Opening Celebration Work in Progress: Conversations about American Art

Opening Celebration Work in Progress: Conversations about American Art
7–10 PM

Join us for the debut of the newly refreshed American galleries called, Work in Progress: Conversations about American Art.  


Throughout the history of the United States, its people have debated over who and what places are distinctly American and what qualities represent the nation’s essential character. The purpose of this reinstallation is not to settle these arguments or arrive at a definitive answer about what, exactly, is “American”—instead, these galleries are an invitation to explore the tensions and disagreements between different visions of this country, and how those conversations manifested in the realm of the visual arts. 


Explore the nearly 12,000 square feet of gallery space and the return of popular works and crowd favorites by Georgia O’Keeffe and John Wesley Hardrick in conversation with exciting contemporary works by Kara Walker and Joan Mitchell. To help tell new stories about the collection and to expand whose voices are included in the museum, this reinstallation will also include content created by five Indianapolis-area residents, collectively calling themselves the Looking Glass Alliance. 

Celebrate the opening with a special evening including brief remarks, cash bar, light hors d’oeuvres, and live music with Rob Dixons Quartet, Bobby Young, Manon Voice, Allison Victoria, and Januarie York.

May 27, 2023
Indianapolis Museum of Art Galleries at Newfields


In Spring 2023, the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s galleries that feature art of the United States will reopen with updated displays. This project is one of our first steps in sharing new stories about the IMA’s permanent collection. The installation will pose questions about how historic American art connects to ongoing debates about the country. The purpose of this reinstallation is not to settle these debates—but rather to invite guests to explore ideas about America.  


The reinstallation includes historical artworks juxtaposed with several pieces from the museum’s contemporary and European collections. The displays also reveal the limitations of visual art as a means to understand United States history and culture, while incorporating stories that weren’t always included in historical American art. Sharing new stories means changing how we work and whose voices we include in the museum. We worked with five Indianapolis-area residents, collectively called the Looking Glass Alliance, to look at American art in new ways, revealing stories that have always been there but weren’t always seen. They are using the idea of a looking glass to turn upside narratives that have traditionally been communicated in museums. They invite Newfields and the public to join us as they reflect on these practices; disrupt damaging narratives; and make visible marginalized voices, places, and people.  

John Wesley Hardrick (American, 1891–1968), Little Brown Girl, 1927, oil on canvas, 21-1/2 × 29-5/8 in. Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Gift of a Group of African-American Citizens of Indianapolis, April 16, 1929, 29.40. © John Wesley Hardrick.