Blogs Untitled (Blog) Kristina Fong

I joined the Walker as some sort of intern in 2007 and worked in Education & Community Programs and Public Relations until I ended up in as the Walker's social media manager, delivering you e-mails, Twitter updates, Facebook statuses, answers to your questions, and occasional blogs about things I like. Then I left to go make art in Utah and drive around the country. Now I'm back and producing a little event called the Internet Cat Video Film Festival. #cats

The Hot Date Tour

If you don’t have a Valentine this year, we’re here to help you out so that by this time next year, you won’t have to pay any attention to our ideas. The only requirement for this self-guided tour is that you need to go with another person. That is the entire point of this. By […]

If you don’t have a Valentine this year, we’re here to help you out so that by this time next year, you won’t have to pay any attention to our ideas. The only requirement for this self-guided tour is that you need to go with another person. That is the entire point of this. By the end of this short guide, you will be able to know whether or not you are totally compatible. Ready?

Installation view of Marlene McCarty's Group 8 (Karisoke, The Virungas, Rwanda. September 24, 1967. 4:30pm.)

Group 8 by Marlene McCarty seems like a good place to get started. It’s in John Waters’ Absentee Landlord and it’s both suggestive and strange enough to really start a spark or provoke some discussion. Maybe it’s too early to talk about whether or not you want (gorilla) babies or if you want to keep seeing other people (or primates), but perhaps your date will be provoked by this work to say something one way or the other. Then you’ll know!

Yves Klein, Suaire de Mondo Cane (Mondo Cane Shroud)

Wander over to Yves Klein’s Suaire de Mondo Cane. Does your date suggest that it might be fun to create a piece like this on a future outing? Is your date serious? You will probably have a positive or negative reaction. Hold on to that.

Installation view of the exhibition Frank Gaard: Poison & Candy, 2012

Admire the installation wall of Frank Gaard: Poison & Candy. On the left, there’s a painting called A Map of My Pathetic Career on Panties. We imagine there’s probably something to talk about there.

Why don’t you stop by the Garden Café and grab a drink and a chocolate cheesecake? This might be a nice time to process some of what you’ve seen and find out if you can get along in environments other than a gallery.

Installation view of Yayoi Kusama's Passing Winter

Now this is romantic. Stand close together and peer through the dots of Yayoi Kusama’s sculpture in Midnight Party. Awwwww look! You can see hundreds of reflections of you two together! A sign of things to come? Snap a photo and cherish it. This is where it all began.

Photo: ©2005 Paul Warchol

End the date by heading out to James Turrell’s Sky Pesher, 2005 on the hill behind the Walker. There, you can sit on the benches, cuddle up, and gaze up at the sky, contemplating the extraordinary and contemplating your feelings. As an added bonus, the seats are heated. As a warning, there are security cameras installed.

Well, by now you probably know whether or not you’ll ever want to see each other again. You’re welcome for the help. We accept baked goods and also tips. Happy Valentine’s Day!

From the Archives: Red Grooms’ 1970 Target Store

For one month in 1970, Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium (usually home to extravagant seasonal displays) housed artist Red Grooms’ replica of a Crystal, MN Target store. This installation, simply entitled The Discount Store, was in part just one piece in Figures/Environments, an exhibition organized by the Walker (then anxiously waiting its new home in the […]

For one month in 1970, Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium (usually home to extravagant seasonal displays) housed artist Red Grooms’ replica of a Crystal, MN Target store. This installation, simply entitled The Discount Store, was in part just one piece in Figures/Environments, an exhibition organized by the Walker (then anxiously waiting its new home in the Edward Larrabee Barnes building) and also featuring Duane Hanson, Jann Haworth, Alex Katz, George Segal, Paul Thek, Lynton Wells, and Robert Whitman.

Grooms came of artistic age in the years of Pop Art and found himself as an artist without a home, so to speak, who defied pigeon-holing. He worked in painting, film (with Kuchar), performances, happenings (with Kaprow), and what Grooms called “sculpto-pictoramas”, constructed walk-through installations such as The Discount Store and his even larger depictions of Chicago and Manhattan.

