous other painters.  It contains priceless artifacts from Egypt, the New World, tribal art, religious artifacts, blown glass, and woodworking.  There is a mural by Diego Rivera that spans all four walls of a huge room.  There are pieces of antique furniture, vases, baskets and masks.  The collections span the globe and all throughout human history.

Unfortunately, with Detroit’s bankruptcy, creditors have begun to eye the DIA’s collections – you can read about it here.  No one knows yet what will happen, but selling off the museum’s priceless works of arts to the highest bidder would be such a shame.  There would be no way to know what would happen to the pieces; if they would end up in a private collection locked away from public view.  Michigan’s Attorney General has issued a legal opinion arguing that the DIA’s art collection is held in a charitable trust for the people of Michigan, and therefore, the city of Detroit doesn’t own the art to sell it.  I hope that legal opinion is upheld in the courts, if it comes to that.  The DIA has been providing the public with access to art for over 130 years.  I hope that it can continue.

Detroit: The Detroit Institute of Arts

After we left the Motown Museum, we headed to our next downtown Detroit destination – the Detroit Institute of Arts. The DIA was built in between 1923 and 1927 in the Beaux-Arts, Italian Renaissance architectural style. The museum is made of white marble, and is absolutely beautiful! It provides a stark contrast to some of the nearby urban decay. After a renovation of the building in 2007, the museum contains over 100 galleries and 658,000 square feet of gallery space. The building and collections are technically owned by the City of Detroit, but an endowment and foundation are responsible for fundraising and paying the museum’s expenses now. It truly is a success story in a city that has had more than its share of troubles.

So, the collections… First, let me say that it would be impossible to see all of it in one day. This would be a great museum to be a member of if you lived in the area. We started off perusing some of the collections on the first floor, which include Native American baskets and pottery, Mayan and Incan figures, and masks. Then we headed upstairs, where we walked into a gallery with a series of two-story Diego Rivera murals covering all four walls. If you see nothing more in this museum, these murals make it worth the price of admission (and if you live in the three closest counties – you can go for free!).

The murals explore the story of the manufacturing industries in Detroit. Rivera was known for depicting the indigenous cultures of Mexico, and the DIA murals are considered to be a depiction of industry and technology as representing the indigenous culture of Detroit – an interesting way of seeing the auto empire of the 1930s!

One Wall of the Diego Rivera Mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts

One Wall of the Diego Rivera Mural – With Sunlight

The museum also has several lithographs and etchings by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, and paintings by Picasso, Matisse, Van Gogh, Monet and Rembrandt. They even have a giant Andy Warhol self-portrait.

Vincent Van Gogh – Self-Portrait With Straw Hat – Painted 1887

They have a motorcycle carved from one piece of wood, which is extremely intricate, and an exhibit of beautiful blown glass pieces.  Near the blown glass is their modern art area.  If you have been following this blog for long, you know that modern art isn’t really my thing.  However, they had some pretty cool modern art pieces (I can’t believe I just said that)!

Motorcycle Carved From One Block of Wood – Someone is WAY More Patient Than Me

Modern Art – Blown Glass Prescription Drugs – For the Baby Boomer Who Has Everything!

So, here’s the sad thing about the Detroit Institute of Arts.  We were mostly alone…  Some of the popular exhibits had maybe a half dozen people looking at the artwork, but in the permanent collection areas, we were generally by ourselves (except sometimes an attendant).  We went down to lunch in the cafe, and Jon loved the pay by the ounce salad bar, and I had a delicious sub sandwich.  The cafe was crawling with people and I thought all the patrons had just gone to get a bite to eat, until I noticed that about 80% of the people in the cafe had employee badges around their necks.  It struck me as pretty sad that there would be so few people taking advantage of seeing all this amazing artwork – especially when it is free for county residents!  I know it was a Thursday and all, but…  I would love it if we had a museum like this at home!