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You Must Get Back Up

banana fall

banana fall

*Levi Weinhagen is serving as Artist in Residence for Education and Community Programs from September 2014 through February 2015*

Every second and fourth Tuesday of the month the Walker presents “Arty Pants,” activities and programs aimed at people aged 3 to 5 and their adults. On Tuesday, November 25th, I had the great privilege of working with a group of tiny artists, sharing an art form I love, falling down. I worked with an excited and hilarious group of children to help them make their own banana peels and then we went over how to do a proper physical comedy fall. And then all these 3, 4, and 5 years olds fell down and clapped for each other. It was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in a museum.

There was a moment early into the falling down part of my art activity with these youngsters when one of them fell down on my blue padded mat and everyone clapped and then he just laid there. He wasn’t hurt or anything, I think he was just enjoying laying down after having just gotten a round of applause. I’m a little embarrassed how well I can relate to that desire to bask in the applause. So, I helped him to his feet and then said to all the participants that I had left out one key part of doing physical comedy. I had forgotten to tell them what is needed in every comedy fall or physical comedy injury, you have to get back up.

It’s is a very grounding, human thing to laugh when someone trips and falls. One of my favorite things about physical comedy is that it doesn’t require everyone speak the same language or even share the same cultural touchstones. But, the laugh at a fall is quickly cut short if the “audience” thinks the person who fell is actually badly hurt. The biggest laughs, when it comes to physical comedy, require the at least assumed knowledge that no one is tragically hurt. Trust me, it’s not funny unless you get back up.

You want to know an amazing secret, though? This same principle applies to every fall or failure in life. If you get back up, you can always make something great out of what appears to be a fall.

History is littered with entrepreneurs who have had businesses collapse, scientists who have had experiments blow up in their faces, and artists who had work rejected time and again only to have them regain their footing and do things that change the way people think, create or do business. The successes and breakthroughs of a company like Apple with Steve Jobs at the helm after he had been forced out of the company makes everyone look back on his past work and reassess what appeared to be failures and view them as setups to an amazing punchline. I think you can see the same reassessment of one’s artistic past in the ups and downs of Robert Downey Jr’s acting career or the way Georgia O’Keefe’s early work as a commercial artist, although it was work she hated doing, is now viewed as informing what would become her unique views and approach to painting.

Almost any fall can be made a comedic success if you you aren’t so damaged from the landing that you aren’t able to get back up. And almost any metaphorical fall can be turned into a success if you can figure how to get back up and keep on moving. The only way we can turn our personal tragedies into triumphs is by letting everyone know the falls didn’t kills us. Heck, sometimes they’ll even applaud.

Meet the Walker People’s Archive

As the Walker celebrates its 75th anniversary, we’ve inaugurated the Walker People’s Archive (WPA), a crowd-sourced compendium of Walker history from the ground up, where visitors can see what others have to share and submit their own photos. Alycia Anderson, WPA intern, recently sat down with Jennifer Stampe, WPA project manager, to talk about the […]

As the Walker celebrates its 75th anniversary, we’ve inaugurated the Walker People’s Archive (WPA), a crowd-sourced compendium of Walker history from the ground up, where visitors can see what others have to share and submit their own photos.

Alycia Anderson, WPA intern, recently sat down with Jennifer Stampe, WPA project manager, to talk about the project. Jennifer has a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Minnesota and has taught Museum Studies at New York University and Anthropology at Brown University. She was recently co-curator for an exhibit marking Brown University’s 250th anniversary at its Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology. Anniversaries seem to be her thing.

Walker Art Center staff in the lobby of the Barnes Tower, 1990

Alycia Anderson: What is the WPA? What’s its status today? How do you see it growing and developing in the future?

Jennifer Stampe: The WPA is a crowd-sourced, online compendium of people’s photographs and, just as important, stories about the Walker over its 75 years as a public institution. Over the summer, Education and Community Programs staff members began soliciting photos and stories from visitors at scan days held during Free First Saturdays and Target Free Thursday Nights. We also reached out to staff, volunteers and members who were likely to have great photos. The photos we collected allowed us to build a small archive and experiment with ways organize it.

For the Walker’s anniversary kick-off celebration, Walktoberfest, we launched a website where people can view the archive. More importantly, they can upload photos, caption and tag them, and tell their stories. This is an exciting time: now that we’re online, the archive will really start to take on a life of its own. We also want everyone to know that they are invited to participate in this project. For those who don’t yet have a relationship with the Walker, this is a chance to begin building one. New members of the Walker community are as important to us as long-standing ones.

AA: The WPA is a project created by the people of the Walker as a reflection of themselves, their relationships and their memories. How would you describe the Walker community?

JS: I see this project as an opportunity to learn about the Walker community, so I wouldn’t want to try to answer that question yet. But I will make a couple of guesses about what we might find. First, I think we’ll see that there is not any single Walker community, but rather many, overlapping communities. Second, I think we’ll see affiliations that disrupt the usual kinds of associations we think of when we hear the word community. So beyond expected communities — of staff, artists, or neighbors, for instance — I think we’ll also see clusters of people who share something based on where the Walker fits into their lives. I’m thinking about those who’ve gotten married in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, students who have visited the galleries on a field trip, or fans of the Internet Cat Video Festival. Or something else we don’t imagine at this point. I’m hoping that  responses to this project will surprise us, and that we’ll learn something unexpected about the Walker and its people.

AA: The WPA is designed to be a place where the past and present mix, with polaroids and iPhone snaps illustrating decades of Walker experiences. With all of that potential diversity and change, do you expect visitors’ stories will have a theme which connects them?

JS: The main thing the stories we’ve heard so far share is an emphasis on family and friends. We don’t always think of it this way, but museum-going is a social experience: the people we’re with matter as much as what’s going on within the museum’s walls.

We’ve heard a few stories about moms, in particular. Carol Lichterman, a charter member of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, gave us this photo and told us about attending the Garden’s opening in 1988 with her mother, Sylvie Lichterman.

Sylvie Lichterman at the opening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1988. Photo by Carol Lichterman.

As the morning’s ceremonies drew to a close, Carol asked Sylvie to pose in front of her favorite piece. Without hesitating, Sylvie chose Claes Oldenburg’s Spoonbridge and Cherry. Once the photo was taken, Sylvie exclaimed, “All of a sudden I feel like having an ice cream sundae with a cherry on top!” and proposed that she and Carol told Carol skip their planned lunch and proceed directly to dessert. Carol says, “Every time I explore the Garden now on my own, I think of [my mom] and how we enjoyed the Garden’s opening together.” The opportunity to make that kind of memory, based on spending time together exploring new ideas, is a thing the Walker has been able to offer people in its capacity as a public institution.

