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Learning on a bell curve

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Gravity’s Loom, a site-specific work created by Los Angeles-based design team Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues, is currently hanging in the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s (4000 N. Michigan Road) Efroymson Family Entrance Pavilion. For the best view, I recommend entering the museum through the parking garage and coming up the escalator. The colorful work is made up of more than 30 miles of machine-dyed nylon twine and elicited a “tourist neck” (i.e., suddenly looking straight up as though being confronted by a skyscraper) reaction from me. It really is amazing: the series of strings hang in catenaries, curves that form when the strings, supported at two ends of the pavilion, react to their own weight. I suppose if I’d learned about geometry by seeing exhibits like this one, I might have been more interested in math. Maybe.

One of the phrases in the installation’s description states that the team “works with unconventional materials and fabrication techniques to create immersive environments for social interaction.” Museum patrons can’t help but be part of the art as Gravity’s Loom overtakes the entire lobby. In some places, the strings dip low enough to have to duck under. If there weren’t official-looking museum people in their blazers everywhere, I could imagine getting down on the floor and looking up just to change perspective. As it was, photographing the work from different angles was a good and apparently-allowable start. I would have liked the installation to have been more than one piece but it remains beautiful in its solo display.

The exhibition will be open until March 6. Visit www.imamuseum.org or call 317-923-1331 for museum hours and more information.

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