Blogs Centerpoints

Soap Factory’s $99 Sale

Many locals who know the Walker also know the Soap Factory, given that both are devoted to contemporary art. Last year I was disappointed to have missed the Soap Factory’s annual fundraiser, the $99 Sale. What better way to fill my walls than by contributing to an organization that I strongly believe in? Besides offering […]

Many locals who know the Walker also know the Soap Factory, given that both are devoted to contemporary art. Last year I was disappointed to have missed the Soap Factory’s annual fundraiser, the $99 Sale. What better way to fill my walls than by contributing to an organization that I strongly believe in? Besides offering affordable art, the event is a novel and fun way to engage in questions of art and authorship, trusting your eye vs. buying a name.

People who are affiliated with the Walker, from exhibited artists and artists-in-residence to Walker staff members, have been contributing artists to the $99 Sale from its inception. I would imagine they get involved because they know how vital it is to support arts organizations in Minneapolis across the board; especially a place like this one, whose giant historic factory space allows artists to exhibit their work in an environment where they can also explore and collaborate.

Inside the Soap Factory

Courtesy Soap Factory

This year, rather than buying into the Soap Factory by purchasing a $99 work of art, I was invited to submit work for the sale. Suddenly I flipped from collector to artist; though I suppose I can be both at once. In deciding what kind of work to make, I felt compelled to dig up old and make new, creating a few pieces that were stimulated by different situations, experiences, and places, as well as other artists, from the well known Edward Weston to one of the Soap’s very own, Alison Burke.

The Soap fosters fresh ideas and makes the arts more pervasive and tangible in our community. Embrace the opportunity to make a significant financial contribution while gaining your very own 5 x7 inch piece of visual interest at the $99 Sale, this Friday. Besides the great support for the Soap and for artists, it will be of particular benefit to your pension for visual inspiration.

Courtesy Soap Factory

 

Also coming up at the Soap:

 

The Austerity Cookbook

September 5th – October 25th

 

The Haunted Basement

October 16th – November 1th

 

http://www.soap99.com/about.html

http://www.soapfactory.org/mission.php

Warhol TV

As the Walker book buyer for the last eight years, I routinely come across unusual titles. I thought it would be interesting to blog these notable discoveries as I see them.  Typically, I’m attracted to quirky material and seek out books that just haven’t been conceived before.  During some recent scouting around for new titles […]

As the Walker book buyer for the last eight years, I routinely come across unusual titles. I thought it would be interesting to blog these notable discoveries as I see them.  Typically, I’m attracted to quirky material and seek out books that just haven’t been conceived before.  During some recent scouting around for new titles for the shop, I came across one such incomparable volume.  Warhol TV is a magazine-like publication that documents the exhibition of the same name held last winter at La Maison Rouge in Paris.  Even with the countless exhibition catalogues and books devoted to Andy Warhol—some of which home in on just his fashion drawings, portraits of Jews, or motion pictures—there hasn’t been a book, until now, on his role with television.

As the father of artistic and social promotion, Andy Warhol used every means of communication to self-promote his reality.  Photography, film, magazine, and paintings were employed to document and showcase his surroundings and the creative social scene.  Turns out that Warhol also wasn’t shy about tapping into television, which only seems natural given its mass appeal and accessibility.  It was the ultimate contemporary tool, a perfect platform for exposing his reality.  Andy Warhol utilized all avenues of the medium from as early as 1964, when he made an imitation Soap Opera, to his guest appearance on Love Boat, in 1985. He was also an early adopter with cable, creating a program back in 1979 on the newly formed New York Cable Network, and his MTV show in 1985, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes.

