Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum

On Saturday we had a beautiful day to go do fun things around town with Eric's family to celebrate his birthday. One thing he and I have been wanting to do is check out the free Indiana University Art Museum on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University.

The IU Art Museum is located on 7th Street next to the IU Auditorium, but, like with most things on IU's campus, it is not easily accessible via car. The street it sits on is actually protected by a gate keeper during business hours during the week (until 6pm) and you generally need a high-level parking permit (A or DP) to get past. Plus, there is no (legal) parking on this street. If you can, the trick is to go to the museum on the weekend! The parking lot on Jordan Avenue is free on Saturdays and Sundays and is only a couple of blocks from the museum. Here is a map showing you where the Jordan Ave lot is and how to get to the museum from it (very easy! park in the back left corner where the stairs are to get down to Jordan Ave from the top of the parking lot) or click here:

If you can't get to the museum on the weekend, you can park in the IMU (Indiana Memorial Union) lot and get a discount by bringing your parking ticket with you to the museum, or you can try to find metered parking nearby.

The day was sunny and the atrium was beautiful completely filled with light. The museum was designed by I.M. Pei (who also designed the library in my hometown, Columbus!). There is an information desk to your left as you walk in. There is no actual map, but a pamphlet lets you know what to expect on each of the 3 floors. There is also a coat room further down the hallway (which I recommend using, as the guards in each room will not let you walk around with a coat in your arm), and you can also rent a locker if you'd rather do that for your purse.

We did the museum in stages, since we were waiting for Eric's sister to get to Bloomington and knew she would want to see some of the museum as well. So we actually started on the 2nd floor. (We did not do the 3rd floor, which was the "Arts of Africa, South Pacific, and the Americas" exhibit.) The 2nd floor has the Gallery of the Art of Asia and the Ancient Western World exhibit, the Angles Cafe, and the Sculpture Terrace (it also has the Fine Arts Library, which we did not go into). The Sculpture Terrace is accessed via door through the Angles Cafe (also the gift shop), and on a pretty day it would be a nice place to have a coffee and snack from the cafe. There were three large sculptures out here (admittedly, we were expecting there to be more) and some tables and chairs.

The Angles Cafe and gift shop had its own artwork going on, with umbrellas on the ceiling and scarves pouring out of coffee cups. I liked the coffee cup part and thought it was clever :)

We then went through the Asia and Ancient Western World exhibit. Among the statues, pottery, jewelry, and coins, there were a couple of pieces that stuck out to me as very cool. (Consult with the guard before taking photos; just don't take flash photography.) The first is this chunk of a floor from a Roman bath. It is on long-term loan to the museum from the Getty (which we went to while we were in Los Angeles).

The next is this awesome door. Don't touch, but get very close to this door to see the gold paint. It was so intricate and very beautiful. (Also look on the other side of the wall; the backside of the door is viewable and looks totally different!)

And finally was this huge tapestry of the foot of the Buddha. The guard told us this is the most fragile piece in the museum. No flash photography on this either ;)

After we were done with this exhibit, Eric's sister got to town and we went to lunch. After lunch, we came back and found that we were just in time for a free docent-led tour of the first floor exhibit, the Gallery of the Art of the Western World from Early Medieval to the Present. Our tour guide was a nice older lady who carried a clipboard of interesting facts about certain pieces of art within the collection. The tour started out just the four of us, but as we moved through the museum we picked up several more people and ended with probably around 15! Our tour progressed through time and highlighted several pieces, including this Monet piece below. (Monet is my favorite painter, and I had no idea IU had one of his artworks!) We also saw a Jackson Pollock, who I studied pretty extensively in high school on Academic Team, and IU also has a Picasso but it's on loan right now so we didn't get to see it.

After our tour was done, we headed over to one more exhibit, the Special Exhibitions Gallery, which changes throughout the year. Right now there is a Faculty Art exhibit going on, but it will change in April to showcase the Works of Matisse. There were a few cool or interesting pieces I saw. I am a fan of doing interesting things with art (I studied and/or made art all my life until college, basically, and I always tried to do something interesting with it). This below is in 3D and made with rock putty, and I thought it was cool.

This is some kind of digital art with blinking lights behind the faces.

I just thought this was super clever. It reminded me of going to Chuck E Cheese and getting a whole bunch of tickets spit out at me from the machine. I have no idea what "ELO SOYUZ" means (it wasn't the artist's name), and there are also coordinates (48 E 68 N) which lead to the middle of a bay in northern Russia.

Outside the museum is a very distinctive piece of art. The building through the middle of it is the Memorial Union.

The museum took us around 3 hours to do (with a break for lunch), but we didn't do the 3rd floor at all. The galleries are open from Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm and on Sunday from noon-5pm (closed on holidays and Mondays). I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something to do around campus; it's hard to beat free art! There were a lot of other people around in the later part of the afternoon (we even saw one of my friends walking in as we were leaving), so if you prefer to enjoy your art without many others around, go in the morning :) The free tour is on Saturday at 2pm. Enjoy!
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Art Museum Reviewed by Maria on 3:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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