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Zoom In: Conceptual Artist Harriet Bart

Atop this week’s issue of the mnartists.org newsletter is a detail from Minneapolis-based conceptual artist Harriet Bart’s 2011 installation, Autiobiography. You can currently see a selection of Bart’s work – on loss, war and rituals of memory – in person in Between Echo and Silence. It’s the first major exhibition in Macalester College’s new Law […]

Harriet Bart, “Autobiography” (detail), test tubes, corks, beeswax, aluminum, transmuted miscellany, logue. 2011. (Photo: Rik Sferra, courtesy of the artist.)

Atop this week’s issue of the mnartists.org newsletter is a detail from Minneapolis-based conceptual artist Harriet Bart’s 2011 installation, Autiobiography. You can currently see a selection of Bart’s work – on loss, war and rituals of memory – in person in Between Echo and Silence. It’s the first major exhibition in Macalester College’s new Law Warschaw Gallery, housed in the commons of the college’s recently renovated Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. (Incidentally, I reviewed this show for Knight Arts earlier in the week; you can read my take on Between Echo and Silence here.)

Harriet Bart is a guest lecturer, curator, and founding member of the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts in Minneapolis. Her work has been shown extensively throughout the United States and Germany, and she has completed more than a dozen public art commissions in the United States, Japan, and Israel.  She has been the recipient of fellowships from the Bush Foundation, McKnight Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, NEA Arts Midwest, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. In 2012 she received a project research grant from Forecast Public Art and the McKnight Foundation. Since 2000, Bart has also published seven fine-press books and won two Minnesota Book Awards. Her work is included in many museum, university, and private collections, including: Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Weisman Art Museum, Jewish Museum, National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Sackner Archive of Visual and Concrete Poetry. She is represented by Driscoll Babcock, New York.

Harriet Bart, “Enduring Afghanistan,” dog tags, ball chain, chain link, vintage ledger with fine press ledger pages, Koran stand, steel table. 2008-ongoing. (Photo: Rik Sferra, courtesy of the artist.)

About her work, the artist writes:

For more than thirty years, I have had a deep and abiding interest in the personal and cultural expression of memory.  It is at the core of my work. Using bronze and stone, wood and paper, books and words, everyday and found objects, I seek to signify a site, mark an event, and otherwise draw attention to imprints of the past as they live in the present.

Each of my extensive bodies of work begins with fascination (with a subject or an object), and moves forward with intensely focused research that leads to the creation of a body of work.

It is my intent to create evocative content through the narrative power of objects, the theater of installation, and the intimacy of the artists’ book.

As a cultural storyteller, I have created a number of installations, mixed media objects, and books that explore the personal and cultural expression of memory.

Harriet Bart, “Drawn in Smoke” (detail), 160 drawings of smoke and ink on paper, commemorating each of those killed 1911 NYC Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. (Photo: Rik Sferra, courtesy of the artist)

Related links and information:
Between Echo and Silence by Harriet Bart will be on view through November 4 in the Law Warschaw Gallery at Macalester College, Fine Arts Commons 105, 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul. The closing reception will include “Soundings for Harriet Bart,” a poetry reading by Nor Hall and Rain Taxi Review of Books editor, Eric Lorberer, at 4 p.m. in the gallery on November 4. For additional information, gallery hours, and directions visit www.macalester.edu/gallery.

You can see more of Harriet Bart’s work online on her website, www.harrietbart.com, and, of course, at mnartists.org/harriet_bart. You can hear an audio interview with the artist online, recorded for KFAI’s “10,000 Fresh Voices” program by Britt Aamodt. Twin Cities Public Television’s Minnesota Original aired a profile of Bart as well, which you can watch online here.