Information about and documentation of our exhibitions and cultural programs
“The Great Eight” a section from Laura Ortiz Vega’s series of new thread paintings.
Laura Ortiz Vega- No USA Return
November 2-January 19
For her debut solo exhibition, Laura Ortiz Vega presents a new series of thread paintings inspired by the rhetoric surrounding President Trump’s proposed US-Mexico border wall and by her documentation of graffiti in Mexico City, Canada and other cities she had travelled. The exhibit also includes an altar connected to immigrants crossing the desert to America.
For her thread paintings, The Great Eight, on the west wall of the gallery, Vega started with the now famous images of the eight border wall samples President Trump visited in 2017 while they were being tested along the actual border between San Diego and Tijuana.
After listening to the speeches Trump has given about the wall and reading his tweets on the subject, Vega extracted the eight adjectives Trump used most to describe the border wall project. These are: great, biggest, impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful, and incredible. Each word is an imposing declaration. Each wall sample is an impenetrable facade.
Seizing the chance to subvert public perception of these messages, Vega presents the adjectives like graffiti on the border wall samples, turning each section of wall into a billboard that advertises its own alleged attributes in hyperbolic fashion.
Says Vega: “I saw the opportunity to present this matter in a positive note. I envisioned the wall as a blank canvas for expression, a chance to reject the negativity and turn this around.”
Vega models her distinctive thread painting method after the traditional craft techniques of the indigenous Huichol people of western Mexico. She first covers a surface with cera de Campeche, a natural beeswax from the Mexican state of Campeche. She then draws on that surface with cotton Perlé embroidery thread, using a palette knife to embed the thread into the wax. A long delicate process, it takes weeks to finish a single piece. The resulting image-object has a texture reminiscent of an embroidery work, yet it is not textile.
The east wall of the main gallery contains, The Offering/La Ofrenda, an altar made of plastic water jugs inscribed with encouraging messages. The piece references volunteers who leave similar jugs filled with water in the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in Arizona to help prevent illegal immigrants from dying of dehydration during the desert trek to the United States. Vega’s intention is for The Offering/La Ofrenda to honor those that died attempting the crossing and those that made it but will potentially face life long separation from their relatives due to immigration policies.
The south wall of the gallery features works that resulted from Vega’s documentation of graffiti in Mexico, Paris and Canada. She first takes photos then recreates them as thread paintings. Most graffiti in Mexico is quickly covered with paint. So Vega gives them a more permanent place in culture by then preserving them in the thread paintings.
The north wall of the gallery includes several sketches providing insight into Vega’s process.
About Laura Ortiz Vega: Vega was born in Mexico City in 1975. She studied Industrial Design at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, earning her BFA in 2000. Her work has been exhibited extensively, including at the Museo de Arte Popular de la Ciudad de Mexico, Lyons Weir Gallery in New York, The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, Breeze Block Gallery in Portland, OR, and Galerie Ernst Hilger in Vienna, Austria. It has been featured at Zona MACO, Pulse LA and MIAMI, Houston Fine Art Fair, Art Chicago NEXT, Art Market San Francisco, Art Toronto, London Art Fair, PINTA Art Fair, and Supermarket Art Fair, Sweden. It was selected for the Tequila CENTENARIO Award at Zona MACO and was awarded with an Honorific Mention at the Bienal de Artes Visuales de Yucatán in 2009.
Made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, The International Center and Sun King Brewery
Jesse Sugarmann:The people's 500
The People’s 500 was an exploration of the relationship between the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the people of Indianapolis. In October of 2015, Sugarmann chose 100 residents of the Indianapolis community from a pool of applicants to drive two laps in a pace car — the drivers uniting to complete the equivalent of a single running of the Indianapolis 500. Sugarmann and his crew photographed and interviewed each of the drivers, the resulting documentation serving as the material of the exhibition. Sixteen of the drivers were selected as 16 large scale photos, video, and a sculptural piece.
