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Visiondivision to Create Extraordinary Concession Stand for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- The Indianapolis Museum of Art has commissioned an inventive concession stand from the Swedish architecture duo Visiondivision for 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, which will begin construction this summer. Visiondivision’s first realized project in the United States, Chop Stick will offer Park visitors a place to sit, swing, and enjoy refreshments in an outdoor pavilion crafted almost entirely from a single tree. Chop Stick will open in summer 2012. Premiering this September will be the previously announced commission FLOW (Can You See the River?), a site-specific installation along Indianapolis’ White River by New York-based artist Mary Miss. In addition to these two new projects, environmental artist Katherine Ball will be the 2011 summer resident on Andrea Zittel’s Indianapolis Island, an inhabitable island that was one of the Park’s original commissions.

Located on 100 acres of land that includes untamed woodlands, wetlands, a lake, and meadows adjacent to the Museum, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country and one of only a few to feature the ongoing commission of temporary, site-responsive artworks. 100 Acres opened in June 2010 with eight newly commissioned works by Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Alfredo Jaar, Jeppe Hein, Los Carpinteros, Tea Mäkipää, Type A and Andrea Zittel, as well as a LEED-certified visitor center and numerous walking trails that highlight the indigenous landscape. Since its opening, 100 Acres has drawn diverse audiences to the museum’s grounds and resulted in a 67% increase in attendance during the summer months as compared to past years.

“In less than a year since its opening, 100 Acres has become a defining feature of the city of Indianapolis and an example of how museums can make art accessible and important to the community,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “We are pleased to see that the Park has also served to bring new visitors into the Museum.”

Chop Stick
Visiondivision’s concession stand design for 100 Acres employs a single, 100-foot tall yellow poplar tree—the state tree of Indiana—as its primary raw material. The tree, found in a forest near Anderson, Ind., was transported to 100 Acres with a large portion of its limbs intact and will be oriented and engineered to form the central horizontal beam of the structure. Portions of the tree will be strategically removed to create the concession stand—including swings, benches, tables, and light fixtures. The tree’s bark has been carefully removed and will be made into shingles that will adorn the façade of the concession stand.

Visiondivision’s design for Chop Stick is based on the premise that every product whether it is a cell phone, a car, a stone floor, or a wooden building—is a compound of different elements of nature, each of which are harvested in specific ways. Chop Stick will function as a rich educational tool that reveals the processes that are usually hidden as trees are harvested and undergo refinement and transformation into structures.

“We envisioned 100 Acres as a new model for sculpture parks in the 21st century, and it has delivered on that promise,” said Lisa Freiman, senior curator and chair of the IMA’s Department of Contemporary Art. “Visiondivision’s imaginative concession stand is perfectly in line with the mission of 100 Acres, which strives to present art, architecture, and design that provoke a reexamination of humanity’s multifaceted relationship with the environment.”

FLOW (Can You See the River?)
Debuting September 22, 2011, will be FLOW (Can You See the River?), an installation by Mary Miss spanning a six-mile stretch along the White River and throughout 100 Acres and the IMA’s grounds. Oversized map pins and mirrors will draw attention to important and unique elements of the White River water system including its history, ecology and origins. The installation sites will encourage visitors to understand the watershed and the role it plays in the life of the city and its inhabitants. These features will point out key aspects of the system such as wetlands, floodplains, combined sewer outfalls and pollution. The markers also will be visible outside the IMA’s entrance, indicating the ways water is used within the building.

Visitors entering the Museum will be able to visualize the full installation through a walkable floor map that will be part of the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion series in the IMA’s main entrance. The installation will be on view in the Pavilion September 23, 2011, to February 26, 2012.

FLOW (Can You See the River?) is a visionary art project conceived by Miss, commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and co-created and facilitated by EcoArts Connections with more than 20 leading arts, science, environment, and municipal organizations and agencies. This project is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts Mayors’ Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative and is one of only 21 awarded to projects that contribute to the livability of cities. Project support provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA).

