Centerpoints: The voice of the institution at its core, presenting news and views from across the Walker.
Twenty-Twelve was a big year for our blogs: we redesigned them, renamed them, and added a few new ones–including Centerpoints and Walker Seen. We also grew traffic. Here’s a look at some of the posts that best took hold across the interwebs. 1. Cats! Cats! Cats! This just in: folks on the Internet like them. [...]
Twenty-Twelve was a big year for our blogs: we redesigned them, renamed them, and added a few new ones–including Centerpoints and Walker Seen. We also grew traffic. Here’s a look at some of the posts that best took hold across the interwebs.
1. Cats! Cats! Cats! This just in: folks on the Internet like them. So the wild success of our Internet Cat Video Festival shouldn’t have been a surprise, especially given how much traffic our blog posts got. Hands down, our most popular post was our May announcement about the festival, but people also really wanted to know about voting for “best in show,” nominating videos, and details on attending the summer festival, which drew 10,000 people to our lawn the last day of August. Missed it? Here’s a video recap.
2. For Those About to Rock: The annual spring reveal of bands in our annual Rock the Garden concert has become a not-to-be-missed event, and the 2012 edition glued listeners to the radio as the Walker and 89.3 The Current named off the lineup at a live event at the Fitz in St. Paul. Livestreamed on the blogs, we revealed the names as well. Here’s who played our tenth Rock the Garden in June: Howler, tUnE-yArds, Doomtree, Trampled by Turtles, and headliner The Hold Steady. Missed it? Here’s a time-lapse of the entire day.
3. Designing About Design: The designers behind the exhibition Graphic Design: Now In Production share glimpses of what went into the design of the exhibition catalogue on the popular design blog, The Gradient. The show is on view until January 6, 2013, at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and then it moves to the Grand Rapids Art Museum on Feb. 1 and the Contemporary Art Museum Houston on July 20.
4. Puzzling Over Design: Maybe it was the interactive quiz or the Draw-Tippy illustration, but designer Andrea Hyde’s post calling for applicants for the Walker Design Studio’s annual design fellowship really packed ‘em in. No word on how many young designers aced the “art test.”
5. Now Screaming: Kim Beom’s video work Yellow Scream (2012), spotted by Walker curators at the Gwangju Biennale, came into the Walker collection late this year. The piece–in which an actor gives a Bob Ross–style demonstration of a painting technique in which brush strokes are accompanied by various kinds of screams, thus altering the makeup of the applied paint–was made available on the Walker Channel for a limited time (Dec. 6-18, 2012), yet still generated enough buzz to be among our most popular posts all year.
More posts that blew up this year:
Vintage Makeover Ideas for a Downtown Thoroughfare, Centerpoints
“Vote No”: A Walker Family Photo, Centerpoints
Since relaunching last December as a hub for sharing original ideas about art and contemporary culture, the Walker homepage has published more than 100 original pieces, from articles and interviews to slideshows and visual essays. Here’s the work that our readers responded to most over the last 12 months. 1. Buoyant Boulders: The addition of [...]
Since relaunching last December as a hub for sharing original ideas about art and contemporary culture, the Walker homepage has published more than 100 original pieces, from articles and interviews to slideshows and visual essays. Here’s the work that our readers responded to most over the last 12 months.
1. Buoyant Boulders: The addition of four, shining steel-clad boulders to the Walker hillside has brought us a new icon, and the announcement of the acquisition of Jim Hodges’ Untitled (2011) presaged later looks at the installation and thinking behind the mammoth works. Dubbed “buoyant monoliths” by executive director Olga Viso, the works were purchased in advance of a 2014 retrospective of Hodges’ work, organized by the Walker and the Dallas Museum of Art.