AA: What attracted you to the Walker and the WPA? Has your work in anthropology influenced your perception of the project and its goals?

JS: I’ve lived in Minneapolis (or had it as my home base) for a long time and I’ve been a Walker member for several years, so coming to work here was attractive. The project is particularly appealing because it’s multidisciplinary, as so much at the Walker is, with its archival, curatorial and outreach components. The way I think about the WPA is definitely informed by my background in anthropology. My research to date has examined the ways that people understand new kinds of museums, like those oriented to serving specific communities, so this project is right up my alley. Beyond that, I see the submissions we’re getting as a kind of data; my role is to analyze that data and to create opportunities for others to do so, and in creative, expansive ways. Fortunately, my training in the social sciences equips me with the tools for conducting ethnographic interviews and oral histories, and those have been useful in the conversations I’m having with people who are submitting photos and stories to us. Most importantly, anthropology is interested in describing social worlds in ways their participants would recognize: I’m hoping that people will see themselves in the WPA.

AA: The next question you may have seen coming: what’s been your most vivid experience at the Walker? And do you have a favorite contributor story or photo you’ve encountered so far in the archive?

JS: My most vivid Walker experiences don’t have photos to go along with them. I’m a fan of the Out There performance series, and I always attend the annual Choreographer’s Evening. I have had my mind blown during these and other performances over the years. And I loved visiting the Walker when the expansion opened in 2005. I remember wandering the new spaces wondering at the then unfamiliar building materials, and thinking about how that was a very different experience than looking intently at works in the galleries.

I have clear mental images of these experiences, but nothing I can share with the archive. That’s probably true for many potential contributors, so we encourage creative solutions: submitters with a memory but no photo could make a drawing to illustrate their story in the archive. Or they could get their friends together for a photo re-enactment of an important moment.

As for favorite submissions, I get the feeling that I will always love whatever photo has come in most recently. We recently finished scanning a binder of photos from Bob Teslow, a longtime art instructor at the Blake School’s Kenwood Campus, our neighbor on Vineland place. Bob was on the scene as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden took shape in 1988, and he took wonderful photographs of many of the sculptures being installed. This one shows Mark di Suvero swinging on his sculpture Arikidea.

Mark di Suvero swings on his Arikidea during its installation in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 1988. Photo by Bob Teslow.

Or there’s this photo, submitted by Peter and Peggy Georgas. Peggy made her own gowns for the Walker exhibition openings she attended with Peter, who was the Walker’s publicist from 1964 to 1979. Peggy made this dress for a reception held for Andy Warhol in 1968. She told us that she routinely finished the (sometimes very short!) hems of some of her creations in the car on the way to the party.

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Peggy Georgas, ready for another Walker evening, 1968. Photo by Peter Georgas.

AA: Personally, I can’t wait to see a collection of awkward family portraits or visitors’ first impressions of the Walker. What kind of kinds of submissions will you be most excited to see?

JS: I’m most interested in seeing those that include rich, reflective stories. Don’t get me wrong: we do want absolutely want photos of everything and everybody, snapshots and selfies, from serious to silly. But there are some particularly compelling shots and narratives out there, and those are central to the archive. I’m looking forward to seeing them.

As for genre, I’m partial to photos of people taking photos. I could say it tells us something about the ways we use photography, but really they just make me laugh. I also like mysteries, shots where we don’t know what’s going on or who is pictured, and I hope that people will help us identify unknown subjects and activities in others’ photographs. Over the coming months, we’ll hold events at the Walker that will give WPA participants a chance to meet and respond to one another’s photos.

AA: Have you taken the obligatory selfie at Spoonbridge and Cherry?

JS: I have to admit I haven’t, yet. Let’s go take some pictures. We can start making #OurWalker memories today!

At John Cage’s 33 1/3 in Art Expanded, 1958-1978

With FACES: Set #8, Darryl Nelson in Art Expanded

Getting our Spoonbridge on

In the swing with Arikidea!

Questions about the WPA? Contact Jennifer at wpa@walkerart.org

 

Artists Respond to Fluxus

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField.  This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978  and Radical […]

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField.  This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978  and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, both containing a strong Fluxus presence.

We invited a range of artists to create projects or events for Open Field inspired by or in some cases in reaction to the works, philosophy, and cosmology of Fluxus.  FluxField artists included Beatrix Jar (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske), BodyCartography Project (Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad), Andy Ducett, Mike Haeg, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Chris Kallmyer, Maria Mortati, and Margaret Pezalla-Granlund. The indomitable Laurie Van Wieren also jumped into the flux fray with her Open Field piece, 4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside.  Key Fluxus figures Alison Knowles and Benjamin Patterson were invited to perform their work during the summer and fall.

We asked several of these FluxField artists to share their thoughts on working with Fluxus, and what follows is a compilation of their responses.


 Part One: What is Fluxus?

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Alison Knowles walks down Nicollet Mall with Jacob Aaron Roske, photo by Lacey Criswell

Fluxus is People

I think of Fluxus first and foremost as the loose network of artists in the late 1950s into ’60s who first carried the name – who understood art as inseparable from everyday life, and vice versa, and performed lots of public experiments accordingly. And who also constantly disagreed with each other about what “Fluxus” was about. I think of names like John Cage, George Maciunas, Alison Knowles, George Brecht, Nam June Paik. So in that sense, I think Fluxus is people.

Rachel Jendrzejewski

Fluxus began as a network of ad-hoc, often disputed, orchestrated acts that turned noticing into craft. These orchestrations were performed around the world, and have infected all fields of art.

Maria Mortati

Maria Mortati's FluxField Interpretive Trail

Maria Mortati’s FluxField Interpretive Trail

Fluxus is the Score

If you were to say one true thing about Fluxus, you could say that Fluxus is about the primary experience itself. The vehicle for exploring the now moment in Fluxus is through the Event Score or the Fluxkit. To create a score, we have to envision ourselves as someone uninitiated with our ideas. We put ourselves in the shoes of another person—an act of empathy—and we offer an experience to anybody who would invest time to decode the document and act it out in real time and space. A score is a set of rules for engagement. It is the same for a recipe, a manual, or a blueprint.

