The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields is bringing the work of contemporary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama to its galleries this fall. Visitors can experience her interactive work All the Eternal Love I have for Pumpkins (2016) October 4, 2019 through March 29, 2020. Dr. Michael Vetter serves as the curator of this exhibit and Emily Sogard is responsible for communications and public relations.
Terri Procopio: What are your backgrounds?
Dr. Michael Vetter: I’ve been in Indianapolis for about six months. Previously, I was completing my PhD at the University of Maryland in College Park where I also worked at the Hirshhorn Museum and the University of Maryland’s art gallery. I started at Newfields in November of 2018.
Emily Sogard: I started here the February before Michael. I work in PR, print, digital and earned media. Prior to Newfields, I was at the United Way working in Arts Leadership and Administration.
TP: Can you tell me more about Yayoi Kusama?
MV: Yayoi Kusama is one of the most well-known artists in the world and now the highest-selling living female artist. She started in the U.S. in the late 1960s by the urging of Georgia O’Keefe and became an important part of the avant-garde art movement.
TP: How did you and Newfields become interested in her artwork?
MV: Director and CEO Charles Venable has a relationship with the Dallas Museum of Art. He approached them about acquiring the exhibit on loan.
TP: How can visitors prepare for the exhibit and purchase tickets?
MV: Tickets are available to reserve online or they can be purchased at the museum. We’ll be showing the documentary Kusma – Infinity in March and will be joined by scholar Dr. Gloria Sutton for a discussion. Tickets for this can be purchased as www.discovernewfields.org.
TP: What type of experience can visitors expect at the Kusama exhibit?
MV: Two people experience the exhibit at a time and they become absorbed into the space. The exhibit is a refraction of space, light, contrast, and illumination along with being immersive and interactive. It feels like a different space and planet within the museum.
TP: How does this exhibit impact The Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields and the arts in Indianapolis?
MV: It’s a major exhibition and the first time we’ve had a Kusama exhibit in the city. It’s interactive and we want to attract more artists of this type. We’re now looking at artists beyond painting and sculpture that are more immersive and interactive.
TP: The timing is perfect with this exhibit opening in the fall and coinciding with the inaugural Harvest Festival. Was that planned?
ES: We’re developing a seasonal model that includes Spring Blooms, Winter Lights, and now we have Harvest for the fall. The exhibit took a long time to come to fruition and we would have done both either way, but we’re thrilled that they lined up together.
TP: What are some future endeavors for Newfields?
MV: We’re working on more contemporary art including commissions by new artists for the Art and Nature Park. A lot of the art in this park is designed to be temporary. We’re hoping to add new site-specific pieces which will eventually decompose and go back into nature.