2. More Real than Real: From a gigantic church-basement folding table and chair set to a tiny replica of a bee, works in the Walker-organized exhibition Lifelike entranced visitors with art that questions the nature of “the real.” Julie Caniglia’s keystone essay captured readers as well, traversing both through art history and through the exhibition, from Ron Mueck’s crouching boy to Ai Weiwei’s sunflower seeds, Jonathan Seligman’s gigantic sculptural homage to a carton of Vitamin D milk to a tiny (functioning) elevator by Maurizio Cattelan.
3. Haring in the House: Created a few months after the debut of Apple’s first Macintosh, Keith Haring’s mural of a computer-headed creature now seems prescient. This account of the residency that brought the famed NYC graffiti artist to the Walker 28 years ago includes a quick video of Haring at work, plus a Walker staffer remembering how Haring “drew a radiant baby in the schmutz on the back of my hatchback.”
4. Hot Couture: Costuming was one of many challenges faced by Obie-winning Out There 24 artist Young Jean Lee when creating the text-free–and ultimately clothing-free–work Untitled Feminist Show. “Nudity was the only way for us to de-objectify the performers,” she says in this interview. “No matter what we had them wear—say, if we had them wearing really frumpy clothes—that could be hot, too. We had them wearing these astronaut uniforms, and that was hot. Everything we put them in was hot, and I wanted them to be people and not these hot women.”
5. Fill-in-the-Blank: A graphic designer, guerrilla artist, and urban planner, Candy Chang has spearheaded interactive fill-in-the-blank projects from the Before I Die wall (installed on a vacant building in post-Katrina New Orleans) to her latest, Neighborland (in which residents can share their dreams for their neighborhoods, online and in the streets). How she answered for us one of her signature questions: “Before I die I want to hole up and read books in soulful hotels.”
Other popular stories from 2012:
The Walker has been vocal about its opposition to a constitutional amendment on the Minnesota ballot today that would restrict the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. We join more than 120 other nonprofit cultural organizations across that state that are taking this stand. As executive director Olga Viso wrote back [...]
The Walker has been vocal about its opposition to a constitutional amendment on the Minnesota ballot today that would restrict the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. We join more than 120 other nonprofit cultural organizations across that state that are taking this stand. As executive director Olga Viso wrote back in May:
“We affirm that love is love, and that the Minnesota Constitution—a document created to define rights instead of impose restrictions—should not be amended to make value judgments about love… But beyond that, we realize that creative communities like ours thrive when we can all be ourselves. The immensely talented people we work with include many who are gay and lesbian, and we support them and see them as friends and equals. We also recognize that the healthiest creative climates are open to all. To foster creativity, to attract artists and audiences, and to grow the state’s economy during difficult times, we believe we must be welcoming to all, regardless of the gender of their loved ones.”
This morning, we visually reiterated these values. We turned over the lawn beside our building to 100 or more “Vote No” signs–provided by staff, friends, neighbors, and the Minnesotans United for All Families campaign–to give those who pass through our busy intersection a bold reminder of where we stand (and a colorful reminder to get out and vote). Then we invited staff and members of the community–not to mention a wandering Gandalf carrying a “You Shall Not Pass” marriage amendment sign–to join us for a “Vote No” family photo. Despite blustery weather, several dozen people showed up from all Walker departments, the neighborhood, and beyond.
Update 11.07.12: We’re pleased to report that the marriage amendment–along with the voter ID amendment–were defeated by Minnesota voters Tuesday.
Nate Solas, the Walker’s head technologist, came in on his day off to share Minnesota-shaped “Vote No” cookies he and his daughter Isla made:
Digital marketing associate Kristina Fong and artist Sam Gould of Red76 give the constitutional amendment the thumbs down:
Walker director Olga Viso, who wrote that the Walker believes the amendment is “an unnecessary measure, but also one that would make our state a less welcoming place.”
Walker performing arts intern Anat Shinar, with husband Sam Baker and daughter Miri, braved the winds…
…and later posed with Sheila Smith (at left below) of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts:
Michèle Steinwald, assistant curator of performing arts, couldn’t make the photo: she took the day off to doorknock for Minnesotans United. But she and her neighbors in the Kingfield neighborhood, Robert Litvak and Chris McGrath, sent in a photo in solidarity.