Chris Kallmyer

Event Scores involve simple actions, ideas, and objects from everyday life re-contextualized as performance. Event Scores are texts that can be seen as proposal pieces or instructions for actions. The idea of the score suggests musicality. Like a musical score, Event Scores can be realized by artists other than the original creator and are open to variation and interpretation.

Alison Knowles (via Chris Kallmyer)

Through the Fluxus score, I find a great closeness in the contract between the artist and participant.

Mike Haeg

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Rachel Jendrzejewski’s Walker Yam: 100 Scores for Open Field, photo by Steve Cohen

Fluxus is Contradiction

I think of Fluxus as a kind of fluid philosophy and practice, which is still very much alive today— a view that art is indeed inseparable from everyday life, and vice versa, and an embrace of constant contradiction. You can’t actually pin Fluxus down because it’s always moving:  Fluxus says that all of life is art, and yet it’s deliberate in its framing and rigor; Fluxus says that art is for everyone, but it’s not necessarily people-pleasing or meaningful;  Fluxus simultaneously disowns and embraces institutions, not to mention the very concept of “art.” And I believe all those contradictions are exactly what makes it true to everyday life- it’s a way of seeing that embraces the complexities of the world, that doesn’t pretend anyone or anything is static.

–Rachel Jendrzejewski

Fluxus is an insular form speaking to the art world’s nuanced concepts of the object, vision, and experience. Simultaneously, Fluxus is an open initiation to life and living, enabling the public to take the scores into their own everyday.

–Chris Kallmyer

In the words of founding Fluxus member Ben Vautier, “Fluxus was a pain in art’s ass.”

–Maria Mortati

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Chris Kallmyer’s Play Catch, All Together, photo by Gene Pittman

Fluxus is Experience and Togetherness

Fluxus is changing together.

—Mike Haeg

Wandering in a field is experiential, and fit the notion that I needed– for people to be, do, and have the opportunity to ‘participate’ as well as reflect; to take in and try it on for size, in a low stakes way.  The public wandered along, beer in hand, taking a picture or two. Near the “Play Ball” score, a giant poodle took off with all the balls. In the end, the question of “What Is Fluxus?” came down to experiences.

—Maria Mortati

[Fluxus Drawing Club] didn’t just point at the art history and try to teach someone something, but facilitated doing — and that doing was the Fluxus part. The doing — everyone doing — is the art part and the experience part; the understanding part, and the “it” of it.

Margaret Pezalla-Granlund

 Part 2: Why Fluxus?

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Chris Kallmyer leads catch with lemons, photo by Gene Pittman

I’ve always been drawn to Fluxus for the way it can both disrupt us from and draw us deeper into everyday life. Those sound like two different actions, but both are wake-up calls. I particularly love the early Fluxus event scores – the text as well as the actual doing of them. They feel simultaneously sacred and disposable, which I think signals a certain kind of wisdom – related to loving fully while not clinging too hard, or honoring all life while accepting nothing lasts forever, or keeping a healthy sense of humor about serious hard things – in short, getting comfortable with letting contradictions co-exist. I think our culture could use way more of all that, hence the ongoing appeal and relevance of Fluxus.

–Rachel Jendrzejewski

I’m inspired by the playfulness of Fluxus and the simplicity. But most of all, I’m moved by Fuxus’ spirit of kindness and revolution: change the world with a box full of smile– hell yes!

–Mike Haeg

I saw the original Walker Art Center Fluxus show years and years ago, and have remembered and thought about it often since. What has stuck with me is the sense of wide-ranging curiosity and creativity, the willingness to cede some seriousness to get at something engaging, and the feeling of wit and humor and shared experience. I also think it’s really smart: as much as Fluxus was about freedom and play, it was also about context and care and a kind of precision. Simple is not easy.

–Margaret Pezalla

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Mike Haeg’s Fluxus Running Club, photo by Gabby Coll

This is the thing that surprised me about the Event Scores: the works are a direct invitation to play, as well as an invitation to presence. Serious focus and purposeless play are both intensely human and increasingly rare. Goofing off is another form of presence, or rather a complete lack of presence when we abandon our veneer to embrace a purposeless sense of wonder. We goof off and are human. In this way, Fluxus and their Event Scores point to our human condition in a way that is wildly dynamic. The score is an invitation, a call to action, and first-hand study and performance of these scores would be healthy for any of us.

–Chris Kallmyer

Part Three: Making Something Out of Fluxus

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Mike Haeg’s Penny Event, photo by Gabby Coll

Fluxus is all about change right? So, why not shine a spotlight on change? That’s why I made the Penny Event change tray sculpture emblazoned with its inherent and unintentional score “LEAVE-A-PENNY / TAKE-A-PENNY”. I placed the pieces on the counters in gas stations and bodegas to spark an artful exchange in an unexpected moment of the day and to spark a thought of commerce at a point of give and take that has been obscured by the credit process.

–Mike Haeg

I’ll be the first to admit that “living the life of the idea” of Fluxus was not something that came easily. On projects I take the deep dive into the world of the place, space, or community until I can swim around with it. It was a harder start to get my brain around and into Fluxus. I am accustomed to museums wanting to pin things down, so working with the antithesis was both liberating and focusing. It sharpened my thinking around the historical trajectory of social practice art, and around opportunities to bring the public into art and vice versa.

–Maria Mortati

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Walker Yam: 100 Scores for Open Field, photo by Steve Cohen

My performance/writing practice is a kind of awareness practice, and Fluxus always has served as an influence in that sense, but I’ve never really written Fluxus-style scores. Talking with Sarah Schultz about why Fluxus matters in 2014, and how Fluxus might live in Minneapolis on the Open Field, made me want to write my own Fluxus-inspired scores to find out. I spent a lot of time reading through the Fluxus Performance Workbook, and I started writing my own scores in response to some of them, and then spinning off some of them, and then writing some completely removed from them. I wrote them quickly (and I don’t usually write quickly) because I really wanted to let them be disposable. I wrote them on the bus and in my apartment and in parks and on an airplane. I thought a lot about the field, and people coming and going from the field to other places. I edited them down to a batch of 100 that felt the most rooted in this time and city. I don’t know why the number 100 felt right — but it feels like just the beginning. Now I want to write 1000.

–Rachel Jendrzejewski


Benjamin Patterson, a key figure in the Fluxus network of artists, visits the Walker on October 9 as part of the exhibit Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.  Art Expanded, 1958-1978, which explore the expanded arts of the 1960’s and 70’s, is on view through March of 2015, and includes the work of Alison Knowles and George Macunias, among other notable Fluxus figures.