Warhol TV focuses on the artist’s involvement with television and the beautiful talent who were a part of his world.  Marc Jacobs, Tama Janowitz, Kenny Scharf, Glenn O’Brian, and Brigid Berlin are just a few who recall their encounters with Warhol and TV.  The most interesting feature in the book, besides the rare images, is Warhol’s television filmography listing episodes with such guests as Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, Steven Spielberg, Moon Zappa, Cindy Sherman and Pee Wee Herman.  I can only imagine Andy’s relaxed, subtle reaction to the energetic Pee Wee.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V69IJ962Q4g

 

Purchase Warhol TV at the Walker Shop.

Back to the Garden: Tour de Farm, Rock the Garden, more

Woodstock nostalgia is so last week: Cool Hunting, the website whose name pretty much says it all, just posted a video report on June’s Rock the Garden music festival at the Walker. DJ Mary Lucia from The Current and the Walker’s performing arts curator Philip Bither weigh in on why 2009’s bands are so very […]

Woodstock nostalgia is so last week: Cool Hunting, the website whose name pretty much says it all, just posted a video report on June’s Rock the Garden music festival at the Walker. DJ Mary Lucia from The Current and the Walker’s performing arts curator Philip Bither weigh in on why 2009’s bands are so very “now” (no past tense, they do still matter, two months later!), and there’s also some chatting with the music-makers themselves — at least Solid Gold, Yeasayer, and Calexico. Decemberists fans will have to look elsewhere for a new fix of brilliance from Colin Meloy and co. (By the way, Solid Gold returns next week, for a whole different and not-your-Garden-variety show on the Walker’s greenspace.)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyHO5Qe102E[/youtube]

fr2009tdf0730_044

photo by Cameron Wittig

Young urban kitchen gardeners and other local food growers were the toast of Tour de Farm at the Walker on July 30 — the sole city stop on its sold-out summer ’09 tour celebrating Minnesota farmers and food artisans. Masterminded by The Corner Table’s Scott Pampuch (with inspiration from Jim Denevan and Outstanding in the Field), the communal dinner had 115 foodies swooning over creations made with local and regional ingredients by seven Twin Cities chefs Michelle Gayer (Salty Tart), Asher Miller (from the Walker’s own 20.21), Alex Roberts (Restaurant Alma, Brasa), Phillip Becht & Jim Grell (Modern Cafe), Mike Phillips (Craftsman Restaurant) and Zoe Francois (Artisanal Bread in 5 Minutes a Day).

At left is a shot from the dinner by Walker staff photographer Cameron Wittig; but you can read all the details in an exhaustive, three-part account replete with gorgeous photos from Kris Hase, examples of which are below. If images of homemade potato chips with creme fraiche or Star Prairie trout with duck-egg pasta don’t get you drooling, they’ll have you running to the farmer’s market. Pics not enough? There’s also an eight-minute video. Just make sure you get out from behind that monitor at some point and enjoy what’s left of a summer for which we’re already growing nostalgic.

chips at tour de farm

photos above and at right by Kris Hase

photo by Kris Hase

Impressionable Youth

I really enjoyed Walker photographer Gene Pittman’s recent post about his portrait of skateboard videographer Ty Evans.  I immediately got excited when I saw that old school Powell Peralta ripper graphic, and I commented that the graphic was one of the images that got me interested in art.  As a fiery young dork imprisoned in […]

I really enjoyed Walker photographer Gene Pittman’s recent post about his portrait of skateboard videographer Ty Evans.  I immediately got excited when I saw that old school Powell Peralta ripper graphic, and I commented that the graphic was one of the images that got me interested in art.  As a fiery young dork imprisoned in small town USA, I was riveted by the danger and recklessness that the image represented.  As an added bonus, Ma absolutely HATED it.  It got me thinking about other images that inspired my creative path in life.  Here are some, in no particular order:

 Picasso's Guernica

barrel

Oh no, what have I started?  I had better stop now.  What are your influential images?  Post them in reply.

