Blogs Centerpoints

For those who think the suburbs are scary …

The Walker’s Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes doesn’t open until February 16, but you might appreciate the suburban-focused art and architecture of that exhibition a little more after examining some distinctive urban fingerprints. The WebUrbanist blog, in continuing its thought-provoking Seven Wonders series, trains its latest foray on “the scariest, steepest, longest, widest, narrowest, most […]

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The Walker’s Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes doesn’t open until February 16, but you might appreciate the suburban-focused art and architecture of that exhibition a little more after examining some distinctive urban fingerprints. The WebUrbanist blog, in continuing its thought-provoking Seven Wonders series, trains its latest foray on “the scariest, steepest, longest, widest, narrowest, most confusing and most crooked urban streets in the world!” (pictured, from the series, is San Francisco’s Lombard Street).

Surprising that with “narrow” and “crooked” among the criteria, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue didn’t make the list.

User Created, Walker Related

You may not know it, but the Walker has a YouTube Channel where we post some video clips and keep our eye out for things Walker related. Here are a few things that caught our eye. At our last After Hours opening party for Frida Kahlo, one visitor made this movie: We’ve also gotten a […]

You may not know it, but the Walker has a YouTube Channel where we post some video clips and keep our eye out for things Walker related. Here are a few things that caught our eye. At our last After Hours opening party for Frida Kahlo, one visitor made this movie:

We’ve also gotten a few submissions to the video competition for Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes:

We also have four(!) groups on flickr: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Walker After Hours, and WACTAC.

Here’s a small sampling of some of the more recent additions to flickr:

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Feathers

Snack

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Do the Geneva Conventions address this?

Consider yourself an artist of the tortured variety? Discover the extent of your tortured soul through the Tortured Artist Test at FUALI, which bills itself as “a waste of your time online.” Turns out I’m only 26 percent tortured.   I am 26% Tortured Artist.

Consider yourself an artist of the tortured variety? Discover the extent of your tortured soul through the Tortured Artist Test at FUALI, which bills itself as “a waste of your time online.” Turns out I’m only 26 percent tortured.

 

I am 26% Tortured Artist.

I know Art, I just don't live it.

Centerpoints 8.5

“In praise of rapturous truth”: Under that title, Roger Ebert writes an excellent letter to filmmaker Werner Herzog, in thanks for dedicating his new film Encounters at the End of the World (about the “hidden society” in Antarctica) to him. It’s a must-read. “The line between truth and fiction is a mirage in your work,” […]

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“In praise of rapturous truth”: Under that title, Roger Ebert writes an excellent letter to filmmaker Werner Herzog, in thanks for dedicating his new film Encounters at the End of the World (about the “hidden society” in Antarctica) to him. It’s a must-read. “The line between truth and fiction is a mirage in your work,” he writes, referencing movies like Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and Grizzly Man. “Your films, frame by frame, contain a kind of rapturous truth that transcends the factually mundane. And yet when you find something real, you show it.”

Accountants’ verité: Herzog’s history with the Walker is rather illustrious. In 1999, it was here that he made his famed “Minnesota Declaration.” He was here for a Regis Dialogue and Retrospective (Ebert wrote the anchor essay). Coming full circle to Ebert’s point above, the statement’s first line is: “By dint of declaration the so-called Cinema Verité is devoid of verité. It reaches a merely superficial truth, the truth of accountants.”

“Love by a Thousand Cuts”: The Nation reviews the Walker-organized exhibition Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love, on view at the Whitney through Feb. 3.

A-OK from the UK: The Guardian‘s Ana Finel Honigman heaps praise on this humble institution — and our blogs: “[T]he posts welcome readers into the challenging activities that make the Walker one of America’s most innovative exhibition spaces.”

Good godfather! Walker Film’s Jenny Jones is getting major press for her new book, The Annotated Godfather. First an LA Times review, now a segment on KSTP-TV’s newscast (via The Daily Mole).

The British Invasion

The British are coming! The British are coming! Every December for, oh, 30 or so years, that mantra has marked an invasion of sorts–not of English raiders, Beatles, or New Wave rockers–but of visitors coming to see the annual edition of the British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA). Last year alone, nearly 17,000 people sampled top-notch […]

picture-5.pngThe British are coming! The British are coming! Every December for, oh, 30 or so years, that mantra has marked an invasion of sorts–not of English raiders, Beatles, or New Wave rockers–but of visitors coming to see the annual edition of the British Television Advertising Awards (BTAA). Last year alone, nearly 17,000 people sampled top-notch creativity from across the pond.