4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField.  This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978  and Radical […]

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField.  This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978  and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, both containing a strong Fluxus presence.

We invited a range of artists to create projects or events for Open Field inspired by or in some cases in reaction to the works, philosophy, and cosmology of Fluxus.  FluxField artists included Beatrix Jar (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske), BodyCartography Project (Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad), Andy Ducett, Mike Haeg, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Chris Kallmyer, Maria Mortati, and Margaret Pezalla-Granlund. Key Fluxus figures Alison Knowles and Benjamin Patterson were invited to perform their work during the summer and fall.

Choreographer and curator Laurie Van Wieren also jumped into the flux fray with her Open Field piece, 4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside, a celebration of the Twin Cities’ thriving dance scene. She describes the process of putting together the piece below.


Laurie Van Wieren prepares the audience for the coming event

by Laurie Van Wieren

When Laura Holway, coordinator of Walker Open Field, asked me if I had anything that I might want to share this summer, I realized I knew something that most people aren’t aware of: there are more than 350 dance-making entities in the Twin Cities. I suspected that, if I designed a structure that lasted just 30-minutes and was very clear about the parameters, I just might be able to gather together 100 choreographers at Walker Open Field on a Saturday afternoon. This was a chance to demonstrate the diversity and quantity of choreographers in the Twin Cities, as well as to explore my own dual role as choreographer and curator.

Background

My connection with the Walker Art Center started early on in my life in the Twin Cities. I was a guard at the Walker, and as a dancer and visual artist, I was influenced by many of the choreographers and performance artists that came through, including the Fluxus artists. My first work of choreography was presented at a Walker Choreographers Evening in 1981– a dance made up of looped gestures, performed by my fellow guards (artists themselves) within a grid pattern.

Dance community members reunite, including Molly Van Avery, Chris Garza, Baraka de Soleil and J. Otis Powell

Dance community members reunite, including Molly Van Avery, Chris Garza, Baraka de Soleil and J. Otis Powell

I have been working as a choreographer and performance artist in the Twin Cities since then. Ten years ago we didn’t have many places to show works in progress or talk about dance work, so I started 9×22 Dance/Lab at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater. Every month, I invite three dance-makers to show and discuss their work. With that experience, I stepped into the role of curator at the Southern Theater, and then the Ritz Theater. My hope was to help grow the presence of dance in those venues. Unfortunately both of these mid-sized theaters have folded as presenting institutions, and are now struggling to find their footing.

The numerous props are set for 4x4=100 Dancing Outside

The numerous props are set for 4×4=100 Dancing Outside

For artists and choreographers, it is a new, not-so-brave world. The low economy pushed performing art onto the back burner in the minds of the audience community. Yet, the artists are still out there creating work in ever more expansive ways, as well as blurring the lines between presenting, producing, curating and making art directly. To survive and thrive, dance artists are compelled to create new models all the time. I am hoping that we can find new ways to sustain ourselves. Until then, we work with what is in front of us.

Motivation and Logistics

The impulse to create 4×4=100 Choreographers Dancing Outside came from a handful of different ideas and influences: an interest in experimenting with Curation-as-Choreography and the artist as curator; my visual arts background; the Fluxus score; my interest in compositions of live action. I am especially proud of being a part of an extremely engaged and active dance community. I wanted to showcase this profusion of talent. For me, curation is about making space and time for artists to do their own specialized work. I created parameters within the piece that allowed all participants to simultaneously perform their own dance and be seen within a large community group.

The choreographers parade into the chalked grid, including Arwen Wilder, Sharon Picasso, Kristin Van loon, Morgan Thorson, Deborah Jinza Thayer, Stacy Sabin, Dylan Fresco, Chris Schlichting, Max Wirsing, Emily Gastineau, Chris Holman, Neel and Pramila Vasudevan, April Sellers, Judith Howard, Megan Mayer, Matt Regan, Paul Stucker, and Anat Shinar

The choreographers parade into the chalked grid, including Arwen Wilder, Sharon Picasso, Kristin Van loon, Morgan Thorson, Deborah Jinza Thayer, Stacy Sabin, Dylan Fresco, Chris Schlichting, Max Wirsing, Emily Gastineau, Chris Holman, Neel and Pramila Vasudevan, April Sellers, Judith Howard, Megan Mayer, Matt Regan, Paul Stucker, and Anat Shinar

This summer’s Open Field had ties to the Fluxus art movement, which felt like a happy coincidence. My interest in Fluxus started in art school, where I was drawn to the work of John Cage and Yoko Ono. In 1993, I was invited to work with Fluxus artist and archivist Larry Miller on the Walker exhibit In the Spirit of Fluxus. We performed the scores of Alison Knowles, George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Lamonte Young, Emmett Williams, Yoko Ono and more. I loved that the actions of the Fluxus scores were simple and restrained, but also exciting and fun; every Fluxus artist seemed to have their own style of putting a score together. Fluxus influenced 4×4=100 Dancing Outside in a number of ways, from the organization of the grid pattern, to the simple score (or set of instructions) described below.

Akiko Ostlund and the other 30 minute performers begin

Akiko Ostlund and the other 30 minute performers begin

The piece was an open call, with a notice put in the dancemn newsletter and on Facebook. The first week of the notices, 25 people signed up. By the middle of June there were 80, and one week before the show, 100—plus a waiting list. Some people had to drop out at the last minute, and all waitlisted folks got in. In the end we had exactly 100 choreographers.

Dustin Maxwell cuts a piece of grass

Dustin Maxwell cuts pieces of grass

Each choreographer was instructed to perform in an assigned 4’x4’ space, within a larger 40’x40’ square for one of three intervals: 10, 20 or 30 minutes. There were no restrictions or stipulations on what they performed (it could be an improvisation or finished work or anything else), other than that they stay exactly within their 4’x4’ space. There were no group rehearsals, although the performers were invited to practice on the field if they chose.

100 Outside

Judith Howard and April Sellers spray paint squares outside of the 40'x40' space

Judith Howard and April Sellers spray paint squares outside of the 40’x40′ space

The night before the performance, Laura Holway and I created the grid with a baseball field chalking machine, aided by the very helpful math and spatial skills of Jael O’Hare. Fortunately, it didn’t rain…yet.

