INDIANAPOLIS.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art announced today 10 artists and artist collectives who have been selected to create works for the new IMA Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park . They are: Haluk Akakçe, Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Sam Easterson, Peter Eisenman, Alfredo Jaar, Los Carpinteros, Tea Mäkipää, Type A, and Andrea Zittel. Located on 100 acres of untamed woodlands, wetlands, lake, and meadow adjacent to the Museum, the Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will feature site-specific commissions in a range of media that explore and respond to the varied environments of the Park. As announced in April 2006, Mary Miss will create the first permanent project, an elevated bridge and walkway which will descend through the canopy of trees and serve as a pedestrian gateway linking the Museum’s principal buildings to the Park.
Upon its opening in 2009, Fairbanks Art & Nature Park will be one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and the only one to feature the ongoing commission of site-specific artworks. The IMA’s goal is to present contemporary art projects, exhibitions, and discussions designed to strengthen the public’s understanding of society’s multi-faceted relationship with the natural world. Programming for the Art & Nature Park will grow directly out of the artworks, which will include temporary and permanent installations from emerging and established artists. The 100-acre Park site is bordered by the White River and runs contiguous to the IMA’s current 52-acre campus, more than half of which is comprised of historic landscapes and gardens. Commissions will be ongoing, with additional artists’ projects to be announced annually.
“Through time and across cultures, artists have played a major role in helping to illuminate our relationship with nature, as illustrated in works found throughout our collections,” stated Maxwell L. Anderson, Director and CEO of the IMA. “Today, when human impact on the environment has emerged as one of the critical issues of our time, Fairbanks Art and Nature Park provides an unparalleled venue for artists to create works that extend this crucial role into the future.”
Created by artist Mary Miss and measuring approximately 1,500 feet in length, a handicapped accessible bridge and walkway will guide visitors from the main Museum building to the upper level of the new Fehnel Experiential Center , which will provide a visual and multi-sensory introduction to the Park by blurring the distinction between architecture, sculpture, and landscape. The nearby Interpretive Pavilion will contain a multi-purpose room for educational programs and a small gallery space. The two buildings will be seamlessly woven into the natural environment and will be constructed to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Fehnel Experiential Center is made possible by a gift from Edgar and Dorothy Fehnel, longtime IMA supporters.
To date, IMA has raised $21.5 million toward the Park’s campaign goal of $40 million, which constitutes the third phase of the IMA’s expansion campaign. Institutional upgrades also included an expansion and renovation of the Museum’s building in 2005 and the renovation of Oldfields–Lilly House & Gardens, completed in 2002. In July 2006, the Museum announced an $11 million gift from the Fairbanks Foundation to support the Park’s construction.
The IMA has engaged architect Marlon Blackwell and landscape architect Edward L. Blake to work with the selected artists to transform the 100 acres into a dynamic environment to experience contemporary art. The land, a former gravel pit, has evolved through a natural reclamation into its current state of untamed woodlands, wetlands, and a 35-acre lake. The land was donated to the IMA in 1972 by the Indianapolis construction firm Huber, Hunt, and Nichols.
A National Advisory Committee of four distinguished leaders in the fields of art and architecture assisted the IMA in developing plans for the Fairbanks Art & Nature Park . The advisors are: John Beardsley, senior lecturer in the landscape architecture department at Harvard Design School; Mary Beebe, director of the Stuart Collection, University of California, San Diego; Reed Kroloff, dean of the School of Architecture at Tulane University and former editor of Architecture magazine; and Ned Rifkin, Undersecretary for Art at the Smithsonian.