The longer term is now in Newfields with Van Gogh’s digital exhibition “THE LUME” in Indianapolis

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The future is now in Newfields with Van Gogh's digital exhibition

Installation rendering of “THE LUME Indianapolis” in Newfields: A Place for Nature and Art.

Image courtesy of Grande Experiences

The future now lies with Newfields.

Technology is no longer just used to improve the visitor experience. It won’t be an add-on. It won’t be extra.

Technology will be the attraction, as will sculptures, ceramics or paintings.

In the future, the technology will be included in the institution’s program, as will the Robert Indiana “LOVE” sculpture, the first and largest of its kind that he has ever created. Just like the prestigious collection of Japanese works of art from the Edo period. Just like his Van Gogh oil painting at the height of his powers.

And Van Gogh, who died over 130 years ago, will allow Newfields to make the leap when THE LUME Indianapolis debuts in June 2021.

The experience will be the largest exhibition in Newfields’ 137-year history. Almost 150 digital projectors transform Van Gogh’s two-dimensional paintings into a three-dimensional world that guests can explore from floor to ceiling on the entire fourth floor of the museum. almost 30,000 square meters.

The opening of THE LUME in Indianapolis marks the first time that guests can experience a digital gallery of this scale and sophistication in an art museum in the United States.

“I am delighted that we were able to work with Grande Experiences to be the first museum in the country to make full use of the future of digital exhibitions,” said Dr. Charles L. Venable, director and CEO of The Melvin & Bren Simon at Newfields, said when announcing the exhibition today. “My experiences on other continents have shown how the combination of cutting-edge digital projection technology and great works of art can motivate new audiences for art exhibitions.”

Installation rendering of

Installation rendering of “THE LUME Indianapolis” in Newfields: A Place for Nature and Art.

Image courtesy of Grande Experiences

Venable pointed out in an interview with Forbes.com that the digital direction Newfields is taking is the result of an enormous amount of research.

“How do you crack the code because over 76% of Americans never go to an art museum,” Venable told Forbes.com. “We have to figure out how to get out of this box. We have to have a wider audience and more diverse people.”

Venables and coworkers spent five years around the world engaged in motivating art consumers and innovative digital exhibitions. Many of their actions were informed by “Culture Track”, a national online survey carried out every three years to identify attitudes, motivators and barriers to participation by cultural consumers.

The results were breathtaking.

According to “Culture Track ’17”, “the definition of culture has democratized, possibly to the point of extinction”.

Community festivals and fairs, drinking and eating, street art and art in public spaces, films and television are now viewed by the public as “cultural activities” or, as stated in “Culture Track ’17”, “Culture can be anything from Caravaggio after Coachella. “

Visual arts membership and performing arts subscriptions decreased from 2011 to 2017. Respondents were twice as loyal to restaurants and bars as cultural organizations. Their biggest motivator for participating in a cultural activity was “having fun” at 81%, followed by “interest in content” (78%) and “experiencing new things” (76%).

The main obstacle to cultural participation among respondents: “It’s not for someone like me.”

Installation rendering of

Installation rendering of “THE LUME Indianapolis” in Newfields: A Place for Nature and Art.

Image courtesy of Grande Experiences

Newfields strives to be there for everyone, and Venable’s leadership of the institution has been defined by unconventional and controversial endeavors. One of the most important was the renaming of the Indianapolis Museum of Art to Newfields: A Place for Nature and Art in 2017.

The focus was on the “art” and on the historic house and the wooded grounds of the property.

Remember, Newfields has one of America’s elite art collections. It’s deep, it’s wide, it’s world-class in a myriad of areas with a handful of crown jewels that could be proud of in any art museum in the world, including Van Gogh’s Landscape in Saint-Rémy (1889) view during THE LUME.

Another high-ranking traditionalist, Newfields, embarked on an aggressive calendar of seasonal outdoor festivals that further emphasized traditional art exhibitions. These big, boisterous, parking lot-flooded, revenue-generating festivals with live music, grocery vendors, and beer gardens draw audiences with little interest in Van Gogh, Edo Period screens, or Robert Indiana.

“This is vital, museums like ours. If we don’t get there in a relevant way (the general non-art museum that goes to the public), we will continue to see a flat presence, as has been the case for the past 30 years, “Venables said. “Our audience is aging too, that’s not a good trajectory. I want us to expand our audience to greet a wide range of people. There is also an economic aspect. “

According to Venables, a traditional Van Gogh display of 50 paintings would cost Newfields millions to stage between acquiring the loans, transportation, and insurance. It would never make money back. In addition, many of the artist’s best-known paintings, The Starry Night and Sunflowers, would not be included anyway, as they rarely, if ever, leave their home institutions.

THE LUME, short for Luminarium, features nearly 3,000 moving images of the artworks featured in a classical music score along with the artist’s most famous paintings, including The Starry Night and Sunflowers, paintings that would cost a fortune and years of travel around the world personally.

THE LUME Indianapolis and the expansion of the fourth floor of Newfields for this and future digital exhibitions are made possible by funding from the local Lilly Endowment Inc. This is important to note. This won’t be a one-time deal. Venables is committed to this direction.

Installation rendering of

Installation rendering of “THE LUME Indianapolis” in Newfields: A Place for Nature and Art.

Image courtesy of Grande Experiences

As with his other decisions, he expects some level of backlash.

“(The) US has been quite resilient to this link between art and technology compared to Europe,” Venables said. Even so, he is confident that the target audience he is addressing, “no graduate students who want to take their family with them, have a good time and get away from their depression with Covid and everything else that is going on,” will respond positively.

To make sure that this “cultural attraction” as Newfields describes it – note that the word is not in this nickname (art) – it offers numerous opportunities for social media engagement, food, drink – including alcohol – and in addition to welcoming children for shopping. True to the research “Culture Track ’17”, THE LUME was developed to “have fun” and “experience new things”.

A key in Indianapolis has been noted by the city’s Mayor Joe Hogsett. Hogsett is an unusual face at the Newfields press events, but he was there today and reaffirmed the institution and the city’s high hopes for the potential of this new direction.