The Empire Never Ended
iMOCA at The Murphy
February 7 - April 12, 2014

Click here to see images from the opening.

The Empire Never Ended, is influenced by author Philip K Dick’s VALIS, with artists Prince Rama, Marc Bijl, Serge Onnen and Benny Sanders.  This exhibit was made possible by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant).

Prince Rama’s portion of The Empire Never Ended, is centered around character Horselover Fat envisions the suspension of history in the 1st century A.D. with the landscape of southern California 1974 being superimposed as a holographic projection over Ancient Rome, hence “the Empire never ended”. For Prince Rama’s installation, they will flip the script and envision the suspension of history in modern-day southern California with Ancient Rome employed as a simulated projection of wealth, ersatz-spirituality, and aesthetic decadence. “In our version, says Taraka Larson, “the Empire never ended” is more of a comment on the past’s devolution into kitsch and subsequent haunting of the present in the form of Ghost-Modernism and Zombie Aesthetics.

Museum members are advised to bring a swimsuit if they so desire, they have the option of changing out of their everyday clothes into provided, borrowed robes so that they may be able to fully partake in the various interactive parts of the exhibit, namely the use of a Royal Spa hot tub.

Dutch artist Serge Onnen‘s piece created a large scale illustration and kaleidoscope. “When I started thinking about the book,” says Onnen. “All these different ideas and cultural phenomena’s existing next to each other, from psychedelic to gnostics. When working on the drawing I realized the book read very well in an I ching kind of way. Opening a page and looking for inspiration to fit inside my spaces.”

Dutch artist Marc Bijl‘s sculpture, PORN is the yang, the twin Dick references in VALIS, of the IMA’s Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture. He considers it a label for the spirit of the time, for the perversity of  the current political and social processes, for the insistent, penetrating nature of fanatic messages.

Dick was well aware of the nuttiness of 2-3-74, and when he turned to the problem of narrating the event in VALIS, he split himself into two characters: the narrator, a sober science-fiction writer named Phil Dick, and a mad visionary named Horselover Fat. The book itself is a hybrid, a melange of autobiography and fantasy that’s laced with an encyclopedic range of philosophical and religious information: citations from the I Ching, Henry Vaughan, Heraclitus, Wagner, Xenophanes, the Bible, Pascal, and, of course, the science-fiction writer Philip K. Dick.

In Dick’s book, VALIS, the narrator says, “I’ve always told people that for each person there is a sentence—a series of words—which has the power to destroy him….I realized (this came years after the first realization) that another sentence exists, another series of words, which will heal the person.”  The Empire Never Ended addresses the desire to be a creator and a destroyer.

Special thank you to Erik Davis of for much of the Philip K Dick information contained here. You can visit his website by clicking here.

The exhibits will run with iMOCA’s new hours of Tuesday-Wednesday 4-8 p.m. and Thursday-Saturday 1-8 p.m.

All our programs and exhibitions are made possible with support from The Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts (Wynn Kramarsky Freedom of Artistic Expression Grant), The Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, The Efroymson Family Fund, The Glick Fund, Halstead Architects, KEJ Foundation, The Tracy Haddad Foundation, The Netherleigh Fund, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, the Murphy Arts L.L.C., Penrod Foundation, and Big Car Art + Design

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