Following our photo shoot, “Gandalf”–aka Adam Sharp–continued canvassing Hennepin Avenue for at least two hours:
We’d like to thank all those who came by for the photo, all those who dropped off signs in our front yard, and–most importantly–all those who vote against this constitutional amendment.
More photos from the morning:
All photos by Paul Schmelzer unless otherwise noted.
It’s been seven years since we launched the Walker Blogs, and with the release of our new homepage back in December we thought it was finally time for a refresh. Formerly called Off Center, Centerpoints changes this blog’s mission. Now that we’re aggregating the best of news about art and culture on our website’s new [...]
It’s been seven years since we launched the Walker Blogs, and with the release of our new homepage back in December we thought it was finally time for a refresh. Formerly called Off Center, Centerpoints changes this blog’s mission. Now that we’re aggregating the best of news about art and culture on our website’s new Art News From Elsewhere feature, we have less need for a blog that brings–as Off Center‘s tagline once read–”outside ideas from inside the Walker.” What we do need is a space to share ideas about the Walker that transcend our artistic disciplines or address the center as a whole. Now you’ll find cross-departmental news and updates on our neighborhood, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the Shop and restaurant, and our staff. In addition to a new name, we have a new design, which brings our blogs into alignment with the new Walker homepage. All of our core blogs have new names and identities as well, so check them out to get the latest on what’s going on in our Design, Education & Community Programs, Film/Video, Performing Arts, Visual Arts, and New Media departments, as well as at the mnartists.org blog and Walker Seen, our new blog geared toward making the social seen.
• Taking a keen interest in caring for feral cats, photographer Sandy Carson set out to document the people and processes related to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). “You don’t have to be a crazy ‘cat person’ to be a certified trapper,” he assures, “but cat attire is optional.” • Here’s 4 minutes 33 seconds worth of clips [...]
• Taking a keen interest in caring for feral cats, photographer Sandy Carson set out to document the people and processes related to TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). “You don’t have to be a crazy ‘cat person’ to be a certified trapper,” he assures, “but cat attire is optional.”
• Here’s 4 minutes 33 seconds worth of clips of a non-speaking Nicholas Cage in which only ambient noises are audible. Created by Adam Lucas, Cage Does Cage is an homage to John Cage’s 1952 conceptual art piece 4‘33”, performed by the Ghostrider star.
• April 21 is Record Store Day, a great chance to support some of America’s 700 independently owned bricks-and-mortar records stores — and a fine excuse for us to point out one of Christian Marclay’s “Body Mix” collages.
• A new edition of Lewis Carroll’s surreal fable Alice in Wonderland is, aptly, designed by an artist known for creating mind-bending visual worlds. Penguin Global has just published a Yayoi Kusama-designed version of the 1865 tale.
• Craig Finn, who headlines Rock the Garden 2012 with the Hold Steady, got dudded up in the desert for a photoshoot as part of the Esquire Songwriting Challenge, in which he and four others each wrote a song, on the spot, inspired by the phrase “Pacific Standard Time.”
• “Our 1,000 artworks are headed for destruction anyway because of the government’s indifference,” says Antonio Manfredi, director of Italy’s Casoria Contemporary Art Museum, who says he’s begun burning paintings in protest of cuts in arts funding.
• Pedro Reyes follows his 2011 Walker exhibition Baby Marx with Rompecabezas, a show in Mexico City that includes his adjustable hand-shaped chairs. “Functional and comfortable, you can use it to communicate to the people you live with,” he says.
• All art installation shots all the time. This dedicated Tumblr site chronicles art handlers–including Walker staffers installing Jim Hodges’ gigantic boulder/sculptures and Robert Therrien’s mammoth folding chairs–doing their thing.