With fitting British understatement, let me say: December is a “busy” month for those of us working the Visitor Services desk. When this annual winter ritual began in 1986, we arranged for two screenings; this year, there are 67–that’s 21,105 seats to fill–and we expect, as usual, that they’ll all sell out.

The Visitor Services staff of 25 is an amazing bunch–our numbers include an international array of painters, dancers, computer geeks, poets, cinephiles, technophobes, singers, graphic designers, equestrians, bikers, seamstresses, foodies, bargain hunters, environmentalists, academics, volunteers, photographers, avid readers, designers, and world travelers–yet these evenings of incredible advertising test our fortitude and adaptability on an hourly basis. First, we have to help our eager guests, thousands of them, who are sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes maniacally, set on acquiring a ticket or the best seats in the house. We’ve seen tickets for sale on eBay and Craigslist (don’t get any ideas). But for some, those methods aren’t good enough. One wannabe attendee, facing a sold-out screening, asked if we’d checked the obituaries to see if a ticket holder had died. (None had.)

Then there’s the sheer volume of screenings. With a collective 4,355-minute span of commercials to oversee, staff members devise various ways to pass the time between shows. (The commercials are, of course, fantastic, but perhaps only when seen for the first dozen times.) For example, longtime employee John Valko took to drawing the cartoon Garfield, and has logged in thousands of renditions for our entertainment. Our ushers have been known to sing along with the jingles and, in one case, learn every step in a Transformers-like dance to perform along with one of the car ads. Additionally, given how many times we see the screenings, themes tend to permeate our non-Walker lives, haunting us even as we sleep. Max Wirsing, a three-year Brits veteran, reported a nightmare in which he was attacked by bouncing balls, a direct reinterpretation of last year’s top ad for Sony Bravia that featured literally thousands of colorful rubber orbs cascading down an incredibly steep San Francisco street.

Finally, there’s the “ Brits 5,” perhaps the most lasting memory of the British Television Advertising Awards for many of us on the front line. This refers to the five pounds a Visitor Services associate is bound to gain during the run of this popular series. Thanks to a seemingly endless supply of Pizza Luce delicacies–including the crowd-pleasing Pizza Athena and the vegetarian Rustler–the Brits Trough is a calorie-rich tradition (and therefore impossible to forget, hard to lose).

Despite all this, the British Television Advertising Awards are a cherished favorite, marking the end of yet another holiday season with an enormous batch of satisfied Walker visitors, many of whom have come for the very first time to take in monumental acts of creativity in 30-, 60-, and 90-second increments. For the smiling faces leaving the theater and the laughter that comes with the program, we’ll endure our bad dreams and pizza guts, emboldened by the knowledge that it only comes around once a year.

Sneak peek at Sehgal

Anne Midgette writes about the work of Tino Sehgal in Sunday’s New York Times. The first major American exhibition of Sehgal’s “situations,” as Walker curator Yasmil Raymond has termed them, opens December 12 throughout the museum.

Behind the 8-Ball: Emily Johnson

In anticipation of this year’s edition of Choreographers’ Evening on Nov. 24 (7 and 9:30 pm), we asked this year’s curator, choreographer Emily Johnson, to answer eight questions for our 8-Ball feature in the Walker magazine. She graciously answered far more, so in the spirit of the infrequent “Behind the 8-Ball” blog feature, here’s eight […]

picture-3.pngIn anticipation of this year’s edition of Choreographers’ Evening on Nov. 24 (7 and 9:30 pm), we asked this year’s curator, choreographer Emily Johnson, to answer eight questions for our 8-Ball feature in the Walker magazine. She graciously answered far more, so in the spirit of the infrequent “Behind the 8-Ball” blog feature, here’s eight more.

What’s your most embarrassing moment?

Years ago. Erin Thompson’s class here in Minneapolis, Mathew Janczweski, and a hole in my dance pants I had forgotton about.

What global issue most excites or angers you?

The human capacity for destruction is pretty disheartening… but watching the earth try to balance itself is impelling and seeing people make things out of nothing is, for me, the most exciting thing in the world.

Which creative talent would you most like to have?

I wish I knew Yup’ik dancing. And I wish I could sing. And I wish I could do back-flips.

If you could throw a dinner party for anyone in the world, who would you invite?

I wouldn’t want to throw it, but I’d love to attend The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago. I’d ask Angie Vo to design my dress…

What’s your favorite recording of all time?

Song? In the Stars by JG Everest.

Album? Ether Teeth by Fog.

What is your advice for young people today?

