Art in the Park

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park presents contemporary sculptures, exhibitions, and programs that encourage guests to connect with nature and consider their relationship with the environment. The artworks you'll find in the park are designed specifically for the space, and to encourage playful interaction.   

Children can climb on Atelier Van Lieshout’s Funky Bones. Visitors are invited to relax or search for all 15 of Jeppe Hein’s bright yellow “social benches” comprising Bench Around the Lake. Or play basketball on an internationally scaled court with red and blue arches visualizing the bouncing balls of an opposing team in Los Carpinteros' surrealist and iconic Free Basket.  

Alternately, Alfredo Jaar’s Park of the Laments is designed to be fully immersive and transform viewers' spatial experience as they transition through a liminal space—a concrete tunnel—and then walk through a stepped area filled with native plantings. From a central stairwell, visitors walk up into a park within the larger park, a space to quietly reflect, meditate, and recharge.  

 

Exhibition coming soon: Home Again 
Opens April 2024
 
The Hawryluk Sculpture Green in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park   
Open daily from dawn to dusk / Tickets are not required to visit The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park   
 
Welcome home! The long-awaited exhibition Home Again features three new sculptures in the park centered around the notion of home and shelter.  Brooklyn-based artist Heather Hart’s canary yellow interactive rooftop Oracle of Intimation appears as if it has fallen from the sky. Climb through the windows, make the roof your stage, and catch spontaneous and planned performances, workshops, and community discussions on and near the sculpture.  

Art and nature collide in the Pollinator Pavilion by New York-based artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood. The colorful gazebo is designed for humans, birds, and insects alike to slow down and become part of nature.  

Pakistan-born, Indianapolis-based artist Anila Quayyum Agha’s beautiful and contemplative white filigree house-shaped structure features Agha’s signature laser-etched floral patterning inspired by Islamic art and architecture. This is NOT a Refuge illustrates the hope, humor, challenges, and heartbreaks of dozens of refugees who are living in Indianapolis.  

Home Again is the first major activation in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park since it opened in 2010. It is the first installation of The Hawryluk Sculpture Green, a new series of outdoor public art installations in The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, made possible by a $3 million gift by Kent Hawryluk, a longtime Newfields patron. 

   

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Coming soon:

 
   
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Oracle of Intimation, Heather Hart

Part of the Home Again exhibition, debuting 2024, Oracle of Intimation is a new site-responsive and participatory installation by Brooklyn-based artist Heather Hart. The roof-shaped sculpture will sit in The Hawryluk Sculpture Green as if the house has been buried underground. Constructed with recycled wood from a black locust tree from The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, Oracle of Intimation will entice visitors to walk on and through the sculpture and to activate it by plugging smartphones into a built-in speaker to amplify music, spoken word, or other sounds.  

Artwork credit: Heather Hart (American, b. 1975), Oracle of Intimation, 2023, mixed media, 435-1/4 × 240 × 128-1/4 in. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields. © Heather Hart. Courtesy of the artist, and Davidson Gallery, New York.   

   
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Pollinator Pavilion, Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood

Part of the Home Again exhibition, debuting 2024, Pollinator Pavilion (2020), an interactive and collaborative architectural sculpture by New York-based artists Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood. The ornate 21.5-foot-tall gazebo is surrounded with native pollinating flowers and hummingbird feeders and decorated with fanciful paintings by Sherwood. The pavilion, which is designed to attract birds, bees, moths, and other pollinators, enables visitors to slow down and become part of nature as they rest on a Victorian sofa where they can observe the ecological process of pollination and feeding. The installation will include plantings indigenous to Indianapolis, complementing the work Newfields has done through its Pollinator Meadow and other efforts to support pollinator populations and expand native species throughout The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park.  

Artwork credit: Mark Dion (American, b. 1961) and Dana Sherwood (American, b. 1977), The Pollinator Pavilion, 2020. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, On loan from the artists. © Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood. Photo courtesy of Peter Aaron. 

