Blogs mnartists.blog Susannah Schouweiler

Susannah Schouweiler serves as editor for all the original arts writing published by mnartists.org at the Walker Art Center. She has written on the arts for a number of regional and national outlets as well, including MinnPost.com, City Pages, Minneapolis Observer, Rain Taxi Review of Books, The Rake, Public Art Review, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts blog. Before her work with mnartists.org, Susannah served as Editor-in-Chief for Ruminator magazine (a.k.a. Hungry Mind Review, Ruminator Review), a nationally distributed art and literature magazine. She lives in St. Paul with her husband and kids.

UPDATED 5/20/13: ArtPrize Pitch Night Cheatsheet

Minnesota artists: What would you do with $5,000, 400,000 people and an entire bridge to work with? This year, the Walker Art Center is teaming up with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan to sweeten the pot for Minnesota artists interested in participating in the prestigious annual international art competition. If you think you might have some […]

ArtPrize 2012 - photo courtesy of Brian Kelly Photography and the Walker Art Center

ArtPrize 2012 – photo courtesy of Brian Kelly Photography and the Walker Art Center

Minnesota artists: What would you do with $5,000, 400,000 people and an entire bridge to work with? This year, the Walker Art Center is teaming up with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan to sweeten the pot for Minnesota artists interested in participating in the prestigious annual international art competition. If you think you might have some compelling public art ideas to propose, get a leg up by attending tomorrow night’s ArtPrize info session in the Walker Art Center Lecture Room. In addition to some of the local panelists involved in the Minnesota contingent of this year’s competition, ArtPrize’s Director of Exhibitions, Kevin Buist, will be on hand to offer some background on ArtPrize and to answer questions from artists interested in getting involved.

What is ArtPrize and how does the competition work?

Every fall, two thousand artists from around the world come to Grand Rapids, Michigan to compete for half a million dollars in prizes – real money is at stake here. Participating artists’ installations fill the city — from museums and galleries to restaurants, banks, and city parks. During the two-and-a-half week ArtPrize exhibition, which annually draws some 400,000 visitors, members of the public will vote to determine which artist will win the big $200,000 prize. A panel of world-renowned jurors will also select a $100,000 Juried Grand Prize winner, as well as five $20,000 winners in various categories.

And this year, during the month of May, Minnesota artists are especially invited to create proposals for an installation on Grand Rapids’ Gillett Bridge, a highly trafficked pedestrian bridge in the center of the ArtPrize exhibition. After the month-long open submissions period has closed, at a “Pitch Night” event held at the Walker on May 30, five selected finalists will give a five-minute presentation using five slides a piece to make the case for their project proposals. A panel of five local artists and curators, along with members of the audience, will be able to ask questions of the artists following their presentations. At the end of the night, the five panelists will select a Minnesota artist from among the finalists who presented their pitches. That artist will receive a $5,000 grant to realize their proposal on the Gillett Bridge; the resulting work will also be in the running for awards given during the international ArtPrize 2013 competition and exhibition in September.

ArtPrize 2013, Grand Rapids, MI is an international art competition and exhibition that runs from September 18 through October 6 and awards more than $500,000 in prizes to artists selected through both public and juried vote.

ArtPrize 2013, Grand Rapids, MI is an international art competition and exhibition that runs from September 18 through October 6 and awards more than $500,000 in prizes to artists selected through both public and juried vote.

Dates and deadlines:

ArtPrize info session: Tuesday, April 30 at 7 pm in the Lecture Room (off the Bazinet Lobby) at the Walker Art Center

Open submissions period for the Walker/ArtPrize installation on Gillett Bridge: May 1 to May 22.

Any artist living in Minnesota who is 18 years of age or older is eligible to enter. Find the full call for artists on mnartists.org.

“Pitch Night: Take it to the Bridge” – Five finalists will each have five minutes to make a pitch before our local panel of experts and a live audience. One will be selected at the end of the evening to receive a $5000 prize with which to realize their proposal for public art project on Gillett Bridge during this year’s ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The 2013 “Pitch Night” panelists:

Chris Larson, a Minnesota-based multimedia artist and educator whose work has been shown all over the world

Ben Heywood, Executive Director of the Soap Factory

Sarah Peters, a Twin Cities-based artist, writer and arts programmer who currently works as the Director of Public Engagement for Northern Lights.mn (the collaborative arts agency behind the Northern Spark Festival)

Scott Stulen, mnartists.org Project Director

Sarah Schultz, Director of Education and Curator of Public Practice at the Walker Art Center.

Gillett Bridge in Grand Rapids, MI - in the heart of this year's ArtPrize exhibition and site of a specially selected installation by a Minnesota artist this year.

Gillett Bridge in Grand Rapids, MI is a venue at the heart of this year’s ArtPrize exhibition and set aside as a site for an installation by a Minnesota artist who will be awarded $5000 to realize a proposal selected through a competitive process on “Pitch Night,” May 30 at the Walker Art Center.

Tips from ArtPrize Director of Exhibitions, Kevin Buist:

What kind of work is most likely to get the ArtPrize panelists’ attention for this special installation on the bridge? 

The panel [evaluating submissions from Minnesota artists for this installation] will be looking for a proposal for one installation on the Gillett Bridge that is both compelling and feasible.

