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The Walker’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012: Cats!

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.

A crowd of 10,000 watched the first ever Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker

A crowd of 10,000 watched the first ever Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker

 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.

The Hold Steady at Rock the Garden 2012

The Hold Steady at Rock the Garden 2012

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.

Exhibition catalogue for Graphic Design: Now In Production

Exhibition catalogue for Graphic Design: Now In Production

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.”

Still from Kim Beom's Yellow Scream (2012)

Still from Kim Beom’s Yellow Scream (2012)

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:

Insights 2012: Aaron Draplin’s “100 Things I Love About Minneapolis”, The Gradient

The Madness Letters: Friedrich Nietzsche and Béla Tarr, Crosscuts

Lifelike: Installing Robert Therrien’s Giant Folding Table and Chairs, Untitled (Blog)

Insights 2012: Aaron Draplin’s “100 Things I Love About Minneapolis”

Vintage Makeover Ideas for a Downtown Thoroughfare, Centerpoints

“Vote No”: A Walker Family Photo, Centerpoints

Insights 2012: Michael Lejeune (in conversation with Lisa Middag)The Gradient

Beyond Interface: #Opencurating and the Walker’s Digital Initiatives, Media Lab

Negative Space: Mungo Thomson Approaches the Void with New Walker Mural, Untitled (Blog)

Painting as Score: Sarah Crowner on FormatUntitled (Blog)

 

Related: The Walker’s Most Popular Articles of 2012: Haring, Hodges, and a Giant Folding Chair

The Walker’s Most Popular Articles of 2012: Haring, Hodges, and a Giant Folding Chair

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.

Jim Hodges, Untitled (2011)

Jim Hodges, Untitled (2011)

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.

Installing Robert Therrien’s giant folding table and chairs

Installing Robert Therrien’s giant folding table and chairs

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.

Keith Haring in front of his mural, Walker Art Center, 1984

Keith Haring in front of his mural, Walker Art Center, 1984

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.”

Young Jean Lee, Untitled Feminist Show, 2012

Young Jean Lee, Untitled Feminist Show, 2012

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.”

Candy Chang, Before I Die, 2011

Candy Chang, Before I Die, 2011

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:

Design’s “Dark Lord” Discusses the Walker’s Black-Metal Logo

Orbital Geography: Trevor Paglen’s Cave Painting for Space

Cindy Sherman: Interview with a Chameleon

Unconventionally Real: Nine Artists Discuss Their Work in Lifelike

dOCUMENTA (13): The Uncommodifiable Quinquennial

How Warhol Did Not Murder Painting but Masterminded the Killing of Content

Tombstone for Phùng Vo

What Can Saddam Teach Us About Democracy? Or, Why Did Paul Chan Publish a Book About a Dictator’s Speeches?

Postcards from America: A Creative Road Trip with Alec Soth and Magnum Photographers

JoAnn Verburg on Newspapers as Portals to the Political

 

Related: The Walker’s Most Popular Blog Posts of 2012: Cats!

Introducing Centerpoints

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.

Send in the Cats: An Open Call

As you may have gathered, I’m a dog guy. But seeing as the internet is especially fond of cats, we’ve been doing a weekly (more or less) nod to feline fanciers in the Walker homepage’s Art News From Elsewhere section. Our art-linked Friday Cat Breaks have shown us Ai Weiwei’s cats; the increasingly abstracted cat […]

As you may have gathered, I’m a dog guy. But seeing as the internet is especially fond of cats, we’ve been doing a weekly (more or less) nod to feline fanciers in the Walker homepage’s Art News From Elsewhere section. Our art-linked Friday Cat Breaks have shown us Ai Weiwei’s cats; the increasingly abstracted cat art of Louis Wain (pictured), a World War I–era illustrator institutionalized with schizophrenia; and HTML server errors, in cat, to name a few.

But we need more. And we need help. So if you come across contemporary art–related cat links, leave them in comments for consideration for future editions. Thanks!