Pramila Vasudevan and her son Neel in their 4'x4' space

Pramila Vasudevan and her son Neel in their 4’x4′ space

The next day all 100 choreographers showed up, raring to go. We talked through the score, made sure that everyone knew the location of their assigned square, and set props. It was a quite pleasant day; the weather folks predicted showers later in the afternoon, but we remained undaunted. The group prepared to parade towards the grid, dancers costumed in bright, beautiful and sometimes extravagant attire. It was a cacophony of riotous color. And then, 8 minutes before show time a very dark and ominous cloud parked itself immediately on top of us.  With this not-so-subtle prompt, I started us off early. As the large mass of choreographers and dancers moved up the hill, the dark cloud began to leak. Out went the 30-minute performers. The rain quickened, and I sent out the 20-minute performers early. Suddenly the steady sprinkle became a downpour and the audience, surrounding all sides of the 40’x40’ grid, grabbed their umbrellas and let out a collective shout… and NOT ONE PERSON LEFT!

Deborah Jinza Thayer pours water over her head

Deborah Jinza Thayer pours water over her head

Jennifer Arave performing as the rain begins

Jennifer Arave performing as the rain begins

Erika Hansen dances, surrounded by Courtney Baga, Leah Nelson, Galen Higgins, Dylan Fresco and HIJACK

Erika Hansen dances, surrounded by Courtney Baga, Leah Nelson, Galen Higgins, Dylan Fresco and HIJACK

It poured buckets! The wonderfully diverse (and drenched) mix of dancers stayed and continued to perform with even more focus: modern, post-modern, ballet, Cuban folk, belly dancing, character dancing, jazz, Flamenco, percussion, Butoh-like, comic…and more. From the audience, the group felt like an orchestra: you could pick out one dancer, or take in the whole group. Everyone became more themselves in the rain. With a frenzied concentration, it was wild, wonderful, glorious and transformative. The wind whipped up; the skies became even more ominous. The Walker Security bellowed over their loudspeakers, “You must clear the field now!!!” When I heard something about a tornado, I cut the piece short…not wanting to wipe out a large part of the dance community in one fell swoop. The performers bowed. After a speedy group photo, we all ran for the Walker lobby.

Members of the first and second groups dance together, including Jael O'Hare, Robert Borman, Meriam Colvin, Sherry Saterstrom, Jennifer Arave, Stacy Sabin, Morgan Thorson, Heather Klopchin, and Edna Stevens waiting to go on

Members of the first and second groups dance together, including Jael O’Hare, Robert Borman, Meriam Colvin, Sherry Saterstrom, Jennifer Arave, Stacy Sabin, Morgan Thorson, Heather Klopchin, and Edna Stevens waiting to go on

The audience huddles as the rain increases

The audience huddles as the rain increases

Pam Plagge performs a set of dances from the Orisha tradition, including a rain dance, while her teacher Rene Thompson looks on; Billy Mullaney reaches new heights on his ladder

Pam Plagge performs a set of dances from the Orisha tradition, including a rain dance, while her teacher Rene Thompson looks on

Dancers in the pouring rain, including Kenna Cottman, Kaleena Miller, Sherry Saterstrom, Mary Easter, Charles Campbell, Jennifer Ilse, Penny Freeh, Maggie Bergeron, Jeff Wells and Tom Kanthak

Dancers in the pouring rain, including Kenna Cottman, Kaleena Miller, Sherry Saterstrom, Mary Easter, Charles Campbell, Jennifer Ilse, Penny Freeh, Maggie Bergeron, Jeff Wells and Tom Kanthak

Reflecting

At the beginning of the project, Laura Holway asked me what audience members could expect the piece to look and sound like. I responded: A mass of chaos and beauty, framed. It will sound like Conlon Nancarrow, John Cage, Britney Spears, birds calling and children yelling. It might remind people of a flash mob, but an anti flash mob- no one will be dancing the same way- they will be doing their own singular work at the same time as everyone else, in the same very 40×40 foot grid.

This was all very accurate, but with torrential rain and more joy!

The audience joins in for the annual dance community photo

The audience joins in for the annual dance community photo

To all the participants: Thank you so much for coming out and taking a chance on being involved in the piece. You were fantastic! It was a joy to watch you collectively and individually. It was obvious that we have a hunger to convene; let’s find more ways to do it.

To the Walker: Open Field is an outstanding project, and it was great to be involved. I cannot say enough about how encouraging and helpful you were! Thank you especially to Sarah Schultz, the Education and Community Programs staff, Walker interns, and Laura Holway.

4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside included the choreography of

Berit Ahlgren, Arlys Alford, Gabriel Anderson, Nika Antuanette, Jennifer Arave, Courtney Baga, Emma Barber, Maggie Bergeron, Bonnie Berquam, Olive Bieringa, Blake Bolan, Young-Tse Bolon, Robert Borman, Emma Buechs, Tim Cameron, Charles Campbell, Tom Carlson, Mike Cohn, Miriam Colvin, Beverly Cottman, Kenna Cottman, Angharad Davies, Ryan Dean, Baraka de Soleil, Mary Easter, Torre Edahl, Rachael Freeburg, Penney Freeh, Dylan Fresco, Emily Gastineau, Lazer Goese, Izzi Gorowsky, Susanne Grochett, Robert Haarman, Marilyn Habermas-Scher, Annika Hansen, Erika Hansen, Lara Hanson, Deborah Heltzer, Galen Higgins, Chris Holman, Judith Howard, Alison Hoyer, Colette Ilarde, Jennifer Ilse, Kalila Indiver, Margaret E. Johnson, Justin Jones, Tom Kanthak, Ellen Keane, Robert Keo, Missa Kes, Tara King, Heather Klopchin, Amy Lamphere, Nick LeMere, Jim Lieberthal, Erin Liebhard, Jennifer Mack, Theresa Madaus, Megan Mayer, Dustin Maxwell, Kaleena Miller, Julia Moser-Hardy, Kara Motta, Motion Arts, Billy Mullaney, Blake Nellis, Leah Nelson, Jael O’Hare, Akiko Ostlund, Jane Peck, Sharon Picasso, Pam Plagge, Otto Ramstad, Matthew Regan, Sally Rousse, Stacy Sabin, Sherry Saterstrom, Chris Schlichting, April Sellers, Anat Shiner, Sean Smuda, Darius Strong, Paul Stucker, Deborah Jinza Thayer, Jennifer Theodore, Monica Thomas, Morgan Thorson, Svitlana Shtilman, Michael Sommers, Edna Stevens, Kristin Van Loon, Pramila Vasudevan, Vanessa Voskuil, Jeff Wells, Arwen Wilder, Josie Winship, Christopher Yaeger, and Nan Zosel.


