Thursday, August 16, 2001

"Sea Key" Matt Berg - Indianapolis Museum of Art - Aug. 16, 2001 - 1 star

"Sea Key," a sculpture by Matt Berg on display in the third floor of the IMA is just a little too close to the Modigliani for my tastes. The IMA has offered Berg as their current artistic talent in a monthly rotation of the finest contemporary Indiana art. This flavor of the month scrap steel and kiln formed glass piece is boring and kind of phallic. it is girder assemblage meets large-scale oven baked blue drug store craft glass. A rusty patinaed steel beam is a sculpted base for what looks like a large keyhole encased in the same rusty steel. Berg should stick to his large-scale, readily identifiable pieces that are not as design challenged. His artist statement that accompanies the piece is completely convoluted and, as an art history professor of mine in college used to say, "cosmic." Is "Sea Key" supposed to be a conceptual puzzle, or is Berg trying to make his art something it's not? His 10-ton "Bear" created for Galyans in Minneapolis is a very common image yet is wonderfully executed. The very cool brushed stainless steel Broad Ripple Village Neighborhood kiosk at College Ave. and the canal is another of his commissions, utilizing the BRNA's house row logo, to top off his construction competency. Berg is capable of more than what is displayed at the IMA. Unlike most, at least he can say he's exhibited at the IMA now. Through Sept. 2. 317-923-1331.

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