Indianapolis Island Residency
The IMA has selected Katherine Ball to be the summer 2011 resident of Andrea Zittel’s Indianapolis Island, an inhabitable installation in 100 Acres. Throughout the residency, Ball will engage Indianapolis Island, the surrounding 35-acre lake, and visitors to the Park through public programs and ecological interventions.

Ball’s residency, titled No Swimming, will center on the improvement of the lake’s water quality through the implementation of mycological filters, a floating water filtration and purification systemconsisting of hemp tubes, straw, and mushroom mycelium. During the first week of Ball’s residency, she will create the mycofilters on site and invite the Indianapolis community to help through a series of workshops. Visitors will be welcomed to Indianapolis Island at regularly scheduled times to have afternoon tea with Ball and observe her initiatives more closely. Ball will communicate her findings through a series of drawings and ongoing blog posts, as well as through close interaction with Park visitors during weekly events, such as musical performances, nature walks in the Park, bike trips around the area, and yoga sessions near the lake. See Ball’s blog for more details as her residency progresses.

Ball’s artistic practice is founded on a hands-on approach to environmental activism and social engagement. In 2010, Ball filmed a documentary (to be released this winter) about small-scale, yet effective, solutions to climate change as she bicycled with a small group from Oregon to Washington, D.C., where they met with legislators and shared their findings. Afterward, Ball traveled via train and plane to Cancun, Mexico, to participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference. From 2009–10 Ball co-directed SEA Change Gallery in Portland, Oregon, which developed exhibitions and activities to encourage social and environmental equality. Ball is currently enrolled in Portland State University’s Art + Social Practice MFA program, and recently participated in an exchange at the School of Walls and Space in Copenhagen.

Visiondivision is a Stockholm-based architecture firm founded in 2005 by Anders Berensson and Ulf Mejergren. They have since completed numerous projects throughout Sweden, as well as in The Netherlands, Mexico, and Argentina. Visiondivision’s diverse practice merges architecture and design to provide highly imaginative solutions for a wide range of clients. Past projects include an underwater habitat for crayfish (Cancer City, 2010), an addition to a villa for the client’s children featuring underground caves (Hill Hut, 2010), a fire-heated bathtub for a former welder in his favorite childhood creek (Cauldron Claw, 2009), gingerbread houses for Stockholm’s Arkitekturmuseet (2009), and a shrine built within a mountain for a mining community in Bolivia (Capilla para el Tio, 2008).

Mary Miss
Known for her environmentally-based artwork, Mary Miss lives in New York. She has reshaped the boundaries between sculpture, architecture, landscape design and installation art by articulating a vision of the public sphere where it is possible for an artist to address the issues ofour time. Trained as a sculptor, Miss creates installations that allow the visitor to become aware of the site’s history, ecology or aspects of the environment that have gone unnoticed. Miss has collaborated closely with architects, planners, engineers, ecologists and public administrators on projects as diverse as creating a temporary memorial around the perimeter of Ground Zero, marking the predicted flood level of Boulder, Colorado, revealing the history of the Union Square Subway station in New York City or turning a sewage treatment plant into a public space. A recipient of multiple awards, Mary Miss has been the subject of exhibitions at the Harvard University Art Museum, Brown University Gallery, The Institute of Contemporary Art in London, the Architectural Association in London, Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and the Des Moines Art Center.

100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park
Located on 100 acres that include untamed woodlands, wetlands, meadows, and a 35-acre lake adjacent to the Museum, 100 Acres is one of the largest museum art parks in the country, and one of only a few to feature the ongoing commission of temporary, site-responsive artworks. The Park opened in June 2010 with eight inaugural installations by artists Atelier Van Lieshout, Kendall Buster, Jeppe Hein, Alfredo Jaar, Los Carpinteros, Tea Mäkipää, Type A and Andrea Zittel. The Park features a visitors pavilion designed by architect Marlon Blackwell that meets LEED standards while highlighting the surrounding environment and providing a respite for Park visitors. Numerous walking trails, designed by landscape architect Ed Blake, emphasize the macro and microscopic forms found naturally throughout the Park.

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