• The Walker took home two prizes at the 2012 Museums & the Web conference, held in San Diego over the weekend, including Most Innovative and Best Overall. Congratulations to the Walker web and design teams, and to all 2012 winners! (We’re getting drubbed, but you can still vote for the Walker in the People’s Voice section of the Webby Awards.)
• We’re up for a Webby! The nominees list for the 2012 Webby People’s Voice Awards—honoring the best of the web—has just been released, and the Walker’s “gamechanging” new website makes the cut, in the category of best art site. Voting is open to the public through April 26. • “A casual treatment of death [...]
• We’re up for a Webby! The nominees list for the 2012 Webby People’s Voice Awards—honoring the best of the web—has just been released, and the Walker’s “gamechanging” new website makes the cut, in the category of best art site. Voting is open to the public through April 26.
• “A casual treatment of death is central to Mexican cultural identity,” writes Julia Cooke, who cites designer products made out of grenades or gunmetal. Only a few, though—like Pedro Reyes’ shovels made from melted-down gang handguns—move beyond glib one-liners.
• After being slapped with a 15 million yuan ($2.4 million) penalty for alleged tax-law violations, Ai Weiwei is suing Chinese authorities. He argues that the fine for tax evasion was unlawful, as he wasn’t given access to witnesses or evidence used against him.
• For their first solo show in London, art provocateurs Eva and Franco Mattes—aka 0100101110101101.org—present a show with a title that changes daily and offers a display of works the duo claims includes fragments stolen from masterworks by Duchamp, Warhol, and others. “A lot of the works were so crazy, strong and powerful when they were made, like Duchamp’s Fountain, but became so accepted and it was like energy had been sucked out of them by being put in a museum,” the pair said. “The work maybe dies a little bit. We consider what we did a tribute to these artists – it is like a medieval relic, you keep it because you want to protect it and preserve it. We were acting out of faith, not anger.”
• There’s nothing like Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Falls in springtime, writes Andy Sturdevant, who shares a photo from an 1983 visit there by Jorge Luis Borges. Wrote the late Argentine poet:
The wry mythology of the Wisconsin and Minnesota lumber camps includes remarkable creatures – creatures that no one, surely, has ever believed in. The Pinnacle Grouse had just one wing, so it could only fly in one direction, and it flew around one particular mountain day and night. The color of its plumage would change depending on the season and the condition of the observer.
• While last Friday’s Cat Break showed us LOLcat/architecture mashups, today’s demonstrates that wacky cat photography predate the internet by a century and a half: “Probably the progenitor of shameless cat pictures was English photog Harry Pointer (1822-1889), who snapped approximately 200 photos of his perplexed albeit jovial ‘Brighton Cats.’”
• Damien Hirst’s sculpture Hymn, installed outside Tate Modern, was tagged with the word “Occupy” after a writer at The Occupied Times of London identified him as “the man who has defined the capitalist approach to art more than any other.” Kester Brewin writes:
Sharks. Death. Love. God. Money. If Hirst is anything, he is the brash Goldman Sachs of the art world. He has a vast personal fortune of over £200m, accumulated through an alchemy that would leave even the most brash bankers in awe: stock medicine cabinets, spots of paint, flies, butterflies and severed cows heads transformed into pieces that sell for millions.
• After being disqualified from his own presidential run, singer Youssou Ndour finds himself in politics nonetheless: He’s been named Senegal’s new minister for culture and tourism. The Grammy winner is part of new president Macky Sall’s cabinet. • Andrew Bird, Laurie Anderson, and Amadou & Mariam are among artists invited to perform in A [...]
• After being disqualified from his own presidential run, singer Youssou Ndour finds himself in politics nonetheless: He’s been named Senegal’s new minister for culture and tourism. The Grammy winner is part of new president Macky Sall’s cabinet.
• Andrew Bird, Laurie Anderson, and Amadou & Mariam are among artists invited to perform in A Room For London, a small “boat” overlooking the Thames. Winning a design contest, Fiona Banner’s proposal is based on the boat Joseph Conrad captained in the Congo in 1890.