The Target store installation consisted of hundreds of cardboard products–brooms, vacuum cleaners, sponges, guns (because they sold them back then), and other Target products, rendered in a signature Red Grooms style, all exaggerated cartoonish features and disproportionate proportions. The customers in The Discount Store, constructed from wood, were inspired by people Grooms observed in the Crystal store, like a girl selling donuts (the wooden version being 10 feet tall), and a group of women overheard saying they’d come 100 miles to buy an iron. His vision held together the installation as he brought in dozens of helpers to complete his Minneapolis piece and help paint all the elements.


The Discount Store installed in Dayton’s 8th floor auditorium; Grooms: Drawing for the installation

What warmed me to this piece is that while it is clearly an observation on abundance and consumption in 1970 (and oh, we only need to look back at last week’s Black Friday to see how “far” we’ve come), coaxing the audience to recognize themselves in those wooden caricatures, Grooms approached this subject with a reverence, even while calling the idea of the discount store “very ugly.” “I love unreal things,” he once said, and didn’t mind being compared to Walt Disney, the master of unreal things. The massive parking lots intrigued him, he “fantasized” about their “sizes and shapes” but was disappointed by the real things. (As a personal note, I’ve also had a fascination for the layouts of parking lots since I was a kid, so this tidbit of information made me pretty happy.)


Installation crew (Red Grooms and wife Mimi Gross in the tire) Photo: Eric Sutherland

But the fascination was laced with disgust–Grooms looked forward to the nostalgia, that one day (which we are still waiting for) when “all those plastic toys will have great nostalgic value. Like guns out there. They have to be made illegal sometime so they’ll be nostalgic later.”

We’ll be showing a film from the collection all about The Discount Store during Saturday’s free open house, Wall-to-Wall Walker (the event being the impetus for my Google searching and archives browsing). It’s screening in the Cinema from 10:30 am-2 pm.

Video: Baby Marx at Occupy Wall Street

This is the latest video from Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ Walker exhibition Baby Marx, which explores the intersections between ideology, entertainment and contemporary art. A couple of weeks ago, Karl Marx and Adam Smith took a field trip to New York City to visit the Occupy Wall Street protest in Liberty Plaza–separately, and with different […]

This is the latest video from Mexican artist Pedro Reyes’ Walker exhibition Baby Marx, which explores the intersections between ideology, entertainment and contemporary art.

A couple of weeks ago, Karl Marx and Adam Smith took a field trip to New York City to visit the Occupy Wall Street protest in Liberty Plaza–separately, and with different views on the issues at hand. Marx sees in the current economic crisis the same self-destruction of capitalism that he predicted 200 years ago, and in this an opportunity to revive socialism. Smith, however, sees a different opportunity.

Inside the precarious tents the resistance goes on, in a place that the privileged few have fled in a golden parachute…

Baby Marx at Occupy Wall Street from Pedro Reyes on Vimeo.

New “Baby Marx” Scenes: Marx and Smith Breakup pts. 1 & 2

Here are the latest scenes from Pedro Reyes’ ongoing project, Baby Marx. Shot at the Walker in August, the episodes have just been released. In these scenes, the action takes a melodramatic turn as Karl Marx and Adam Smith have a falling out over the “green” movement and Smith’s penchant for consumerism. Hearts heavy, the […]

Here are the latest scenes from Pedro Reyes’ ongoing project, Baby Marx. Shot at the Walker in August, the episodes have just been released. In these scenes, the action takes a melodramatic turn as Karl Marx and Adam Smith have a falling out over the “green” movement and Smith’s penchant for consumerism. Hearts heavy, the two wander separately around the Walker, lamenting the breakup and meeting the likes of Che Guevara, Friederich Engels, Frederick Taylor, and John Maynard Keynes.

Check back tomorrow for scenes from the duo’s trip to Occupy Wall Street in New York.

Marx and Smith Breakup pt. I from Pedro Reyes on Vimeo.

