June 5, 1981.
On this day, IUPUI's Herron School of Art opened a "major architectural installation" in the Herron Gallery in the Herron Museum Building located at 16th and Pennsylvania Streets. The installation was by artist Cynthia Carlson, who executed the work during a week-long residency at Herron. Assisted by nine artists from around the state, Carlson applied "repetitive patterns, paintings, and decorations" on gallery walls in the Museum, built in 1906. A preliminary blurb about the installation said "the effect will be intentionally theatrical and dramatic in design and concept." A reviewer in the Indianapolis Star wrote the work "challenges one's assumptions about the very nature of art."
The workshop and installation were funded by grants from several organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Indiana Arts Commission. In reports to the funders, Herron staff noted that the workshop atmosphere fostered "intense work and discussion" that "builds a cohesive group of serious artists.... A real sense of community occurs which lasts much longer than the actual workshop." As well, they reported that "the response of the participants has been overwhelmingly positive."
Carlson, a Chicago native, studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pratt Institute in New York, where she resided. During her residency at Herron, she gave two public lectures, the first about her art and the second, during the opening, on "Grass Roots Art in America." According to the grant reports, the lectures and exhibition were well attended. Due to strong public response, the installation stayed up into September.
To learn more about major art shows by important artists held at the Herron School of Art and Design's galleries through the years, consult records in the IUPUI Special Collections and Archives. Staff can help you find what you are looking for. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.