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Sculpture Garden bonding request wrap-up: We’ll be back!

You’ve probably heard the latest by now: although the legislature approved $2 million in bonds to help start a restoration of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Governor Pawlenty line-item vetoed the project from the bill. While the news is obviously very disappointing, we have much to be proud of. This was the first year the Minneapolis […]

You’ve probably heard the latest by now: although the legislature approved $2 million in bonds to help start a restoration of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Governor Pawlenty line-item vetoed the project from the bill.

While the news is obviously very disappointing, we have much to be proud of. This was the first year the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board made a request for Sculpture Garden funding. It often takes multiple attempts for a project to simply make it onto the legislative agenda. The Sculpture Garden made it into the bonding bill on the first try, an affirmation of its status as a beloved Minnesota destination.

We also saw an overwhelming show of support for the Sculpture Garden’s proposed preservation. Literally thousands of Minnesotans rose to the occasion to advocate on behalf of the project.

If you were involved in any way—writing to your legislators, sending a letter to the editor, spreading the word about the project—thank you! Your help has been essential in laying a solid groundwork for future collective efforts and eventual success.

What’s up next:

Through a public-awareness campaign, which will begin unfolding over the next couple of months, we expect to grow our network substantially and ultimately secure the funding we need to restore and preserve the Sculpture Garden.

How you can help:

  • Join the Action E-List.This e-mail list is exclusively devoted to information and calls to action regarding the Sculpture Garden project. You’ll likely receive just three or so e-mails per year, and only at critical junctures where action is needed.
  • Become a part of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s Facebook group. Post your favorite pictures, share Garden stories, and keep up on the latest Sculpture Garden news here.
  • Invite your friends to join both of the above.We need a broad representation of folks from around the state who have an affinity for the Sculpture Garden. A successful grassroots effort includes Minnesotans from every legislative district! Use the http://garden.walkerart.org/bonding URL to forward information to your network.

Thanks again for everyone’s efforts to help restore and preserve the Sculpture Garden. We’ll be back! As they say, it’s not over ’til it’s over.

LOVE PREVAILS

In cold and barren February, we notice the Sun’s brilliance burning a little longer into the afternoon, hinting at the warmth peeking just (months) around the corner.  Similarly, in the sometimes austere and modernist environs of the Walker Art Center, a passionate heat churns just beneath the surface.  Is it possible to fertilize the seeds […]

In cold and barren February, we notice the Sun’s brilliance burning a little longer into the afternoon, hinting at the warmth peeking just (months) around the corner.  Similarly, in the sometimes austere and modernist environs of the Walker Art Center, a passionate heat churns just beneath the surface.  Is it possible to fertilize the seeds of love at the Walker?  It’s possible, and evidence abounds.  Take, for example, this article describing James Turrell’s Sky Pesher as the best make out spot in town.  Kissing in the surrounds of ‘pigmented cast concrete?’  Very steamy.  One should take note, however, of the security camera watching every move.  No matter.  An adventurous lover knows that eyes are always watching, yet she boldly proceeds. 

Meet Ellie, one such bold adventurer.  The object of her affections is the roguish Scotty.  Her family-approved plan (Dad accompanied) was to ask Scotty to her high school’s Sadie Hawkins dance during a visit to the Walker.  Ellie had prepared a sign for her beau, a masterpiece worthy of the Louvre which implored, “Sweet Hearts? With Me, My Scotty” (sic).  Ellie presented me the sign to me in the snowy afternoon, asking where she could hang it. 

My colleagues and I discussed the matter,  chose a suitable place, and the sign was hung.  It was decided that I document the event, so I lay in wait for the magic moment. 

 

The tension was immense.  The unwitting Scotty approached and…

YES

 

Love prevails.

 

Note: Scotty was surprised by Ellie’s sign, but even more surprised by my prescence.  I explained, “I…uh.  I have to do this for work,”  then quickly fled.  Tender moments, cherished forever.

Bits & Pieces: From “Twilight” to “Zaire,” and points in between

Robert Pattinson’s got nothing on Francis Bacon! Who needs fan sites and movie trailers when you have ArtsConnectEd.org? See the slideshow presentation created by a Twilight fan, who uses artworks by Bacon and others to illustrate an outline of this, uh, literary sensation. It’s not too early to get a start on next year’s Halloween […]

robert pattinson Bacon - head in grey
Robert Pattinson’s got nothing on Francis Bacon! Who needs fan sites and movie trailers when you have ArtsConnectEd.org? See the slideshow presentation created by a Twilight fan, who uses artworks by Bacon and others to illustrate an outline of this, uh, literary sensation.


big head costume

It’s not too early to get a start on next year’s Halloween costume: Take inspiration from this paper-crafted self-portrait-as-helmet by 3D artist Eric Testroete, inspired by “big-head mode seen in videogames” See more pictures here. (via printeresting.org)

NYC Mayor Bloomberg only narrowly won re-election — and now this. After 66 years in Manhattan, the nonprofit American Craft Council has had it with the cost of doing business there. It is quitting the New York — and following a long trail of artists to greener, more fertile, and far cheaper pastures of Minneapolis, where it will take up residence next summer.