Marx And Smith Breakup pt. 2 from Pedro Reyes on Vimeo.

Baby Marx Scenes 1 & 2: Karl Marx and Adam Smith critique Warhol, fight over a cookie

These are the first two scenes from the latest stage of Pedro Reyes’ Baby Marx. The founders of communism and capitalism, Karl Marx and Adam Smith, have been brought to the future by way of a glitch-prone Smart-O-Wave magic microwave oven. Here, they explore the Walker Art Center galleries and café while the exhibition in […]

These are the first two scenes from the latest stage of Pedro Reyes’ Baby Marx. The founders of communism and capitalism, Karl Marx and Adam Smith, have been brought to the future by way of a glitch-prone Smart-O-Wave magic microwave oven. Here, they explore the Walker Art Center galleries and café while the exhibition in which they feature is being installed. Expect more scenes in the upcoming weeks!

#IMD2011: Museum, Memory, and “Goshka Macuga: It Broke From Within”

Goshka Macuga Lost Forty, 2011 (detail) tapestry 48’ 5” x 14’ We’re feeling the love. There are two reasons to celebrate today: It’s both the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Art Museum Day and the International Council of Museum’s International Museum Day. (And yesterday was all about sharing your favorite Museum Memories via #MusMem on […]


Goshka Macuga
Lost Forty, 2011 (detail)
tapestry
48’ 5” x 14’

We’re feeling the love. There are two reasons to celebrate today: It’s both the Association of Art Museum Directors’ Art Museum Day and the International Council of Museum’s International Museum Day. (And yesterday was all about sharing your favorite Museum Memories via #MusMem on Twitter.)

The theme of International Museum Day this year is Museum and Memory: Objects Tell Your Story. What could be a more perfect tie-in than our current exhibition, Goshka Macuga: It Broke From Within? The theme of the exhibition was born out of Macuga’s research into the Walker’s history and the lumber business of its founder, T. B. Walker. It features many objects from the Walker’s archives—including works by Carl Andre, Joseph Beuys, Marcl Duchamp, and Sherrie Levine— and sets them against a wall-sized tapestry with individuals and artifacts from her research woven into the design.

So today I wanted to share a feature from the May/June issue of the Walker magazine, which talks about each figure in the tapestry and their connection to the Walker’s story.


Installation view of Goshka Macuga: It Broke From Within, 2011
Walker Art Center
Photo: Gene Pittman

Contract with the Community

Walker artist-in-residence Goshka Macuga has received international attention for her use of institutional histories as a staging ground for inventive and ambitious proposals. In two trips to Minnesota in 2010, the London-based Polish artist developed an exhibition using vignettes from the Walker’s long history to explore the changing status of the art object, the nature of democracy, and the role of art in society. The centerpiece of the exhibition Goshka Macuga: It Broke from Within is a monumental tapestry of sun-dappled white pines in which the artist has collaged individuals related to her research. Many of the characters she brought to the scene are specifically related to the institution’s past, but hopefully hint at the more complex history of the United States at large and the ever evolving nature of the Walker’s contract with its community.

The Forest

The tapestry depicts the Lost Forty, an old-growth tract of land in the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota that miraculously survived logging due to a surveyor’s error in 1882. “This section of the woods is a symbol of survival and heritage,” says Goshka Macuga, “albeit one colored by the irony of having endured a larger nationalist mythology of survival that expressed itself through the destruction of the landscape.”

Left to right on the tapestry:

T. B. Walker

Thomas Barlow Walker, the institution’s founder and legendary lumber baron, stands in the foreground, hand resting on the Lost Forty sign. The original Walker Art Gallery opened in 1927, and Walker passed away just a year later, after which it was run for a time by the Walker family foundation.

9 Artists/9 Spaces

The Foshay Tower in the background was sourced from the same image used in William Wegman’s What Goes Up Must Come Down, a 1970 billboard painting of the tower lying on its side, part of the controversial 1970 public art exhibition 9 Artists/9 Spaces. The billboard, situated on the University of Minnesota campus, was removed soon after it was installed  because residents believed it to be a bomb threat.

