THIS JUST IN: A new name and strategy for Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art

Lauren Zoll’s Black Bean, which will be part of the Indianapolis Contemporary exhibition opening July 17 at Ash & Elm.

Since its creation in 2001, the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary art – known to most as iMOCA – has existed in several formats, sometimes with a brick-and-mortar presence, sometimes not.

But always as a gallery, never as a “museum.”

Now, following an “organizational refresh” announced in January, iMOCA has a new identity – Indianapolis Contemporary. Or, in today’s world of compulsory abbreviations: “I/C.” Consulting director Michael Kaufman said the new branding includes a new look, an innovative approach, upcoming exhibitions, and programming.

The reorganization ends a run of “permanent” locations for the contemporary art organization. In 2004, it found a home in the Emelie Building at Capitol and Indiana avenues (later home to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library). In 2009 iMOCA was relocated in the Murphy Building in the heart of Fountain Square. In 2014, iMOCA opened a second gallery space in the CityWay development, a location which later became its sole home after the Fountain Square gallery was shuttered. The CityWay Gallery

The days of a permanent home are over, as is the original name. Indianapolis Contemporary will emerge on Wednesday, July 17, with an exhibit in the building housing Ash & Elm on East Washington St.

Collaboration will continue to be the hallmark of the organization, according to a press release dated May 20. In addition to eschewing a permanent space in favor of a multi-site approach capitalizing on community partnerships, I/C’s first exhibition, Synthesis, will brings together Brooklyn-based Victoria Manganiello and Indianapolis artist Lauren Zoll. Together they will examine the intersections between cultural production, history, materiality, and technology. The exhibit will continue through Aug. 4.

According to the May 20 press release, the impetus for the transformation stemmed from a feasibility study which revealed the need to clarify purpose, reimagine the organization, and differentiate itself in the cultural landscape.

“Indianapolis is rich in its variety of arts programming and organizations, and we wanted to think critically about how we fit in that picture and what unique point of view we can bring,” Kaufmann said. “We spoke with our partners, donors, and board members and developed a path forward that is aesthetically compelling, conceptually rigorous, and socially impactful.”

Going forward, I/C will continue its mission to connect people to innovative and inspiring art of our time, Kaufman said. What has changed is the approach, which will be multi-site oriented and include exhibitions and programming beyond visual art.

As noted after the January announcement, Indianapolis Contemporary is partnering with Hoy Polloy to program a space at 10th Street and Beville Avenue. Named Re:Public, the space is part of the 10 East Art + Design District. Clayton Hamilton will be the inaugural artist in residence, with an exhibition date to be announced soon.

A mural by Artur Silva will be created this summer at the Re:Public space. Hoy Polloy and I/C are working collaboratively to facilitate free, year-round, community-based programming at the space. Programs will include the annual Wonderland film festival, regular art activities, and quarterly exhibitions.

The 10th Street arts initiative is being led by the John Boner Neighborhood Centers, which was a grant recipient of Lilly Endowment’s Strengthening Indianapolis Through Arts and Cultural Innovation Initiative , and is in collaboration with six local arts organizations – NEAR, Englewood CDC, and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership.

Coinciding with the launch of the new brand, I/C is debuting Abstract, an arts writing series. Abstract will be published monthly online, via email, and in special print editions. Content will include artist interviews, thought-provoking essays, experimental prose, visual art, and playlists by musicians. The first issue features art by Deb Sokolow, an essay by Laura Holzman, a playlist by musician Xenia Rubinos, and a visual poem by Bree Jo’ann.