Some questions to consider: How will the artist(s) make use of this unique space? Thousands of people cross the bridge during the event, how will crowds affect the work? Is $5,000 enough to ship and install the work? If not, what’s the plan to cover additional costs?

When and for how long will the work be installed? How many works will be chosen in total for this Walker/ArtPrize partnership?

One proposal will be chosen on “Pitch Night” for the entire bridge. An exact installation date is not set, but it will likely be one to two weeks before ArtPrize begins on September 18. The work will need to be taken town within a week after the end of ArtPrize on October 6.

Why is ArtPrize partnering with the Walker this year? Why involve Minnesota artists in this Michigan-based competition? 

“Pitch Night” is a brand new initiative for 2013. It’s a way for artists from other cities to get funding to realize ambitious projects within ArtPrize. The partnership with Walker is the first iteration of this new initiative, but we hope to expand the program to include similar partnerships with other museums in other cities.

Minnesota artists should enter ArtPrize because it’s an international art competition. It takes place in Grand Rapids, but it’s fast becoming a global showcase for emerging artists. Last year ArtPrize featured artists from 39 states and 46 countries.

What’s in it for the artists who compete? Who have been some of the previous years’ winners (are there any names we’d recognize)?

Obviously, there’s a lot of money on the line — $560,000 split between 16 awards, ten determined by public vote and six of which are juried. Winning is great, but when we talk to artists, we find that the size and level of engagement of the ArtPrize audience is an even bigger reward. Over 400,000 people visited over two-and-a-half weeks last year, and the population of Grand Rapids is only 200,000. We also find that projects can be launched quickly and without the typical level of red tape that slows down a lot of public art initiatives. ArtPrize has been embraced by the community in a unique way, and the city looks forward to an infusion of fresh ideas from all over the world. It’s an environment for artists to experiment with temporary projects that benefit from a large, engaged audience.

A list of last year’s winners can be found here: http://www.artprize.org/visit/winners

ADDENDUM 5/20/13: More from Kevin Buist about the history and philosophy behind ArtPrize and this year’s partnership with the Walker

This fall, the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan will be overrun by artists. For the fifth year, my colleagues and I will stage ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition.

More than 1,500 artists exhibiting their works at nearly 150 venues, all competing for $560,000 in awards which are distributed by public vote and professional jury. More than 400,000 visitors came to the 2012 exhibition, and even more are expected in 2013.

New for the 2013 event, ArtPrize has partnered with the Walker Art Center for a regional grant program. One artist from Minnesota will have a unique opportunity to receive a grant to help them realize an ambitious project for ArtPrize. We’re calling it “Pitch Night: Take it to the Bridge.” On May 30 at 7:00 pm in the Walker Cinema, five Minnesota artists will give each give a five minute presentation to the audience and a panel of five judges, explaining why their project should be given a $5,000 grant to create their project at ArtPrize 2013.

Why Minnesota? Why the Walker?

ArtPrize has long admired the Walker Art Center’s programming, specifically Open Field. The more we researched what they were doing and how they were thinking about the program and its relationship to the museum, the affinity between the two initiatives became clear. This quote from the introduction of Open Field: Conversations on the Commons, by Sarah Schultz and Sarah Peters, sums up the shared sensibility nicely: “Open Field is about building a more responsive and responsible museum that sets out to produce something of collective value with the public, rather than for them.”

We started ArtPrize in 2009 as a radically open experiment in how to create a city-wide contemporary art exhibition. ArtPrize doesn’t curate the show, and we don’t select the winners. In lieu of central programming, we’ve built ArtPrize.org to act almost like a dating website for artists and potential venues. Additionally, we gave the attendees, rather than the organizers, the power to decide who wins. The first year, there were ten prizes, all decided entirely by public vote, with $250,000 as the top prize. Starting the second year, we began to add juried awards into the mix.

Just last year, ArtPrize launched a $100,000 Juried Grand Prize, and five $20,000 juried prizes in various categories. These are awarded alongside $360,000 for the public vote top ten, including $200,000 for the top vote-getter.

We decided to design the event this way for several reasons:

  • Engagement with the arts is vital to creating meaningful interactions within communities. The trouble is that the arts are often overlooked by large swaths of the population. We make art impossible to ignore to give artists more ways to interrupt everyday life.
  • The competition needed to be fun, because we believe that people learn more and are more receptive to new ideas when they play.
  •  We believe that debate is good. Rather than program an exhibition in private and deliver it to the public, we’ve chosen to invite the public to be intimately involved in the production and assessment of the show. The results are delightfully messy. People all over town feverishly debate what’s good and what isn’t, or what should be considered art. The debates, and the tensions they reveal, are good outcomes.

This design has turned Grand Rapids into a community that values art and respects the opinions of all people, with the public and arts professionals coming together in an epic conversation.

–ArtPrize Director of Exhibitions, Kevin Buist

mnartists.org’s Most Popular Articles of 2012: Bar art, RACA, Sports and Ballet

At mnartists.org, we published more than 125 articles last year – original essays, reviews, profiles and interviews – about and by local artists, covering the issues, personalities and trends relevant here and elsewhere in theater, visual arts, music, dance, architecture, fashion and more. Below, you’ll find a rundown of the original arts writing with the […]

At mnartists.org, we published more than 125 articles last year – original essays, reviews, profiles and interviews – about and by local artists, covering the issues, personalities and trends relevant here and elsewhere in theater, visual arts, music, dance, architecture, fashion and more.

