Blogs mnartists.blog Scott Stulen

Scott Stulen is the Project Director for mnartists.org at the Walker Art Center and the Director of the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Photographers.  He is also  an independent curator, DJ, writer and exhibiting visual artist. He received his BFA in Sculpture from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998 and his MFA in Painting and Drawing with a minor in Art History from the University of Minnesota in 2004. Scott is also the co-founder of SELLOUT gallery in Northeast Minneapolis. For more information visit www.scottstulen.com

It’s Time for a Monster Drawing Rally (Again)

Midway Contemporary Art’s Monster Drawing Rally, the popular annual fundraiser/community event/spectacle is back for a sixth year.  This year the event returns to the Grain Belt Bottling House on Saturday, January 18th  from 6-8.  The Monster Drawing Rally gives local artists the opportunity to support the programming at Midway Contemporary Art while simultaneously gaining exposure within the community. The artists work in […]

MDR6-1

Midway Contemporary Art’s Monster Drawing Rally, the popular annual fundraiser/community event/spectacle is back for a sixth year.  This year the event returns to the Grain Belt Bottling House on Saturday, January 18th  from 6-8.  The Monster Drawing Rally gives local artists the opportunity to support the programming at Midway Contemporary Art while simultaneously gaining exposure within the community. The artists work in  three one-hour rounds beginning at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. Each of the completed drawings is available for sale as soon as it hits the wall (first come/ first serve) for a flat price of $35.  The casual atmosphere lets visitors watch the art making process while keeping a close eye on the walls filled with finished drawings available for purchase. Even if you are not in the market for art, its still an unique opportunity to interact and watch local artists at work. And as always, admission is free.

By now most of you know the format, but for any first-time Monster Drawing Rally attendees here are some tips to make your evening a success.

1. There are three one-hour rounds with approximately 30 or so local artists drawing for each shift.

2. This is a rare opportunity to watch and interact with an artist as they are working. I have personally participated as an artist ever year of the event, I can say it is an interesting experience from the other side of the table as well. No hiding your miscues with an attentive audience and there is a wonderful satisfaction is a meeting someone that has excitedly purchased one of your drawings.

3. All the work is a flat fee of $35. However, drawings may not be purchased, claimed, or snatched prior to hitting the wall. Conflicts or ties for purchasing a work will be resolved by drawing cards. Fighting, hoarding, hovering, or any other bad collector behavior will be sternly frowned upon.

4. At $35 you WILL find something you want to buy.

5. When you purchase the piece you will also get the contact information for the artist. If you don’t get a chance to meet them or talk to them at the event…contact them and let them know you bought their work. Artist love to meet people who  invested in their work….we really do.

6. This is one of the most community driven and art centered fundraisers in the city and one of the most popular.  This is also an event the rewards people that show up early and stay throughout…so plan accordingly.

7. Its a lot of fun.

Monster Drawing Rally

Here is the full list of participating artists and their websites so you can do some pre-rally scouting.
Brendan Dawson
Mark Fisher
Miles Mendenhall
Melba Price
Bruce Tapola

Drawing rounds begin at 6, 7, and 8pm
Admission is free
Drawings are $35
Cash bar / Potter’s Pasties & Pies Food Truck
All proceeds benefit Midway’s 2014 programming

Sponsored by:

          

                    

15 Reasons to Attend an Internet Cat Video Festival

It’s back. A second edition of the tremendously popular Internet Cat Video Festival premieres Wednesday evening, August 28 at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. This has become so much more than an excuse to see cat videos projected in public. Here are 15 reasons to attend the Great Minnesota Cat-Together and its assorted shindigs. 15.  Cats. You […]

The world's first #CatVidFest at the Walker Art Center drew more than 10,000 people in 2012.

The world’s first #CatVidFest at the Walker Art Center drew more than 10,000 people in 2012. The second annual festival will be Wednesday, August 28 at 7 pm in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand.

It’s back. A second edition of the tremendously popular Internet Cat Video Festival premieres Wednesday evening, August 28 at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand. This has become so much more than an excuse to see cat videos projected in public. Here are 15 reasons to attend the Great Minnesota Cat-Together and its assorted shindigs.

15.  Cats. You have them, you love them, you snap photos of them as they fall adorably off things. Come, be among your people. Join in one the largest gatherings of feline fans in the world.  This humble event has grown to be recognized around the globe, and we have a brand new reel of fresh videos to share with you.

14. Spectacle. Not so much into cats? Come for the primo people-watching. Visitors to last year’s festival were calling it “the new Burning Man” for good reason. You’ll also be treated to live performances by Brian Laidlaw and the Family Trade and the indefatigably upbeat Koo Koo Kanga Roo.

13. Swag. Pick up a sweet Golden Kitty commemorative poster or #CatVidFest tour t-shirt, or choose from an assortment of other limited-edition festival tchotchkes, and show off your keen eye for culture.

12. Kitty Cosplay. Dress up as your favorite real-world feline or Internet cat-lebrity and win prizes, plus a chance at seeing your whiskered self on Animal Planet’s website. Animal Planet will have photographers roving the audience during the event, looking for the best cat costumes.