Scott Hocking: rca
Detroit-based Scott Hocking visited Indianapolis in January 2015 and selected the former RCA Factory at Michigan and LaSalle as fodder for his installation in the main gallery in August of 2016. Hocking spent three weeks in Indianapolis gathering materials from the site, documenting, researching, and creating his installation. He hauled over 100 massive hunks of burned Styrofoam, multiple plastic blobs melted by fires, fragmented fast food signage, nifty anthropomorphic food-character murals, and dozens of other artifacts. He brought this all to Tube Factory. And he worked onsite while living in Big Car’s neighboring artist residency home. The resulting installation uses the main gallery as a kind of ceremonial site — the burned Styrofoam mountain could be a dystopian temple or future glacier.
Ben Valentine is an independent writer and curator studying how technology, media, and politics intersect around the world. He’s written and spoken for SXSW, Salon, SFAQ, Hyperallergic, and The New Inquiry, to name a few. Valentine organized several exhibitions on networked culture, including the World’s First Tumblr Art Symposium, with Hyperallergic at 319 Scholes, in Brooklyn; and Unmasking the Network for A Simple Collective in San Francisco. He has helped nonprofits and arts organizations on three continents with marketing, bolster their online presence, and organize public events.
Part of the programming with the Carl Pope: Mari Evans exhibition, Tube Factory artspace hosted Jill is Black, a writer, blogger, and facilitator/trainer/lecturer, focusing on issues of Race, Power, and Privilege in modern-day America. She amassed a diverse following via her social media account, @jillisblack–where her social commentary is centered around inner and outer-community hierarchies, the myth of white fragility and other words for racism, the endlessly-pending and highly-exclusive revolution, and dating and relationships through the eyes of social media.
Mike kelley: Day is done
A screening and discussion of Mike Kelley’s Day Is Done. We discussed Kelley’s techniques for creating psychic distortions and the perceived relationship between the person of the artist and the artistic persona and common concepts related to the Carl Pope: Mari Evans exhibition that was on display at Tube Factory artspace. Day Is Done is a carnivalesque opus, a genre-smashing epic in which vampires, dancing Goths, hillbillies, mimes and demons come together in a kind of subversive musical theater/variety revue by artist Mike Kelley. Running over two-and-a-half hours, this riotous theatrical spectacle unfolds as a series of episodes that form a loose, fractured narrative.
Mari Evans: carl pope
Mari Evans: Carl Pope revolved around Indianapolis-based writer Mari Evans. One of the founders of the Black Arts Movement and longtime Indianapolis resident, Evans published her first work “Where Is All the Music” in 1968 followed by “I Am a Black Woman” in 1970. During this time, Evans also worked as a producer, writer, and director of “The Black Experience” (1968-1973) — a history documentary that aired on prime time in Indianapolis. Located in the main Tube Factory gallery space, the exhibit was a co-curatorial project between Mari Evans, Carl Pope and Shauta Marsh. It consists of a commissioned installation piece by artist Carl Pope related to Evans’s photos, poetry and book of essays, “Clarity as Concept: A Poet’s Perspective.”
Ronaldo V. wilson
As part of the programming with the Carl Pope: Mari Evans, Tube Factory artspace brought Ronaldo V Wilson for a reading and performance. Wilson earned a BA at the University of California-Berkeley, an MA at New York University, and a PhD at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center. Discussing poetry’s role in the American imagination, especially as a tool to combat powerful, persistent ideas about race, the body, and trauma.
Selector Dub Narcotic is the pseudonym of choice for Calvin Johnson when he is re-mixing records for the Dub Narcotic Disco Plate series, or engaged in spinning records at a party or other literary functions. Drawing largely from a stack of 45 rpm phonograph records, Selector Dub Narcotic is known to mix the genres dancehall, soul, punk, garage, R&B, rock steady, bubblegum and rockabilly with assorted curiosities of the current underground music scene.