Below, you’ll find a rundown of the original arts writing with the most readers in 2012.

The much wondered-over John Bowman painting, "Crossings", in situ at the 331 in MplsPhoto by Kurt Froehlich, courtesy of the author

The much wondered-over John Bowman painting, “Crossings”, in situ at the 331 in Mpls. Photo by Kurt Froehlich, courtesy of the author

The most beloved art in the Twin Cities?: Andy Sturdevant unearthed a love story of sorts – about a Minneapolis bar, its many regulars, and a certain moody landscape painting with mystery and loads of apocryphal tales, which he argues may just be the most beloved artwork in the city.

Gregory Euclide (Le Sueur, MN), "caution gathered paths around your bending"Image courtesy of the artist, RACA, and the Arts Center of St. Peter

Gregory Euclide (Le Sueur, MN), “caution gathered paths around your bending”. Image courtesy of the artist, RACA, and the Arts Center of St. Peter

Rural art gets its due Twin Cities-to-Mankato transplant Stephanie Wilbur Ash got ahead of the buzz on Rural America Contemporary Art (aka RACA) with this late 2011 profile on the artists behind the inception of the group aiming to “make nowhere into somewhere”.

Michael Borremans, "The Devil's Dress," oil on panel, 2011.Courtesy of David Zwirner.

Michael Borremans, “The Devil’s Dress,” oil on panel, 2011. Courtesy of David Zwirner.

A painter on painting: Artist Ruben Nusz gave a close reading of the haunting paintings by Belgian painter Michaël Borremans, on view in early 2012 at David Zwirner in New York.

Annie Leibovitz, "Kirby Puckett," 1988Photo courtesy of the MIA

Annie Leibovitz, “Kirby Puckett,” 1988. Photo courtesy of the MIA

Inverting the male gaze: Last spring, Sheila Regan looked at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ multimedia exhibition, The Sports Show, as a lens through which to assess our changing norms and mores about race and gender.

"Back Lash", silver gelatin print, photograph by Polly NormanSee more on the artist's website: www.pollynormanart.com

“Back Lash”, silver gelatin print, photograph by Polly Norman

Inside the dance: Poet and dancer Lightsey Darst gave a candid personal essay on her years in ballet class — the devotion and the ordeal of daily practice, and the human moments of pain, pettiness, and triumph.

Other well-read articles on mnartists.org this year, including a few deep catalog surprises:

 “Seeing Target Field,” on the art and architecture of Target Field, by Michael Fallon

 “First Crayons,” musings on the pleasures and perils of trying to raise a creative kid, by food and wine writer Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl

 “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” a look at co-working spaces in the Twin Cities by Alison Morse

 “Dolly Parton Dreams, Reconsidered,”  or, “My Dream of Moving to the Country to Write a Book and the Pygmy Goats and Insouciance I Didn’t Get”, a personal essay by  Sari Gordon

 “Becoming an Artist All Over Again,” Ann Klefstad’s profile of Duluth-based artist Marian Lansky, a graphic designer who reinvented herself mid-career to create Shy Nimitta.

“McQueen’s Delicious Delirium,” Camille LeFevre’s 2011 dispatch from New York, on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition of the fashion, performance art, and fetish objects of Alexander McQueen

The Year in MN Art: mnartists.org Staffers Weigh in on the Highlights of 2012

At this, the annual juncture of new and old, our small-but-mighty crew at mnartists.org is taking stock of the year just passed and peering ahead with our wishes for 2013.  All this week, look for idiosyncratic, entirely subjective and by-no-means-exhaustive lists from each of us, with our favorite moments from 2012 – things we saw […]

At this, the annual juncture of new and old, our small-but-mighty crew at mnartists.org is taking stock of the year just passed and peering ahead with our wishes for 2013.  All this week, look for idiosyncratic, entirely subjective and by-no-means-exhaustive lists from each of us, with our favorite moments from 2012 – things we saw and loved, and that gave us heart for what’s in store for the year to come.

Without further ado, here’s what most delighted me in 2012:

John Hodgman, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett at the Varsity: Late last March, in honor of the publication of That Is All, the final installment in Hodgman’s fabulously absurd Complete World Knowledge trilogy, the “deranged millionaire” and humorist, joined by MST3K veterans Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett, regaled an enthusiastically nerdy crowd at Minneapolis’ Varsity Theater with off-the-cuff stories and made-up facts, covering everything from George R. R. Martin, hobos and Ragnarok to behind-the-scenes dish from Hodgman’s small-screen career as a “Famous Minor Television Personality.”

Little Brown Mushroom’s House of Coates: Writer Brad Zellar and photographer Alec Soth teamed up for a series of well-received road-trip story-and-picture dispatches last year, but my favorite of these is the first, House of Coates, a beautiful limited-edition book published by Little Brown Mushroom, inspired by the “edges of everything” exploits of one Lester B. Morrison: rangy philosopher, drifter, and quintessential loner.

