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Megan Abajian
School of Fine Arts Gallery

Jennifer Piurek
University Communications

Last modified: Thursday, August 21, 2008

Indiana University artists use moving trucks as a mobile gallery space

School of Fine Arts gallery's "HUB" show challenges traditional notion of gallery space

August 21, 2008

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Can't get the people into the gallery? A new show from the School of Fine Arts (SoFA) gallery at Indiana University brings the gallery to the people, with a side of corn dogs.

Jonathan Dankenbring

Jonathan Dankenbring prepares for the School of Fine Arts Gallery's HUB exhibit, opening Sept. 5 at Indiana University.

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"HUB Phase I: A Collaboration of Art and Space," opening Sept. 5, will showcase sculptures created by three MFA students from IU's Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts as well the work of Rob Off, associate director of the SoFA Gallery. From Sept. 5-Sept. 27, the structures can be viewed in the SoFA Gallery.

The artists will then reconfigure their work from the expansive gallery space for HUB Phase II (Oct. 3-4), to fit snugly inside of four Penske moving trucks that will be joined by a platform-like "hub" at the McCalla School on 10th Street and Indiana Avenue in the large field north of the building. A fifth truck will serve as a reception area and will contain information about the project.

Betsy Stirratt

Betsy Stirratt

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"Some artists will put pieces inside of other pieces. Some will turn sculptures into a structure you can walk inside of," said Betsy Stirratt, director of the SoFA Gallery. "The underlying idea is that art can be seen anywhere. Art doesn't have to simply be shown in a gallery or museum; it can be transformed by the viewing circumstances and the environment in which it is shown."

Stirratt plans to create a festive, carnival-like atmosphere for HUB Phase II, complete with corn dogs for sale, to drive home the point of art anywhere and for everyone.

Derek Parker, Jonathan Dankenbring and LaRinda Meinburg, the three master's students who initially conceptualized the HUB, worked in close collaboration with Off and Stirratt on logistics and funding for the project.

Off said the students' idea sparked his interest initially because of its potential to "have greater life after the SoFA Gallery and Bloomington," as well as his personal interest in an increasingly transient population. "I've been in Bloomington four years, and that's the longest I've been in any place," Off said. "A lot of what I make is collapsible and transportable. It has to be able to squish down to fit in the back of a truck or storage space." Off will transform his moving truck to display his version of a sustainable living space: a plastic bubble.

Meinburg, who will graduate with an MFA in 2009, said her work was inspired by the idea of the moving truck. "Moving trucks made me think of people moving from old homes into new homes, which brought my thoughts to urban sprawl," she said. "I have created mold-like objects made out of phone books and positioned them on a map interpretation," said Meinburg, who is showing one piece at HUB Phase I and adding prints to accompany the piece for HUB II.

Derek Parker

Derek Parker welds together part of the HUB.

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Stirratt said the show's unifying theme is transformation. "This exhibition takes on an anthropological role, with installations that explore urban sprawl, the definition of living space, consumer design and the collective unconscious," she said.

Once the exhibit concludes, it will be free to travel to site-specific venues (Kentucky and Indianapolis are likely first stops) where local artists will be invited to participate by adding their art to the mix.

"My hope for the project is that it doesn't end here," said Meinburg. "HUB is like a combination of a travel mug and IKEA flat-pack furniture: just set up anywhere there's room. The idea isn't for us to always have a place to show work; people can contact us, and they can use it to create their own exhibition space. We want it to go beyond us."

Schedule of Events

HUB Phase I: A Collaboration of Art and Space opens with a reception Friday, Sept. 5, 7 p.m.-9 p.m. in the SoFA Gallery (this exhibit opens simultaneously with "Vacation '08") and continues through Sept. 27.

HUB Phase II opens Friday, Oct. 3, 6 p.m.-10 p.m. and continues Saturday, Oct. 4 from noon-6 p.m. at the McCalla School at 10th and Indiana, in the field north of the building. All events are free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the SoFA Gallery at 812-855-8490 or Visit the SoFA Gallery at The SoFA Gallery is accessible to people with disabilities. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Friday, 12-4 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.