Blogs Centerpoints General

A View from Three Feet Up: Eavesdropping on a Sculpture Garden tour

  Out in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden recently, I tagged along with a gaggle of field-tripping preschoolers from various day care centers in White Bear Lake. Following are outtakes from their spirited debates about the artistic representation of animals in the Garden. Kim, the group’s intrepid tour guide, started the conversation: “What do you think you’ll […]

 

Octopus, lion, giraffe, or spider: Which inspired Mark di Suvero's "Arikidea"?

Out in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden recently, I tagged along with a gaggle of field-tripping preschoolers from various day care centers in White Bear Lake. Following are outtakes from their spirited debates about the artistic representation of animals in the Garden.

Kim, the group’s intrepid tour guide, started the conversation: “What do you think you’ll see in the garden today?”

“I think we’ll see a cherry and spoon,” quipped Bella, 5, showing off copious advance research.

Jake, 4, stated that he had seen some dragonflies in his backyard recently.

“I’m three!” shouted Aiden, 3, before telling everyone to be quiet.

Kim moved the group into the Cowles Conservatory, past the fragrant Madagascar jasmines and New Guinea impatiens and into the exhibit space with Frank Gehry’s Standing Glass Fish. “Can anyone tell me what they think of when they see this sculpture?” she asked.

“It’s flopping its way out,” said Caden, 5.

“He got one tail,” explained George, 2.

“What is this fish made of?” asked Kim.

“Likeable stuff,” answered Zander, 3.

Kim nodded in agreement. She told a story of Gehry’s grandmother, who used to come home from the market with a live fish and let it swim in the bathtub until dinnertime. That’s why Gehry likes to make art look like fish, she explained.

Continuing into the outdoor garden, Kim stopped the group at Deborah Butterfield’s Woodrow. “What do you think this animal is?” she asked.

Hannah was certain it was a giraffe. Multiple votes were cast for a deer. Someone suggested it was a moose. Kim shook her head. “Any more guesses?”

“It’s a giraffe,” said Aiden.

Kim provided a hint: “It’s something you might find on a ranch or farm.” A debate followed regarding the constitutions of horses and cows. An agreement was reached. Horse.

The group migrated to see Mark di Suvero’s Arikidea, which Kim alleged to be another animal—but what kind?

“It’s an octopus, because it has lots of legs,” said Nick, 6. Caden thought it had a head like a lion. Aiden thought it was a giraffe. Hannah guessed correctly: a spider.

Seven of the children climbed onto Arikidea’s giant platform and got a push on the swing. Joni, the day’s organizer, brought out her camera. Bella instantly flashed a movie-star grin, displaying missing front teeth.

Responding to an inquiry from Aiden, Kim expressed regret over the paucity of elephants in the garden.

“Can we go see a giraffe?” he asked in reply. Kim looked apologetic.

 

Help us preserve your Sculpture Garden! Visit garden.walkerart.org and sign up for the Action E-List to receive e-mail updates (only a couple, we promise) on how you can help at times when it is most needed.

Rock the Garden Reviews and Photos: Everybody loves confetti

I’ve been keeping tabs on what people have been saying about this year’s Rock the Garden via Twitter, facebook, and my eyes and ears. There are three things I’m sure of: 1. People love confetti. (And yes, ours was biodegradable.) 2. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were amazing and stole the show. 3. MGMT was […]

Confetti! Photo: Cameron Wittig

I’ve been keeping tabs on what people have been saying about this year’s Rock the Garden via Twitter, facebook, and my eyes and ears. There are three things I’m sure of:

1. People love confetti. (And yes, ours was biodegradable.)

2. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings were amazing and stole the show.

3. MGMT was the low after the sugar rush high that was Sharon Jones, but at least they played “Kids.”

I also did a little trend-watching. I counted 500 rompers, 200 straw hats, and 100 bouts of  “grandma’s couch” floral prints. There were only 20 maxi dresses (last year’s romper) so next year, don’t wear a romper. What do you think next year’s big trend will be? Shortalls? Harem pants (will they reach the midwest?) Tie-dye?