Photograph from "House of Coates" published in a limited edition series by Little Brown Mushroom in 2012.

Photograph from “House of Coates” published in a limited edition series by Little Brown Mushroom in 2012.

Artists took the reins of opportunity, making this a remarkable year for independent art start-ups. Some standouts: Nate Young and Caroline Kent’s studio-turned-gallery space, The Bindery Projects; Art-Of-This founder David Petersen’s new commercial gallery space in Minneapolis; and Rural America Contemporary Art (RACA, for short), brainchild of Mankato-based painter Brian Frink, which grew from a popular Facebook group to a web hub and biannual online magazine for serious-minded artists off the usually urban art grid.

The City of Saint Paul expanded its team of City Artists in Residence to three: the city’s original such artist, Marcus Young, was recently joined by Amanda Lovelee and Sarah West. The team of artists-in-residence is embedded “upstream”, immersed in the development and execution of a variety of city projects, working side by side with administrators, urban planners and public works staff to integrate the arts into everyday civic life and planning.

Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, conceived by City Artist in Residence. Photo courtesy of Public Art St. Paul.

Everyday Poems for City Sidewalk, conceived by City Artist in Residence. Photo courtesy of Public Art St. Paul.

The flourishing of Lowertown: St. Paul stalwarts like Zeitgeist’s Studio Z, the Artists’ Quarter, Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar have long brought a variety of new music and jazz to the area; Big Table Studio and Amsterdam Bar and Hall pair nicely to anchor the neighborhood’s burgeoning design and indie music scenes; Minnesota Museum of American Art announced a new brick-and-mortar Project Space in the old Pioneer Press building; Bedlam Theatre just opened a St. Paul outpost, promising a welcome counterpoint to the area’s large-venue performance offerings. With light rail soon to come, there’s so much promise on the horizon for the arts and artists in this up-and-coming St. Paul neighborhood.

MMAA Exec. Dir. Kristen Makholm in front of the museum's new Project Space. Photo by Paul Shambroom.

MMAA Exec. Dir. Kristen Makholm in front of the museum’s new Project Space. Photo by Paul Shambroom.

Blank Slate Theatre’s Spring Awakening: In what was a very good year for theater, small companies in particular, Twin Cities audiences had a number of opportunities to see this Tony Award-winning musical – Theatre Latte Da’s staging, in particular, was polished and deeply entertaining and is deservedly appearing on a number of “best of the year” lists around town. But, for me, a quieter iteration gets the nod: I was just gobsmacked by Blank Slate Theatre’s gutsy all-youth production, held in the basement of St. Paul’s First Baptist Church: emotionally fearless, intimate and beautifully executed by the cast, the show was pitch perfect in its fidelity to the shaggy ardors of real-life adolescence.

Labor-of-love lit mags made a splash: We’ve been hearing about the decline of print for years now, but that hasn’t stopped intrepid newcomers, like the folks behind Thirty Two, Revolver and Paper Darts, from continuing to dive into publishing headfirst, taking a shot at shaking up the old business model with some new flair. All have a smart online presence and lean overhead, consistently trenchant and engaging editorial content and painstaking attention to artful design, fueled issue after issue by sheer audacity, grit and hustle.

Thirty-Two_Issue-2stroke-248x330oblivions

Dioramas: Air Sweet Air’s Just Like Honey show, an irresistible and varied exhibition of artist-made dioramas, was such a surprise: the creations on view had all the nostalgic allure of childhood games of make-believe, but animated by undercurrents of subtle, grown-up insight and witty commentary about the contemporary flux of human-made sprawl and manufactured landscapes in context of the natural environments in and around them.

Alyssa Baguss, “Home on the Range,” UTO (Unidentified Technological Device), mixed media, 2012. Photo by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, courtesy of Air Sweet Air

Alyssa Baguss, “Home on the Range,” UTO (Unidentified Technological Device), mixed media, 2012. Photo by Cheryl Wilgren Clyne, courtesy of Air Sweet Air

Spoken word and slam poetry went viral. There were some terrific poetry collections released this year – Heid Erdrich’s Cell Traffic; Odessa by Patricia Kirkpatrick; Sun Yung Shin’s Rough, and Savage; and Pitch by Todd Boss immediately come to mind. But the most memorable poems I encountered this year, I first ran into online, shared among friends and colleagues via Twitter and Facebook. (You can listen to three of my favorites below.)

 

And the big news in our house: Baby takes her first steps and the Tooth Fairy pays our first-grader a visit.

The Boy loses his first tooth

The Boy loses his first tooth. Photo courtesy of the author.

And for 2013: I think we’re all waiting with bated breath for the brand spanking new mnartists.org website, and so eager to show you all the bells and whistles we have in the works.

Tucker Hollingsworth’s Camera Noise: A Primer by Stephen Tapscott

What exactly are the Camera Noise pieces? A series of large photo-prints by the Tuckaghrie (”Tucker”) Hollingsworth, based on the phenomenon of “camera noise”—or rather, on the unique occurrence-patterns of visual noise on a number of separate (and probably unrepeatable) occasions. The results are playful photos of “invisible” realities, which resemble interwoven textiles. What is […]

Tucker Hollingsworth, “Noise Print #58”. Flush on Aluminum. Images to 70 x 57 inches. 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

What exactly are the Camera Noise pieces?

