Blogs Centerpoints Music

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 […]

Rock the Garden reviews and photos

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

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

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

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

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

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

And here are photos I’ve seen go by:

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

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

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

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

The Museum of Bad Art’s Michael Frank

Museum of Bad Art Today the Walker was visited by Michael Frank, the Curator-in-Chief of Boston’s Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Since the early 90′s, the MOBA features “art too bad to be ignored™,” displayed in galleries in the basements of two community theatres in the Boston area, the “largest network of theatre-basement exhibition venues […]

Museum of Bad Art

Today the Walker was visited by Michael Frank, the Curator-in-Chief of Boston’s Museum of Bad Art (MOBA). Since the early 90′s, the MOBA features “art too bad to be ignored™,” displayed in galleries in the basements of two community theatres in the Boston area, the “largest network of theatre-basement exhibition venues on Earth.” The museum exhibits artworks with a playful ironic subtext. The hilarious website is a fascinating peek into the world of images found in thrift stores, garbage piles, yard sales, and even donations from artists themselves. Michael is in town to view and promote Masterworks: The MOBA plays , 6 commissioned plays based on 6 paintings from his new book The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks. Being a Boston native myself, I was immediately excited to meet Michael and ask him some questions about MOBA.

What is your professional background?
I’m a professional musician and guitar player—Mike the Hatman. I do kids’ shows.

How did you become involved with MOBA?
In the early 90’s, the founders of the Museum of Bad Art decided to move on. There were a group of us who wanted to see it continue. I knew the founders because of a donation I made to the museum. I became Curator-in-Chief because I donated more art than anyone else.  Louise Reilly Sacco, the sister of one of the founders, became Permanent Acting Interim Executive Director.

What is the mission of MOBA?
We look for art created in earnestness, but where something went wrong in the execution or concept.

Which piece exemplifies the mission of MOBA?
That’s so hard to do, choose one piece. That’s like asking, “Which kid do you like the best?” I think Gilded Nude does a good job of showing what we’re about. You have to read the commentary, though—“The viewer is struck immediately by the youthful female subject’s oversized arm.”

Very tongue-in-cheek.
That’s MOBA.

What is your definition of “bad art?”
It’s difficult to be ironic about abstract art. Most art I would include in MOBA is representational, mostly with poor technique. Just because it has poor technique, though, doesn’t mean it automatically fits in at the MOBA. Some of the work has very good technique. It has to be a compelling image, one that I find interesting. Basically, if I say it’s museum-worthy, it is.

How do the artists at MOBA compare with “outsider” artists?
The works are very similar to Outsider Art or Art Brut. Some of the artists are also in many outsider art collections.

Some artists donate their works. How do the artists feel about being exhibited at MOBA?
A lot of artists do donate works. Some artists will use MOBA on their resumes. I follow the mission of MOBA when choosing the works. If the artist is too self-conscious or silly, trying to make bad art, I don’t accept it. Some artists are surprised when they find that their works are in MOBA. Only one person objected, the rest are happy about it for the most part.

MOBA exhibits mostly paintings and some sculpture. Have you considered including other media like film or performance art?
No. I thought about photography. Like abstract art, I find it hard to be ironic about photos. I do have a collection of music that I play at the galleries. One musician is Mary Schneider, Australia’s Queen of Yodeling. She yodels the classics. She yodels the melody to the William Tell Overture with an accompanying orchestra. She has fantastic technique.

What are people’s reactions to MOBA?
Almost everyone likes it. Some people don’t get it. What are people’s reactions to the Walker?

Mostly positive, some mixed opinions. The Walker shows so many different kinds of art, not many people like everything at the Walker. A lot of people know who we are and that we push the boundaries of the definition of art, so they expect that. Some people expect to see Van Gogh paintings and are mad when they find out we don’t show any.
I saw some works in your museum that I might consider for MOBA but like I said, it’s hard for me to be ironic about abstract art. I wondered, “Why is a canvas with a slit cut into it considered art?”

The Bryant Lake Bowl is currently showing Masterworks: The MOBA plays, performed by the Minnesota-based Commedia Bauregard theatre company. Interestingly, one of the plays is based on the painting Bone-Juggling Dog in Hula Skirt, by Minneapolis artist Mari Newman.

The Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks and other MOBA merchandise can be purchased from the MOBA website.
Like all reputable museums, MOBA happily accepts donations. Submissions should be made via email: curator@museumofbadart.org.

David Byrne’s Bike Racks

Musician, artist, former garden rocker, and avid cyclist David Byrne, was not only a juror for a recent bike rack design competition in New York, but an entrant as well. The City has gone ahead and produced some of his site specific designs. You can read about them in the New York Times or take […]

Musician, artist, former garden rocker, and avid cyclist David Byrne, was not only a juror for a recent bike rack design competition in New York, but an entrant as well.

The City has gone ahead and produced some of his site specific designs. You can read about them in the New York Times or take a ride wth Byrne and the Wall Street Journal in this video: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brCk1-AVvRk[/youtube]

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eavesdrop 07.15.08

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GadXJLcJ0[/youtube] Sights, sounds and, if you press your nose really close to the screen, smells from the opening night of the Walker’s Summer Music & Movies series, with music from The Alarmists. The series continues every Monday, in Loring Park, through August 18.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7GadXJLcJ0[/youtube]

Sights, sounds and, if you press your nose really close to the screen, smells from the opening night of the Walker’s Summer Music & Movies series, with music from The Alarmists. The series continues every Monday, in Loring Park, through August 18.

Flatstock 16: The sights of rock ‘n’ roll

Lost in the shake and shuffle of SXSW this week is Flatstock 16, a showcase of the best and brightest (at times, literally) in concert poster design. Sharing crawl space on the liquor-lacquered streets and floors of Austin, Tex., are several Minneapolis graphic designers hoping to become the next John Van Hamersveld. Among locals who […]

Lost in the shake and shuffle of SXSW this week is Flatstock 16, a showcase of the best and brightest (at times, literally) in concert poster design. Sharing crawl space on the liquor-lacquered streets and floors of Austin, Tex., are several Minneapolis graphic designers hoping to become the next John Van Hamersveld.

Among locals who made the trek down I-35 — cardboard tubes slung over their shoulders, no doubt, in place of guitar straps — are Dan Ibarra and Michael Byzewski of Aesthetic Apparatus (they’ve worked for Frank Black, the Hold Steady, and The New Pornographers, among many others). Other local poster designers postering and partying in Austin are the company Burlesque of North America (Arcade Fire, Rhymesayers), Dan Black and Jessica Seamans of the collective Landland, Amy Jo Hendrickson and an artist going by the name of DWITT. Hendrickson and fellow Minneapolis poster artists Tooth and Lonny Unitus (a vintage Baltimore Colts fan, I take it) recently opened a Northeast storefront (158 13th Ave. NE) featuring limited-edition screenprinted posters and art prints, an on-site design studio and a screenprinting shop.

In 2007, Eric Drommerhausen, an MCAD grad who lives in Albert Lea, Minn., was the grand prize winner of the first Student Flatstock Contest. Presented by the American Poster Institute, Flatstock is an annual series of exhibitions featuring work by leading concert poster artists.

Couldn’t make it to Austin to oggle the latest in wall wear? No problem — check out the live Flatstock Web cam operated by the folks of gigposters.

IMAGE: “The Redwalls” by Aesthetic Apparatus

Happy Apple in the Big Apple

When I first moved to the Twin Cities, 11 years ago, the Artists’ Quarter housed the only semblance of life after 5 pm in Lowertown St. Paul (I had an apartment across from the Farmers’ Market). There was no smoking ban then, and no ventilation in the basement club in the McColl Building, yet I […]

daveking.jpgWhen I first moved to the Twin Cities, 11 years ago, the Artists’ Quarter housed the only semblance of life after 5 pm in Lowertown St. Paul (I had an apartment across from the Farmers’ Market). There was no smoking ban then, and no ventilation in the basement club in the McColl Building, yet I suffered through scorched eyes and choked lungs for any chance to catch Happy Apple. The trio still plays three or four weekends a year at the AQ (it moved several years ago to the basement beneath Great Waters Brewing) to overflowing crowds of college kids and unshaven thirtysomethings with fetishes for flannel and wool caps.