Photo from the 2012 Internet Cat Video Festival, courtesy of the Walker Art Center

Photo from the 2012 Internet Cat Video Festival, courtesy of the Walker Art Center

11. DIY/DIT activities and opportunities to get schooled in the fine art of cat care. In the spirit of Open Field, the summer-long Walker Art Center project that spawned the Internet Cat Video Festival, there will be a number of interactive artist projects throughout the event, including live painting by local artist Rudy Fig, letterpress printing by Lunalux, and an interactive cat video project with San Francisco–based artist Maria Mortati. The festival will also include representatives from the local Animal Humane Society and Caring for Cats and other animal resource nonprofits to help educate attendees on a variety of cat-related issues.

10. Funny or Die favorite Julie Klausner will be there. The prolific New York–based comedy writer, performer and podcaster extraordinaire will co-host this year’s festival.

Comedian and writer Julie Klausner, creator and host of the podcast, How Was Your Week, will co-host #CatVidFest 2013.

Comedian and writer Julie Klausner, creator and host of the podcast, How Was Your Week, will co-host #CatVidFest 2013.

9. Pro-tips from An Engineer’s Guide to Cats creators Paul Klusman and TJ Wingard.

8. See international cat video stars who call Minnesota home. Pudge the Cat and Kittens Inspired by Kittens star Maddie Kelly will be in the house.

7.  Keyboards and Flying Pop Tarts.  With over 130 million combined YouTube views, Charlie Schmidt’s iconic Keyboard Cat and Chris Torres’ looping animation Nyan Cat took the cat video from viral ephemera to full-blown pop cultural phenomenon. Meet the original cat video stars who started it all.

6. We have a Butter Cat. In celebration of the Great Minnesota Get-Together and its traditions, #CatVidFest sponsor Animal Planet has commissioned the same butter sculptor who annually carves the likeness of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way to apply her talents to the cat theme. The complete sculpture will be revealed at the festival shortly before the screening of the reel. Here’s a time-lapse of its creation.

5. Lil BUB. BUB’s owner, Mike Bridavsky, will be at the festival this year. He’s turned his viral cat video experience into a new book: Lil BUB’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet, which will be released September 3.

The BUB himself. Courtesy of Mike Bridavsky.

The BUB himself. Courtesy of Mike Bridavsky.

4.  And the 2013 Golden Kitty goes to… Who will walk away with the #CatVidFest hardware? Last year, Will Braden’s now iconic Henri Le Chat Noir #2 took the coveted Golden Kitty as the People’s Choice Best of Festival. Click here to view the nominated videos for 2013. Award winners will be announced at the conclusion of the festival.

3. Grumpy Cat. The perpetually dour feline will be on hand to hate on everything deep-fried and on a stick, and to complain about the weather.

2. See tomorrow’s viral sensation today. We’re debuting several new videos, including a brand new clip by last year’s Golden Kitty Award-winner, Henri Le Chat Noir creator Will Braden.  (Spoiler alert: Henri has an encounter with the cat sitter. Angst ensues.)

1. It’s not about watching cat videos, it’s about watching cat videos together. One of the main reasons why this event has been such a success with audiences around the world is that it taps into a universal desire to gather together for the sake of sharing a sincere and joyful experience. You’re going to feel good about the world when you walk out of the Grandstand Wednesday night – we promise.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE:  If you don’t get your fill of cat happiness at the festival, we have more planned for the day following, including a book signingpublic lecture on the experience of going viral, and a #CatVidFest after-party at the (appropriately named) Kitty Cat Club. So, if you don’t get the perfect Facebook pic with our favorite cat celebrity, you’ll have a better chance to catch them at these more intimate events.

Related event information:

Internet Cat Video Festival 2013 will take place August 28, 7 pm in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand. Tickets are $10.

10 Questions for #catvidfest 2013 Co-Host Julie Klausner

JULIE KLAUSNER: Cat fancier, writer and creator of the hugely popular podcast, How Was Your Week Location: New York City Dayjob: Writer Online: http://julieklausner.com Twitter: @julieklausner Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your story? I live in New York City, and I make a living as a writer of all sorts of things, but mostly television […]

Creator and host of the podcast, How Was Your Week.

Klausner is creator and host of the podcast, How Was Your WeekShe is also cohost of this year’s Internet Cat Video Festival in the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand on Wednesday, August 28.

JULIE KLAUSNER: Cat fancier, writer and creator of the hugely popular podcast, How Was Your Week
Location: New York City
Dayjob: Writer
Online: http://julieklausner.com
Twitter: @julieklausner

Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your story?

I live in New York City, and I make a living as a writer of all sorts of things, but mostly television and occasionally books and articles. I love cats dearly. And dogs. I love animals, in general, and always have. They make me feel a very deep joy that isn’t a super-frequent occurrence in my life. I can laugh from my gut at an animal video when I feel unreachable otherwise.

How many cats do you own and what are their names?

I have one tuxedo cat, and his name is Jimmy Jazz. Before Jimmy, I lived with my beloved Smiley Muffin for 12 years. She was my heart. I miss her very dearly.

Anyone who listens to your podcast knows you’re a cat lover. Even your website’s filled with cats. What’s your personal history with felines? 

I’ve always loved cats, but I didn’t grow up with them because my mom and brother claim to be allergic. But the very same month I moved into my own place after college, I got a cat. And she was the source of endless fascination and entertainment — just watching her, enjoying her personality and proclivities. Dare I say, she was my muse.