• The “Contact & News” page of Richard Prince’s website has turned into a blog, of sorts. The artist has been musing since March on topics from his reading recommendations (Mary’s Mosaic by Peter Janney) to hairy women to his wonderment about Victor Hugo’s real name.
• For former urban planner Kathryn Clark, charts and statistics on foreclosures fail to convey the hardship so many families are facing. Her Foreclosure Quilts are delicate fabric collages that tell the story of our fraying neighborhoods.
• When proofing the reproductions of art in the catalog for its forthcoming Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, the Art Institute of Chicago had some help: the artist’s foundation lent “color swatches made from the very paints Lichtenstein used throughout his career.”
• A new single-theme Tumblr by Jason Foumberg aims to catalog the last works made by famous artists. A few poetic inclusions: Keith Haring‘s Unfinished Painting of 1989, Paul Thek‘s Dust (1988), and Basquiat‘s 1988 work Riding with Death.
• Ai Weiwei, who once carved a security camera in marble for an art project, one-upped himself this week: in a nod to China’s ever-present surveillance system, he set up cameras to live-stream all the activity in his studio. It didn’t last long: the next day, authorities told him to pull the plugs.
• On Sunday, Philadelphia announced it’d be the first American city to create “E-Lanes,” delineated Electronic Device Lanes reserved for those who chronically walk and text. John Metcalfe dubs it one of 2012′s best April Fool’s joke by a US city.
• Cat Break: Cats + architecture = Internet gold. Here’s a Tumblr blog that pairs reader-submitted mashups of famous architecture—including Snøhetta’s Opera House in Oslo and Jørn Utzon’s Sydney Opera House—and cats.
• In a “heartwarming display of New York crankiness,” Chuck Close grumbled about the trade of vocally Christian quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets. “He’s going to be in the end zone praying? This is New York. He should go do that in, uh, the Midwest somewhere.” • Shepard Fairey, who was asked by Penguin [...]
• In a “heartwarming display of New York crankiness,” Chuck Close grumbled about the trade of vocally Christian quarterback Tim Tebow to the Jets. “He’s going to be in the end zone praying? This is New York. He should go do that in, uh, the Midwest somewhere.”
• Shepard Fairey, who was asked by Penguin Books to do cover art for George Orwell‘s 1984 a few years ago, is now reportedly teaming up with Brian Grazer and Ron Howard to produce an adaptation of the 1949 work for the big screen.
• Money is often a theme in Damien Hirst‘s art (think: his infamous diamond-encrusted skull), but sometimes it transcends the art: LA MOCA postponed plans to host Tate’s Hirst survey because its $3 million cost was deemed too expensive.
• In a conversation with the UK’s CRACK magazine, Minneapolis-based designer and MCAD professor Erik Brandt discusses, among other topics, how living in Egypt, Cameroon, Germany, and Malawi affected his love of language and typography.
• For this year’s Northern Spark, a Minneapolis dusk-to-dawn art festival June 9-10, David Rueter is creating a bike “synch mob.” The Kuramoto Model (1,000 Fireflies) will synch up LED lights on 1,000 bikes to mimic firefly behaviors.
• Inside/Out gives a tour of Lester Beall‘s posters for the Rural Electrification Administration in the ’30s and ’40s: While nationalistic, the work highlights Beall’s “modernist design, which far outweighs the propagandist implications.”
• Noted performance artist Alison Knowles will stage her landmark Fluxus score Make a Salad (1962) on New York’s High Line for an April 22 commemoration of Earth Day.
• Screenshots of Despair: “Let’s get the crowd involved in documenting these weird, almost accidental moments, when the default algorithms that undergird the realm of the connected remind us, quietly but somewhat naggingly, that we’re all alone.”