The Hippocratic Oath of a Photographer

Written more than six decades before the advent of Google Image Search and Flickr, magazine art director M.F. Agha’s 1937 rant against photography clichés, from the International Center of Photography’s library collection, makes even more sense in the image-saturated present.

Written nearly seven decades before the advent of Google Image Search and Flickr, magazine art director M.F. Agha’s 1937 rant against photography clichés, from the International Center of Photography’s library collection, makes even more sense in the image-saturated present. An accomplished photographer himself, Agha brought imagery by well-known artists, including photographer Edward Steichen and painter Charles Sheeler, to the pages of Vanity Fair and Vogue, and his oath seems to call out works by some of the era’s top photographers: “cabbages cut in half,” for instance, is likely a nod to Edward Weston, while mentions of “plaster casts of Greek statues” and a “picture of an egg” probably refer to works by Paul Outerbridge. In 1931, Agha called Outerbridge a “pioneer,” before hitting on a theme that underlies this oath of six years later: “There is indeed a great similarity between the symbolic guitar of Picasso repeated in countless canvases of the followers — and the symbolic eggs of Outerbridge, equally popular with photographers who decided to ‘go modern.’” Given his apparent admiration for such photographers, the title of his manifesto, then, reads as a twist on the physician’s oath, only he vows to “first do no harm” to the legacies of true innovators.

Image used with permission.

Updates on the petition to release Ai Weiwei

Updates to the April 12 post [see below]: – Almost a month after he was detained, more than 127,000 petition signatures have been gathered. Click here to add yours. – Ai’s whereabouts remain unknown, but what is certain is that due process under Chinese law has been denied him. – Watch a 3-minute conversation with the artist on […]

Updates to the April 12 post [see below]:

- Almost a month after he was detained, more than 127,000 petition signatures have been gathered. Click here to add yours.

- Ai’s whereabouts remain unknown, but what is certain is that due process under Chinese law has been denied him.

- Watch a 3-minute conversation with the artist on British Tate museums’ website.

- Read Salman Rushdie’s editorial in the New York Times.

 = = = = =

original post, published 11:17 am 2011-04-12

On Sunday, April 3, acclaimed Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained by police in Beijing as he was boarding a flight to Hong Kong. His current whereabouts are unknown. The arbitrary arrest of artists and intellectuals by any government is very troubling, and this news has struck a deep chord with me and with the art community worldwide.

Weiwei is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. He is widely regarded for his visionary conceptual work, which often examines structures of power and morality. Weiwei’s work has been exhibited across the world, and recently ArtReview hailed him as one of the “100 Most Powerful Figures in Contemporary Art.”

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has launched a cooperative effort to petition Chinese authorities for Ai Weiwei’s release. The petition was jointly issued by a coalition of curators and directors from museums and organizations worldwide, including the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Tate, the Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Walker, along with several others.

The petition has already generated tremendous momentum, but we need your participation. I invite you to take a moment to lend your support to this important effort by signing the petition.

Additional links:
New York Times blog post, April 8, 2011
Olga Viso comments in online journal Eyeteeth, April 7, 2011

Walker Channel Madness: Day 1, Game 1

Welcome to Day 1 of Walker Channel Madness! Our first exciting match-ups come from the DIALOGUE & PERFORMANCES and LECTURES pods. Remember, these games were chosen carefully by program/video type, and then seeded by the number of views so far. You can check out all the details over at the introductory blog post. And without […]

Welcome to Day 1 of Walker Channel Madness! Our first exciting match-ups come from the DIALOGUE & PERFORMANCES and LECTURES pods. Remember, these games were chosen carefully by program/video type, and then seeded by the number of views so far. You can check out all the details over at the introductory blog post.

And without further ado…

Game 1
OPENING-DAY ARTIST TALK: ALEC SOTH WITH GEORGE SLADE vs MAKING MUSIC: DAVE KING

We’ve got two Minnesota favorites here. In one corner, Alec Soth discusses the world of contemporary photography with George Slade, a curator at the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University. In the other corner, Dave King opens up his conversation with a non sequitur, discussing the chicness and appeal of mixing checks and stripes in men’s fashion.