I now tip you to this review in today’s New York Times of Happy Apple’s set Tuesday at Joe’s Pub, in Lower Manhattan. Ben Ratliff, the Times reviewer, is a longtime follower of the band, so I’m a little amused his piece carries the tone of an introduction to the masses. Perhaps it’s a necessity — Apple Apple has defined avant garde jazz in the Twin Cities for close to a dozen years, yet even many jazz enthusiasts only know the band by name. Waves of attention have come from New York and France, and Happy Apple would likely have a larger profile in contemporary music (jazz and otherwise) if drummer Dave King (pictured, in this shot by Walker photographer Cameron Wittig) weren’t splitting his time in The Bad Plus (and eight other projects, at last count). The Walker presented Happy Apple and The Bad Plus in a 2005 tribute concert to Ornette Coleman.

I’ve been a little frustrated with an imbalance in Happy Apple’s recent music — songs have steered away from the more bombastic roundhouses to the soft jabs of melody and balladry — but in concert, there’s no more engaging, entertaining and ferocious band around, in any genre. And any time they’re at the AQ, I make it a point to park myself at the foot of the stage.

The Sound of Kahlo

A day after the Walker’s opening of Frida Kahlo, Twin Cities community radio station KFAI is airing a soundtrack to the exhibition on its new program, “Encuentro.” Host Gilberto Vzquez Valle is dedicating the Oct. 28 show to songs from Kahlo’s life — “songs that she loved, songs that were popular in Mexico during her […]

A day after the Walker’s opening of Frida Kahlo, Twin Cities community radio station KFAI is airing a soundtrack to the exhibition on its new program, “Encuentro.” Host Gilberto Vzquez Valle is dedicating the Oct. 28 show to songs from Kahlo’s life — “songs that she loved, songs that were popular in Mexico during her lifetime and songs that were part of the musical backdrop for her artistic work,” he says.

KFAI (90.3 FM in Minneapolis / 106.7-FM in St. Paul) broadcasts “ Encuentro” 1 to 2:30 pm each Sunday.

Murakami designs Kanye’s cover art

Kanye West, continuing his fascination with Japanese culture, has enlisted Takashi Murakami to design the cover for his new album, Graduation, which will be released September 11. Murakami has curated three exhibitions of “superflat” art, including Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture, and his work can be seen in two places at the […]

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Kanye West, continuing his fascination with Japanese culture, has enlisted Takashi Murakami to design the cover for his new album, Graduation, which will be released September 11. Murakami has curated three exhibitions of “superflat” art, including Little Boy: The Arts of Japan’s Exploding Subculture, and his work can be seen in two places at the Walker, as wallpaper in the lower lobby and his four guardian-like sculptures in the Dolly J. Fiterman Garden Gallery, Jocko-kun, Zoucho-kun, Cuomo-kun, and Tamon-Kun (all 2003).

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The Murakami touch follows West’s “Stronger” video, which features Japanese characters superimposed on an anime-inspired, Blade Runner-esque scene. Watch the video after the jump.

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Christian Marclay’s new iPhone ad?

In his 1995 film Telephones, artist Christian Marclay spliced together snippets of actors from Hollywood films answering phones. Apple contacted Marclay, he says, to get permission to use the concept for a new iPhone ad (above) that debuted during the Oscars. He refused. They took the idea anyway. “The way they dealt with the whole […]


In his 1995 film Telephones, artist Christian Marclay spliced together snippets of actors from Hollywood films answering phones. Apple contacted Marclay, he says, to get permission to use the concept for a new iPhone ad (above) that debuted during the Oscars.

He refused. They took the idea anyway.

The way they dealt with the whole thing is pretty sleazy,” Marclay says. He talked to a lawyer about taking legal action over the ripoff, but was told “there’s nothing I can do about it. They have the right to get inspired.”

Contemporary art, of course, is often about appropriation and recontextualizing material, but the brazenness of Apple’s move is disappointing. Still, Marclay isn’t keen on going to court.

“This culture’s so much about suing each other that if we want to have anything that’s more of an open exchange of ideas, one has to stop this mentality. I’m just honored that they thought my work was interesting enough that they felt they could just rip it off.”

The following mini-documentary on Marclay’s work included Telephones about 3:40 in.


Via Kottke.

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