When it opened last year, The Alexander introduced Indianapolis to the art hotel concept popularized by Louisville's 21c and other boutique lodgings where well-to-do visitors can have a unique aesthetic experience but anyone can wander in off the street to see some of the most au courant art around on display in the lobby.
Indianapolis Museum of Art curators hand-picked eye-grabbing pieces, including a mural that evokes Midwestern flatness, a flock of birds crafted from vinyl records, and a portrait of Madam C.J. Walker made from the combs that made her rich and powerful. After making the downtown's long-dead southeast side a destination for art aficionados, The Alexander will again play host to Indy's latest major visual arts venue.
An internationally renowned Irish photographer's work will christen the Indianapolis's Museum of Contemporary Art's new location at CityWay on the south side of the hotel. iMOCA will exhibit Richard Mosse's Fermata starting today (and running through Dec. 20) at the new exhibition space at 215 E. South St., about a mile away from its home base at The Murphy Arts Center building in Fountain Square. An opening reception takes place at the mixed-used development just north of the Eli Lilly and Co. campus from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. today, with a concert by Asthmatic Kitty Records-signed artist Helado Negro at 9 p.m.
Mosse is the 2014 winner of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize who's been published by Aperture. He represented his native Ireland in last year's Venice Biennale, with the ambitious video installation The Enclave documenting strife in the war-torn Congo.
His exhibits are also on display, or will be soon, at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Wesenburg Museum Bremen, DHC/ART Montreal, the Portland Art Museum and the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art.
"Each of Mosse's photographs reveals life destruction," iMOCA Executive Director Shauta Marsh says. "And he seeks to preserve fleeting beauty, no matter the circumstances."
For Fermata, Mosse shot images of the Democratic Republic of the Congo with a defunct type of infrared film that had been used for military reconnaissance to highlight living vegetation. The result was a transmogrified landscape, rendered in brilliant hues of pink. His war correspondent-like pictures depict both lush landscapes and the rebel groups who stood up to the warlords who coalesced to make up the Congolese National Army.
"He has been documenting what he calls the 'Hobbesian state of war' in the region on and off for two years using infrared film, which, because it was originally developed for military purposes, Mosse says is 'the appropriate medium,'" Willy Staley wrote in The New York Times Magazine.
"Foliage reflects infrared light and camouflage absorbs it, so infrared-sensitive film can reveal camouflaged troops and buildings, as well as produce the pink tints in these pictures. In this way, Mosse highlights the eastern Congo's natural bounty while acknowledging both the medium's origins and, he points out, the West's tendency to see in the Congo only darkness and insanity."
The Mosse exhibits marks the debut of the new 3,000-square-foot iMOCA gallery, a partnership between the museum, The Alexander, and the CityWay mixed-used development. The downtown complex, which spans a few city blocks, includes the 209-room hotel, the fancy Cerulean restaurant with its Bento Boxes and laurels from Conde Nast Traveler, apartments, a YMCA, a parking garage decked out with Banksy-esque graffiti murals and 40,000 square feet of retail and office space.
The new gallery is a perk for hotel guests and a boon to the public, since it's another free museum space just off the Indianapolis Cultural Trail: A legacy of Eugene and Marilyn Glick.
"Buckingham Companies is committed to enhancing artistic environments at CityWay and throughout Indianapolis," according to Senior VP of Development Scott Travis. "Partnering with iMOCA further highlights our passion for 'The Art of Living' and we are confident this new gallery will be a welcoming destination to locals, residents and visitors," says Travis.
In the future, the new gallery will be home to rotating exhibits from renowned artists who work in all media.
The exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, and from noon until 5 p.m. on Sundays.