Review round-up:

The Onion’s A.V. Club does a quick recap with a short slideshow (including another great confetti shot.)

Twin Cities Daily Planet does a play-by-play of the day with great pictures of the bands and the crowd.

The artcetera blog on Star Tribune offers a quick review of the day, while the full article on the Strib website talks to people from the crowd.

The blog Sandwiches I Have Loved gives a thumbs up to the ratatouille with goat cheese sandwich from Joe’s Garage.

This one on Not Shallow includes a lengthy “romper digression.”

Twin Cities Concert Blog picks the highs and lows of each band. Includes a video of OK Go and their handbell song.

Photo round-up:

I’ve been waiting for this: the City Pages Freestyle Fashion Rock the Garden slideshow!

City Pages‘ well-rounded slideshow of the bands, food vendors, and “10,000 hipsters.”

Star Tribune gallery

50 photos from Twin Cities Metromix (including a strange photo of OK Go’s drummer framed by the lead singer’s outstretched legs)

The Current’s flickr pool (including a photo that captures a pretty fantastic Alan Sparhawk face)

Vita.mn’s photo gallery: lots of band shots.

L’etoile magazine’s photo round-up spends most of the time in the crowd.

Great flickr pool from user choplogicj.

Some nice dusk/city shots from user Dan_H.

Favorite tweet:

MayorRTRybak: Sharon Jones,former prison guard, has Rock the Garden crowd in custody. Love her sound!

More to come as they hit my Google alerts. Also, feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Be sure to add your best photos to the Rock the Garden photo album on the Rock the Garden facebook page.

Is artistic authenticity blind?

 Two juicy accounts of the closing party for MOMA’s performance-art blockbuster, Marina Abramović: The Artist is Present: Artforum’s Diary covers the whole star-studded, designer-garbed affair, while Jezebel homes in on a remark by the show’s curator that raised the question of just how clearly Abramović could see the more than 1,500 people who came to sit […]

"Marina Abramović: The Artist Is Present: at MoMA - New York. Photo by Marco Anelli. © 2010 Marina Abramović

 Two juicy accounts of the closing party for MOMA’s performance-art blockbuster, Marina Abramović: The Artist is PresentArtforum’s Diary covers the whole star-studded, designer-garbed affair, while Jezebel homes in on a remark by the show’s curator that raised the question of just how clearly Abramović could see the more than 1,500 people who came to sit opposite her in an epic performance piece also titled The Artist is Present. Luckily, the enterprising Jezebel blogger tracked down a friend of Abramović who clarified that the glasses the artist uses are reading glasses. Scandal averted! 

By the way, Marco Anelli‘s collected portraits of the artists’ partners-in-staring constitute a fantastic art project in themselves. MOMA.org presents them as an elegant slideshow; they’re also at the museum’s account on Flickr. Clicking through them on Flickr becomes as another kind of exercise in duration — not just because the collection, like the closing party, is star-studded (will Björk be the next sitter?); you also can’t help noting the minutes that each person held out under the all-consuming and, yes, focused stare of “the grandmother of performance art.”  

Eiko and Koma are two other venerated performers from the same generation as Abramović. Though they consider their work to be dance/theater/visual art rather than performance art, they will be undergoing their own exercise in duration, Naked, in the Walker’s Gallery 2 for the month of November.

Nice Ride MN Kiosk Arrives

The Minneapolis bike share program, Nice Ride Minnesota, will launch Thursday. The Walker just got its bike station a few days ago.  All it needs is bikes! It’s located on Hennepin Avenue, near Groveland Terrace. Maybe you’ve noticed these kiosks popping up around town too. I saw one at Birchwood Cafe in the Seward neighborhood […]

The Minneapolis bike share program, Nice Ride Minnesota, will launch Thursday. The Walker just got its bike station a few days ago.  All it needs is bikes! It’s located on Hennepin Avenue, near Groveland Terrace. Maybe you’ve noticed these kiosks popping up around town too. I saw one at Birchwood Cafe in the Seward neighborhood and another at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD).