Don’t have sex. Ha Ha. How stupid is that?

What’s your most vivid Minneapolis memory?

On the bank of the Mississippi, down by the U of M hospital, before it became a parking lot. I was laying on the grass looking at the skyline of downtown, and the buildings got really huge — they inflated like columns of clouds and it felt like they were enveloping me, protecting me in a way. Weird, I know, and I wasn’t even on anything.

I knew I would stay in Minneapolis a while to see what it meant.

Name one surprising aspect of your morning ritual.

I’m surprised my coffee isn’t delivered to me in bed every morning.

SAAM’s new courtyard

Michael Edson at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Eye Level blog writes about the opening of their new courtyard on Sunday. The courtyard reminds me of the Mall of America, but with art instead of shopping. It is an impressive encapsulation of a formerly out of doors space, with a unique walk-on-water pathway, letting everyone […]

SI Courtyard

Michael Edson at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Eye Level blog writes about the opening of their new courtyard on Sunday. The courtyard reminds me of the Mall of America, but with art instead of shopping. It is an impressive encapsulation of a formerly out of doors space, with a unique walk-on-water pathway, letting everyone be Jesus. Jeff Gates wrote about the experience:

My natural inclination was to walk around the feature. But it was designed to be walked on (and designed so that, by the time you reach the entrances to the museum, your feet will be dry). I’m sure children will get a kick out of the experience. And if we can overcome our predilection to keep our feet on dry ground, adults will too.

SI Courtyard walk on water

And SAAM’s doing the new media thing too. They are live-blogging the public opening (prediction: lots of people) and have created a flickr group for visitor’s photos.

Photo credits: David S. Holloway/Reportage by Getty Images for Smithsonian Institution, Jeff Gates

Olga Viso looking forward and back at “Utopia”

Olga Viso was the deputy director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., when she began working with directors of the Walker Art Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on a unique collaboration – to identify and exhibit well-known artists whose life and works were little understood in a […]

Olga VisoOlga Viso was the deputy director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., when she began working with directors of the Walker Art Center and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art on a unique collaboration – to identify and exhibit well-known artists whose life and works were little understood in a contemporary context. Their first selection–Frida Kahlo.

As Viso stepped up from deputy director to director of the Hirshhorn in 2005, she made the reluctant choice to withdraw the museum from the Kahlo exhibition. In September last year, she announced she would leave the Hirshhorn to become Kathy Halbreich’s successor as the Walker’s director. On her third visit to the Walker since that announcement, Viso absorbed a mix of feelings as she toured Frida Kahlo shortly after its opening.

“ It was a hard show to let go, because I was part of birthing it,” Viso says.

In this interview, Viso discusses Frida Kahlo, her mission and role as she comes to the Walker – her first day is January 8 – and how she believes the Walker can move forward by also looking back at its groundbreaking genesis.

(more…)

Sacco et al

Until a couple months ago, my knowledge of social/political cartooning was limited to Garry Trudeau, Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow and the like. Then I got turned on to Joe Sacco and, as of this weekend, am an official convert to the medium. Will Dinski and Tom Kaczynski were among the handful of Twin Cities cartoonists […]

Will Dinski's ROUTINEUntil a couple months ago, my knowledge of social/political cartooning was limited to Garry Trudeau, Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow and the like. Then I got turned on to Joe Sacco and, as of this weekend, am an official convert to the medium. Will Dinski and Tom Kaczynski were among the handful of Twin Cities cartoonists with tables at the 6th annual Minnesota Center for Book Arts book arts festival. I bought so much of their work Saturday — not to mention my impluse buy of an MCBA membership — that I barely had enough cash to carry to the card room Sunday.

Dinksi is the kind of artist I revere in any medium — dark, witty, irreverent, unafraid, creatively ambitious and wired to what we think but don’t often express (probably a good thing, considering some of his subjects carry guns – notice the hologram in the image at left). Kaczynski, a regular contributor to the comics quarterly MOME, produces such a variety of work that it would be impossible to know it all comes from the same artist. He used the weekend festival to showcase his more abstract, disjointed narratives and series.

Both artists self-produce work in a range of formats — cards, booklets (Dinski makes his own hardcover books), limited- edition prints, pop-out displays and posters. They also planned to be in the audience for Sacco’s talk Tuesday at the Walker. As a primer, check out our Allison Herrera’s interview with Sacco.

“Oh yeah, I’m going,” Kaczynski said, as if the mere question of his attendance was absurd. “Most of us (cartoonists) probably are.”

IMAGE FROM WILLDINSKI.COM

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