A series of large photo-prints by the Tuckaghrie (”Tucker”) Hollingsworth, based on the phenomenon of “camera noise”—or rather, on the unique occurrence-patterns of visual noise on a number of separate (and probably unrepeatable) occasions. The results are playful photos of “invisible” realities, which resemble interwoven textiles.

What is “camera noise” anyway?

Part of the process of looking through the camera, a pattern of information that doesn’t quite fit the pattern we think we want to see. When we tell the camera to be our “eye,” it takes in lots of information, most of which fits our expectations, some of which doesn’t.  “Noise” is data, information, that’s part of the perceptual misapprehension, or imagination, or overcompensation, that happens in or through the camera—usually through its lens or through its sensor(s).  In practical terms: we tend to “see” evidence of camera noise, in amateur photos, in those weird pixels of color that seem out of place, unique, or patterned in some new strange way—a fog, a plaid, a texture, a grid—that probably isn’t part of the realistic object we thought we’d shot. They’re accurate to the camera’s perception but a little surreal to ours—or sub-real, to be precise.

Tucker Hollingsworth, “Noise Print #78”. Flush on Aluminum. Images to 70 x 57 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

How did the “noise” get there?  Is it even really “there”?   

It’s a residual (or preliminary) part of the process of the camera’s process of  looking-transmuting-and-storing — a process that leaves (nearly undetectable) traces. Some of that patterning is subtly “out there” in the world, in surprising little

pools of light under a shady tree, for instance.  Other patterns left on the image come from the    way the camera perceives light, transforms it into electrical pulses, and stores it. Digital photography, in general, is a process of turning light into electrical signals and thence into digital code: the camera lens captures packets of light, the camera sensor sorts it by light waves, and the waves are turned into electrical impulses which are stored in a mathematical binary code. Later, another machine reads the digital language back: for each signal it generates back a blip of color on a screen or in a print. Assemble enough blips in recognizable patterns, and you have an image.

The interesting part is when pixels resist the system, or intrude just by being. Anomalies sneak in along the way. Too much information may enter; actual flashes of brightness might occur in the light outside the camera, so that the “noise” is anomalous but accurate. Maybe there’s grit on the lens; too much heat makes the sensor register more blue blips; the camera sensor could be weak, or maybe showing signs of age; or the camera may have –and impose– its own peculiarities. Other conditions can cause noise, as well.

And?

And so all this information enters the record somehow, both there and not there, a part of the process of perception but a part we often try to ignore, to wipe away. It is part of mediated seeing, but it’s literally an under-level–a substrate—which we try to repress. When we take a “realist” picture, we often use a program to overlay this “noise,” to overwrite it or otherwise pretend it’s not there. (But it is, Blanche, it is.) Hollingsworth’s images are bold for looking at those patterns of what we, in the main, have agreed to try not to see.

Tucker Hollingsworth, “Noise Print #42”. Flush on Aluminum. Images to 70 x 57 inches. 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Do all cameras make this “noise”? Is it  a universal pattern of randomness?

All digital cameras do, from big professional models to cameras on cell-phones.

Is the randomness of camera noise a pattern?

It is if it is repeatable.

Say what?

Well, in his images Hollingsworth sometimes “frames” a unique section of random spotting and repeats the patch of random distribution, allowing the colors to change and the “new” distribution—which is now a visual pattern because it is repeated—to be rendered visible. It’s a pattern insofar as it’s repeated (this is art, not chaos repeating itself), but it’s still random at a local level of production. AND it has the repeatability of form, the result of aesthetic choice. It’s true that the camera might have repeated the pattern, but that possibility is statistically rare. The spots of noise are dependent on certain conditions; those states are unlikely to repeat again, in ordinary time and space.

Are they dots like Damien Hirst’s spots?

No.

Dots like Lichtenstein’s Pop-Art spots?

Maybe, but they’re formed from a different source, print vs. digital modes. Lichtenstein’s dots were based on graphic-art textual media; they’re about sharp edges and ironic versions of iconic forms. Pop Art spots were painted versions of the Ben-Day spots of the graphic printing-process (think of comic books): uniform in size, crisply delineated, primary colors, representational. Hollingsworth’s spots have more to do with the textile effect of the digital mode, how we weave the world together by our senses and our technology. Hollingsworth’s dotted plaids are more subtly colored than those Ben-Day dots, recalling electric impulses instead of graphic ink-spots, more flowing and interrelational, and not figurative.

Think of how your eye follows the patterns in a Pollock “drip” painting; those motions resemble how the eye reads these Hollingsworth images: there are arcs and rhythms and patterns of random splooges and splashes by which you can see how the painter’s arm moved in the process of dripping the paint. You can track that pattern of motion—but if you tried to repeat exactly the same movements with exactly the same paint, chances are you’d make different drips — same pattern, random distribution.  Pollock packs on paint, Hollingsworth pixels. As in Pollock, the pattern lives in its cloud of instances: Again, what’s at stake in the Hollingsworth model is the digital interwoven interrelations of the mind and the world and the technologies we use to comprehend and order it.

Tucker Hollingsworth, “Noise Print #48”. Flush on Aluminum. Images to 70 x 57 inches. 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Is “noise” all an interesting mistake? Is this chaos-art?