This bike share program is ideal for short trips. Say, you live in the Seward area and on a gorgeous Saturday morning you decide to enjoy brunch at Birchwood Cafe and then check-out a Nice Ride bike and head over to the Walker to partake in Open Field activities. You check-in the bike at the Walker kiosk and chill on the hill and grab a beer. Then it’s time to meet friends for dinner on Eat Street, so you check-out another bike and ride on over to MCAD. There are so many choices, but you decide on Pancho Villa for its tasty piña coladas (ask for it minus the whipped cream) and nachos.  It’s getting late (you’re no longer a spring chicken…you’re almost 30) so you return to MCAD and check-out your last bike of the day and head on home and drop-off the bike at Birchwood. What a perfect day.

To figure out how to use Nice Ride, visit http://www.niceridemn.org. Subscriptions are super reasonable and once you subscribe, all 30 minute and under rides are free, so bike fast.

Abstract Expressionist postage stamps: Honor or oxymoron?

  Jonathan Fineburg, a University of Illinois art history professor and the author of Art Since 1940, a text familiar to many college art history students, was selected to choose just 10 artworks for the U.S. Postal Service’s  “Abstract Expressionists” stamps on sale today. He credits – here’s our MN connection – Joan “Joan of Art” […]

 

Untitled work by Mark Rothko, 1953

Jonathan Fineburg, a University of Illinois art history professor and the author of Art Since 1940, a text familiar to many college art history students, was selected to choose just 10 artworks for the U.S. Postal Service’s  “Abstract Expressionists” stamps on sale today. He credits – here’s our MN connection – Joan “Joan of Art” Mondale with influencing the USPS’ decision to create this micro-exhibition. In a process that calls to mind shrinky-dinks, the expansive visions of Joan Mitchell, Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky, Robert Motherwell and Hans Hoffman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Barnett Newman, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko (but not the work in the Walker’s collection, picture here) have been distilled to postage-stamp size, presented together on a sheet meant to evoke a gallery installation.

The art of “The Kiss”: Tino Sehgal, PDA, & V-Day

Tino Sehgal’s solo show at the Guggenheim Museum is a highlight of New York’s art season; Walker visitors, of course, will be familiar with Sehgal’s “situations” from his untitled show here two years ago, which included five pieces. That exhibition, however, didn’t include The Kiss (2002), currently wowing New Yorkers in the Guggenheim’s rotunda, which […]

Kissing in the Museum: "Anna and Michael at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center" by Megan Feldman (backpocketcamera.com)

Tino Sehgal’s solo show at the Guggenheim Museum is a highlight of New York’s art season; Walker visitors, of course, will be familiar with Sehgal’s “situations” from his untitled show here two years ago, which included five pieces. That exhibition, however, didn’t include The Kiss (2002), currently wowing New Yorkers in the Guggenheim’s rotunda, which has been totally emptied of art objects (this undoubtedly says something about museums and the recession … just not sure what that is yet).

Sehgal doesn’t allow official photos of his own work (which led the New York Times to use uncredited iPhone snaps in its review by Holland Cotter.) But folks at the Flavorwire culture blog were so inspired by The Kiss that they created a photo series “reinterpreting” it at several other museums around New York (including the photo here). Perhaps some amorous or otherwise inspired Twin Citians might to do the same on the Walker premises? Valentine’s Day is approaching, after all – so grab a partner (and maybe some chapstick), then upload your pictures to the Walker’s Flickr pool. For more on Sehgal, read the Times Magazine’s profile, which includes a fascinating account of how the Walker acquired for its collection the artist’s This Objective of That Object.