   
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This is NOT a Refuge, Anila Quayyum Agha  

Part of the Home Again exhibition, debuting 2024, This is NOT a Refuge (2018) by Pakistan-born, Indianapolis-based artist Anila Quayyum Agha reflects on the loss and displacement experienced by refugees from various regions of the world. With Agha’s signature laser-etched floral patterning inspired by Islamic art and architecture, the work is both perceptually soothing and conceptually challenging. Visitors may sit on a bench inside the white filigree house-shaped structure and listen to recordings of over a dozen immigrants and refugees living in Indianapolis. They share stories that provide hope or humor within cultural differences, while others illustrate the reality of living within a system where the cards are stacked against them. These experiences are woven into a looping bed of sounds, instruments, and voices, representing the millions of immigrants who have shared in the journey to safety and relocation. 

Artwork credit: Anila Quayyum Agha (Pakistani-American, b. 1965), Installation view at the Philbrook Museum of Art of This is NOT a Refuge, 2018, laser cut, powder coated, aluminum steel plate, 12 × 10 × 8 ft. with a 4 × 18 ft. wood bench inside. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park, On loan from the artist. © Anila Quayyum Agha. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

ARTWORK ON VIEW:

 
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Bench Around the Lake, Jeppe Jein

Jeppe Hein envisioned the 15 vivid yellow benches as one enormous bench that emerges from the ground, twists, turns, and submerges again, forming a circuit around the park’s 35-acre lake and the bordering bank of the White River. The work challenges the assumption that benches are made for passive sitting. Instead they can be the inspiration for playfulness and joy. Colorful glimpses of the benches encourage visitors to explore less frequented areas of The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park and provide opportunities to slow down, rest, look, and listen. 

 

Artwork credit: Jeppe Hein (Danish, b. 1974), Bench Around the Lake (detail), 2010, galvanized steel, yellow paint, various dimensions. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Jane Weldon Myers Acquisition Fund, Waller Fine Art Purchase Fund, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Mrs. Pierre F. Goodrich Endowed Art Fund, Alice and Kirk McKinney Fund, 2014.103A-O. © Jeppe Hein, Courtesy of Johann König, Berlin, and 303 Gallery, New York  

   
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Free Basket, Los Carpinteros

For the large-scale site-responsive sculpture Free Basket, the former collaborative Los Carpinteros, originally based in Havana, used the dimensions of an international basketball court to create a massive surreal participatory sculpture. Free Basket juxtaposes the familiar and the imaginary, while offering the community an unlikely place to play. The soaring blue and red steel arcs suggest two opposing teams and approximate the invisible pathways of basketballs bouncing and flying through the air. In developing their project, Los Carpinteros referenced the rich history of basketball in the city of Indianapolis, creating an iconic, socially interactive venue that merges art, sports, and culture. Free Basket is Los Carpinteros’ first permanent public commission in the United States and was the first project in the park to be acquired permanently by Newfields. 

 

Artwork credit: Los Carpinteros (Cuban, founded 1991), Free Basket (detail), 2010, steel, paint, plastic, various dimensions. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by the Griffith Foundation Gift, in memory of Melvin Simon, 2010.217. © Los Carpinteros 

   
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Funky Bones, Atelier Van Lieshout 

Funky Bones is a group of 20 white bone-shaped benches emblazoned with black drawings of bones that form an enormous stylized human skeleton. During visits to Indianapolis, Van Lieshout explored the wetlands and flood plain in which the park is situated. The skeleton appears in the meadow like an excavated archaeological specimen, relating to the artist’s interest in prehistory and relics as well as his other sculptural investigations of the human body. Believing that this project should have utility, he designed the benches as sites for resting, climbing, picnicking, and playing. Funky Bones is located in The Hawryluk Sculpture Green and has achieved worldwide recognition through its inclusion in Indianapolis author John Green's book  The Fault in Our Stars

 

Artwork credit: Atelier van Lieshout (Dutch, founded 1995), Funky Bones, 2010, fiberglass, plywood, dimensions vary. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. © Atelier van Lieshout 

   
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Park of the Laments, Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar created a poetic new project, Park of the Laments, in the woodland area southeast of the lake. Known for a critical series of public interventions staged across the world, this is his first permanent one in the United States. It’s a square within a square, one rigid and made of limestone-filled Gabion baskets, the other soft and organic, made of indigenous trees, grass, and shrubs. Visitors enter the work through a cool, dark underground concrete tunnel. Moving towards the light ahead, they enter a tiered area filled with native plantings and a central set of stairs that lead them above ground into the center of the park. Simple wooden benches form another interior square where visitors can sit while they occupy this contemplative space. Jaar described Park of the Laments as a refuge, a place for lamentation and purging the global atrocities of the 20th and 21st centuries. Closed from Nov 1 - April 1.