The “noise” in Hollingsworth images is neither true nor false, neither “there” nor “not there,” neither an error nor a choice, fluke nor necessary—or rather, it’s both sides of all those dualities. Hollingsworth’s images are both/and constructions that elegantly bridge some of those dualistic gaps that art-speak sometimes constructs: they are both formal and random, both nonconcrete and hauntedly figurative, both abstract (in their geometries) and representational (they present something that is actually “there”), both high-art and popular, conceptual and realist, wicked smart and sensual. Because the images are what the camera sees without telling us it is interposing the grids, these forms are both true and false at the same time — like photographs of Schrödinger’s cat.

Oh-oh. Cat pictures?

No: in fact they’re large, painting-style grids of color dots and plaids, oddly futuristic– like overhearing a new mode of music: like an elegant and whimsical trance music. An oddly sensual combination, they make the eye feel these intensely pleasurable sensations even while you’re thinking “what is this pattern of things we see without seeing we see them?” A happy dotted or plaid formalism that’s thoughtful and kind of ecstatic at the same time. Their effect is mixed, in the same moment a kind of hushed holiness and a kind of gently rippling sexiness.

It all sound kind of cerebral.

Huge, semi-musical swaths of ravishingly-colored funky plaids with occasional dots, making plausible aesthetic claims to be true and not-true at the same time. What’s not to like?

***

Related links and information:

 “What Do you See When You Turn Out the Lights?”– Read Stephen Tapscott’s related essay on Hollingsworth’s series of Camera Noise photo-prints on mnartists.org

Tucker Hollingsworth: Inside the Camera/Noise is on view through November 30 at Chowgirls Parlor 1224 2nd St. NE, Minneapolis, MN, 55413. The exhibition is open by appointment (651-955-6031); there is a reception Thursday, November 15 from 6 to 10 pm.

Find more information about the artist on his website: www.tuckerhollingsworth.com.

About the author: Stephen Tapscott is s a professor in the humanities at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaching, poetry, aesthetics and photography. He is author of eight collections of poems and essays and has a new book coming out soon, about the photographer Eadweard Muybridge and his trial for murder. He is also a translator from Spanish and Polish, most popularly of Pablo Neruda’s Cien sonetos de amor [One Hundred Love Sonnets]. He splits his time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and St-Denis, France.

Zoom In: Dancer/Choreographer and Photographer Megan Mayer

Our newsletter this week features the photograph above, which perfectly captures the colors and textures of Minnesota in fall, taken by Megan Mayer on a recent getaway Up North, to Gooseberry Falls State Park. Mayer is a choreographer, performing artist and photographer based in Minneapolis. She says she’s “drawn to the peripheries of performance… the […]

Megan Mayer, “Bath.” Photograph taken fall 2012 in Gooseberry Falls State Park in Northern Minnesota. Reproduced here courtesy of the artist.

Our newsletter this week features the photograph above, which perfectly captures the colors and textures of Minnesota in fall, taken by Megan Mayer on a recent getaway Up North, to Gooseberry Falls State Park.

Mayer is a choreographer, performing artist and photographer based in Minneapolis. She says she’s “drawn to the peripheries of performance… the moment when someone starts or stops performing and where that switch lives in the body.”  She describes her dance-making as a process inspired by the power of still images and cinematic scenes, saying that her photography is inextricably linked to her creative work in dance. She’s fantastic as an ensemble performer, adept at mining the chemistry of a cast and deploying their strengths and talents to great effect in her choreography. She says she “favors a detailed sensibility over virtuosity” and is primarily “interested in who is doing the moving, and how and why they in particular navigate tasks and interactions.”

“Soft Fences,” photo by Al Hall, courtesy of MANCC.

Mayer was a recent artist-in-residence at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) in Tallahassee, Florida, through a pilot partnership with The McKnight Foundation in collaboration with Springboard for the Arts. She is also a recipient of a 2010 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Choreographers, as well as a 2010 Jerome Foundation Travel Study Grant which she used to work with New York dance artist Douglas Dunn.

Megan Mayer in “Over Time,” a performance work for “Cubicle,” a web-based series by Skewed Visions. Photo by the artist.

Megan Mayer can regularly be seen on stage with Charles Campbell, Angharad Davies, Emily Johnson, Mad King Thomas, Kevin Obsatz, Karen Sherman, Laurie Van Wieren and Chris Yon. Her dances have been commissioned by The Southern Theater, The Walker Art Center and the Minnesota History Center, and she has a growing body of work of dances made for film. She holds a B.A. in Dance from the University of Minnesota.

Relevant performances and related links:

Soft Fences, a new work currently in process, was presented, in part, at the Minnesota Contemporary Presenters’ Platform in September. Soft Fences explores the euphoria and terror of space travel as a metaphor for personal change, investigating imagery of isolation and the disquieting emotional experience of being stuck in transition between gravity and momentum. The project has been created with a production team consisting of Charles Campbell, Angharad Davies, Elliott Durko Lynch, Kevin Obsatz, Stephanie Stoumbelis and Greg Waletski; the work was developed during her MANCC residency.