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: holiday design, “sagging,” celebrity art lovers

Marcel’s Wanders-ing here, and over there: Can’t get enough of Marcel Wanders’ holiday trinkets at Target? You might want to moon over the 312-page digital book that Wanders published on his website, which exposes the whole design process and then some, including “Santa’s rejects.” It’s well worth paging through. Also check out the wrapping paper, […]

Marcel Wanders cover for de Bijenkor's 2008 holiday magazine

Marcel Wanders cover for de Bijenkorf's 2008 holiday magazine

wander_target design book

page from Wanders' design book for Target, 2009

Marcel’s Wanders-ing here, and over there: Can’t get enough of Marcel Wanders’ holiday trinkets at Target? You might want to moon over the 312-page digital book that Wanders published on his website, which exposes the whole design process and then some, including “Santa’s rejects.” It’s well worth paging through. Also check out the wrapping paper, socks, teddy bears, lingerie, Christmas balls, vases, dresses, and table decorations he designed for the 2008 holiday season at de Bijenkorf, a department store in his home country. (This year, de Bijenkorf’ commissioned Victor & Rolf to create a Christmas collection—perhaps Target will bring that duo to this side of the Atlantic next year?)

“…and a giant cherry on a huge spoon”: Target’s 2009 festivities also include a new video and radio commercial with a song by the VocalEssence Ensemble Singers. Watch the video and try to guess which Singer has a day job at the Walker.

Enduring? Certainly. Endearing? You decide … an exhibition about “sagging” called Hang Time: The Enduring, Endearing Trend, is up at Pill House (aka Pillsbury House) in South Minneapolis through January 30. As curator Roderic Southall told MPR’s Marianne Combs:

“If I were asked to boil down the messages that are sent to saggers by those adults who object to it I would suggest the phrase ‘you low down dirty dog homo boy who lacks any positive sense of who you are . . . listen to me as I tell you how to be.’ I think that accurately reflects how little I think the dialogue has been worth. Why we have such a violent community dialogue about clothing in the midst of all of the other social challenges is worthy of study and, in a way, celebration.”

Fair enough. But as Combs and Southall himself point out, if something’s been going on for 20 years, hasn’t it transcended trend status? Count on a lively artist/community discussion on January 15 atat 6:30 p.m.

From the Archives: Celebrities in our Midst! One of our interns is going down to the archives and will soon be posting treasures she unearths there (following up on this post). For now, pay a quick visit to Eyeteeth, the blog of former Walker staffer Paul Schmelzer, to see Sonic Youth enjoying the Walker’s 2006 Cameron Jamie exhibition. He hasn’t yet visited the Walker — that we know of — but James Franco’s been making inroads of late in the contemporary art world, including an appearance as a presenter at the First Annual Art Awards; now the Wall Street Journal has published his lengthy piece about performance art, questioning whether his role as artist “Franco, just Franco” on General Hospital qualifies as such; it’s accompanied by a video in which he interviews “godmother of performance art” Marina Abramovic.

"Franco, only Franco" on "General Hospital"; image from ABC

"Franco, just Franco" on "General Hospital" (image from ABCO)

Bits & Pieces: Curatorial Edition

“I traced out that Morandi drawing … Traced that son of a bitch out on a blank piece of paper, and I said, ‘There’s the artwork.’ ” Who says curators aren’t badasses? Read, via Greg.org,a brief yet fascinating account of curatorial license by the legendary Walter Hopps—all with the noblest of goals in mind: to […]

“I traced out that Morandi drawing … Traced that son of a bitch out on a blank piece of paper, and I said, ‘There’s the artwork.’ ” Who says curators aren’t badasses? Read, via Greg.org,a brief yet fascinating account of curatorial license by the legendary Walter Hopps—all with the noblest of goals in mind: to promote the work of Giorgio Morandi, who in the late ’50s/early ’60s was mostly unknown, at least on the West Coast. At an early stage of his long and illustrious career, Hopps founded and ran the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles (from 1957 to 1962), showing the likes of Robert Irwin, Ed Kienholz, Wallace Berman, and Ed Ruscha, in addition to Morandi.

We’ve noticed this, too: “The word ‘curate’,” lofty and once rarely spoken outside exhibition corridors or British parishes, has become a fashionable code word among the aesthetically minded, who seem to paste it onto any activity that involves culling and selecting.” From a recent New York Times piece.