Minneapolis artist David Rathman, who showed here in 2003, has branched out from paintings and drawings to video, with stunning results. See below — best viewed in full screen!


Installation view of Pierre Huyghe’s Wind Chime (after “Dream”) (1997/2009) in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden © 2008 Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGPThe Quick and the Dead lives on. Three works from the highly regarded exhibition were recently acquired by the Walker for its collection. Probably the most familiar is Pierre Huyghe’s Wind Chime (After “Dream”) (left), which became a favorite in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden over the summer. We’ll All Go Together, a sound piece by Susan Philipsz, was an oddly comforting yet slightly eery presence in the underground parking garage (where it kept company with a battered, oil-leaking Buick — a surprise artwork by Trisha Donnelly that appeared the day before the show opened). And Mark Manders’ Life-size Scene with Revealed Figure is an enigmatic work that suggests any number of functions – an alterpiece, an obsolete projector, a stationary puppet — though its ultimate purpose remains mysterious.

Eno Gets Freaky

In anticipation of the sold out Brian Eno and Jon Hassell conversation on Sept 22, here is a gem for your pleasure.  Eno performs here with legendary Roxy Music in the early 70’s, freaking out on tambourine and, er, keyboard?  Here he is rocking his crucially dangerous “vampire peacock” look.  Check out that skullet! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3UODv3aCVxg Also, here’s one […]

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.

Children should be seen

A friend just send me this post from artfagcity, on images of babies in contemporary art – something we’re both interested in, being moms of toddlers ourselves. (I’d say we’re obsessed, but being moms of toddlers leaves scant time for obsessing about anything except the toddlers.) AFC’s Paddy Johnson also includes a link to this […]

//www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)

Marlene Dumas, Die Babe (from http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk)

A friend just send me this post from artfagcity, on images of babies in contemporary art – something we’re both interested in, being moms of toddlers ourselves. (I’d say we’re obsessed, but being moms of toddlers leaves scant time for obsessing about anything except the toddlers.) AFC’s Paddy Johnson also includes a link to this essay on motherhood and contemporary artists, from The Brooklyn Rail. While reading it, I recalled watching the uptick in strollers on the streets of Williamsburg (Brooklyn) a few years back – but at the time I wasn’t considering that many of those pushing the strollers might be working artists … Then again, isn’t Williamsburg now too expensive for working artists, with or without offspring? Circling back to artfagcity, an artistic comment on both topics.

PS – Margaret, a working artist and mom-of-toddlers and a regular here on the Walker blogs, has a number of thoughtful posts on art and parenthood.

Would Beuys have auditioned for “American Idol”?

Or the Idol counterpart in his home country, Deutschland sucht den Superstar? (Love that title!) The shaman/sham/most brilliant artist of all time (to paraphrase an Art News profile from 1980), did take risks with his “aktions,” most famously in cohabitating with a coyote in a gallery (see documentation in Walker exhibition) – but I just […]

Beuys goes "Bananas"

Beuys goes "Bananas"

Or the Idol counterpart in his home country, Deutschland sucht den Superstar? (Love that title!) The shaman/sham/most brilliant artist of all time (to paraphrase an Art News profile from 1980), did take risks with his “aktions,” most famously in cohabitating with a coyote in a gallery (see documentation in Walker exhibition) – but I just learned that he also made a go of it as a pop singer. Artforum.com (via YouTube) has a video of Beuys making himself vulnerable before mainstream TV viewers, performing a protest song called “Sonne Statt Reagan” in 1982 on the German show Bananas, which also hosted acts like Depeche Mode. Artforum’s video section has a lot of other good stuff, including David Byrne talking with Jeff Koons – in 1975, Matthew Barney’s 2003 Regis Dialogue at the Walker, and an interview with Mary Heilmann in which the artist talks about “keeping the bourgeoisie happy,” among other things.

What does boredom look like?

Leave it to Paul Schmelzer, the former chief blogger on Off-Center, to find the fine-art connection in Minnesota’s infamous Senate ballot recount. On his own blog, Eyeteeth, he’s mentioned how the “Lizard People” write-in vote on one ballot made waves last week, thanks mostly to MPR’s excellent “Challenged Ballots: You Be the Judge”, a feature […]

Leave it to Paul Schmelzer, the former chief blogger on Off-Center, to find the fine-art connection in Minnesota’s infamous Senate ballot recount.

On his own blog, Eyeteeth, he’s mentioned how the “Lizard People” write-in vote on one ballot made waves last week, thanks mostly to MPR’s excellent “Challenged Ballots: You Be the Judge”, a feature that provided an all-too rare occasion for election transparency.

