You've got to love the Indianapolis Museum of Art. We went there last night to hear the On the Road opening night concert with David Amram. Admission to the museum was, as always, free as was the concert, the On the Road exhibit, the Paris Posters exhibit, and the Simply Halston exhibit. Occasionally, there are special exhibits that have an admission fee but none of these that we checked out last night did. Be sure to donate in the boxes at the main entrance though to show this great museum some love. The Paris posters were beautiful and they are in the one of the European Art galleries on your immediate left as you enter the Pulliam Great Hall. The Halston dresses were gorgeous and take you back to a time when you needed "the perfect disco dress". The On the Road exhibit was fascinating and inspiring. As much as you hear about this scroll that Kerouac wrote on, nothing quite prepares you for the enormity of the thing. And it's only the first 84 feet of the 120 foot long scroll. Halfway through the exhibition, the rest of the text will be rolled out. All of the hard work for him to write it, and for everyone else thereafter to take care of it, is a bit breathtaking. Robert Frank's black and white photos hang around the scroll and they are fascinating. Something about old, candid photographs (a la Walker Evans) just pulls us in as we strive to see every detail that would have seemed mundane then, like what was on a diner menu or how much buttermilk cost. You can even try your hand at typing on an old typewriter that is set up in room off of the main exhibit room. It takes a lot of power to punch a key. Don't miss the TV set up just behind the partition by the typewriter. There are several choices of related programs that you can watch, such as Jack on the Steve Allen Show. The only problem is, if someone is banging away at the typewriter, it can be hard to hear.
Last night, David Amram played some amazing music and gave us some history of the time so hopefully you were there for that. It's not everyday that you get to hear Thelonious Monk at an art museum. There were readings of passages from On the Road and one of them was by Jim Walker, the executive director of Big Car Gallery. We just have to say that we think Jim should record an audiobook of On the Road- what a great voice!
Nuvo has a comprehensive article about all aspects of this exhibit including a list of upcoming related programs such as a screening of Pull My Daisy and the Midwest premiere of On the Road Now: Artists and Writers Respond to Kerouac in the 21st Century.
Thanks IMA, you are a treasure and we encourage everyone to support you. Thanks Mr. Irsay for not plopping this scroll in a vault for 20 years just to watch it increase in value. Speaking as members of the masses, we really appreciate being able to see it. Thank you Mr. Amram (pictured above) for a great concert last night. And thanks Jack Kerouac. Maybe when it took more power to punch a key, writers realized the power of the word more.