The IMA stuns with False Ceiling – Indianapolis

Entering the grand lobby of the Indianapolis Museum Of Art on Tuesday morning was a bibliophile’s dream.
Books were scattered everywhere – on tarps awaiting handling, partially suspended from the ceiling in mid-install and stacked on a cart supervised by students of the Herron School Of Art and Design. I had never witnessed the creation of an art installation before and was immediately taken with the busy activity.
“Would you like to meet Richard?” That was Stephanie Perry, Public Relations Manager for the Indianapolis Museum Of Art. She was referring of course to the revered Richard Wentworth, a British artist, curator and teacher commissioned by the IMA for False Ceiling – Indianapolis, an installation opening Friday, September 25th.
Artist Richard Wentworth supervises from underneath his False Ceiling - Indianapolis installation
Artist Richard Wentworth supervises from underneath his False Ceiling – Indianapolis installation
Just placing those 3 professions after Richard’s name feels hardly descriptive enough – he’s considered one of the most influential living British artists. One miniature conversation with him immediately opened my eyes to his magnificent knowledge of sculptural art, history, the influence of digital media and frankly, books.
“I wasn’t allowed to read books as a child. I discovered through it that everyone values books for different reasons – the present act of looking at a book is now considered almost folkloric.” The backgrounder on the False Ceiling – Indianapolis installation was fascinating to hear firsthand from Richard {the permanent installation is housed at the Istanbul Museum Of Modern Art Collection in Istanbul, Turkey}.
{left} Members of Richard Wentworth’s team work to install the False Ceiling – Indianapolis exhibit; {right} a lobby sign announces the opening date to visitors


You may recall the IMA requesting the public’s help in donating books for this piece. And they came in droves. The final number is known to only a few museum staffers – fun extensions of the installation are planned including:
  • o A guessing contest for visitors: How many books are being used?
  • o Public vote on their favorite type of book genre {drop tokens in the bucket to vote for yours!}
  • o IMA Staff member activities
Visitors will find the various donated titles suspended from the lobby ceiling via wire, thanks to a hole drilled through each book. It’s a fascinating sight: Thoreau suspended near Michael Crichton near a book about interior decorating. Richard envisions visitors laying on the floor underneath to take it all in – the horizontal view offering something different than the vertical.
The project is worth the stop. And even if you aren’t a membership-card-carrying family, that’s okay: Entrance to the IMA Lobby is free of charge. So go make use of it.


MORE INFO: False Ceiling – Indianapolis opens in the Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion at the Indianapolis Museum Of Art on Friday, 9/25 and remains thru June 2016. Entrance to the Lobby is free of charge and does not require museum admission. For more details on the exhibit, visit The IMA is located at 4000 Michigan Road in Indianapolis. Call (317) 923-1331 for more info.

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