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Review: Gravity's Loom, Ball-Nogues Studio, Los Angeles

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4 stars

Efroymson Family Pavilion; Indianapolis Museum of Art. It wasn't that long ago that beauty didn't count for much in contemporary art circles. At best, its value was merely decorative (another term of derision). But, whether academics like it or not, beauty has always got game. One of its latest local manifestations, "Gravity's Loom" by the collaborative Ball-Nogues Studio from L.A., can be found in the Efroymson Family Pavilion, the large circular welcome space at the IMA. Up until now, that space has been a problem, making one's first impression of the museum more akin to visiting a bank or an airport ticket counter. But this installation, deploying 30 miles of multicolored twine hung from two broad points at ceiling level, has necessitated the repositioning of the museum lobby counters to the next floor, making your first experience of the IMA an encounter with a work of art. It's as much a welcome architectural intervention as an aesthetic attraction. As for the work, it's a lovely, variegated swoop that climbs through the pavilion's columnar air, while also dipping almost to the floor, creating the illusion of motion, even flight, and providing an infusion of colors that catch and, in places, even seem to absorb and amplify sunlight. It's an uplifting geometric feat that, yes, is decorative. And beautiful, too. Through Mar. 6; 923-1331, www.imamuseum.org.

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