Alec Soth:

Dave King:

Summer Music & Movies Returns this August

And…we’re back! We’re pleased to announce that Summer Music & Movies in Loring Park will return this summer, co-presented by the Walker and 89.3 The Current. The event will follow the classic format (a performance by a local band followed by a film screening) and take place the first four Mondays in August. In a […]

And…we’re back! We’re pleased to announce that Summer Music & Movies in Loring Park will return this summer, co-presented by the Walker and 89.3 The Current.

The event will follow the classic format (a performance by a local band followed by a film screening) and take place the first four Mondays in August. In a nod to the first Summer Music & Movies in 1973, the August 22 event will move from Loring Park to the Walker’s green space for a special one-night event featuring a silent film with a live band providing the soundtrack. The Walker is grateful for the support of the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board again this year.

Information about specific bands and films will be announced in May.

Walker Stands with National Peers in Support of Artistic Freedom

Before I came to the Walker in 2008, I was a curator of contemporary art and ultimately director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Hirshhorn is one of the 19 museums and nine research centers that comprise the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. It is a sister museum to the National Portrait Gallery […]

Before I came to the Walker in 2008, I was a curator of contemporary art and ultimately director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. The Hirshhorn is one of the 19 museums and nine research centers that comprise the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. It is a sister museum to the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), which has been the site of controversy since December 1, when Smithsonian officials caved to political pressures and removed a film by the late artist David Wojnarowicz from the exhibition Hide/Seek : Difference and Desire in American Portraiture.

In response to this crisis, various versions of the film Fire in my Belly will be screened daily at the Walker Art Center later this week, pending arrangements with the artist’s estate. (Check website for further details.) This film, in which the artist has edited a montage of video footage shot in Mexico, captures his anger and struggle with the death of a lover and his own H.I.V. diagnosis. Since its making, this film has become an iconic art work of the 1980s and has had a visible place in AIDS activism in New York and the U.S. See Holland Cotter’s article from Saturday’s New York Times “As Ants Crawl over Crucifix, Dead Artist is Assailed Again” and Frank Rich’s New York Times editorial “Gay Bashing at the Smithsonian” for more detailed descriptions and analysis of the work.

In addition, on December 16 the Walker opens 50/50: Audience and Experts Curate the Paper Collection in which Wojnarowicz’s Four Elements, a work in the Walker’s permanent collection, is one of over 50 objects the public selected for inclusion in this new collaborative exhibition.


David Wojnarowicz
Four Elements
1990
lithograph on paper
T.B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 1991

It is from my perspective both as director of the Walker, an institution devoted to supporting the most adventurous art and artists of our time, and my position as a former curator and director of a Smithsonian museum, that I write this statement. I do so after traveling yesterday to Washington to see the exhibition firsthand, a step I would encourage anyone taking a public position on this exhibition to take.

Hide/Seek was organized by the NPG to “show how art has reflected changing attitudes toward sexual identity.” As a museum dedicated to presenting the lives of individuals who have made significant impact on American life and culture over the course of U.S. history, the exhibition boldly tackles and in many ways admirably achieves this goal. Through the lens of over 100 artists, curators David Ward and Jonathan Katz frankly elucidate the lives of the individuals represented as well as the social history and sexual politics that attend over a century of art making. This history unquestionably shaped the lives of many of the century’s key makers as well as their creative output, influencing further developments in 20th and 21st century art.

Incredibly thoughtful, well researched, and comprehensive wall labels accompany each art work. Indeed the wall texts are central components of the exhibition in an installation conceived to reveal a social history of silence and oppression rather than trace any specific aesthetic impulses, artistic developments, or concerns. In this regard, it is important to acknowledge that Hide/Seek is not a traditional art exhibition nor is the NPG a conventional art museum. The NPG is a museum of American history that presents art (portraiture exclusively) as an artifact by which to understand and interpret American life and culture.

