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The Eskenazi Museum of Art celebrates the reopening of its I. M. Pei building with museum fest
The Eskenazi Museum’s acclaimed I. M. Pei-designed building was inaugurated in 1982 and features the architect’s signature triangles and light-filled atrium.

BLOOMINGTON, IN.- This fall the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art reopens the doors of its renovated I. M. Pei building to visitors and the Indiana University community. The $30 million renovation creates a fresh canvas for the museum’s more than 45,000 objects; a dynamic center for education serving more than 11,000 IU students and nearly 5,000 K-12 students; an innovative center for conservation – with the only paintings conservator in the Big Ten; a center for curatorial studies; and a center for the prints, drawings and photographs collection. This new approach to a teaching museum will help students and visitors understand how a university museum functions.

The Eskenazi Museum’s acclaimed I. M. Pei-designed building was inaugurated in 1982 and features the architect’s signature triangles and light-filled atrium. When it reopens, the newly renovated galleries will offer more intuitive navigation, high-speed Wi-Fi for faster social sharing, interpretive strategies encouraging more attentive viewing for more connections with art, enhanced lighting and focus areas to highlight collection themes. The museum is dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship.

“I am very excited about sharing our museum and its magnificent collections. There is great potential for learning and inspiration that we can finally unveil through four new study centers, three new art study rooms, educational programming and staff who are eager to engage with our visitors and the IU community,” said David A. Brenneman, the museum’s Wilma E. Kelley director. “Through the renovation and our recommitment to serving as a teaching museum, we are honoring the original vision of our founders, Herman B Wells and Henry Radford Hope.”

To complement the reopening, two exhibitions will be on view: Re/New: Recent Acquisitions by Contemporary Artists (Nov. 7, 2019-March 1, 2020) and Jim Dine: Pinocchio, Geppetto, and Other Personal Metaphors (Nov. 7, 2019-May 7, 2020).

Re/New celebrates the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s commitment to studying, exhibiting and collecting contemporary art. The installation in the new Featured Exhibitions Gallery displays 51 works by 45 artists, all acquired in the past five years, including work from Robert Mapplethorpe, Kara Walker, Vik Muniz, Ai Weiwei and more. Some of the works in this exhibition represent the first by an emerging or mid-career artist in the collection, while others add to existing holdings by established masters. This exhibition is divided into five themes: Beauty and Identity; Race, Ethnicity and Community; Social Activism; Nature and Place; and Abstraction.

Jim Dine: Pinocchio, Geppetto, and Other Personal Metaphors is the inaugural exhibition in the new Prints, Drawings and Photographs Gallery. The exhibition includes the artist’s gift of his 44-plate Pinocchio series, a recent self-portrait print and his first print series, The Crash, which relates to one of his early performative Happenings. Like his later Pop art works, The Crash has autobiographical significance. Also included are other works from the museum’s collection that highlight Dine’s interests in poetry, psychoanalysis, transformation and the fine art of drawing. The prints and drawings are complemented by treasures from other IU collections, including a first edition of Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883) from the Lilly Library and one of Dine’s first filmed interviews for the National Education Television (NET) in the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.

The renovation of the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s iconic 112,000-square-foot building will underscore the museum’s position as one of the preeminent teaching museums in the country for generations to come. In addition to extensive updates to the building’s infrastructure, the museum has established its first centers for education; conservation; curatorial studies; and the study and display of its prints, drawings and photographs collection. Along with other changes – including removing window tinting, installing a sidewalk in front of the building and mounting a glass wall in the Asian and Islamic gallery allowing guests to see activities in the Center for Conservation – these transformations create new ways for visitors to understand what goes on in a university art museum. The renovation also features updated administrative offices and a sky bridge that connects the east and west wings of the building. The project was overseen by Ennead Architects, a leading New York-based firm, under the leadership of Susan T. Rodriguez (who has since established her own practice), with IU’s Capital Projects office and Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf of Indianapolis.

Nov. 7-10, 2019, marks Museum Fest, celebrating the reopening of the art museum on the campus of Indiana University. Coinciding with the First Thursday Festival Parade hosted by IU Arts & Humanities, visitors will enjoy two newly installed exhibitions, guided tours, art making opportunities, behind-the-scenes conservation experiences and more.

Admission to the Eskenazi Museum is always free, thanks to generous donors. Every year more than 80,000 visitors of all ages and backgrounds embark on an extraordinary global journey through the museum’s galleries and programs.

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