The hairy man
Since 1721, newspapers in the United States have shared reports of sightings and interactions with beings we call Bigfoot. In Indiana, these sightings have been reported from as close to Indianapolis as the Morgan Monroe State Forest and continue to occur today. The Hairy Man, a historical cryptozoology exhibit was curated by author and Sasquatch expert Christopher Murphy and organized by Tube Factory artspace curator, Shauta Marsh. The Hairy Man, featured artifacts, stories and evidence of Bigfoot’s existence with a focus on the creature as a part of cultural conversations through the centuries. This included an emphasis on the indigenous people of North America. Murphy, who is regarded as one of the top researchers of the history of Bigfoot, originally assembled this collection that contains a 400-pound, 9-foot-tall iron human skeleton, model of a Bigfoot skull, footprint casts, and more.
Prince Rama is the musical duo of sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson. They have lived in ashrams, worked for utopian architects, written manifestos, delivered lectures from pools of fake blood, conducted group exorcisms disguised as VHS workouts, installed art installations at The Whitney, Art Basel and various galleries across the U.S. This concert was recorded live April 9, 2017, 8 p.m. at our sound art space, Listen Hear.
Carlos RolÓn/Dzine:50 Grand
Before language to Hemingway, from the ancient Sumerians to the Greeks to the modern day, there was the sport of boxing. With the exhibit “50 Grand,” Chicago-based artist Carlos Rolón/Dzine presented a dually charged exploration of boxing and domestic culture, inspired by the tactility and performative qualities of boxing, and its relationship to contemporary art at Tube Factory artspace. Within the gallery was an installation of paintings and sculptural fabric works exuberant with color, texture, patterns, and experiments in surface that create a visual dialogue between the physical charge of boxing, the garments worn by the fighters, and the artist’s own childhood home and upbringing as a first-generation immigrant. A series of custom-made trophies titled “Immigrants/Emigrants” (Symbols and Mementos for the Nuyoricans) occupied the den.
larissa hammond: the/ a mind the b mind
“The/a mind the b mind” was a fully commissioned exhibit, featuring four large-scale paintings by Larissa Hammond and one in collaboration with poet Ariana Reines. The exhibit was several years in the making.The paintings themselves are an exploration in communication using a collective unconscious that Hammond built through her writings alongside conversations with Reines.
lashawnda crowe storm/maria hamilton abegunde: keeper of my mothers' dreams
Keeper of My Mothers’ Dreams expanded the dialogues began in Crowe Storm’s works Her Name is Laura Nelson and Be/Coming with newly commissioned pieces: Poems, Origin and Sister Song. The writings and libation bowl added new layers to the experiences of remembering words and performances that examine how the abuse, loss, and commodification of one’s womanhood and humanity can be transformed through processes that lead to healing and the re-birthing and re/making of identity. Each piece exhibited in Keeper of My Mothers’ Dreams was developed with the hands of many.
Audrey Barcio: Under influence
Heritage is a pressing concern to our generation. Should we allow the past to influence us—are we bound to ancient tools, materials and techniques? Or should we endeavor to make work that is specific to our time, embracing technology and its untested, ambivalent ramifications? If we do, are we at risk of becoming complicit in a catastrophe, or a pale reflection of something fleeting? In her solo exhibition Under Influence at Tube Factory Artspace in Indianapolis, Audrey Barcio explores these questions in a new series of paintings that examines where the heritage of Modernism intersects with the tools of the Virtual Industrial Age. Her starting point for this body of work is the iconic grey and white checkerboard pattern recognized by contemporary digital designers as a symbol for emptiness waiting to be filled. Transforming that virtual nothingness into concrete form, Barcio employs it to empower interpretations of the iconographic legacy of our Modernist forbearers.
Julianna Barwick/mas ySA
2016 Brooklyn experimental artist Julianna Barwick was on tour with the release of Will, her revelatory third full-length album. Conceived and self-produced over the past year in a variety of locations, the ominous, compelling Will is a departure from 2013’s Alex Somers-produced Nepenthe. If that last record conjured images of gentle, thick fog rolling over desolate mountains, then Will is a late afternoon thunderstorm, a cathartic collision of sharp and soft textures that sounds looming and restorative all at once.