Coming up: a remount of 2010’s You might be expecting me, a solo she choreographed for Nic Lincoln is slated for May 2013 at the Tek Box at Cowles Center for Performing Arts. Mayer is also working on a new duet by Angharad Davies which will be performed at her show in June 2013 at the Red Eye.

Find out more about past, present and future projects on her website: http://meganmayer.com/

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.

The More Things Change…: A Redesign for access+ENGAGE

If you’re a subscriber to access+ENGAGE (and if not, you really should be), you likely noticed something different about the look and feel of the issue that hit your inbox this morning. Since the launch of our e-mag nearly seven years ago, so much has changed — in the kind and diversity of offerings available […]

Mickey Smith, “133.12-S1,” from DENUDATION, archival pigment print, 20″ x 30″, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

If you’re a subscriber to access+ENGAGE (and if not, you really should be), you likely noticed something different about the look and feel of the issue that hit your inbox this morning. Since the launch of our e-mag nearly seven years ago, so much has changed — in the kind and diversity of offerings available through mnartists.org, but also more generally, in the way everyone receives and engages with online news and information. And as our medium has evolved, mnartists.org’s “content platforms” have proliferated and grown as well, to meet the changing needs and preferences of all of you in the Minnesota arts community.

Currently, you can find our original essays, reviews, vast artist database, calendar and other resources via our flagship website and access+ENGAGE e-mag; but you can also engage with us and each other — here, on our blog on the Walker Art Center’s website, and through a number of social media, particularly via our feeds on Facebook and Twitter.

Offline, too, the reach and audience for mnartists.org’s events and programs have expanded in recent years: from Drawing Club on the Open Field and our Community Supported Art (CSA) program with Springboard for the Arts, to mnartists.org’s annual Field Trip festival with Silverwood Park, Northern Spark festivities with the Walker and Northern Lights.mn, and our print partnership with Rain Taxi Review of Books.

Mickey Smith, “363.75 N” and 363.75 T”, archival pigment print on paper, 40″x26″, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and Invisible-Exports.

With this growth, and considering the massive website rebuild we’re undergoing (due next year!), we’ve decided it’s time to step back, take stock, and reconsider how we might serve you best.  To this end, we’ve redesigned our e-mag to give the artists and arts lovers in our vibrant community a more streamlined and easily navigable entry point into mnartists.org’s riches –  editorial offerings, professional artists’ resources, and engaging offline events, opportunities and programs.

You’ll notice the revamped newsletter has a cleaner, more straightforward design; it’s one we hope invites you more readily into our core offerings: the whip-smart, original, local arts journalism that’s updated weekly on the homepage magazine and in the blog; the job listings, calls for art and other creative opportunities for artists around the state drawn from our community bulletin board; and a short-list of must-see events and programs. One thing isn’t changing: At the top of every issue of the newsletter, as always, we’ll feature art work by a different Minnesota artist. Click the banner art in the newsletter, and you’ll be directed to a little profile of that artist here, on the blog.

Mickey Smith, “159,” archival pigment print, 36″x24″, 2012. Courtesy of the artist.

Speaking of which, for the launch of our new-and-improved newsletter, our banner artist is photographer Mickey Smith. Smith is a Duluth native, with a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Minnesota-Moorhead. She has received awards from the McKnight Artist Fellowship for Photography, the Forecast Public Art Affairs, CEC ArtsLink, and Americans for the Arts. Smith currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand and is represented by INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in New York.

This issue’s banner art comes from a series of photographs, Denudation, which have just been collected in a book by the same name, with text by W. M. Hunt, published this month in collaboration with Hassla Books.

Here’s an eloquent excerpt from an essay by W.M. Hunt, “Prospero’s Shelf,” included in the newly published collection of photographs:

When you move away, you see the place you’re leaving, not the place you’re going to. You look at what you will have left behind, the shell of you, the shadow. It is the photograph’s negative.

Mickey Smith’s Denudation images have a haunted quality. They are somber, depicting empty shelves and a closet, a ladder to nowhere, tied off airless garbage bags, and discarded book spines. The Wil to Win is reconsidered.

Ms. Smith’s earlier Volume and Collocations—ebullient portraits of books, individually or in groups and on shelves—were bold and graphic. What made those pictures so effective was subtext, here made explicit—a deeper, darker unseen melancholy or despair.

It is not that these works have a sense of doom or resignation to them. They act like harbingers of some transcendence. An unseen protagonist has moved on and left this behind. Prospero throws down his book and his magic, and leaves the island. Here he has literally just taken it off the shelf, and departed. The flaying or erosion of layers of life, the denudation, yield opportunity and newness.

“To regret deeply is to live afresh,” Henry David Thoreau wrote in 1839.  Ms. Smith captures the plaintive and enigmatic and offers it as possibility.

Mickey Smith, “123,” a suite of photographs, taken with a Kodak disc camera, that Smith took at age eleven of the implosion of the Northwestern National Bank Building in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Courtesy of the artist.

Smith will be in town for a book-signing at Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art in Minneapolis, October 18, 4 to 6 p.m., 250 Third Avenue North, #308. The signing will be followed by a reception at Bev’s Wine Bar from 6 to 9 p.m., just downstairs from the gallery, in #100.

