I don’t know if this is good news or not: Today the Joyce Foundation announced that it would give $50,000 to the Central Indiana Community Foundation to help realize Fred Wilson’s E Pluribus Unum (at right) in Indianapolis. (Background: Last October MAN examined Wilson’s sculpture and the conversations it has started in Indianapolis here, here and here.)
This is good: The Joyce Foundation is stepping up and saying that it is important that Wilson’s work is made and installed.
This is not good: The Joyce Foundation’s leadership doesn’t seem to have motivated the Central Indiana Community Foundation to move forward with the project — at least not yet. In a story by David Lindquist in this morning’s Indianapolis Star, CICF president Brian Payne did not commit to realizing Wilson’s project, saying that he wanted more community discussion to happen first. Discussion is important — click on those three links above for why — but at some point the best discussion about art happens after the work is fabricated, installed and on view.
Here’s hoping Payne and CICF move forward with E Pluribus Unum as quickly as possible. The work Wilson has proposed for Indianapolis is likely the best work of his career. (I put it in my 2010 top ten list.) The choice for CICF and Payne is straightforward: Does it want to enable nationally-important art that enhances the stature of the city it serves? Or will CICF kill the project — the smartest, most ambitious public art project currently under consideration in America — in pursuit of a false unanimity?