Cats are beyond “cute” to me. They have a pompousness, a high-status inflection of “I’m better than you,” that truly makes me laugh. Because, in reality, they’re pretty dumb – they have half the frontal lobe intelligence of dogs, but they act like they’re smarter than humans. They get away with murder because they’re soft, essentially. Their faces are naturally set in this disapproving expression, and then they’ll do something ridiculous — like fall off a chair or collect pieces of garbage to hide behind your couch. The disparity between their intelligence and their affectation is just so deeply funny to me – so much unfounded confidence. They are also wonderful pets that you never have to take outside in order to facilitate their going to the bathroom, and that’s ideal for writers and lazy people who aren’t crazy about leaving the apartment when it’s raining. And there’s nothing quite like a purring cat curled up to you. It really does melt your heart like a hot knife through butter.

How did you first hear about the Internet Cat Video Festival

I can’t remember exactly when I heard about it, but it started popping up on my social media feeds, and I remember reading about it and thinking “I have to be a part of this.”

Both cat videos and the online brand you have established have proved to be far from fleeting phenomena.  What’s the future for this type of cultural production? 

It sounds cynical to say “more of the same,” but I mean it in the best possible way. Cats doing stuff will never not be fascinating to people who live with pet cats and who love cats (and there are a lot of us) – the more ordinary the scenario, the better. We like to see cats acting dumb and we always will. It’s hilarious and it’s adorable, and I’m not completely sure why. I guess there are people who collect photos of babies being silly; maybe it’s similar, only cats never grow up into adult humans.

This is a question we get all of the time, so we’re going to spin it back to you.  Are cat videos art?

I think it depends on the cat video and the context. Whenever you show something in a museum, the meaning changes. But I don’t think intention matters when it comes to art. Whether you clicked “record” on your phone to amuse your boyfriend, or you set the stage to make a masterpiece, the good stuff rises to the top like cream.

Mmm, cream.

You’ve produced a brand new video with Funny or Die that will premiere at this year’s festival: What can you tell us about it?

Well, I’m not a standup, so I always feel like I have to over-compensate whenever I go into live performances or hosting gigs — like I have to prepare a Powerpoint presentation, or a song and dance number to provide a good justification for why the hell I got the job.

So, I had this idea for a video [about the life of a cat video creator] and collaborated with Funny or Die, as well as with my pals Alex Scordelis and Jake Fogelnest, to make it. I got to work with a professional cat actor and his handler, and that was truly fascinating. Because pro cats are still cats. They won’t listen to you, even if they’re trained. They’re less skittish around people, I guess. But at one point, he was supposed to walk alongside me on a leash, and he was having NONE of that. It was completely cool, though – I picked him up and we had a lovely moment. But, yes. The moral of the story is: Cats are cats.

What are you working on now, cat-related or otherwise?

I’m writing for season three of [Funny or Die TV series] Billy on the Street and working on a couple of TV projects I hope to sell, plus a play I wrote and am rewriting. I do my podcast, How Was Your Week, every Friday [you can subscribe on iTunes!].

I’m also preparing for the next How Was Your Week Live at The Bell House, October 30, and another run of my cabaret show at Joe’s Pub the week before Thanksgiving.

What are your favorite cat videos?

I really loved Ze Frank’s Sad Cat Diaries, everything Henri has ever done, and Maru’s opus.

Any parting thoughts on the Internet Cat Video Festival and other such offline celebrations of cat video culture?

I’m all for it. It’s so fun and funny and positive. Anything that brings people together over cat videos – I’m in favor.

Related event information:

Internet Cat Video Festival 2013 will take place August 28, 7 p.m. in the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Grandstand. Tickets are $10. Find details: http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2013/internet-cat-video-festival-2

GOLDEN KITTY 2: The Internet Cat Video Festival People’s Choice Vote is Open

The time has come  to choose the People Choice award of the Internet Cat Video Festival.  Last year, Will Braden’s now iconic Henri Le Chat Noir #2, described by the late film critic  Roger Ebert  as “The best internet cat video ever made” took home the coveted Golden Kitty Award as the People’s Choice Best […]

GoldenKittyAward

The time has come  to choose the People Choice award of the Internet Cat Video Festival.  Last year, Will Braden’s now iconic Henri Le Chat Noir #2, described by the late film critic  Roger Ebert  as “The best internet cat video ever made” took home the coveted Golden Kitty Award as the People’s Choice Best of Festival. After viewing thousands of clips and consulting our jury of curators, artists and media members here are the nominees  (in no particular order) that have emerged as both popular and critical favorites.  

The Original Grumpy Cat

Catalogue 

Кот и пылесос (Cat Licks Vacuum)

Cat In A Shark Costume Chases A Duck While Riding A Roomba

Kitty and Hedgehog

You know what to do.  Watch and vote, and then vote again.  

VOTING IS NOW CLOSED

The winner of the popular online vote will be revealed – live – at the end of the second Internet Cat Video Festival at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  Just like last year there is no shortage of cute, funny and heartwarming videos to pick from, and some will always be left out.  But before you jump to any conclusions, keep in mind that some videos may have been intentionally left out of this particular CATegory because they are reserved for other categories or special honors such as the Cat Video Hall of Fame.  All will be revealed on August 28th at #catvidfest.  If you can’t make it to the premiere festival for Internet Cat Videos in Minnesota hopefully you can make one of the several national and international tour dates scheduled for the coming year.  

The voting closes at midnight on July 31st.  So jump to it.

Mini-Golf as Public Art (and Course Credit) at the University of Minnesota

For this year’s Artist-Designed Mini Golf course we invited the University of Minnesota Art Department to design and build two of the holes. The course, led by professor Chris Larson, was tasked with developing several designs to present  to a panel of Walker curators.  The class was asked to document their process leading up to the opening […]

For this year’s Artist-Designed Mini Golf course we invited the University of Minnesota Art Department to design and build two of the holes. The course, led by professor Chris Larson, was tasked with developing several designs to present  to a panel of Walker curators.  The class was asked to document their process leading up to the opening of the course. Here is the first entry in their mini-golf journal.