Mickey Smith will also open a related exhibition of work, her third solo show at INVISIBLE-EXPORTS in New York, late this month; also titled Denudation, the show will be on view from October 26 through December 9, 2012.

For more information on the exhibition, or to see more examples of Smith’s work, visit her website, www.mickeysmithart.com, or that of her gallery, www.invisible-exports.com.

A Community Mourns and Celebrates SooVAC’s Suzy Greenberg

Last Thursday, August 16, Suzy Greenberg, founder of two beloved Twin Cities galleries, Soo Visual Arts Center and Rosalux Gallery, died unexpectedly. A mainstay in the Minnesota visual arts community, she was, for years, an unstinting advocate for emerging artists and a savvy curator with a loyal following, known for having a sharp eye for […]

Suzy Greenberg. Photo by Tom Sweeney of the “Minneapolis Star-Tribune,” courtesy of Soo Visual Arts Center.

Last Thursday, August 16, Suzy Greenberg, founder of two beloved Twin Cities galleries, Soo Visual Arts Center and Rosalux Gallery, died unexpectedly. A mainstay in the Minnesota visual arts community, she was, for years, an unstinting advocate for emerging artists and a savvy curator with a loyal following, known for having a sharp eye for as-yet-unknown but promising talent.  She’s proved to be a nimble entrepreneur, too, shepherding her well-regarded storefront gallery in Minneapolis through several years of difficult economic conditions with aplomb and ingenuity.

Losing her has left the Twin Cities’ tight-knit art scene grief-stricken. There’ve been a number of moving remembrances published in local media in the last week (you can find the links below). Now, we’d like to invite you — Greenberg’s colleagues and friends, artists and fellow gallerists and curators — to share your favorite anecdotes and memories, below in the comments section.

According to SooVAC’s Executive Director, Carolyn Payne, a gathering in her honor is planned for Monday, September 10. For the event, SooVAC will show an exhibition of Greenberg’s work, curated by Lars Mason; people are also invited to come by the CC Club to share stories and memories in celebration of a life beautifully and generously lived, if far too short.

Payne says there’s no formal program planned, “This is just a time to come and pay tribute to her life and art, and to have a drink together in her memory at her longtime neighboring watering hole.”

 

 

Some related links:

 

A tribute to Suzy Greenberg’s life and art is planned for Monday, September 10, from 4 pm – 10 pm, at Soo Visual Arts Center (2638 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis) and at the CC Club (just down the street at 2600 Lyndale Avenue South).

For updated information as the date draws nearer, check in with the gallery website: http://www.soovac.org/

Please share your favorite anecdotes and memories, your best Suzy-stories, in the comments below.

In the Garden – “It Is What It Is!” comic by Todd Balthazor

About the artist: Todd Balthazor is a satirical, often anthropomorphic illustrator, fine artist, muralist and children’s art instructor from St.Paul, MN, with a BFA in illustration from the College of Visual Arts (CVA).  He has done artist residencies at Jackson Elementary and the St. Paul University Club, and his work has been displayed in venues both […]

About the artist: Todd Balthazor is a satirical, often anthropomorphic illustrator, fine artist, muralist and children’s art instructor from St.Paul, MN, with a BFA in illustration from the College of Visual Arts (CVA).  He has done artist residencies at Jackson Elementary and the St. Paul University Club, and his work has been displayed in venues both locally and abroad, including: illustrations in the Altered Esthetics Gallery (Minneapolis), the Walker Art Center blog, and multiple Red Leaf Press publications (St. Paul); visual narratives at the Adugyama Art Exhibition (Ghana, Africa) and the Save the Children Nepal Project (Nepal, India); and murals at an orphanage in Jaurez, Mexico.  Samples of his work can be found at toddbalthazor.com and toddbalthazor.blogspot.com.

Balthazor also works as a guard at the Walker Art Center, and draws on his experiences behind the scenes at the museum in his weekly comic strip for mnartists.org, It Is What It Is.  (Click the image above to enlarge it.)

First Impressions – “It Is What It Is!” comic by Todd Balthazor

About the artist: Todd Balthazor is a satirical, often anthropomorphic illustrator, fine artist, muralist and children’s art instructor from St.Paul, MN, with a BFA in illustration from the College of Visual Arts (CVA).  He has done artist residencies at Jackson Elementary and the St. Paul University Club, and his work has been displayed in venues both […]

About the artist: Todd Balthazor is a satirical, often anthropomorphic illustrator, fine artist, muralist and children’s art instructor from St.Paul, MN, with a BFA in illustration from the College of Visual Arts (CVA).  He has done artist residencies at Jackson Elementary and the St. Paul University Club, and his work has been displayed in venues both locally and abroad, including: illustrations in the Altered Esthetics Gallery (Minneapolis), the Walker Art Center blog, and multiple Red Leaf Press publications (St. Paul); visual narratives at the Adugyama Art Exhibition (Ghana, Africa) and the Save the Children Nepal Project (Nepal, India); and murals at an orphanage in Jaurez, Mexico.  Samples of his work can be found at toddbalthazor.com and toddbalthazor.blogspot.com.

Balthazor also works as a guard at the Walker Art Center, and draws on his experiences behind the scenes at the museum in his weekly comic strip for mnartists.org, It Is What It Is.  (Click the image above to enlarge it.)

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