Artwork credit: Alfredo Jaar (Chilean, b. 1956), Park of the Laments (detail), 2010, soil, limestone, Gabion baskets, concrete, plants, wood, 144 × 2,160 × 2,160 in. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Purchased with funds provided by Martha Delzell Memorial Fund, Frank Curtis Springer & Irving Moxley Springer Purchase Fund, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Van Vorhees Art Fund, Jane Weldon Myers Acquisition Fund, E. Hardey Adriance Fine Arts Acquisition Fund in memory of Marguerite Hardey Adriance, The Ballard Fund, Mrs. Pierre F. Goodrich Endowed Art Fund, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Martha M. Shertzer Art Purchase Fund in Memory of Her Nephew, Charles S. Sands, Elizabeth S. Lawton Fine Art Fund, Emma Harter Sweetser Fund, through prior gift of Wally Findlay Galleries, Chicago, Illinois in honor of William Wadsworth Findlay, Anonymous IV Art Fund, James V. Sweetser Fund, 2015.15. © Alfredo Jaar   

   
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Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, Marlon Blackwell 

The Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion serves as the cornerstone of the park and is one of the region’s signature architectural landmarks. This LEED-certified model for environmentally harmonious design and construction is situated in the northeast corner of the park. The Pavilion’s structure takes its inspiration from a folded, desiccated leaf that architect Marlon Blackwell discovered during one of his site visits. Blackwell partnered with the late landscape architect Edward L. Blake Jr. and together they approached the building and landscape as part of a poetic whole inextricably linked to nature and art. Here you will find an intimate, secluded space for educational programs, artist talks, performances, lectures, and readings as well as a quiet place to help gain a deeper understanding of how art and nature cohabitate.  

Credit line: Ruth Lilly Visitors Pavilion, 2010, designed by Marlon Blackwell Architect. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park. © Marlon Blackwell Architect. Courtesy of Newfields. 

   
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Stratum Pier, Kendall Buster

Stratum Pier consists of a series of organically shaped and layered platforms at the water’s edge that provides a vantage point for observing the expansive 35-acre lake and woodlands. The design of the emerald green fiberglass and steel structure was developed based on a topographical map of the park; stacked organic, overlapping layers appear to extrude from the shoreline, suggesting the natural processes of erosion and layered growth. The project embraces its location in a floodway by allowing water to flow over the lower areas during heavy rains so that only the topmost section can be seen. Buster designed the sculpture so that it would transform with the ebb and flow of the White River, embracing the natural processes found throughout the park. 

Artwork credit: Kendall Buster (American, b. 1954), Stratum Pier (detail), 2010, concrete, steel, fiberglass, various dimensions. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. © Kendall Buster.   

   
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Team Building (Align), Type A 

The New York-based artist duo Type A created the site-specific sculptural installation Team Building (Align). Consisting of two 30-foot-wide metal rings suspended from telephone poles, the sculpture is oriented so that the rings’ shadows slowly come into alignment throughout the year, culminating in a single unified ring during the summer solstice. The designated time of alignment as well as the size of the rings were determined by a team of Newfields staff members who worked with the artists over a two-year period on a real-time experiential art performance. From philosophical conversations about art and astronomy to physically rigorous challenge courses, Type A and the Newfields team collaborated to develop a sculptural form that could metaphorically convey the spirit and complexity of their shared collaboration. The project generated photographs, blogs, and videos that document the evolution of the final artwork. 

Artwork credit: Type A (American, founded 1998), Team Building (Align), 2010, aluminum, steel cables, telephone poles, 2 rings of 30 in. circumference, each. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. © Type A 

   

PAST PROJECTS:

Artwork credit: Jeppe Hein, Bench Around the Lake (detail), 2010. The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park at Newfields, Commissioned by the Indianapolis Museum of Art, Jane Weldon Myers Acquisition Fund, Waller Fine Art Purchase Fund, Roger G. Wolcott Fund, Mrs. Pierre F. Goodrich Endowed Art Fund, Alice and Kirk McKinney Fund, 2014.103A-O. © Jeppe Hein, Courtesy of Johann König, Berlin, and 303 Gallery, New York