Tuesday, January 22

Today, our class journeyed through -20 temperatures, across the tundra of Cedar-Riverside to the Mall of America for a game of mini golf. For some, it’s a completely new experience, others have already made hundreds of rounds putting through a mini-golf courses.

Thursday, January 24

We begin the process of creating our holes with a list of 10 words — 10 words a piece, to be exact, which results in over 160 terms and yields a plethora of ideas. Our word contributions were gathered, listed and put to a vote. The next step involved sorting the terms into groups to help inform the visual and conceptual  aesthetic of our designs. Interesting ideas and contraptions were introduced as we did so: including moving steps, multiple platforms and elaborate labyrinths. Things are moving along.

Tuesday, February

Something was missing today. We had ideas, but time and time again the proposals seemed to amount to a clusterf**k of great ideas. You know what they say about too much of a good thing… After much discussion, Chris asked us to pause and think about what we really wanted to make: what’s the idea, the purpose, the story we’re after here? As we talked, we decided we’d been missing pinning down a central concept for our course.

So, back to the drawing board. We all loved what had been offered up so far, but to get any further in creating an actual course we’ve got to let some things fall away. Like Tupac or Crocs, all great ideas must come to an end, I guess. We split into groups, each one charged with brainstorming potential concepts, but this time we try to focus more on the narrative of our designs, and what it represents and contributes to the whole course. We break our small-group mass of ideas down to four main concepts: The Cycle, Garden History, The Mega golf, and The Ames room.

 Thursday, February 14

Valentines Day is here, and so are the formal presentations of our four concepts. We were sent home to sketch ideas for each one, at which time we found that some ideas synced up very well with one another, others overlapped too closely, and a couple needed more concrete thinking behind them. At this point, we realize there’s still a lot of work to do; but we have limited time to present our courses (the deadline’s just a few days away!) and too many things to tackle. We split up into groups to develop the ideas further. No time for finding love — it’s crunch time.

Thursday-Monday

We meet in groups to finish the proposals. We begin to flesh out what each concept needs: we build models, sketch plans and make slides for presentation.  It is concrete. It is substantial. We feel like we’re close to realizing our ideas and ready to show them off… almost. 

Tuesday, February 19

The day of the the Walker presentations is here (a.k.a. we have an hour left to finish our presentations). We’re all feeling some nervous excitement as we gear up to show our proposals. We come in at 8 am, an hour earlier than our normal class time, to put on the finishing touches and assemble our PowerPoints; we finish some sanding on The Ames room model. Soon after, we split up to head over to the Walker, where we all gather in the Lecture Room. After all this planning – it’s showtime!

We’re making our presentations to the following committee:

Scott Stulen, Project Director, mnartists.org
Jehra Patrick, Project Coordinator, mnartists.org
Siri Enberg, Curator, Visual Art
Sarah Schultz, Curator of Public Practice and Education Director
Cameron Zebrun, Director, Program Services
Doc Czypinski, Carpenter/Exhibition Technician

Introductions are made and we present our course designs to the panel. After a suspenseful wait outside, while the committee discusses our proposals, we find out they’ve selected our concepts for The Mega Golf course and The Ames Room!

Thursday, February 21

Now that we have our two confirmed hole designs, it’s time to go over the models and start developing the physical ideas for construction. The holes are going to be amazing…. so long as it all works. What, at first, just seemed fun is turning into a heavy amount of time spent calculating dimensions and measurements. We’re using 3D modeling programs, hand drawings, and material structures to concretize our ideas.

Ames Room- the illusion behind the magic and wonder of the Ames Room — the very thing that drew us to the concept – is quickly turning into a daunting logistical puzzle. Lots of deep discussions and back and forth from members in the group as we work it out. Someone suggests using telescopic tools or an eye patch – we decide that just might work. Someone brought cake, which fortifies us as we work. We’re also working on developing a dome for the Mega Golf hole, and trying to figure out the dimensions for a platform to support the entire structure. Basically what we’re doing this week is A LOT OF MATH.  Turns out basic math skills are a necessity, even for artists.  Don’t forget your math, kiddos!

More to come next week.

Painter Painter Playlist: Molly Zuckerman-Hartung

What do you listen to in your studio? We asked this question to each of the artists included in the current Painter Painter exhibition. The artists responded enthusiastically with personal playlists, notes and reflections of what inspires them  or just what is currently stuck on repeat in their studio. The Painter Painter Playlist blog series will […]

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What do you listen to in your studio?

We asked this question to each of the artists included in the current Painter Painter exhibition. The artists responded enthusiastically with personal playlists, notes and reflections of what inspires them  or just what is currently stuck on repeat in their studio. The Painter Painter Playlist blog series will  shares these unique compilations on a regular basis throughout the run of the exhibition.  We hope these posts give a tiny bit of insight into the personalities of the artists while sharing some kick-ass music for you to enjoy.