Benjamin Patterson, a key figure in the Fluxus network of artists, visits the Walker on October 9 as part of the exhibitRadical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art.  Art Expanded, 1958-1978, which explore the expanded arts of the 1960’s and 70’s, is on view through March of 2015, and includes the work of Alison Knowles and George Macunias, among other notable Fluxus figures.

A FluxField Research Residency

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField. This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978 and Radical […]

What do Walker Open Field, the avant-garde art movement Fluxus and socially-engaged art practice have in common? That is what the Walker’s Education and Community Programs department explored through this summer’s program, FluxField. This project took advantage of the concurrent timing of Open Field and the opening of Walker exhibitions Art Expanded: 1958-1978 and Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, both containing a strong Fluxus presence.

We invited a range of artists to create projects or events for Open Field inspired by or in some cases in reaction to the works, philosophy, and cosmology of Fluxus. FluxField artists included Beatrix JAR (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske), BodyCartography Project (Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad), Andy Ducett, Mike Haeg, Rachel Jendrzejewski, Chris Kallmyer, Maria Mortati, Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, and Jenni Undis. The indomitable Laurie Van Wieren also jumped into the flux fray with her Open Field piece, 4×4 = 100 Choreographers Dancing Outside. Key Fluxus figures Alison Knowles and Benjamin Patterson were invited to perform their work during the summer and fall.

In the post below, museum exhibit designer and Walker artist-in-residence Maria Mortati shares the process behind her summer FluxField projects.


 

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A score from FluxField Interpretive Trail

by Maria Mortati

This past summer Sarah Schultz and the Open Field team invited me to come to the Walker and consider the movement Fluxus. This research-based residency encompassed three projects: transforming the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab into a visitor and residency space; creating a mobile cart for use in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; a series of Fluxus-based projects that I developed for Open Field, including an installation known as FluxField Interpretive Trail.

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Cart developed for staff and visiting artists, photo by Gene Pittman

Living the Life of the Idea

“Living the life of the idea” was an expression that Sarah put forth as a sort of central challenge as I approached Fluxus. I soon learned that it was not something that came easily; Fluxus led me down several rabbit holes.

I am a San Francisco-based museum exhibit designer with an affinity for social practice. When I work on projects, I take the deep dive into the world of the place, space, or community until I can comfortably swim around with it. Often my work with museums involves engaging arts movements through the lens of the originating historical moment. Fluxus, however, is about a series of moments amongst a distributed group of artists that don’t necessarily agree on what the movement is, so it got messy fast.

Since Fluxus artists never seem to agree on anything, Fluxus has become “a pain in art’s ass” in the words of Fluxus artist Ben Vautier.

Hannah Higgins, Fluxus Experience

 Considering an Art Movement is an Endeavor Best Shared

Before coming to Minneapolis, Chris Kallmyer (another San Francisco-based FluxField artist) and I met a few times a month to prepare for our residencies. He would explore ideas and approaches around working with (or through) Fluxus, and I wrestled with how to engage with an amorphous movement through my practice. We took a stab at writing a Manifesto for Field Lab Residencies, which seemed to fit with Fluxus philosophies. This manifesto reinforced the first rule of residency: a freedom from externally imposed constraints—especially the traditional constraints of museum exhibition development.

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Another FluxField Interpretive Trail score

In anticipation of the summer, Chris and I came to the Walker for a week in March.  A group of local artists were invited to learn more about the work we were doing, and to think about FluxField projects of their own. We had freeform conversations around Fluxus philosophies and possibilities for our work. It was evident that choosing these artists was an act of curation and subtle matching-making on Sarah Schultz’s behalf. Three of them, Mike HaegMargaret Pezalla-Granlund and Jenni Undis, became collaborators on my summer projects.

Access is a museum’s jewel, and our group was invited to intimately examine the Walker’s Fluxus collection while talking with Registrar Dave Bartley. Viewing this material oriented me towards the historic, intellectual and social craft of Fluxus. It’s ironic to think that a movement so ephemeral could inspire with its bits of paper and odd performances.

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Artifact viewing with Walker staff and visiting artists

I’m a Misfit and so are We

At the Walker Library I came across reviews and articles about the “Festival of Misfits.” It was billed as an event “…by people who sometimes… are artists, sometimes not… we make music… that may fit poetry, poetry that may fit paintings, paintings that may fit… something.” Much of that content was formative for my work. In their humor and rigor, I began to see a trajectory from Fluxus towards experimental museum projects and social practice. My prior work in the experimental realm has included the Giant Hand at the Hammer Museum, and the Big Table Gallery at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The Giant Hand pushed against the framework of the museum experience, and the Big Table pushed against ways to convey a concept in contemporary art (vs. a work of art) to the public.

This type of project is often difficult, working against traditional definitions of a museum and how it operates. But this is where the innovations and interesting questions lie. Like these previous projects, Fluxus was able to collectively play in the space of uncertainty.

Scores for People Who Don’t Know How to Write Scores

Sarah encouraged me to use event scores as a central part of my endeavors so I wanted to have a suite of experiences rather than a singular one. This seemed truer to Fluxus and left room for differences in subjectivity and different types of visitors.

As I researched, I kept coming back to this notion that Fluxus artists were making art out of noticing everyday moments and realized how ridiculous they would think things are today: we notice and share everything. Regardless, I’m old enough to know the world before cheap electronics and Ikea. Moments lasted beyond a tweet and were often reflective and quiet in nature, if not sound. Fluxus was where these artists began to share moments, through scores written, mailed, reinterpreted and performed around the globe.

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Score box for Fluxus Drawing Club (Mortati/Pezalla)

Finding a Path

The pieces of my projects for Open Field came together organically. Drawing Club, a collaborative and participatory drawing event, was already a weekly Open Field program, and I decided to create a Fluxus Drawing Club. I worked on this in collaboration with Margaret Pezalla-Granlund, one of the local FluxField artists, who seemed to share an affinity with Fluxus in both concept and craft. Together we wrote, shared, edited and designed scores, making and distributing a series of Flux Kits with light instructions printed inside. I also asked Margaret and her family to make a recording of Dick Higgins’ book A Child’s History of Fluxus, as background for the evening of projects. You can listen to it here.