Christos Koutsouras: Land Art (telling trees)
Deeply rooted in place, Land Art (Telling Trees) was inspired by a large-scale fire that tore apart the island of Samos, Greece — the birthplace of the artist. Koutsouras first approached this theme in 1994 after a fire destroyed much of the vegetation on the island. When a massive fire again hit Samos two years ago, he returned to this theme and finished the work he started 20 years ago. Koutsouras envisions the white trees he painted juxtaposed with the black landscape as a visual reference to the act of fire. He shares that his objective was, from the beginning, to talk into the people’s consciousness and show the force of the action. Koutsouras wanted to do more than just create an image. This was a work in progress over several years, starting with a spontaneous reaction back on time.
A full commission, Land Art (Telling Trees) includes large photographs manipulated by Koutsouras in different ways. Some pieces are painted on, others drawn upon with pencil, and some left intact. The work captures the destruction and rebirth of the forests and fields of Samos from fires that swept through the landscape. He created other works by wrapping paper around the burned trees of Samos and rubbing charcoal imprints. The exhibition also ties Samos and Indianapolis (two places Koutsouras has lived at different times throughout his life) together with a sculpture made from two pine trees from the west side of Indianapolis blown over by straight winds. The 40-year-old trees were saved from rot or becoming mulched by Indy Urban Hardwood.
The upstairs video room featured a documentary about Koutsouras and two other Greek artists by filmmaker Dia Kontaxis, a professor at the University of Miami. Her work has screened at museums, galleries and festivals including Venice (Art Biennale), New York (Tribeca Film Festival), Montreal (Art Fifa), Paris, Athens, Ankara, Lleida, Taipei and Miami (Art Basel). In the video piece at the top, also by Kontaxis, Koutsouras paints the charred trees white to contrast with the blackness of the landscape.
Koutsouras, who studied painting in Germany, often pulls from the instruction of an inspirational teacher and tries to make each work into its own narrative. Each piece must have a beginning, middle and end. The result in this show: a story of the destructive and restorative forces of nature.
Juan William Chávez
Mesa Hive: Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary
August 3- October 20, 2018
These connected projects — related to bees, beekeeping, culture, and community — include an outdoor installation and a resulting exhibit developed by Juan William Chávez, an artist and cultural activist based in St. Louis, during his six-week residency at Tube Factory.
Estos proyectos conectados- relacionadas con abejas, la apicultura, la cultura y la comunidad -incluye una instalación por fuera y una exhibición resultante desarrollada por Juan William Chávez, un artista y activista cultural con sede en St. Louis, durante sus seis semanas de residencia en Tube Factory.
The Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary is a 5-year project in the green space adjacent to Tube Factory that promotes environmental stewardship with the philosophy that a better environment for bees is a healthy environment for humans. This is fostered through Chávez’s pollinator-friendly hexagon design and is associated with a multi layered community outreach program. Located in the Tube Factory’s community garden, the Bee Sanctuary features a multi-color hexagon pattern concrete floor that houses two beehives. Surrounding the hives is a hexagon-shaped cedar eco wall filled with organic soil and is filled with an abundance of native plants and flowers for bees throughout the seasons. The Bee Sanctuary invites the public to wear beekeeping suits to observe and interact with the hives through a multi layered community outreach program that embraces the urban ecosystem, arts education and job training. The Bee Sanctuary embraces the concept of working as a hive. Chávez teamed up with Bee Public, Solful Gardens and TeenWorks on the construction of the sanctuary. TeenWorks is a six-week summer employment and college readiness program for high school seniors. Along with helping build, TeenWorks young people experienced several educational workshops that focus on ecology, plant biology, landscape design, beekeeping and entrepreneurship. Public programming continues over the next five years related to the Bee Sanctuary.