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung leads off the series. Molly received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007, where she now teaches painting and drawing. She also  is co-founder of Julius Caesar Gallery, an artist-run exhibition space in Chicago. Molly writes:

I came of age in Olympia, Washington’s nineties indie/punk scene. Music laid out the rules of engagement and I (badly) concealed my folk tendencies while absorbing the punk critique of hippies. Love is compromised, mediated. No one is happy. Graduate school, in my early thirties, I curtailed listening completely. I have no desire to channel feeling through sound. In the past few years I’ve cataloged my record collection into mp3s; been chastised for my sepia taste, while still locked in the last few decades of twentieth century music with few exceptions. Painting is (my paintings are) DOA; gravity bound, cadaverous, but the excess of ambivalent ardor is stored in the digital cloud. Folksy rage, acoustic angst, autumnal euphorics, all with a cracked voice.  A stubborn critique from voices who knew they would be instrumentalized or “sold out” as we said in the nineties, but chose to articulate their trap anyway. These cages are social, but they are politicized, haunted, agonistic, derailed, monetized and jealous. Recently a student posted a video on my Facebook wall by a band called Girls. The song was Lust For Life, and it was chillingly lite. None of the self-lacerating rage of Iggy Pop (hence none of the wild glee,) and the video echoed the aesthetics and cast of Kids, the Larry Clark NAMBLA train wreck of a movie that set the pace for white twenty-something sexual and social intercourse in the nineties. Unprotected, non-amorous fucking and HIV fear was status quo. This is how I talk about Painting. My studio is full of silence, but I hope it seethes, whoops and throbs, like some of this.

1. The Game (acoustic demo). Echo and the Bunnymen
2. Ninety-Nine and a Half – Dorothy Love Coates

When the only available critique for the affective and cognitive labor class (ie the cultural worker) is apathy, well, my sentences get elliptical…
3. Hot Topic – Le Tigre
Name checking Yoko Ono, Gayatri Spivak, Dorothy Allison, Gertrude Stein, Valie Export, James Baldwin and so many other fighters. Don’t stop.
4. Come Again -The Au Pairs
The Rules for Sex under Network Capitalism in the guise of false feminism.
5. Season of Risk -Ether Island
6. Watchmaker – Excuse 17
7. Yr Mangled Heart – The Gossip
For Doug Ischar and my forever love of Beth Ditto, who I suspect is playing endgame in pop culture, and cuz everything I do has got a hole in it; the only way I can let the absence in.
8. The Ballad of Lucy Jordan – Marianne Faithfull
Regret is nostalgia for grown-ups. I said at the age of thirty-eight.
9. Here Come Cowboys – Psychedelic Furs
10. Vicky’s Box – The Throwing Muses

Kristin Hersh rides mood sidesaddle. When I was eighteen I thought the Throwing Muses were like the Cocteau Twins. I was a fool. I want to make paintings like Hersh makes songs. They are perfect, stubborn, thick and mutable.
11. Is This What You Wanted -Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen always knows the you he is singing to, and he knows that he will never know you. The album New Skin for the Old Ceremony is tinny, violas, a little Vegas strip mall razzmatazz and cynicism, K-Y Jelly and Steve McQueen. Neil Young and Leonard Cohen painted the 1970’s a rusty metallic orange sunset with backup singers.
12. BMFA – Martha Wainwright
13. I Don’t Like Mondays. The Boomtown Rats

Written by Bob Geldof after reading of 16-year-old Brenda Ann Spencer, who shot and killed two adults and injured eight children   at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego, California on January 29, 1979, because, as she said, “I don’t like Mondays, this livens up the day.” Geldof made a rock opera. I listened to this song on repeat after the Newtown Connecticut shooting. Something about the pop orchestration helps me cry.
14. I’m Not Saying – Nico
15. Throw Silver – Mecca Normal

“I used to be very careful about how I represented myself. I was responsible for everything I did and said. I learned that humour didn’t translate well. No matter how clear I thought I was I noticed that I was still misunderstood. In fact, the clearer I was, the larger the degree of misinterpretation. I regained control by deciding that I could allow that to happen. Then I was in the same position. In control. In order to get beyond this I needed to explore the dark. I would like to work my way back from the darkness taking slow steps, breathing in everything I missed along the way.”
-Jean Smith, from The Ghost of Understanding 1998
16. Faces and Names – John Cale
17. Fake Friends – Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Anti-relational aesthetics anthem. What Markus Miessen calls the nightmare of participation. Or maybe I’m just bitter about not getting into Skowhegan.
18. Everything is Free – Gillian Welch
The melancholy backside of open-source downloadable culture. If everything is free now, why are we working so hard?
19. A Man Needs a Maid – Neil Young
20. People’s Parties – Joni Mitchell
21. Insanely Jealous – The Soft Boys
Green used to be the color of jealousy. Now it’s the color of virtual presence. It’s easier this way.
22. Green Gloves – The National
23. Black Walls – Mythical Beast

24. Pink Sunshine (acoustic version) – Fuzzbox
25. Roman Candle – Elliot Smith
I was an angry young woman.
26. I Shall be Released – Nina Simone
I love the beginning, when she says “y’all pushing, you’re pushing, you’re pushing, just relax, relax, you’re pushing it. It’ll go up by itself. Don’t put nothing in unless you feel it.”
27. Rise – Public Image Limited

Anger is an Energy
28. Brand New Love – Sentridoh

The Internet Cat Video Festival hits the road

Cats are back! In reality they never really left.  Since last August, when the First Internet Cat Video Festival debuted at the Walker Art Center, the interest and intrigue with the program has only increased. Here are some “cat stats” to give context to the feline fim fascination. The Internet Cat Video Festival YouTube playlist is […]

Cats are back!

