This basic design of this piece was originally used for a sign commissioned for the New York World’s Fair. It was an electric sign, with flashing lights. People mistook it for a sign for a diner, and they crowded about it to find something to eat. If we take that same image but replace the word on the sign with “ART”, does the whole idea transfer, and Robert Indiana is trying to advertise art? And if we agree, what do we make of art—is it something commodified? That view would almost diminish art by making it a commodity. Yet this is out of the spirit of Indiana’s work. So what happens when we advertise art?
In what spirit did this gallery decide to set up poets with typewriters around Annapolis, allowing anyone off the street to commission their own poem? Like the Indiana piece at the World’s Fair, we were advertising art. The one station I stopped at, the poets were swamped, and the people were crowding. Did they crowd for novelty? Not every man gets to be a patron of the arts—and this was in a way that opportunity. But to commission a poet is to bring custom beauty into your life. On some theme you give, you are represented in the art of the poet. That is in the spirit of Indiana’s work.
—Will Harrington, SJC Student
This exhibition is generously supported by Annapolis Subaru.
Additional support provided by Mark Baganz and Laura Salladin, Deborah Bowerman Coons and Jana Bowerman Sample, Anna E. Greenberg,Tara Balfe Clifford/ Cliftara Bed ’n Breakfast, and an Anonymous Donor.
The Mitchell Gallery relies on community commitment, through generous individual donors and corporate memberships, to support its diverse exhibitions and programs.
We thank the following for their continuous funding and support: Anne Arundel County, Arts Council of Anne Arundel County, Chesapeake Medical Imaging, City of Annapolis, Helena Foundation, Maryland State Arts Council, Estate of Elizabeth Myers Mitchell, Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors, Members of the Mitchell Gallery, Mrs. Ruth Mitchell, John and Hilda Moore Fund, National Endowment for the Arts, Lillian Vanous Nutt Mitchell Gallery Endowment, and the Clare Eddy and Eugene V. Thaw Fine Arts Fund.
Gifts in kind: Annapolis Home, Art Things, Inc., Kathleen McSherry, Up.St.Art Annapolis, and What’s Up? Media.