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Olga Viso’s 2012 Highlights in Twin Cities Culture and Beyond

In 2012, Walker executive director Olga Viso traveled across the state and around the world, from Minneapolis, New York, and Kassel to Gwangju and Beijing. Reflecting here, she shares her highlights from the year that was. The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final performance at the New York Armory, with set designs by Daniel Arsham, launched my […]

In 2012, Walker executive director Olga Viso traveled across the state and around the world, from Minneapolis, New York, and Kassel to Gwangju and Beijing. Reflecting here, she shares her highlights from the year that was.

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The Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s final performance at the New York Armory, with set designs by Daniel Arsham, launched my new year at midnight January 1, 2012. It was an unforgettable night of great dance, poignant emotion, and heartfelt tribute to one of the great choreographers of our time.

Jim Hodges, Untitled (2012)

Jim Hodges, Untitled (2012)

The arrival of Jim Hodges’ boulders on the Walker’s green space commenced the spring season, creating a new destination for visitors atop the Walker’s hill. Hodges will be the subject of a retrospective at the Walker in 2014.


Philip Glass’ surprise solo piano performance in honor of Walker Director Emeritus Martin Friedman at Martin’s tribute organized by New York’s Madison Square Park Foundation. Glass was among an assembly of artists, including Chuck Close, Frank Stella, and Claes Oldenburg, who joined me and Whitney director Adam Weinberg in toasting Martin’s legacy.

Pierre Huyghe, Untitled (2012)

Pierre Huyghe, Untitled (2012)

Pierre Huyghe’s unmonumental outdoor project for dOCUMENTA(13) in Karlsaue Park in Kassel, Germany stands out as one of the most potent public projects in recent memory. Huyghe’s commission embraced the themes of documenta like no other work in this sprawling international survey that happens every five years.

Still from Wim Wenders' Pina (2011)

Still from Wim Wenders’ Pina (2011)

The screening of Wim Wenders’ Pina inaugurated the Walker’s newly renovated Cinema and its new 3-D capabilities, made possible by a major gift from the Bentson Foundation.

Matt Bakkom, Fair Oaks (2012)

Matt Bakkom, Fair Oaks (2012)

Matt Bakkom’s project in which he repurposed benches in the public park across the street from Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Bakkom painted nearly 40 benches, each inspired by the color schemes of original art works from the MIA’s collection. Labels for individual works appear on each bench. Go explore!

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China’s Terracotta Warriors: The Emperor’s Legacy at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts was one of the Twin Cities’ exhibition highlights this season–a beautifully designed exhibition with breathtaking objects and impressive scholarship.

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My visit with Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in his Beijing studio to discuss ongoing work for a potential commission on the Walker campus.

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Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak’s rallying tweet during the world’s first Internet Cat Video Festival (and the Republican National Convention) that welcomed 10,000 people (and some celebrity cats) to the Walker’s Open Field.

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“Lowercase P: Artists & Politics,” a series of interviews published on walkerart.org (edited by Paul Schmelzer) to coincide with the US presidential election cycle of 2012.

Jasper Johns' set elements for Walkaround Time (1968) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Jasper Johns’ set elements for Walkaround Time (1968) at the Philadelphia Museum of Art hover above musicians performing a work by John Cage, December 2, 2012

Jasper John’s set design for Merce Cunningham’s Walkaround Time (1968)–borrowed from the Walker’s collections–serving as the centerpiece of the current exhibition Dancing Around the Bride: Cage, Cunningham, Johns, Rauschenberg and Duchamp at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

rolu for rosemary

During its Open Field residency ROLU staged a reading of James Lee Byars’ 100 questions from The Black Book in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in memory of the Walker’s late librarian Rosemary Furtak and created in collaboration with MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey.

Screengrab from the online interactive timeline for Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

Screengrab from the online interactive timeline for Tokyo 1955–1970: A New Avant-Garde

One of the most memorable and important shows I saw in 2012, Tokyo 1955-1970: A New Avant-Garde at the Museum of Modern Art–curated by Doryun Chong, it opened in November–brings fascinating new research to light. Walker audiences will recognize works by Tetsumi Kudo, Genpei Akasegawa, and artists from Gutai in this show that is a visual feast.

Still from Joshua Oppenheimer's The Act of Killing (2012)

Still from Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Act of Killing (2012)

Joshua Oppenheimer’s unforgettable world premiere of The Act of Killing at the Telluride Film Festival. This film forever re-imagines the form of documentary filmmaking by having the perpetrators of war crimes in Indonesia (now elderly) personally re-enact their stories for the camera.

Signage at the entrance of Andy Ducett's Why we do this. Photo: Flickr user starfive, used under Creative Commons license

Signage at the entrance of Andy Ducett’s Why we do this. Photo: Flickr user starfive, used under Creative Commons license

Andy DuCett’s ambitious “Why we do this” project at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis created an interactive exhibition and stage set for public performance.