In reality they never really left.  Since last August, when the First Internet Cat Video Festival debuted at the Walker Art Center, the interest and intrigue with the program has only increased. Here are some “cat stats” to give context to the feline fim fascination. The Internet Cat Video Festival YouTube playlist is nearing a million views. Walker blog traffic for cat related posts has eclipsed 100,000, views, making it easily the most trafficked event in the past year. The cat related website traffic is actually so significant, it has skewed the overall yearly stats for the site.  Catvidfest has inspired “copycat” festivals by small groups such as the Somerville, Massachusetts Arts Council, and much larger organizations including the Friskies Awards and Fresh Step’s Catdance festival and the Internet love affair with cats shows no signs of slowing. Even the new Monopoly piece is a cat...decided by an online vote. Jon Stewart even had a few things to say about it on the Daily Show.

Its not just cute kittens jumping in boxes

What does it all mean? This was one of the recurring questions after the success of the first Internet Cat Video Festival. It wasn’t just about watching cat videos, it was about watching cat videos together and it was about watching cat videos together at the Walker Art Center.  Basically its about context. Watching cat videos with 10,000 in the shadow of a leading Contemporary Art Center is part of what makes it interesting.  To answer some of these questions in more depth we speaking at where the internet gathers offline, the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin. Our session is titled #CATVIDFEST: Is this the end of Art?  and co-organizer Katie Hill and I will speak to the fractious questions raised about the relevancy or ridiculousness of the event and the role of the curator in a crowd-sourced environment. Using #catvidfest as a case study, we will question what it means for a museum to reflect contemporary culture in the era of YouTube, explore the challenges traditional institutions face engaging online audiences and share what we learned from transforming a solitary online viewing experience into a real world social event. The session is kicking of the first day of SXSW and we anticipate a healthy discussion interspersed with cat videos. For more check out the recently posted interview new here.

Edited Crowd Sourcing

The original festival began with a simple  invitation to nominate your favorite Internet cat video.  Ten thousand nominations came pouring in.  After countless hours of screening and careful editing  the final cut was created.  It was vitally important to openly crowdsource the content, but equally important to refine, edit and pace the final cut to be compelling and entertaining. We are again taking nominations for the 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival. So track down those browser bookmark, do some quality “research” on your lunch break or better yet break out the camera and make your own video. Click here for the Nomination Form to put forward your favorite kitty clips.

Here is one of my personal early favorites for the 2013 festival. Slayer Cat

catvidfest on the road

One of the most unexpected outcomes post-festival was the number of inquires to re-stage the event.  To date, over 50 inquires have been submitted from all over the US, Canada, Mexico and Europe.  Officially the “catvidfest tour” started last fall with smaller events at UMASS Boston and The Museum of Photographic Arts San Diego. The spring tour tour kicks off tonight at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art  with two already sold out screenings, followed by events in New York, Austin, Oakland and Portland all leading up to the 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival at the Minnesota State Fair.  As with the first #catvidfest, each of these festivals taps heavily into the community by partnering with local museums, cultural institutions, non-profits, animal resource groups and artist. To insure the context and spirit of the original festival is retained, we are working closely with each site to produce the festivals and learn further from this experiment. If you are interested in an event in your city, contact me.

Here is the Spring 2013 Internet Cat Video Festival Tour Lineup:

MEMPHIS: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Thursday, February 14, 2013
6-9 pm with screenings at 7 & 9.

Spend your Valentine’s Day at the Brooks for an evening of art-making activities, feline-inspired performances by Opera Memphis, music from  DJ Superman, a cash bar, and two screenings of the Cat Internet Film Festival.

AUBURN, NY: Auburn Public Theater
Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, 2013
Screening Friday 8pm and Saturday 1pm and 8pm.

The Auburn Public Theater presents Cat Carnival, a weekend full of fun and games-all for a good cause. The Cat Carnival will be complete with face painting, trivia and games with kitty-friendly prizes fit for the whole family. The Finger Lakes SPCA and the CNY Cat Coalition will have tables set up with important information on the feline community both days. There will be a special talk by Scott Stulen from The Walker Art Center, one of the organizing members of the Internet Cat Video Festival and cats and kittens will be available for adoption!

AUSTIN, TX: SXSW Party and Screening with Animal Planet
Saturday, March 9th
 5-7 pm
Fado on W 4th St

A cat-loving happy hour to please, cat lovers, online cat video watchers and all things feline. Animal Planet and the Walker Arts Center join forces to provide entertainment, cat themed cocktails, and chances to preview exclusive new (what else) cat videos. This indoor-outdoor event will feature live music, a showing of the top videos from the Walker Arts Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival, previews of the upcoming season of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and the exclusive premiere of a new “Henri” video. Special guest Jackson Galaxy from My Cat from Hell will also be in attendance.

OAKLAND, CA: The Great Wall of Oakland
Here is the event website…which is amazing!
Saturday, May 11, 2013 
2-10pm

The Great Wall of Oakland will host the Bay Area premiere of the Walker Art Center’s Internet Cat Video Festival with an estimated 10,000 cat-lovers and friends celebrating felines and exploring the low-art of internet cat videos together, in real-time. West Grand between Telegraph and Broadway will transform into a cat-lovers wonderland with cat-themed events in every corner, including animal adoptions. Festival attendees can peruse cat products from a host of local vendors, sample delicious food from local food trucks, and participate in a plethora of cat-themed activities including a cat fashion show, cat trick demonstrations, cat art projects, cat-themed bands, and much more.