You be the curator, option 1: Help commission a work of art with the stunningly simple FEAST MPLS: Attend a (not all that expensive) dinner. Peruse artists’ proposals with your fellow diners. Vote. The winning artist gets the take from the door (minus the dinner cost). Uses money to create proposed work. Shares work at the next FEAST MPLS dinner. Try it out on November 14.

va2009po_da-bc_0720_004

Chief Curator, Darsie Alexander and Curator of the Permanent Collection, Betsy Carpenter, planning upcoming PC exhibiton, Event Horizon, opening November 21, 2009 and running through August 26, 2012, in Galleries 1 and 3.

You be the curator, option 2: Make your own exhibition at the Walker’s After Hours Preview Party on November 20. Select thumbnail images of works from the Walker collection (including photos, videos, films, performances, or sound pieces). Arrange works on a gallery floor plan. Put the works you care about the most in prominent places. (“Curate” comes, after all, from the Latin for “to care”?) Paint the walls of your miniature gallery. Find ideas connecting the works. And finally, title your exhibition. Get tickets to the After Hours Party here.

Singing the Legacy of Sekou Sundiata

Sekou Sundiata – Voice and Passage Today, I ponder death. I am thinking of life’s inevitable end because it is gray and I have just returned from Paris and feel the demise of my own vacation, acutely (and remember some vain and heroic graves in Pere Lachaise cemetary that now lie in ruins or are […]

Sekou Sundiata – Voice and Passage

Today, I ponder death. I am thinking of life’s inevitable end because it is gray and I have just returned from Paris and feel the demise of my own vacation, acutely (and remember some vain and heroic graves in Pere Lachaise cemetary that now lie in ruins or are forgotten.) I am also thinking of death in relation to my lost compatriot, the poet Sekou Sundiata, whose life and work we celebrate and remember this week at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.

Sekou created in voice – invisible exhalations of sound and meaning. In our time, voice can be preserved in analog and digital technologies. But constitutionally it is wind – ubiquitous, forceful and completely mysterious. Voice (as wind) shapes and moves us, wounding and restoring, animating and destroying. As long as we breath (easily) we give voice to ourselves and to others. Our (or at least my) beloved and hated remembrances are linked to these invisible currents of the lungs, throat and lips. We are upheld by those moments when we are nourished and sustained by the voices of care; of friendship; of understanding; of compassion: and often crushed by those breaths that carry the forces of hatred, contempt and violence. Spirit. Voice. Are we not wind too – ubiquitously banal – blown and blowing; arriving as departure?

These dark and light gifts of voice: a newborn’s cry; words of love and endearment from someone we long for; news of the passing of someone we cherish. Passing – always – wind and voice – words that wound, heal, reverberate and echo. Sounds carried in the head and heart; in the caverns of the body. Voice – inescapable – whisper or harangue. Voice as phantasm – mystery and mist – more allied to expiration than to form.

Unlike others who in print lie forever prone on a page; Sundiata rises holographically even now in his voice (listen to him on the web- linked here); ghostly returning to stand before us, nearly as gorgeous and tall as he was in life; convening and communicating in his crooner’s baritone; lulling in his clear tones – smoothing over the very depths he so expertly navigated. Making it all seem so easy (His Coolness forever preserved). Listen in. He tells how he temporarily escaped the inevitable through transplantation, accident and re-creation. In the end, by aligning himself with voice – perhaps he mastered expiration; escaped the final silence by refusing to just be written down.

We return this week to his work (an expiration of voice together in song and conversation); perhaps, to dance our own undoing; to be with him in passing.

* * *

Singing the Legacy of Sekou Sundiata: The America Project
Thursday, October 22, 2009 – Saturday, October 24, 2009
2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408 | 612.871.4444

Intermedia Arts is proud to host Singing the Legacy of Sekou Sundiata: The America Project Twin Cities, a series of community events including Art Treats lunches, citizenship dinners, a film screening and community sing, all designed to inspire and ignite our passionate ideals around citizenry, civic work, and active engagement in civic life. Together we will use art, music, conversation and laughter to discuss what it means to be an American today, and to dream about what it could mean in the future
sundiata1-600w

Previous
Next