A dreaming house: urban video projection

As a big fan of large-scale video projection, I find this absolutely enchanting: [vimeo width="500" height="325"]http://vimeo.com/5595869[/vimeo] It is a project called 555 KUBIK, projected on the side of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The concept for the video asks “how would it be, if a house was dreaming?” The conception of this project consistently derives from its underlying […]

As a big fan of large-scale video projection, I find this absolutely enchanting:

[vimeo width="500" height="325"]http://vimeo.com/5595869[/vimeo]

It is a project called 555 KUBIK, projected on the side of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The concept for the video asks “how would it be, if a house was dreaming?”

The conception of this project consistently derives from its underlying architecture – the theoretic conception and visual pattern of the Hamburg Kunsthalle. The Basic idea of narration was to dissolve and break through the strict architecture of O. M. Ungers “Galerie der Gegenwart”. Resultant permeabilty of the solid facade uncovers different interpretations of conception, geometry and aesthetics expressed through graphics and movement. A situation of reflexivity evolves – describing the constitution and spacious perception of this location by means of the building itself.

Also check out some other great urban architecture projections at urbanscreen.com.

Remembering Merce Cunningham

Last year at this time, we were heading into high-intensity mode for the planning and execution of Merce Cunningham’s Ocean, a monumental dance performance that took place in September in a granite quarry outside St. Cloud. It was an ambitious and unusual undertaking even for this giant of modern dance, and for the Walker as […]

merce_01p2

Last year at this time, we were heading into high-intensity mode for the planning and execution of Merce Cunningham’s Ocean, a monumental dance performance that took place in September in a granite quarry outside St. Cloud. It was an ambitious and unusual undertaking even for this giant of modern dance, and for the Walker as well. Those amazing performances were fitting for what would become Merce’s final presentation with the Walker, where he has performed since 1963, premiering several works here and acting as an artist-in-residence nine times.

Needless to say, this morning we were deeply saddened to hear of his passing. We hope that fans who’ve seen Merce’s work here over nearly five decades will post comments in remembrance. In the meantime, over on Eyeteeth, our friend and former Walker blogger Paul Schmelzer has some commentary about “the genuine Merce” and a wonderful, touching account of Walker photographer Cameron Wittig shooting the portrait above. The New York Times has an exceptional video-obituary with its dance critic Alastair Macaulay, and we’ve got two great interviews with Merce from our Walker Channel archives: Chance Conversations: An Interview with Merce Cunningham and John Cage and Merce Cunningham: Talking Dance.

msg1998mcdc_001

were deeply saddened by the news of Merce Cunningham’s passing at age 90

Rock the Garden reviews and photos

There have been a plethora of reviews and blog posts about Rock the Garden coming through my google alerts lately, and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive. My summation of the reviews and tweets I’ve seen so far boils down to two major points: The new layout with the stage facing south up the hill was a […]

Sound Check, Rock the Garden 2009, photo by The Current

Sound Check, Rock the Garden 2009, photo by The Current

There have been a plethora of reviews and blog posts about Rock the Garden coming through my google alerts lately, and they’ve been overwhelmingly positive. My summation of the reviews and tweets I’ve seen so far boils down to two major points:

  • The new layout with the stage facing south up the hill was a big improvement.
  • The Decemberists finished the show off pretty well.

Here’s a list of the reviews that I’ve run across:

And here are photos I’ve seen go by:

If I’m missing any reviews or photos, let me know in the comments.

We also captured a time-lapse video of the stage being set up and people filtering in to watch the show. Unfortunteately, the software we were using to connect to the camera wasn’t the most reliable and crashed a few times, resulting in some gaps in time. That said, it is still neat to see the stage go up and the size of the crowd grow:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SwbDXbVELI&fmt=18[/youtube]

On a side note: I was not able to attend the show, but was able to follow the happenings from my phone in the middle of Wisconsin. It wasn’t quite as good as being there, but following a twitter search for “rock the garden” gave me a good play-by-play and heightened my sense of missing out. Thanks to all the tweeters who kept those of us not there posted.

