The 2021 Birthday at Newfields, Part 2 of 2: Arts of a Whole

LOVE jazz hands!

The birthday gal and this writer in front of a replica of Robert Indiana’s iconic Love, which I’m pretty sure used to be on the art museum lawn.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. Well, except last October when it was her turn, Anne wanted to keep her special outing simple — a single day spent together here in town. We managed to find some pretty things for the occasion at Newfields, the institution formerly known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art…

The Lume was our primary objective, but it was hardly our only source of enjoyment that day. Arts abounded elsewhere in a variety of forms, beginning even before we arrived at the museum grounds.

First stop was lunch. Cooking can be art. It counts. A few miles from our house is a Peruvian restaurant we hadn’t tried before called Machu Picchu. On this Friday afternoon we were the only customers apart from a single takeout picker-upper. We enjoyed the quiet and the meal.

Machu Picchu restaurant!

Not the most ostentatious storefront, a few doors down from the husk of a former Best Buy.

Machu Picchu mural!

A mural clarifies the breathtaking source of their name.

Peru wall art!

Sample wall art.

Platanos Fritos!

Our appetizer of Platanos Fritos (fried plantains).

Machu Picchu dish!

I copied down the wrong name of my lunch, so I’m not sure what this is apart from the easily identified ingredients, including the shrimp, rice, and potatoes.

(Not pictured: Anne ordered one of their several varieties of Arroz con Pollo.)

Then we were off to Newfields to check out The Lume’s blown-up Van Gogh supermontage as well as any other art that happened to cross our path. We’ve been inside a few times before and weren’t compelled to check out every single exhibit. I should post pics from those past visits sometime, come to think of it.


The cool, non-blocky front portion of Newfields.

Five Brushstrokes!

Their collection of lawn art includes a 2012 installation of Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes, designed back in the ’80s.

outdoor harvest veggies!

Decorative evidence that we did indeed visit in October.

Little Cloud!

First piece inside the front door looks like a giant inflatable merchandising mascot: Little Cloud by Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III.

Plinko escalators!

As seen from the opposite side of the lobby, their escalators resemble a super-sized Plinko game, or its prime-time knockoff The Wall.

Folded Circle Dynamics Red Phase III!

Among their largest, named, non-inflatable pieces: Fletcher Benton, Folded Circle Dynamics Red Phase III, 1973-1976.


The oldest thing we photographed: an earthenware Shar-Pei sculpture, circa year 100.

Standing Bishamonten!

Standing Bishamonten, late 1100s, wood with polychrome paint.

Attendant Bodhisattva!

Attendant Bodhisattva, from Japan circa 1575.

modern decor!

We wandered into one hall dedicated to showcasing modern decor, like IKEA but none of it was for sale. Fair warning: I did a poor job of noting credits on several items.

Etruscan side chair!

An Etruscan side chair.

Casablanca cabinet!

Casablanca cabinet designed by Ettore Sottsass, which reminds me of Aku from Samurai Jack.

03 Slice Chair!

What looks like a fancy aluminum cabinet to hold vinyl records is in fact Mathias Bengtsson’s “03 Slice Chair”.

pointillism chair!

A pointillism armchair inspired by the works of Paul Signac.

heavy metal armchair!

A heavy metal armchair that would be just right for Paul Chadwick’s Concrete if the seat were a bit wider.

orange chair and footstool!

Looking for something softer? Here, have some orange.


These drawers seem impractical, but at least your guests can never ruin them by setting a drink on them.

After The Lume, we followed a lower-level walkway toward a selection of contemporary art, some of them categorized in the “Chicago Imagism” vibe of the 1960s — more of an umbrella label than an intentional movement. I’m unsure where the Vaguely Chicagoan ended and the Miscellaneous Contemporary began.

Bathrobe Series!

Ray Yoshida, an untitled 1971 entry from his Bathrobe Series.

Winter Storm!

Roger Brown, Winter Storm, 1993.

Chicago Hit by the Bomb!

Also by Brown: Chicago Hit by the Bomb, 1985.

Full Circle!

Art Green, Full Circle, 1979.


Ed Paschka, Vibrex, 1982.

Chambers of the Shell!

Philip Hanson, Chambers of the Shell, 1977.

War Machine!

Errol Ortiz, War Machine, 1966.

cast-glass pyramid!

František Vízner, an untitled cast-glass pyramid, circa 1993.

gift shop umbrellas!

And now we exit through the gift shop.

…that’ll do. And with that, we took our leave and concluded our shortest birthday outing to date. But it was Anne’s choice. Not all our birthdays have to be days-long whimsical Midwest spectacles.

The End. Thanks for reading! See you next birthday miniseries, coming much sooner and with slightly more chapters!

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