El Indianápolis Bee Sanctuary es un proyecto de cinco años en el espacio verde adyacente a Tube Factory que promueve la administración ambiental con la filosofía de que un mejor medioambiente para las abejas es un ambiente saludable para los humanos. Esto se fomenta a través de los polinizadores amigable del diseño hexagonal de Chávez y está asociado con un programa de alcance comunitario multicapa. Ubicado en el jardín de la comunidad de Tube Factory, el Bee Sanctuary presenta un piso concreto de patrón hexagonal multicolor que reside dos colmenas. Alrededor de las colmenas hay una pared ecológica de cedro en forma de hexágono llena de suelo orgánico y está llena de plantas abundantes y flores nativas para las abejas a lo largo de las estaciones. The Bee Sanctuary invita al público a usar trajes de apicultura
para observar y interactuar con las colmenas a través de un programa de alcance comunitario multicapa que abarca el ecosistema urbano, la educación artística y entrenamiento de trabajo. El Bee Sanctuary adopta el concepto de trabajar como colmena.Chávez se asoció con Bee Public, los artistas de BigCar, Solful Gardens y TeenWorks en la construcción del santuario. TeenWorks es un programa de empleo de verano de seis semanas y preparación de colegio para estudiantes de último año de preparatoria. Además de ayudar a construir, los jóvenes de TeenWorks Richard Underwood, Bryan Martínez, Jorge Gómez y Arnold Freeman experimentaron varios talleres educativos que se centran en la ecología, la biología vegetal, diseño exterior, la apicultura y emprendimiento. Programación pública continuar durante los próximos cinco años relacionados con el Santuario de las abejas. El público puede ponerse los trajes de abeja y/o ir a turísticos educativas, ve a un asistente de la galería para inscribirse.
In Tube Factory’s main gallery, Chávez exhibits Mesa Hive, a multimedia Installation that highlights the process and construction of the Indianapolis Bee Sanctuary. The installation is presented on a large Mylar survival blanket with carefully arranged objects and artifacts created and harvested during the construction process. These objects are juxtaposed with new paintings made by Chávez during the residency. The survival blanket is inspired by Chávez’s Peruvian heritage. It references Mesa, a multicolored bundle containing various sacred objects used for healing in Andean shamanic rituals typically associated with a Huaca, a monument or natural location that represents something revered. The exhibition also includes photo and video documentation of TeenWorks, Chávez, and Big Car artists working on the sanctuary. Documentation includes preparing over 300 hexagon concrete pavers and beekeeping and gardening activities in partnership with Bee Public and Solful Gardens. Mesa Hive is curated by Shauta Marsh.
En la galería principal de Tube Factory, Chávez exhibe Mesa Hive, una instalación multimedia que destaca el proceso y la construcción del Indianápolis Bee Sanctuary. La instalación se presenta en una gran manta de supervivencia Mylar con objetos cuidadosamente arreglados y artefactos creados y cosechados durante el proceso de construcción. Estos objetos están compuestos con nuevas pinturas hechas por Chávez durante la residencia. La manta de supervivencia está inspirada en la herencia peruana de Chávez. En referencia a Mesa, un bulto multicolor que contiene varios objetos sagrados utilizados para la curación en rituales chamánicos andinos típicamente asociados con una Huaca, un monumento o lugar natural que representa algo venerado. La exposición también incluye fotográfica y documentación de video del trabajando en el santuario. La documentación incluye la preparación de más de 300 adoquines hexagonales de concreto y apicultura y actividades de jardinería en asociación con Bee Public y Solful Gardens.