• In addition to being surrealism’s mustachioed poster child, Salvador Dalí had his side gigs doing commercial work—like the iconic daisy logo for Chupa Chups, the popular Spanish lollipops, he made in 1969. • For the Brooklyn Museum’s Keith Haring show, opening Mar. 16, the late artist’s foundation has been scanning pages from his journal. [...]
• In addition to being surrealism’s mustachioed poster child, Salvador Dalí had his side gigs doing commercial work—like the iconic daisy logo for Chupa Chups, the popular Spanish lollipops, he made in 1969.
• For the Brooklyn Museum’s Keith Haring show, opening Mar. 16, the late artist’s foundation has been scanning pages from his journal. Today we see the page from Haring’s birthday in ‘77, when he met a former Minnesota Viking.
• Spanish collective Boa Mistura recently led a “typographic intervention” with residents in the São Paulo favela of Vila Brâsilandia. Playing tricks with perspective, they made words like “sweetness” and “tenacity” appear to float above the winding pathways.
• GIFs have come a long way since 1987, when the web-based image format brought us animated flames and “Under Construction” signs. Today, as PBS tracks, they’re the basis of a new kind of art, with Tumblr and Reddit helping to spread GIF-based memes.
• Sculptor Richard Serra developed a “union solidarity” working in a steel mill as a teenager. “That’s never left me, the notion of the effort the working class puts in every day,” he tells Tyler Green. “The split in the country right now is not good for either class.”
• Chattanooga, Tennessee, sees itself on the rebound, with a boom in arts and industry. Designers Robbie de Villiers and Jeremy Dooley think they can telegraph these gains with a custom-designed typeface for the city: Chatype.
• An “ebullient, graphic, homoerotic, black-and-white” mural made by Keith Haring in the former mensroom of New York’s Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center in 1989 is open to the public all month long following a $25,000 conservation effort.
• Tobias Leingruber has shut down FBbureau.com, a satirical art project in which he proposed official Facebook ID cards, after the online giant had its lawyers send him a cease-and-desist letter claiming trademark infringement. • “You can use an object as a sculpture, but also you can also smash a window with it, or break [...]
• Tobias Leingruber has shut down FBbureau.com, a satirical art project in which he proposed official Facebook ID cards, after the online giant had its lawyers send him a cease-and-desist letter claiming trademark infringement.
• “You can use an object as a sculpture, but also you can also smash a window with it, or break into a bank,” says Bjørnstjerne Christiansen on why Superflex calls its art (like the work Bankrupt Banks) tools. “It invites participation, and also criticality.”
• Ai Weiwei, Burmese poet Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, and Russia’s Voina collective are nominees for the 2012 Index Awards, which highlight creators “whose work asserts artistic freedom and battles against repression and injustice.”
• Inspired by the High Line, the elevated park in Lower Manhattan, organizers are fundraising on Kickstarter to build a LowLine on the Lower East side: a 1.5-acre, solar-lit public green space in an abandoned underground trolley terminal.
• After printing a $100,000 bill on a billboard—a John Baldessari work commenting on the financial crisis—the second project selected by High Line art curator Cecelia Alemani is a giant eye by Anne Collier. “There’s so much voyeurism here,” she says.
• Ikea is teaming up with Oregon-based architectural firm Ideabox to get into the prefab housing business. The Swedish-themed one-bedroom abode, which has a design focused on efficient space use, will retail for just shy of $87,000.
• After Occupy Wall Street sent a letter calling for an end to the New York institution’s signature biennial, the Whitney got pranked Monday: a faked Whitney website and release claimed the museum was rejecting sponsor money from Sotheby’s and Deutsche Bank.
• Occupy is alive and well in the realm of comics. The July issue of Archie will address the global protest movement, according to leaked artwork that shows banners that read “Occupy Riverdale” and “We are the 99%.” It follows up an equally political issue of the comic: #16, an issue protested by conservative groups, featured the same-sex marriage of gay character Kevin Keller. Copies of the issue sold out.