PORTLAND, OR: Cataclysm: Portland’s Internet Cat Film Festival
Pioneer Courthouse Square, Portland OR
Saturday, May 11, 2–10pm

More info in the coming weeks and months.

Meow.

 

 

 

Top Ten Things That Brought Me Joy in 2012

2012 was a crazy year.  I will remember it as a year filled with many unexpected and delightful events, including the opportunity to speak at a TEDx conference, the release of the Open Field book and talking seriously about internet cats to serious media outlets.  It was a year for new projects, ideas, spaces and […]

2012 was a crazy year.  I will remember it as a year filled with many unexpected and delightful events, including the opportunity to speak at a TEDx conference, the release of the Open Field book and talking seriously about internet cats to serious media outlets.  It was a year for new projects, ideas, spaces and directions. Here are ten things that I found intriguing, challenging and most of all brought a little joy in 2012.

National Geographic Room at Why We Do This

National Geographic Room in Why We Do This

Andy Ducett: Why We Do This at the Soap Factory:  Featuring a working thrift shop and record store, arcade, Northern Wisconsin bar, chunk of an airliner, bubble wrap tunnel, Fabio dude handing out flowers and a life-size Construx corner, Andy Ducett‘s exhibition was an event.  The installation playfully tackled the daunting Soap Factory space and transformed it into a generation specific snapshot of the Upper Midwest. The resulting piece was brilliant, accessible and most of all fun.

RACA: Rural American Contemporary Art (RACA) has a slogan: Making Nowhere Into Somewhere. While the “nowhere” is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, there is a real challenge for artists working outside urban art centers. RACA started with a Facebook page led by Mankato artist and professor Brian Frink and grew to include exhibitions, an online magazine (RACAonline) and more projects in the works for 2013. RACA has turned the perceived disadvantage of location into an asset by gathering a loose network of rural contemporary artists to not just talk, but to make things happen.

ROLU

ROLU: When Does Something Become Something Else? The Apparent is the Bridge to the Real: ROLU‘s two week Open Field residency at the Walker was one of the most conceptual and simultaneously accessible projects hosted in the three years of the project. The residency included participatory and performative moments centered around the Walker’s collection and  revealing the process in which art is produced. From re-creating artworks from the Walker’s collection on the field, to opening an alternative “gallery shop” inside the museum to inviting guests to re-shoot an Alec Soth photograph from a diorama, ROLU demonstrated  that often the best way to learn about something is to make it yourself.

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Jehra Patrick: Inescapable Support at the Rochester Art Center: One of the pleasures of working in the arts is watching young artists develop a voice, produce strong work and receive well deserved recognition.  Jehra is a colleague at mnartists.org, a friend and an amazing painter.  She killed it this year with exhibitions at the Rochester Art Center, Soo Vac and her Jerome Fellowship exhibition at MCAD.  I think its  just a taste of what is coming in 2013.

The Internet Cat Video Festival: On a warm August evening we put up a screen in our backyard to watch some You Tube videos and over 10,000 people showed up. The Internet Cat Video Festival or #catvidfest was the oddest and most amazing event on which I have worked. What started as Katie Hill’s wish in last year’s “best of 2011″ blog, grew into a surreal summer of  viral videos, media interviews and a stunning embrace from a worldwide audience.  The craziness has continued through the fall and is spilling out into 2013 including a speaking engagement at SXSW in March on how this event didn’t destroy art, but did raise questions around crowd sourced curation and the relevance of museum in the age of You Tube.  For the 2013 festival we will attempt to destroy art.

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Fresh Spaces: (David Peterson Gallery, TuckUnder Projects, Public Functionary, Bindery Projects): New spaces seems to popping up with regularity in the Twin Cities coming from both established names and fresh faces.  Each of these projects has a different approach to showing interesting and emerging work as well as strategies to survive. Its a time of transition as more conventional artist space models evolve and new platforms emerge. We need more of this activity to thrive in the coming year and hopefully its the start of a trend. Support them.

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Lifelike at the Walker Art Center: My favorite show at the Walker show since The Quick and the Dead.

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Midway Contemporary Art Library Expansion:  The Midway Library is expanding and becoming a premier resource for artists, art enthusiasts and students.  Founded in 2007 the Midway Library continues to expand and house rare, hard to find and out of print monographs, exhibition catalogs and the library contains thousands of titles from a wide range of publishers from around the world. While group exhibition catalogs and monographs form the core of the library’s collection, the library also contains reference material, a selection of artist books, DVD’s, and an extensive selection of periodicals and journals. I need to spend more time here in 2013.

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Artists Having Kids: I find it very encouraging to see so many artists balancing the demands of family and their art career. I don’t think this is trend, I just am more aware of it as I get older, have my own kid and have more friends having kids. While it is exhausting, sometimes frustrating and dominates your time, it is also energizing, inspiring and provides a grounding (or reality check) to life.  From my very biased observations, I think we are going to have a strong group of young artists in about twenty years. Although I am still pushing for my kid to be a left-handed relief pitcher.

Boots and Cats.  Best thing I discovered in 2012.

HONORABLE MENTION: Silverwood Park, Burning an Andy Warhol autograph at The Northern Spark Festival, work  by Peter Happel Christian, Amanda Lovelee, Miguel Calderón, David Rathman, Joe Sinness, Jason Pearson, Icona Pop, My Little Free Library, Lunalux, and Fulton Beer.