“I’m inspired by artist Joseph Beuys’ works with bees. He viewed bees as a symbol of society due to the nature of how they live and work together. He was also fascinated by the alchemy of honey production and used honey in many of his works. The collectiveness of the hive is a powerful and natural way of living and working. Working together to transform ideas and space plays a major role in my work. Bees teach me how to work within a group, how to build space as a group, how to transform ideas to make honey, and the alchemy of the studio within an ecosystem. For me bees and humans are the same. We enjoy a lot of the same plants and smells. We need them and they need us. A better environment for the bees is a better environment for humans, and as humans we forget that we are part of an ecosystem. Bees remind me of that, which keeps me grounded and connected.
Over the last five years in St. Louis we’ve been honing our concept and practice of a bee sanctuary and feel we were in a position and had the right partnership to try to take that concept to a different city. We are super excited that Indianapolis and the Tube Factory were an ideal partnership for this project.” – Juan William Chávez
"Soy inspirado por el artista Joseph Beuys’ el trabajo con las abejas. El percibo a las abejas como un símbolo de la sociedad debido a la naturaleza de cómo viven y trabajan juntas. También le fascinaba la alquimia de la producción de miel y utilizo la miel en muchas de sus trabajos. La colectividad de la colmena es una manera poderosa y natural de vivir y trabajar. Trabajar juntos para transformar ideas y el espacio juega un rol importante en mi trabajo. Las abejas me enseñan
cómo trabajar dentro de un grupo, cómo construir espacio como grupo, cómo transformar ideas para hacer miel y la alquimia del estudio dentro de un ecosistema. Para mí, las abejas y los humanos son iguales. Disfrutamos de las mismas plantas y olores. Los necesitamos y ellos nos necesitan. Un mejor ambiente para las abejas es un mejor ambiente para los humanos, y como humanos nos olvidamos de que somos parte de un ecosistema. Las abejas me lo recuerdan, lo que me mantiene contacto y conectado a tierra. Durante los últimos cinco años en St. Louis, hemos perfeccionado nuestro concepto y práctica de un santuario de abejas y sentimos que estábamos en una posición y teníamos la asociación adecuada para tratar de llevar ese concepto a una ciudad diferente. Estamos muy entusiasmados de que Indianápolis y Tube Factory fueran una asociación ideal para este proyecto." - Juan William Chávez
Juan William Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who creates and shares space in the built and natural environments to address community-identified issues. At the heart of Chavez’s practice is his studio research, which includes drawings, films, photographs, craft, labor, architectural interventions, and unconventional forms of beekeeping and agriculture. Chávez utilizes art as a way of researching, developing, and implementing projects of creative placemaking and social engagement. His exhibitions feature his studio research in the form of multimedia installations. Chavez has exhibited his work at venues such as ArtPace, Van Abbemuseum, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 21c Museum Hotel, Laumeier Sculpture Park and Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. His interdisciplinary approach to art has gained the attention and support of prestigious institutions like the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, Creative Capital, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, ArtPlace America and Art Matters Foundation. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Juan William Chávez es un artista y activista cultural que crea y comparte espacio en lo construido y entornos naturales para abordar problemas identificados por la comunidad. En el corazón de la práctica de Chávez está la investigación de su estudio, que incluye dibujos, películas, fotografías, artesanía, trabajo, intervenciones arquitectónicas y formas convencionales de apicultura y agricultura. Chávez utiliza el arte como una forma de investigar, desarrollar y implementar proyectos de creación de espacios creativos y compromiso social. Sus exposiciones presentan su estudio de investigación en forma de instalaciones multimedia. Chávez ha expuesto su obra en lugares como ArtPace, Van Abbemuseum, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 21c Museum Hotel, Laumeier Sculpture Park y Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Su enfoque interdisciplinario del arte ha ganado la atención y el apoyo de instituciones de prestigio como la Fundación John Simon Guggenheim, Creative Capital, la Fundación Graham para Estudios Avanzados en Bellas Artes, ArtPlace America y Art Matters Foundation. Chávez sostiene un BFA del Kansas City Art Institute y un MFA del Instituto de la Escuela del Arte de Chicago.
Made Possible by: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, PNC, Penrod Arts Fair, Sun King, OCRA, Managed Health Services