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In 1960, Art Association of Indianapolis board members began discussing the idea of placing the museum at the center of a new cultural campus. Inspired by University Circle in Cleveland, Ohio, board chairman Herman Krannert proposed building an “Acropolitan Area” that would combine a number of cultural institutions in a natural setting. The museum’s location on the grounds of Oldfields allowed architect Ambrose Madison Richardson to build on the idea of an acropolis while also utilizing the natural features of the site. Krannert Pavilion opened in 1970 as the first of four buildings located on the museum’s grounds. Following the opening of Krannert, the expansion continued with the Clowes Pavilion in 1972, which housed the Clowes’ collection of Old Masters’. Construction on the Showalter Pavilion and Sutphin Fountain was completed in 1973. In 1986 Edward Larrabee Barnes was chosen to design the Hulman Pavilion, a new wing of the museum which housed the Eiteljorg collection of African and South Pacific art. The pavilion opened in 1990 and increased the exhibition space to more than 80,000 square feet (7,400 m2). The expansion aimed to provide clearer chronological continuity and a more coherent flow as visitors moved from one gallery to the next.
From the mid-1990s until 2005 the IMA focused on the next phase of development, the “New Vision”, or what became known as the “New IMA.” After four years of restoration, the Oldfields mansion reopened to the public in June 2002 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003. In 2005 the museum completed a three-year, $74 million renovation and expansion project that added three new wings and 50 percent more gallery space to the building. In all, the construction added 164,000 square feet (15,200 m2) to the museum, in addition to the renovation of 90,000 square feet (8,400 m2) of existing space. Renovations included the Hulman and Clowes Pavilions, which house the museum’s European collection, as well as the addition of the Allen Whitehill Clowes Gallery. The expansion aimed to unify the building and campus while creating a more welcoming atmosphere for visitors. As one of three new wings and as a new entry to the building, the Efroymson Pavilion helped to transition visitors between the museum and the surrounding grounds. The Wood Gallery Pavilion added three levels of gallery space as well as a dining area and education suite, while the Deer Zink Pavilion added additional space for private and public events. The architectural focus on welcoming visitors coincided with a new advertising campaign that reached out to a broader, more diverse audience.
The 152-acre (0.62 km2) grounds of the IMA contain distinctive features that have been modified over time to create a greater connection between the museum building and its surroundings. The Oldfields estate has been described as a Gesamtkunstwerk, a unified work of art that combines the arts of landscape design, gardening, architecture, interior design, and decorative arts. In addition to the restored gardens and grounds of Oldfields, other notable areas of the grounds include the Sutphin Mall and Fountain, the wheelchair accessible Garden for Everyone, and a working greenhouse and shop. The IMA grounds are also home to 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park, located behind the museum proper. Garden areas make use of existing features in the natural landscape and incorporate examples of public art, both historical and contemporary.
Contributed by ArchiTeam
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