In every regard, the NPG should be applauded for organizing, mounting, and presenting this groundbreaking, scholarly exhibition and supporting the curators’ well argued thesis that a powerful artistic and cultural legacy has been “hidden in plain sight for more than a century.” Yet the NPG’s and Smithsonian’s surprising decision to remove a key work from the exhibition a month after its opening undermines this thesis as well as the premise and curatorial integrity of the exhibition in alarming ways. Indeed this action serves to sublimate or “hide” the very thing the exhibition attempts to make visible.


David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (face in dirt), c. 1990

During my tenure at the Smithsonian, I had the pleasure and privilege with my colleagues there to bring some of the most compelling and often challenging modern and contemporary art to the nation’s capital, including works by many of the artists presented in Hide/Seek. While I would say that any artist, curator, and administrator making an exhibition in Washington is keenly aware of what it means to present contemporary art in the nation’s capital and to reach a very broad general audience, I always felt that my curatorial choices founded on well grounded research, expertise and knowledge were supported by Smithsonian administration. This was true even if the content was potentially controversial so long as the museum took reasonable steps to inform the public and provide contextualizing material when such content might be present so that viewers could make their own choices.

Three years after my departure, I am saddened to find a very different Washington, one informed by fear, intolerance, and silence, and a different Smithsonian, one that has perhaps lost touch with some of the core principles and spirit of its establishment. Founded in 1846 to increase and diffuse knowledge, the Smithsonian was created by the U.S. Congress as a trust instrumentality of the nation to be administered by an independent governing body and leader. This structure was created in part to prevent an institution envisioned as a beacon for research, debate, and the advancement of knowledge from being subject to the winds of political change, partisanship, and special interest. So important was this value that the Congress debated for nearly a decade prior to the Smithsonian’s establishment how to best ensure scholarly objectivity.

I am, of course, deeply disheartened by the Smithsonian’s recent actions and join my colleagues at the Association of Art Museum Directors and the Warhol Foundation, on whose boards I also serve, in their statements of disapproval and condemnation. Since time immemorial, artists have questioned the predominant modes of thought in our society and pushed the bounds of conventional thinking to inspire reflection, debate, and ultimately advance culture.  As stewards and supporters of our cultural legacy, it is essential for institutions like the Walker and, indeed all citizens, to support the independent voices of artists and the value of creative and artistic freedom. It has never been more important to speak out and openly for the freedom of expression.

This year’s crop of geniuses

Every year, after the MacArthur Foundation gives a couple dozen people the surprise of a lifetime with its “Genius” grants, a flurry of articles are generated touting the newly mined geniuses based on birthplace, current residence or place of work, age, gender, profession, etc. The Walker is not immune to this tradition, as oftentimes the geniuses […]

Every year, after the MacArthur Foundation gives a couple dozen people the surprise of a lifetime with its “Genius” grants, a flurry of articles are generated touting the newly mined geniuses based on birthplace, current residence or place of work, age, gender, profession, etc. The Walker is not immune to this tradition, as oftentimes the geniuses include artists who have developed notable relationships with the institution through exhibitions and performances, by creating commissioned work, or artist residencies. To wit, this year’s crop includes:

Matthew Carter: PBS.org calls him ”a prolific type designer who has created more than 60 typeface families and over 250 fonts” — including, in the mid-90s, the Walker typeface.

Jason Moran, also on PBS.org’s highlighted list, “is a jazz pianist and composer whose work crosses genres and combines disciplines. Leader of an ensemble called The Bandwagon, Moran has made melodies out of human speech, collaborated with visual artists in multimedia performances and honored jazz gods like Thelonious Monk.” Moran has performed at the Walker (and toured current exhibitions) on several occasions – his work Milestone was a Walker commission based on its visual art collection. Here’s his “Making Music” talk at the Walker from May 2009.

Related shout-outs (on a geographic and professional basis) go to Marla Spivak over at the University of Minnesota for her work in protecting the honeybee population; and to two visual artists, Elizabeth Turk and Jorge Pardo (who does have a set of screenprints in the Walker collection).

Here’s the full list at the MacArthur Foundation, with portraits, videos, etc. etc.

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