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Party With Pardo

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Contemporary art and design-world heavyweight Jorge Pardo will be creating buzz next Friday at The Alexander Hotel.

For good reason.  Pardo, a Los Angeles-based installation artist who is responsible for the design of the hotel bar, including its color palette and multicolored lantern-shaped light fixtures, is coming to town for an Indianapolis Downtown Artists & Dealers Association First Friday appearance.

Pardo's work is also in the collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art and museums of contemporary art in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, among others.  And he was awarded the MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship in 2010 for his "visually seductive body of work [that] explores the intersection of contemporary painting, design, sculpture and architecture."

Despite that, Pardo says he hopes his Indianapolis cocktails-and-dinner event, called Party with Pardo, isn't boring.

That's not likely, according to Mindy Taylor Ross, one of its organizers. Excitement around the party will begin with Pardo, who has been so busy traveling between cities and projects that he hasn't seen his finished project, which turned Plat 99, the hotel bar, into a functional art installation almost one full year ago.

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"He's just super hard to pin down because of his schedule," says Ross.

The collection of people in the room on Friday, including Pardo and more than 50 art enthusiasts who want to meet him, won't be dull, either.

"You have an internationally recognized artist...a guy with all of those credentials and a fantastic space with 50-plus people and a mixologist behind the bar. I can't imagine it being boring," says Ross, an art consultant who is a board member of the IMA's Contemporary Art Society. "It's an opportunity for somebody working at that level, Jorge, to share insights into his creative process."

The soiree, which begins at 5:30 p.m. Friday with cocktails, will be hosted by the Art Society in partnership with the CityWay neighborhood, The Alexander and its Cerulean Restaurant. Plans are for Pardo to meet with Plat 99 enthusiasts over drinks in the space, which is framed by about 3,000 handmade tiles and enormous windows that look out over the city. Then Pardo will discuss his work in The Alexander’s main ballroom. Tickets for that party are are $25 and on sale through Wednesday. Afterward the event will move to the contemporary Cerulean and patrons who paid $100 each will dine with him.

If Indianapolis weather cooperates, cocktails in Plat 99 will be served as the sun is setting. That's Ross' favorite time there.

"The things that strike me about Jorge Pardo's work is his color palette...the Latin American hues," saya Ross. "When you (add) the glow of the setting sun in the city, I think that is a magical combination."

But in case your First Friday plans this week don't include a trip to The Alexander, Pardo answered a few questions about the hotel, the city and his favorite cocktail:

What are your impressions of Indianapolis?

Pardo: I like Indianapolis. It's a very nice city in the middle of nowhere. There is a proper museum and people very dedicated to art. It's very nice to work there.

What was interesting to you about the Plat 99 space?

Pardo: I like working with light, and the venue provided the opportunity to design something new. I am very interested when art and commerce go together.

What time of day is best to be in Plat 99? What season of year?

Pardo: I'm not very familiar with the sky in Indianapolis. It's more about just monitoring the difference between what happens during the day and night. It's a very different place in the afternoon and the evening.

(Since your artwork is in The Alexander's bar), what's your favorite cocktail?

Pardo: At the moment, the margaritas I make. They have one whole lime, one quarter of a small tangerine, one shot of tequila, a half shot of triple sec, a little bit of bubbly water, a tiny bit of simple syrup and lots of ice. I don't like salt on the rim.

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