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The Eskenazi Museum of Art’s $30 Million Renovation of I. M. Pei Building Opens With Suite of Exhibitions

November 19, 2019 | In the Press

From ArtFixdaily (https://www.artfixdaily.com/news_feed/2019/11/19/3988-the-eskenazi-museum-of-art%E2%80%99s-30-million-renovation-of-i-m-pei-bui)

After a two-and-a-half-year renovation, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art reopened its doors on Nov. 7, 2019. In Bloomington, Indiana, The Eskenazi Museum has completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I. M. Pei-designed building, which was inaugurated in 1982 and features the architect’s signature triangles and light-filled atrium.

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 artworks, 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 newly renovated museum will be an enhanced teaching resource for Indiana University and southern Indiana, dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship. 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.

The renovation 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. Since its establishment in 1941, the Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown into one of the most significant university art collections in the United States.

A distinguished teaching museum, its internationally acclaimed collection – ranging from ancient gold jewelry and African and Oceanic art to paintings by modern masters such as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock –includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history. 

“This exciting renovation allows the Eskenazi Museum to become a more open, accessible and welcoming place,” said David A. Brenneman, the museum’s Wilma E. Kelley director. “With the opening this fall will come a more visitor-focused experience, enhanced educational offerings and a convening space for faculty, staff, students and the public. All of this is at the very heart of our mission, and we’re greatly looking forward tosharing it with our community.”

The museum’s dynamic education program serves more than 11,000 university students and more than 4,500 K-12 students from southern and central Indiana each year. 

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