 

What Makes a Healthy Art Community?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about what local artists need. Over the last year we  on the mnartists.org team have been diligently planning for the new mnartists.org website.  During the discovery phase of the site rebuild, we often returned to the question that launched the mnartists project in the first place, back in […]

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Lately I have been thinking a lot about what local artists need. Over the last year we  on the mnartists.org team have been diligently planning for the new mnartists.org website.  During the discovery phase of the site rebuild, we often returned to the question that launched the mnartists project in the first place, back in 1999: What do artists need to survive and prosper in our community?

This week an article by l’étoile arts columnist Nathaniel Smith (reprinted today on mnartists.org) raised similar questions about what is needed to sustain a healthy cultural community and, specifically, which of those things truly sustain artists.  Smith quotes  The Cool School, a film about LA’s influential Ferus Gallery, and the five things founder Walter Hopps cites as necessary ingredients for a healthy art city:

1: Artists to make the work
2: Galleries to support it
3: Critics to celebrate it
4:  Museums to establish it
5: and collectors to buy it

Smith points out in his piece that Minnesota is blessed to have the requisite artists and museums in abundance.  Certainly, the nearly 20,000 members of mnartists.org provide compelling evidence of the volume, diversity and passion of the artists in Minnesota. I am not going to reiterate all of Smith’s  assessments as to the needs of the community. You should read the full piece yourself: his essay raises several direct points of critique and debate related to the list above in relation to aspects of the current local arts support structure.

But what about a creative community’s other needs?  What do you see that is missing from Hopps’s admittedly visual arts-slanted list?  Or, perhaps this list is a completely outdated model? If so, what elements for a healthy arts community would you substitute instead?

Midwesterners are quick to praise and support Minnesota’s arts scene, which can be a strength, but knee-jerk self-congratulations lead to complacency and unrealized potential. We don’t want to live in a good art community, we want to have a hand in making an exceptional art community. We want an art community with strong local support and lively dialog that is not provincial but instead nationally, even internationally relevant.

So, let’s continue this conversation and separate needs from desires. Let’s have open discussion about what is working and what isn’t.  There are the obvious things that would sure help: like more financial support for individual artists, cultivating actively engaged patrons of the arts and involved audiences; cheap space and informed, lively critical response for artists. What’s important to you? What are some more specific, feasible things that we are overlooking as we think about the vitality of our state’s arts and cultural scenes?

Now, its your turn.  What do you think?

FINAL LIST! Monster Drawing Rally 5: More Artists, More Art, Same Entertaining Format.

Midway Contemporary Art’s Monster Drawing Rally returns! In celebration of its 5th year, the very popular annual fundraiser/community event is moving locations to the Grain Belt Bottling House at 79 13th Ave. NE Minneapolis on Saturday, December 15th from 6-10pm.  The new location will accommodate nearly twice as many artists as prior years, meaning more […]

Midway Contemporary Art’s Monster Drawing Rally returns! In celebration of its 5th year, the very popular annual fundraiser/community event is moving locations to the Grain Belt Bottling House at 79 13th Ave. NE Minneapolis on Saturday, December 15th from 6-10pm.  The new location will accommodate nearly twice as many artists as prior years, meaning more artwork and more space to socialize and scout the next acquisition to your personal collection.

For the last four years The Monster Drawing Rally has given artists living in the Twin Cities the opportunity to support the programming at Midway Contemporary Art while simultaneously gaining exposure within the community. For this years event over 80 artists will generously donate their time and talent by drawing live at the event during three one-hour rounds beginning at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm. Admission to the event is Free. Each of their drawings is available immediately for sale (first come/ first serve) for a flat price of $35.  The casual atmosphere lets visitors watch the art making process while keeping a close eye on the walls filled with finished drawings available for purchase. Even if you are not in the market for art, its still an unique opportunity to interact and watch local artists at work.

Photo courtesy Dan Ruth and Ellie Roscher

Many of you know the format, but for any first-time Monster Drawing Rally attendees here are some tips to make your evening a success.

1. There are three one-hour rounds with approximately 25 or so local artists drawing for each shift. We will be releasing the full list of artists on this blog over the course of the week.  Check back often and see if your favorite local artist will be participating.

2. This is a rare opportunity to watch and interact with an artist as they are working. I have personally participated as an artist ever year of the event, I can say it is an interesting experience from the other side of the table as well. No hiding your miscues with an attentive audience and there is a wonderful satisfaction is a meeting someone that has excitedly purchased one of your drawings.

3. All the work is a flat fee of $35. However, drawings may not be purchased, claimed, or snatched prior to hitting the wall. Conflicts or ties for purchasing a work will be resolved by drawing cards. Fighting, hoarding, hovering, or any other bad collector behavior will be sternly frowned upon.

4. At $35 you WILL find something you want to buy.

5. When you purchase the piece you will also get the contact information for the artist. If you don’t get a chance to meet them or talk to them at the event…contact them and let them know you bought their work. Artist love to meet people who  invested in their work….we really do.

6. This is one of the most community driven and artistic centric fundraisers in the city and one of the most popular.  This is also an event the rewards people that show up early and stay throughout…so plan accordingly.

Here is the full list of participating artists and their websites so you can do some pre-rally scouting.
Brendan Dawson
Brain Downs
Welles Emerson
Kelly Filreis
Mark Fischer
David Frohlich
Matt McAuliffe
Miles Mendenhall
Kelsey Olson
Melba Price
Jack Stanley
Bruce Tapola
Hannah Varn

The 5th Annual Monster Drawing Rally is sponsored by:

                          
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