Graphite at the IMA

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Graphite is a material that we use every day, but have you ever actually thought about the material found in our pencils. The latest Forefront exhibition at the IMA, Graphite, explores the substance and its many innovative uses beyond sketches and doodles.

The material graphite is a form of crystallized carbon which is a naturally occurring mineral. It can be machined or carved, used as a powder or liquid, or handled as a lump, stick, or pencil.

The exhibition Graphite is the first to explore the mineral as a medium in works beyond drawings and will include sculpture, drawing and installation works created over the past decade by emerging and established contemporary artists such as Carl Andre, Karl Haendel, Kim Jones, Robert Longo and Geof Oppenheimer.

The exhibition will open with a launch party on Thursday, December 6 from 7-9 pm featuring freestyle interpretations of works in the exhibition from hip-hop MCs Mr. Kinetik, Tony Styxx and aLLEN iMAGERY and music by A Squared Industries. Most importantly, there will be free light snacks and a cash bar featuring Sun King’s beer. Beer, freestyle hip-hop, and graphite- you should probably stop by and check this out!

Graphite, which is open through March 10, 2013, has more than 50 works including Carl Andre’s Graphite Cube Sum of Numbers (2006), composed of 164 units of machined graphite arranged in a geometric progression on the gallery floor, stretching nearly 20 feet. Other highlights include a wall drawing by artist Judith Braun (see photo) as part of her series Fingerings, in which Braun will dip her fingers in powdered graphite and use her hands to make symmetrical movements at the extent of her arms’ reach.

Additional commissions within the exhibition include a site-specific installation by Dan Shaw-Town and a selection of drawings by Karl Haendel, which will incorporate new drawings along with key works from his 2009 series How to Have a Socially Responsible Orgasm and Other Life Lessons. Also featured in Graphite will be 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.

This unique, contemporary exhibition is an exciting addition to the Indianapolis art scene and we hope you’ll join us in learning a little bit more about the ways that seemingly simple element can be transformed and used to create diverse works of art.

Cheers to great art and beer!

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