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Indianapolis Museum of Art premieres first major exhibition focusing on the use of graphite
Carl Andre, Graphite Cube Sum of Numbers, 2006. 164 graphite cubes, 4.5 x 229.5 x 40.5 in. Image courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London. © Carl Andre/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN.- An exhibition exploring recent and innovative uses of the material graphite premiered at the Indianapolis Museum of Art this December. The first major museum exhibition to explore graphite as a medium in works beyond drawings, Graphite includes sculpture, drawing, and installation works created over the past decade—including several newly commissioned works—by emerging and established contemporary artists such as Carl Andre, Karl Haendel, Kim Jones, Robert Longo, and Geof Oppenheimer, among others. Organized by the IMA, Graphite is on view December 7, 2012, to April 7, 2013, in the museum’s June M. McCormack Forefront Galleries.

Graphite is a naturally occurring mineral as well as a synthetic, industrial product that can be processed in specific ways. This exhibition brings together recent artworks that reveal the material’s potential to take a variety of forms—it can be machined or carved; used as a powder or a liquid; in lump, stick, or pencil form—and yield a wide range of visual effects. Graphite looks to the ways it is employed as a material in itself, formally and conceptually, revealing graphite’s shifting material identity and capacity for giving form to a diverse array of artistic motivations.

“By bringing together works that share only the basic similarity of the use of graphite, we hope to provoke a reexamination of topics like material choice and the experience of an object—ideas embedded in contemporary artistic practice but often taken for granted,” said Sarah Urist Green, curator of contemporary art at the IMA. “This exhibition seeks to create a conversation about the significance of medium at a time when the subject has been largely ignored.”

Among over 50 works in the exhibition, visitors can encounter Carl Andre’s Graphite Cube Sum of Numbers (2006), composed of 164 units of machine-sawn graphite arranged in a geometric progression on the gallery floor, stretching nearly 20 feet. Kim Jones has created a new War Drawing for the exhibition that extends from an existing graphite on oil cloth work, depicting an elaborate battlefield diagram that pits “x” against “o” figures in an ongoing war of markings and erasures that indicate the movements of each force. The drawing begins on the oil cloth and spills out onto the surrounding walls. Judith Braun created a new wall drawing as part of her series Fingerings, in which the artist dips her fingers in powdered graphite and use her hands to make symmetrical movements at the extent of her arms’ reach. Additional commissions include a site-specific installation by Dan Shaw-Town and an installation of drawings by Karl Haendel, which incorporates new drawings along with a selection of key works from his 2009 series How to Have a Socially Responsible Orgasm and Other Life Lessons. Also featured in Graphite are a selection of works from Robert Longo’s Heritage series—intimately-scaled graphite on paper drawings in which Longo has reproduced iconic artworks that have inspired or informed his practice.

Artists in the exhibition include: Carl Andre (American, b. 1935); Judith Braun (American, b. 1947); TR Ericsson (American, b. 1972); Dan Fischer (American, b. 1977); Roland Flexner (French, b. 1944); Michaela Früwirth (Austrian, b. 1972); Karl Haendel (American, b. 1976); Joyce Hinterding (Australian, b. 1958); Christian Holstad (American, b. 1972); Kim Jones (American, b. 1944); Robert Longo (American, b. 1953); Adam McEwen (British, b. 1965); Geof Oppenheimer (American, b. 1973); Dan Shaw-Town (British, b. 1983); and Molly Springfield (American, b. 1977).

Indianapolis Museum of Art | Sarah Urist Green | Graphite |

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