But more to the point at hand, in a story for the Minnesota Independent, where he works as managing editor, Schmelzer talked to photographer Paul Shambroom about capturing the mind-numbing process of (re-)counting thousands of ballots. Shambroom, whose Meetings series masterfully – even majestically – documented small-town civic proceedings across the USA, said that if he were to return to his days as a news photographer, he might try “try to embrace the boredom” of such a task.

That got me trying to think of works of art that might “try to embrace the boredom” of something. What about Instead of allowing some thing to rise up to your face dancing bruce and dan and other things? That ‘s the “situation” by Tino Sehgal where a single person writhes slowly and soundlessly, kind of starfish-like, on the floor of an empty gallery; it played out last winter in the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery as part of Sehgal’s largest “show” to date in the first U.S.

Other examples of tedium-as-art? Send a comment below.

Clever marketing from an unexpected source

We’re all about interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, corporal-disciplinary art at the Walker, and that ethos stretches to the individual programming departments. When we crafted our Year of Trisha, folks in our visual arts and performing arts departments, otherwise separated by off-white walls, colored chiffon curtains and preferences in footwear, joined flavors in a melange of dance and […]

gober-1994224.jpgWe’re all about interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, corporal-disciplinary art at the Walker, and that ethos stretches to the individual programming departments. When we crafted our Year of Trisha, folks in our visual arts and performing arts departments, otherwise separated by off-white walls, colored chiffon curtains and preferences in footwear, joined flavors in a melange of dance and charcoal — like a contemporary art Reese’s peanut butter cup.

The good will has continued. With Angus Fairhurst’s The Birth of Consistency (2004) insisting upon spending the summer outside — and really, who’s going to argue with a gorilla? — visual arts curators saw the empty space in the Dolly Fiterman Garden Gallery as a chance not only to clean up after our bronzed primate (don’t ask!), but also promote a performing arts program — by exhibiting a giant plaster seashell by Robert Gober (Untitled, 1982).

What, you may ask, does this sculpture have to do with the performing arts? Place your ear to the opening of a seashell — what do you hear? No, silly Lima bean — that’s actually the sound of the blood rushing through your brain. But much like your lingering, senseless faith in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Minnesota Vikings, you believe you’re listening to the ocean, its sonic waves embedded for the ages in this wayward remnant from the sea. I won’t rid you of that belief. Quite the contrary, we’re counting on it.

It just so happens the Walker is preparing to sail an Ocean of a different kind — of Merce Cunningham’s and John Cage’s creation — September 11-13 at the Rainbow granite quarry near St. Cloud. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime production and we want people to see it. Most of our marketing tells you just that — it’s unique, it’s cool, it’s an experience, etc. Leave it to our thoughtful curators for taking the highroad and crediting our visitors with the wits to make this connection. Of course, we don’t want you to actually place your ear to this seashell. If the foreboding rope in front of the piece doesn’t deter you, our judo-trained guards will. Just look at the seashell, let it rekindle your memories of the ocean, step back down to the box office, and buy a ticket.

A poster is worth a thousand blogs

Two weeks after the foofarah (I can now cross that word off my “to use” list) stirred by The New Yorker’s Barack Obama cover, bloggers are now blogoplectic over a poster advertising Obama’s speech tonight in Berlin. One conservative gasket-blower has compared it to a poster of Adolph Hitler, though a blogger at Mother Jones […]

Two weeks after the foofarah (I can now cross that word off my “to use” list) stirred by The New Yorker’s Barack Obama cover, bloggers are now blogoplectic over a poster advertising Obama’s speech tonight in Berlin. One conservative gasket-blower has compared it to a poster of Adolph Hitler, though a blogger at Mother Jones is doing his part to balance the hyperbole, saying the poster “may be the finest piece of contemporary mainstream political art I’ve ever seen.” Read into it what you will — and many are reading into it — at least the Obama poster, unlike this one for John McCain, doesn’t communicate he’s a candidate to become God.

Progressive political candidates should reach out more to the deep pool of world-class artists already down, at least in spirit, with the cause. It would probably take one phone call to get Eddie Vedder to write an entire album of tunes implicitly, if not explicitly, pointing the way to Obama. One artist didn’t wait for the phone to ring. Celebrated street artist Shepard Fairey, known chiefly for his Obey Giant guerilla public plastering efforts, approached the Obama campaign earlier this year about “appealing to a younger, apathetic audience” through a new series of posters. Fairey got the go-ahead. Here’s a point-by-point detail about what he went for in his design.

Still, as with the Berlin poster, some saw something more insidious. Meghan Daum of the Los Angeles Times opined: “There’s an unequivocal sense of idol worship about the image, a half-artsy, half-creepy genuflection that suggests the subject is (a) a Third World dictator whose rule is enmeshed in a seductive cult of personality; (b) a controversial American figure who’s been assassinated; or (c) one of those people from a Warhol silkscreen that you don’t recognize but assume to be important in an abstruse way.”

For his part, Obama seemed pleased. In a personal letter to Fairey, Obama wrote: “I would like to thank you for using your talent in support of my campaign. The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe they can help change the status quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign.

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