John G. Moore Jr.: Local Legend

John G. Moore Jr.’s superpower is taking information, distilling it, and making it useful. He is technical and meticulous but, in his art, he doesn’t strive for perfection. His goal is to get you to stop and stare. To pause. To think. To agree, or to disagree.  

Emily Sogard (ES): Your sculpture, Democide, is front and center in the exhibition We. The Culture: Works by The Eighteen Art Collective. Tell me more about it.  
John G. Moore (JGM):
I explore subject matter that people relate to but go BIG. I play with the scale and scope of familiar objects. This sculpture is an extension of my work on the Black Lives Matter mural, following George Floyd’s murder. The air freshener was being criminalized by police departments—not all, but some. I presented about five different prototypes, three paintings and two sculptures (all different subjects) to the curators and after some collaboration we landed on suspending the air freshener from the ceiling in front of the window.  

ES: I had never heard the word democide before seeing your sculpture, is that the case for most people? 
At first, I was considering using the word genocide, but in my research learned the word democide. Democide means the killing of a person by their government, it differs from genocide in that it is killing your own, not an “other”.  

I have been tracking the word democide on Google Trends since the sculpture has been on view. I can see searches for it spike when the museum is open, and more broadly, when I first started searching the word it was a 10 on the Indianapolis heat map, now it can be as high as 100.  

ES: Has the art scene has changed in Indy since the Black Lives Matter movement, mural, and the founding of The Eighteen Art Collective? 
Yes. Indianapolis is a big, powerful city. We have a creative economy here, and this opened people’s eyes to it. It is really beginning to churn now. You don’t have to go to New York, L.A., or even Chicago to be an artist or a patron anymore. We have it here, artists, galleries, museums, studios, an infrastructure for a creative economy. We have it here.  

ES: How has your experience being an artist in this city evolved since the #BLM movement? 
This experience, having my work in the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has amped up what I do and what I want to do. Now I hear about exhibitions, shows, festivals before they happen, not after! Now I am working with more time to plan ahead and think about pieces. I used to work with one show in mind, now I am always working and have three or more works completed and ready to go.  

ES: What’s next? 
BUTTER! I have three pieces in BUTTER fine art fair this Labor Day weekend. When I leave here, I am going to go finish a piece on Hip Hop that will be in the show.  

Democide will be on view in We. The Culture: Works by The Eighteen Art Collective in the Indianapolis Museum of Art through September 24, 2023. You can check out John G. Moore’s pieces in BUTTER fine art fair this Labor Day weekend.  

Exhibition Credits: 

We. The Culture: Works by The Eighteen Art Collective is presented by Aaron Wealth Advisors, Gary & Hannah Hirschberg. Lead support is provided by Rachel M. Simon & the Herbert Simon Family Foundation and June McCormack. Associate support is provided by IceMiller and its Racial Equity Solutions Team. Additional support is provided by Judy Donner, Nathan & Deborah Oatts, and Emily A. West. 

Image Credits:  

Installation view of We. The Culture: Works by The Eighteen Art Collective in the June M. McCormack Forefront Galleries, September 23, 2022–September 24, 2023. Artworks © their respective creators.