The Lubeznik Center for the Arts in Michigan City is showcasing two exhibits that include the work of acclaimed Chicago artist Theaster Gates and Lego versions of novelist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and serial killer Belle Gunness.
The art center at 101 W. 2nd St., between downtown Michigan City and the Lake Michigan lakefront, is currently hanging "Lost and Looking" in the Hyndman Gallery, the Brinka/Cross Gallery and the Susan Block Gallery.
The group exhibit features the work of Gates, Gertrude Abercrombie, Amy Honchell, Kelly Kristin Jones, Labor Camp, Suzanne Cohan Lange, Rick Lange, Bobbi Meier, Robyn O'Neil, Rodney Passė, Nina Rizzo and Alison Ruttan.
"Considering how place and loss affect us all, artists included in Lost and Looking use memory as a device to confront the reality of our pasts, and imagination as a device to confront the reality of our futures," the Lubeznik said in a news release. "While places from our personal and collective histories help define us, memory and imagination remain fluid and ever-changing in the mind’s eye. These artists explore how true or fictionalized memories can be, how accurate or inaccurate recorded history truly is, and how all of these abstract qualities inform our futures. Searching for and finding our place — both spiritually and physically — often directs an entire life’s meaning. This ever-shifting landscape — be it personal, collective, or historical — drives these artists in their quest for higher meaning."
Gates is a University of Chicago professor whose art has been exhibited internationally and whose Rebuild Foundation has worked to transform the South Side with art projects, such as turning the grand but abandoned Stony Island State Savings Bank into the Stony Island Arts Bank that houses the book collection of Ebony and Jet publisher John E. Johnson and the record collection of house music godfather Frankie Knuckles.
The Lubeznik is showcasing pieces and videos Gates did with the "To Speculate Darkly: Theaster Gates and Dave the Potter" exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art, highlighting the craftsmanship of David Drake, also known as Dave the Potter, the first enslaved potter to inscribe his work.
The art center also is displaying "Inspired/Inspire," which highlights the artwork of art educators at Michigan City Area Schools.
“Through these trying times, we have tapped our creative abilities to find a means to express and help heal ourselves with the hope that it will also help heal others,” participating artist and educator Samantha Rich said.
Holly Beadles, Diane Grams, Samantha Rich, Erin Ledyard, Karen Maudlin, Julie Pitman, Sarah Quartuccio, Matthew Raney, Kelly Tokoly-Rothermel, Susanne Vigen and Cheri Whitler are exhibiting paintings, photography, drawing and sculpture at the group show. Pitman created large-scale Lego sculptures of the Indianapolis native Vonnegut of "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "Breakfast of Champions" fame and the LaPorte farm of the serial killer Gunness, believed to have murdered at least 14 suitors she lured there with "lonely hearts" newspaper ads.
“We’re thrilled to display this exhibit to honor our district’s art teachers, and we’re grateful for their resilience and creativity during these difficult times. Their inspiration is indeed a catalyst for what they offer their students each and every day, and this exhibit exemplifies their important work,” said Hannah Hammond-Hagman, LCA’s Education Director."
"Inspired/Inspire" will be on view through April 30 in the NIPSCO Education Studio Gallery at Lubeznik Center for the Arts. "Lost and Looking" will be displayed in the Lubeznik's other galleries through June 5.