While planning this Open Field programming, I realized that displaying artifacts or defining Fluxus for the public wasn’t possible or appropriate: Fluxus is a constellation of orchestrated moments and experiences, and a way of thinking. But wandering in a field, just like Fluxus Drawing Club, is experiential. It fit my intentions by allowing the public to participate in Fluxus in a low-stakes way.

For me, Open Field + Fluxus = FluxField Interpretive Trail.

I generated scores that were letter pressed by local printmaker Jenni Undis to capture the Fluxus philosophy of art that was “neither an exhibition of objects or a performance, but somewhere in between.” (George Brecht, Wikipedia).  My scores included commentary on Fluxus (“The most ambiguous club in the art world”), quotes from founding Fluxus artists, and field observations (“Need Sod”). Humorous #hashtags became an organizing principle of the trail, helping the public understand if the scores were foundational, descriptive, or invitational.

FluxField Interpretive Trail began with George Maciunas

FluxField Interpretive Trail began with George Maciunas

On the culminating evening of my residency, scores were installed on low stakes and throughout the field. Members of the public wandered along the giant trail of scores, beer in hand, taking a picture or two. A giant poodle took off with the balls stationed next to the Play Ball score. Artist Mike Haeg’s Penny Event was incorporated around the edges of the field adjacent to the trail, which caused delight and confusion. At Fluxus Drawing Club, participants sat and worked at length on their score drawings and children happily stamped “Official Fluxus Approved Score” all over their papers. In the end, the question “what is Fluxus?” was best answered by the experience of Fluxus.

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Fluxus Drawing Club

Go Where the Interesting Problems Are

Throughout my residency, my driving question changed from ‘what are participatory strategies for the public to engage with an art movement?’ to ‘what can ‘living the life of the idea’ look like as we create museum experiences?’ How can we answer questions together? Who is included in ‘together’? I hope that the museum field can make space to support posing and playing with these formative questions. Open Field was a powerful incubator. I want to expand on ways of thinking about interpretive experiences, creating new tools that are intelligent, nuanced and in synch with the artworks or movements, as well as the contemporary public.

Hannah Higgins, the daughter of founding Fluxus members Dick Higgins and Alison Knowles, described Fluxus as having an “elasticity of its social formation.” It is precisely that elasticity which made it possible for us to interpret, create, and disseminate along the way. It became a perfect umbrella, full of holes and sunshine.

score hole china


Benjamin Patterson, a key figure in the Fluxus network of artists, visits the Walker on October 9 as part of the exhibit Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. Art Expanded, 1958-1978, which explores the expanded arts of the 1960’s and 1970’s, is on view through March 2015, and includes the work of Alison Knowles and George Macunias, among other notable Fluxus figures.

Make a Salad, Making a Salad, Made a Salad

“. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.“—Alison Knowles As summer days slip away, perhaps you’re thinking back to your “best salad” of the season. For me, it’s the one documented below, the salad Alison Knowles made for Walker Open Field on July 10. Knowles […]

. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.“—Alison Knowles

As summer days slip away, perhaps you’re thinking back to your “best salad” of the season. For me, it’s the one documented below, the salad Alison Knowles made for Walker Open Field on July 10. Knowles is a founding member of the avant-garde art group Fluxus, and her work is currently on view in the exhibition Art Expanded, 1958–1978. Known for her sound works, installations, performances, and publications, Knowles came to the Walker to present one of her most iconic event scores, Make a Salad. What follows below is a sequence of images and thoughts that long to reinstate the moment itself—the moment when it was happening—when we were only doing what we were doing. Making a salad. The best salad.
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The artist introduces herself and her collaborator, Joshua Selman. A fresh tarp is on the ground. The late afternoon light is soft through overcast skies and it’s pleasant.
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Listen to subtle and sporadic sounds: a recorded voice set in static, silence, the voice again, then the  buzz of an amplified paper shredder. Notice a faint scent as sheets of nori become thin ribbons, slipping into the bowl or drifting to the ground.

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The choppers are ready. The artist signals. The choppers begin.
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Radishes thud as they strike the tarp. Greens, dressed in balsamic vinaigrette, make softer smattering sounds. The artist cuts and reams 3 lemons. She pours the mouth-watering juice over the salad. The citrus scent wafts.
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Helpers toss the salad. The mass of vegetables provides resistance to the rakes. Shovel back and shovel forward.
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Serve a salad. Be served a salad.
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Share a salad. Notice what you’re doing. Remember this for later.

Of course, if I say, “remember a salad,” that’s vastly different from my saying “make a salad.” What remains once the action ends? And how did the artist’s instruction exist before being enacted? These questions point to abstractions: suppositions, ideas, memories, residues. The in-between, while arguably more ephemeral, is less complicated, as Alison Knowles eloquently expresses of her iconic score, Make a Salad:

“. . . that’s what you’re doing. You’re only making a salad. And these are the best salads.”

All photos by Gene Pittman

Drawing Club at #Catvidfest

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People came to the picnic tables on Open Field and were prompted with cat-themed phrases to encourage them to draw the many cats on their minds and in their imaginations.

Some of these phrases included: Fat Cat, Leonardo Di-Catprio, Catastrophe, Digi C@, Cat Burglar, Live Long and Pawsper, and many more. People also took liberty and drew cats unprompted, because… well, why wouldn’t you?

Here are some of the wonderful drawings made at the Internet Cat Video Festival.

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A First-Timer’s Take on Open Field (2014)

Born and raised in Minneapolis, it is rather unsettling to me that I had never experienced the magic of Open Field before this year. Lucky for me, the Field welcomed me – the intern – with open arms and heart and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home within all its chaos […]

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Born and raised in Minneapolis, it is rather unsettling to me that I had never experienced the magic of Open Field before this year. Lucky for me, the Field welcomed me – the intern – with open arms and heart and it didn’t take long for me to feel at home within all its chaos and beauty.

Open Field knows how to do it big. 

We set a Guinness world record, made a salad and shared it with 274 people, and hosted a Cat Video Festival that attracted over 9,000 kitty fanatics. But we also know that the more intimate is just as valuable. Open Field offers a place and a time that allows us to connect, create, and explore – together, of course.

This year, Fluxus-related activities took over the field.

Fluxus also serves as an appropriate metaphor for the field and its various happenings: seemingly random and disorderly, yet in specific ways orchestrated and controlled, with ample space for inspiration, improvisation, and spontaneity.