Artist Portrait: Ty Evans vs. Rip the Ripper

Last month, videographer and skater Ty Evans was at the Walker to discuss his work (http://channel.walkerart.org/detail.wac?id=5093) and lead a workshop on video techniques with local videographers and skaters. As part of the Walker’s long tradition of doing visiting artists’ portraits, Ty was brought down to the photo studio for his portrait. I wanted to do […]

Last month, videographer and skater Ty Evans was at the Walker to discuss his work (http://channel.walkerart.org/detail.wac?id=5093) and lead a workshop on video techniques with local videographers and skaters.

As part of the Walker’s long tradition of doing visiting artists’ portraits, Ty was brought down to the photo studio for his portrait. I wanted to do something slightly different by having Ty cut a simple hole in the background paper and place his head through.

As soon as I told Ty my idea, his eyes lit up and he was totally into it. He began cutting slowly and we talked a bit about some ideas, but nothing was really working. Then as soon as he got his head through, he said this is a lot like the the Ripper graphic from Powell-Peralta skateboards. Not being a skater, it took me awhile to recall the image.  Little did I know that Ty skated professionally for Powell-Peralta. This was the moment where my idea morphed into a collaboration.

At the end of the shoot, we decided Ty should break through the paper. Immediately, he began swinging his crutches upwards and outwards, sending paper chunks all over the studio.

This was probably one of the more fun portraits and certainly the most destructive one to date. Thanks Ty.
Powell-Peralta RipperTy Evans

at the end of the shoot, Ty: 1, Background Paper: 0

at the end of the shoot, Ty: 1, Background Paper: 0

Nauman in Venice

Bruce Nauman has been one of the talk of the Venice Biennale (“a stunning success” … “a contemporary classic” … “virtually never disappoints“), winning the Golden Lion Award for Topological Gardens, his installation at the U. S. Pavilion and two other sites. Here, guest blogger and Minneapolis artist Monica Haller writes from Italy with her […]

pict5876Bruce Nauman has been one of the talk of the Venice Biennale (“a stunning success” … “a contemporary classic” … “virtually never disappoints“), winning the Golden Lion Award for Topological Gardens, his installation at the U. S. Pavilion and two other sites. Here, guest blogger and Minneapolis artist Monica Haller writes from Italy with her own impressions:

In addition to Daniel Birnbaum’s Making Worlds exhibitions in the Giardini and Arsenale, and collateral events all around the city, the Venice Biennale is characterized by the national pavilions — individual buildings designed to house one country’s exhibition-its representation of itself. Each country decides who and what it will show. On the first morning before the three days of opening events, the Giardini was quiet. My intent during that rare moment of calm was to briefly stroll through a few of the country pavilions with these questions in mind: How does this country want to represent itself? What topics will it discuss and what not? (What will I see and how will this reflect my agenda for this country?)

I planned to move from Brazil to Israel to the U.S., was particularly curious about the middle pavilion. (Palestinian representation was dispersed through collateral events. One noteworthy exhibition, Venice c/o Palestine). But, even before I was able to dig into the Israeli exhibition featuring Raffi Lavie, we were evacuated from the pavilion. A stray bag was left unattended. Quickly they discovered the owner – no bombs – and we re-entered. Even so, enough time passed to understand that a country’s state of being (the reality its citizens live from day to day) is going to travel with it to these isolated little buildings in Italy.

With this in mind, I moved into the U.S. pavilion, one of three installations of Bruce Nauman’s Topical Gardens. The U.S. Pavilion is U-shaped with columns lining the front. It was designed after those neo-classical federal buildings in the United States that populate D.C. and other key cities. As an exhibition site, the building is stately and tame. It was redeemed this year by Nauman’s neon signs that hung just above the front columns. TEMPERANCE / GLUTTONY, FAITH / LUST, CHARITY / SLOTH.