Martin Friedman

The former Walker director appears with artist Marcel Duchamp—a foundational figure in 20th-century art—sipping cocktails at a reception for his 1965 exhibition Not Seen and/or Less Seen of/by Marcel Duchamp/Rrose Sélavy.

Institutional Architects

Edward Larrabee Barnes, architect of the 1971 Walker Art Center building, stands to the left of Jacques Herzog and former Walker director Kathy Halbreich. The Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron designed the Walker’s 2005 expansion, a project initiated and steered by Halbreich during her tenure. To their right is current Walker executive director Olga Viso.

Joseph Beuys

The German artist is pictured at his 1974 press conference at Dayton’s Gallery 12, an exhibition space in the downtown Minneapolis department store. Beuys sits on a log with a glass of milk beside a Tea Party demonstrator whom Macuga photographed while visiting a Tax Day demonstration at the State Capitol in St. Paul. On his first US trip, Beuys outlined his belief that art provided the only effective means to a just politics.

7000 Oaks Minnesota

Two children from Leech Lake Reservation plant a tree as part of the 1997 Walker-commissioned project 7000 Oaks Minnesota, originated by independent curator Todd Bockley and inspired by Beuys’ “social sculpture,” which proposed that art should be liberated from the art world. In 1982, as part of a major exhibition in Europe, Beuys committed to planting 7,000 trees in the city of Kassel, Germany, vowing, “We shall never stop planting.”

Daniel Defenbacher

Daniel Defenbacher became the first Walker Art Center director in 1940 when the Depression-era Work Projects Administration (WPA) joined with the Walker family foundation to revitalize and reimagine the Walker Art Gallery as a community center employing local artists and offering classes in art and dance as well as performances and exhibitions.

Goshka Macuga

The artist is pictured taking a photograph during her visit to the Lost Forty in the fall of 2010. She was accompanied by Walker staff photographer Cameron Wittig, who captured multiple shots of a series of scenes chosen by the artist. Later the images were combined via computer, re-creating five vistas from which Macuga selected the version reproduced in the tapestry for the exhibition.

Tom Pripish and Uncle Sam

Bookending the tapestry is US soldier Tom Pripish, photographed on his way home from the Vietnam War, and an “Uncle Sam” look-alike associated with German art historian Aby Warburg’s first trip to America in the late 19th century, which included visits withvarious Native American tribes. “I am using Uncle Sam and the Vietnam vet as symbolic figures rather than specific things,” says Macuga.

#YvesKlein: Texts from ’20 Days of Klein’ on Twitter

For the 20 days leading up to the opening of Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the staff decided to try an experiment in the realm of the internet, specifically through Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. Their goal was to introduce different aspects of Klein’s prolific career and […]

For the 20 days leading up to the opening of Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the staff decided to try an experiment in the realm of the internet, specifically through Flickr, Facebook, and Twitter. Their goal was to introduce different aspects of Klein’s prolific career and illustrate the range of his projects and the scope of what would be presented in the exhibition itself. They presented photos, video, audio, and written texts that let Klein himself explain his goals, process, artworks, and projects to the audience.

They have handed these carefully curated resources over to us to present during the run of our presentation of the exhibition, and specifically, during the run of École de Klein, a series of lectures, gallery talks, art labs, film screenings, and experimental moments which explore the spectrum of Klein’s curiosities, life, and work.

You can check out what we’ve posted so far by visiting the École de Klein set on the Walker’s Flickr page. You can receive further updates by following us on Twitter.

We’ll be posting all the lengthy written content on this blog post: texts, transcripts, etc. Updates will continue as “20 Days of Klein” goes on.

Radlodiffusion—Télévision Française: transcript of interview
A letter to President Eisenhower
A letter to the President of the International Conference for the Detection of Nuclear Explosions
A letter to the Secretary General of the International Geophysical Year
Yves Klein presents: Dimanche, 27 November 1960. The Newspaper of a Single Day.
Paris—New York: what does it mean today?

(more…)