OF2014_100Scores_0731_03Look Sideways, Listen Close: 100 Scores for Open Field – Rachel Jendrzejewski

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Fluxus Running Club – Mike Haeg

OF2014_Baseball_07 (2) (1024x768)Play Catch, All Together – Chris Kallmyer

OF2014_Salad_0710_06 (2) (1024x768)Make A Salad – Alison Knowles

Open Field is a place where the line between being a casual spectator and an active participant is thinly drawn, and where one is always gracefully toeing both sides.

No matter where you stand at any given moment, there is always an opportunity to sit back and take it all in; but never as an outsider.

OF2014_Choreographers_0712_21 (2) (1024x768)4×4=100 Dancing Outside – Laurie Van Wieren

OF2014_ChopsInc_0703_06Anatomy of a Drum and Bugle Corps – Chops, Inc.

OF2014_StereoTrees_0719_04Stereo Trees – Areca Roe

OF2014_Compline_0720_4113Pesher Compline – Brian Dowdy

We cracked our knuckles before coercing and refining our creative skills.

OF2014_Cursive_02 (2) (768x1024)Cursive Writing for the Contemporary Artist – Alyssa Baguss and Jenni Undis

OF2014_AnimationCreation_0628_08Animation Creation Station – Peter Nelson and Michon Weeks

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Into the Blue: The World of Cyanotype – Nathan Lewis

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Drawing, Far Away So Close – Keith Braafladt and Margaret Pezalla

We stretched, expanded and exercised our minds and our bodies.

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Gorilla Yogis

OF2014_StarTrekYoga_0731_03Star Trek: A Narrated Yogic Adventure – Yoga Quest

Open Field was even edible.

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Get Soaked (With Local Muesli) – Karin Norby

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Take a Bite, Shape the State! – Presley Martin

In the midst of all of this, communities were formed and connections were discovered because Open Field offered a place to do some cool stuff and meet some cool people. I took part in Paige Tighe’s Walk With Me project, where I walked and talked with someone whom I may never have done so with otherwise. I also watched as strangers collectively played “Find Your Spot” with Scooper.

I got to spend this summer learning, growing, and making new friends, and watched as art and other such crazy experiments united interesting people. Open Field would in no way be possible alone or within a vacuum – it really is what we make together.

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Can I Have an Idea

MobileCartFamilyphoto!

MobileCartFamilyphoto!

The new Mobile Cart is just right for summer in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. On weekends, the grounds are teeming with visitors from all over the world. We’ve seen wedding guests dressed to the nines, families picnicking in front of Spoonbridge and Cherry, and mini golfers waiting for tee-times. Like our visitors, the Mobile Cart has a purpose for being outside.

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Designed for pop-up outdoor activities, the handsome and nimble cart reflects the genius of Museum Exhibit Designer Maria Mortati. It has a casual feel, like a food cart. In fact, someone tried to order ice cream from us! Seriously, people have approached us with practical questions concerning weddings, mini-golf, and the location of Garden Café, which contrary to its name, is inside the Walker Art Center.

The Mobile Cart is a magnet for visitors desiring more interaction with art and ideas.

A stop at the Mobile Cart outfits visitors with supplies for Can I Have an Idea, a hands-on drawing experience. This activity is loosely related to the exhibition Art Expanded currently on view at the Walker Art Center. Can I Have an Idea plays with decision-making and offers a simple direction for action. It resembles a musical score that comes alive when someone actually performs it.

Can I Have an Idea looks like this. There are 2 bins with instructions for drawing typed out on small paper cards. The first bin is labeled “Take an Idea and Make a Drawing.” It contains single directions, such as, “draw the nearest sculpture” and “spin around and draw a spiral.” The second bin, “Take 2 Ideas and Make 2 Drawings,” is for participants who appreciate experimentation.

The girl pictured below was eager to try as many ideas as possible.

Her grandma turned to me and said, “She’s from an arty family living in Winnipeg, Canada.”

This activity also intrigued two visitors from the Museo d’Arte Modernae Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto in Italy. Full disclosure, these museum educators asked to replicate Can I Have an Idea in their museum, and I gave them what they needed.

Closer to home, we’ve engaged families from the Twin Cities who were visiting the Garden for the first time. The presence of the Mobile Cart generated conversation about Family Programs and encouraged a number of families to return to Walker’s Free First Saturday offered throughout the year.

This summer, Yaneth Quintero, a STEP-UP Intern, hosted the Mobile Cart with me. She wraps up her internship at the Walker this week so  it’s appropriate to record her impressions about the Mobile Cart. When asked, she quickly replied, “I realized how much I miss drawing. When I was a child, I drew all the time.”

Ilene: What did you notice about the crowd?

Yaneth: There were many curious on-lookers. Young and old people approached us and loved the cart. Some even asked me if they were too old to participate! But, as Ilene says, ‘There’s no age limit to creativity’. They were eager to try out the scores; just draw!

Ilene: What did they want to know?

Yaneth: I had a multitude of people ask me when we’d be out with the cart again. Others asked about the Walker and were curious about activities happening inside the building. We were a mini info hub. I also got questions about the master mind behind the Mobile Cart or directions to places.

Ilene: How did they interact with the drawing activity?

Yaneth: Some people came to try out one score while others got deeper into it. They made more personal drawings based on their interpretations of the scores. Some just kept coming back for more ideas.

Ilene: Thanks, Yaneth, for being so attentive, welcoming and creative. Keep drawing!

 

A final Pesher Compline Performance – August 3rd

For the past two Sunday evenings, Sky Pesher has been filled with the melodic harmonies of compline set against a sunset backdrop. If you are unfamiliar with compline performance, check out choral director and musician Brian Dawdy‘s description and discussion on why he chose to bring compline to Sky Pesher. There’s no mistaking that this is a unique […]

For the past two Sunday evenings, Sky Pesher has been filled with the melodic harmonies of compline set against a sunset backdrop. If you are unfamiliar with compline performance, check out choral director and musician Brian Dawdy‘s description and discussion on why he chose to bring compline to Sky Pesher.

There’s no mistaking that this is a unique space in which to perform compline; with the sunlight waning, the humming melodies and play between silence and subtle sound become increasingly distinct and tangible. Entering and exiting one by one, meditating on each movement and sound, the performers invite audience members to sit and relax in peaceful contemplation.

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When: Sunday, August 3rd

Where: Sky Pesher (at the top of the hill)

What: A compline performance sung by 4 choral performers

 

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