The first piece one sees when entering from the left side of the building is Nauman’s wax heads. (Four Pair of Heads, 1991), hanging from the middle of the room, flesh-colored and red, dripping wax fluid. A fifth bronze head hangs just to the side, tinted blue from the elements. The heads look like they are suspended from barbed wire. (Really, just wire twisted back on itself). On the wall behind, several more wax heads are stacked on top of each other facing the corner, as if sent there for a child’s time out.

pict5877This room struck me hard. The dismemberment and wire restraint called to mind Guantanamo Bay, or scenes from Abu Ghraib (taken one step further). I felt like crying and was surprised at my own association with Nauman’s work. The irony was that his pavilion installation was hung very elegantly, preciously. This treatment had potential to smooth out the rawness and aggressiveness inherent in Nauman’s work, but it didn’t. (As a side note, the State Department is in charge of the U.S. Pavilion, which it fills by making a call for curatorial proposals.)

Though Nauman’s work does not overtly reference political history, he does challenge notions of isolated experience. In that way, the Biennale pavilions do not, and cannot, operate in isolation from their countries’ current conditions. As United States citizens, we will carry these past eight years with us.

I also got over to the Nauman installation at the Universita Ca’ Foscari.Nauman is prolific, but not all his works are masterpieces. The best part about the overall installation here is that it demonstrates that fact. In this way, it subverts the preciousness of the final art object (and the handling of his work at the U.S. Pavilion).

His work is “Not always good, but important,” art critic Patricia Briggs said as we walked along. I agree with that. He informed a generation of artists through his multi-disciplinary work. Currently, in the Universita Ca’ Forscari, it is very apparent that his intense curiosity and experimentation precede a need to promote the artist-as-genius. I approach Nauman’s experiments with trust. They are genuine inquiries, and I am going to follow right along with him.

Getting married in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher

In March, my girlfriend and I decided to get married. Neither of us were keen on the idea of a long engagement and a complicated wedding planning process. After some consultation with family on availability, Memorial day weekend was our time. The short timeframe (just over two months) left us with more limited options for […]

In March, my girlfriend and I decided to get married. Neither of us were keen on the idea of a long engagement and a complicated wedding planning process. After some consultation with family on availability, Memorial day weekend was our time.

The short timeframe (just over two months) left us with more limited options for location. We initially looked at getting married in the Cowles Conservatory, but it was booked for the dates we wanted. While scouting other locations in the Sculpture Garden and Loring Park, the idea of having the wedding in James Turrell’s Sky Pesher occurred to us. The seed was perhaps planted by the Skyscape/Soundscape concert series happening in Sky Pesher over the summer. After checking with our registration department, we had the OK to get married in the artwork.

Getting married Tunnel/Aisle

Our photographer, Kimberlee Whaley sent us a few initial pictures, which I’ve posted to flickr. And some of my new family also blogged about our wedding and posted photos.

We were initially worried that 30 people would be close quarters, but thankfully everyone was able to sit on the benches surrounding us during our ceremony. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been married in Sky Pesher before. We liked it as a location for the wedding. My wife and I are not religious, but there is a sanctity and spirtuality to the space. My wife is studying to become a landscape architect, so a connection to the earth is a big part of both of our lives right now.

After the wedding ceremony, we quickly ducked into the Sculpture Garden and got the necessary Spoonbridge and Cherry wedding shot, with jumping:

Spoonbridge and cherry wedding jumping

We kept things relatively casual and fun, having a delicious dinner at Azia, followed by bowling at Memory Lanes. In between dinner and bowling, a number of our guests slipped back to Sky Pesher to see the lights change at sunset:

Light show in Sky Pesher

Photo by Lisa Longley

Despite the fact that we got married there, my wife and I had never seen a sunrise or sunset in Sky Pesher. After all our guests had left town on Monday and we came back to see it for ourselves. The optical illusion of the sky descending into the space is subtle, but stunning, and it was the perfect way to cap a great weekend.

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