Mega-Gem by John Francis Torreano

TITLE: Mega-Gem
ARTIST: John Francis Torreano
DATE: 1989
MATERIALS: Welded aluminum
DIMENSIONS: 7′ x 11′ x 7′
TYPE: sculpture

Mega-Gem (1989) has a long history in Indianapolis. Owned by Newfields, but lent to IUPUI, this oversized gemstone featuring three dozen colored metal rosettes, was part of a series completed by John Francis Torreano that played with the idea of the preciousness of art. How do you feel in its presence?

As with precious stones, there is always the question of the value of art. What does playing with scale and composition, as Torreano has done here, achieve with regards to how we think about precious things?

If gems often appear as pure, sparkling adornments that signal wealth and status, is Mega-Gem a kind of jewelry for the body of the campus? And is it meant to do similar work? Torreano (born 1941) is an American artist from Michigan, a clinical professor of studio art at New York University in Abu Dhabi.

Torreano has observed that all art “exists somewhere between a totally abstract creation and a total reproduction of physical things in the world.” In this regard, he describes his own work as “real fake art.”

To learn more about this artwork, visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mega-Gem, which includes information created by Herron School of Art and Design and IUPUI Museum Studies faculty and students in 2009 as part of “A Survey of IUPUI Public Art.”