Eiteljorg Insider: Five Questions with Matt Askren, Accounting Associate
By Caroline States, Eiteljorg Marketing and Communications Intern
Matt Askren has worked in the Eiteljorg’s Finance Department since 2015, but his employment history with the Eiteljorg dates back to 2008. As a student of accounting and finance at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis, Matt worked part-time at the Eiteljorg as an admissions assistant. After graduation, Matt worked as a guest services coordinator and visitor experience manager before moving into his current position as an accounting associate. In addition to his day job, Matt also is a musician who plays guitar and sings in a local indie rock band.
Here are five questions to help you get to know Matt:
What is your favorite piece in the museum and why?
In general, I really enjoy our contemporary Native American art. My favorite piece in the museum is Naming Tanager by contemporary Native American artist James Lavadour. I enjoy the mysterious atmosphere of it. Also, it appears to be a series of landscape photographs from far away, but up close one sees that these works are very kinetic almost abstract paintings. That piece is currently in our vault. A piece I love currently on display is a painting by Jim Denomie called “Hole-in-the-Day. His work is so vibrant and playful.
I’ve heard that in addition to working as an accounting associate at the Eiteljorg Museum, you perform music as well. What instrument do you play and what style of music do you perform?
I play guitar and sing in a local indie rock band called Rooms. We write original music, but also play songs by famous artists annually at Tonic Ball which is a fundraiser for Second Helpings.
Having a sense of humor has been important during the quarantine. Is there anyone in comedy or entertainment that you find funny, and why?
I’ve always really enjoyed Colin Quinn because he mixes history and humor. Entertainment that teaches you something. The same could be said for the art, interactives and educational programming here at the museum. I also really enjoy the physical comedy of silent film star Buster Keaton. Also, John Hughes’ Eighties family comedies (because I was raised middle class in the 1980s).
Do you have a favorite quote? What do you like about it?
Comparative literature and religion professor Joseph Campbell once said something about great art and great religious writings opening up to become “transparent to transcendence.” I always really liked that. I also really enjoy a lot of Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy such as “If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time for no good reason.”
When someone finds out that you work at the Eiteljorg, what question do they always ask you?
Folks always ask me about Jingle Rails, our annual holiday train exhibit. Also I’m often asked about our annual Indian Market and Festival. Those folks tell me about the fun experiences they’ve had at the market. A server at a downtown restaurant recently showed me a piece of jewelry she had purchased. She loved it so much!