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Then & Now: Further Reading

As we roll into the third week of our dedicated online feature on art, love and politics in the Twin Cities in the 1980s, here are a couple of suggested readings your delectation: Joanna Inglot interviewed by Jennie Klein on the history of WARM Selective Recall: Twin Cities Art History (ARP! Issue #2, Fall 2007) […]

The Complex of National Identity at the 54th Biennale di Venezia

Of the Venice Biennale exhibitions I have attended throughout my years as a museum professional, the most recent installment fell especially flat. This was true of the main exhibition ILLUMInazioni, organized by veteran Swiss curator Bice Curiger, and the myriad national pavilions curated independently by participating countries and located in the Giardini and many off-site […]

Of the Venice Biennale exhibitions I have attended throughout my years as a museum professional, the most recent installment fell especially flat. This was true of the main exhibition ILLUMInazioni, organized by veteran Swiss curator Bice Curiger, and the myriad national pavilions curated independently by participating countries and located in the Giardini and many off-site venues throughout Venice.

Philippe Parreno’s slight and almost pathetic marquee of lights over the entrance to ILLUMInazioni seems to announce it all: a Biennale in malaise, full of deflated artistic gestures and impotency. The sense of “artistic stultification” — to appropriate language used in the Biennale’s exhibition guide to describe Maurizio Cattelan’s hundreds of taxidermy pigeons that line the ceiling and rafters of the Arsenale — was pervasive.

That said, Cattelan’s installation is one of the few highlights, along with other familiar works by many established artists, including Urs Fischer, Sigmar Polke, Rosemarie Trockel, Monica Bonvincini, and Christian Marclay. Marclay presented The Clock, the 24-hour epic film work that follows the appearance of time in thousands of sampled films, each clip corresponding to the real time of the audience viewing it. The work recently commanded lines around the block when it was exhibited in New York and London. In Venice, a visitor can sit comfortably on couches and be lost for hours uninterrupted in the orchestrated cacophony of Marclay’s edit. I was especially fortunate to arrive at precisely high noon.

Installation view of Maurizio Cattelan's "The Others"

On the journey home, I found myself continuing to contemplate the 2011 Biennale with curiosity and intrigue. Was my overall impression a generational one? Did my memory of past biennales that had more impact reflect a sense of nostalgia not relevant to the current moment? Still,what stood out for me were not those few signature works in the main exhibition but rather the general impression derived from my tour of the national pavilions, especially those situated in the Giardini. There I found successive examples of artists who reflected in their entries a decided ambivalence—even dismay—about what it means to represent one’s country in such a highly visible international arena.

This ambivalence displayed itself in a variety of ways, including anger, frustration, and an abiding sense of powerlessness, as well as marked restraint. In the Romanian Pavilion, a collective of intergenerational artists spray-painted statements of protest along the interior walls of the pavilion, and on the exterior scrawled lists of reasons for or against participating in the biennale, ranging from the grandiosely political (“Venice Biennale Is A Choking-On-Money Mercantilist Fossil”) to the banal and personal (“We Have Nothing to Wear To The Opening”). The Egyptian Pavilion commemorates the new media artist Ahmed Basiouny, considered a martyr of the revolution in Egypt as he was killed while demonstrating against the Mubarak  regime on January 28. The pavilion shows documentation of Basiouny’s 30 Days of Running in the Place, which the artist made in 2010, before anyone could have anticipated the revolution. He measured the sweat he produced while running on the spot and transformed that information into code visually represented on large screens — a kind of a metaphor for the power of motion and digital forces to activate movement and change. This footage is combined with video the artist himself shot of the early days of demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and elsewhere.

The national pavilions that I saw which best present artists who successfully navigated the complex terrain of the representation of nationhood are the U.S. and Poland. Both countries include new works by artists familiar to Walker audiences, including Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, who represent the U.S. with a series of performative installations titled Gloria, and Yael Bartana, an Israeli/Dutch artist who represents Poland with a trilogy of films made between 2007 and 2011 titled …and Europe will be Stunned. At the Walker, Allora’s and Calzadilla’s was a part of the 2003 exhibition How Latitudes Become Forms: Art in a Global Age (curated by Philippe Vergne with Douglas Fogle and Olukemi Ilesanmi), and the following year they undertook a micro-broadcasting project, Radio Revolt: One Person, One Watt; Yael Bartana was one of 16 artists included in 2007’s Brave New Worlds (another global survey curated by Doryun Chong and Yasmil Raymond).

The 60-ton overturned military tank of Allora and Calzadilla’s Track and Field is positioned dramaticallyin front of of the U.S. pavilion building. The sculpture is outfitted with a functional treadmill that a U.S. athlete periodically runs on, activating the tank’s treads and resulting in a clanging and screeching that dominates – superpower like — the Giardini. The strategy of ironic juxtaposition—between military prowess, money, and athleticism—carries through other works in Gloria. Among the most poignant is Half Mast/Full Mast, a video installation which captures well the Biennale’s mood of quiet disdain and resounding ambivalence about the political realities and policies impacting our world.

The boldest entry by far is Yael Bartana’s three-screen film installation. Her controversial entry marks the first time a non-Polish national has represented the country. Tackling the complex subject of Jewish identity in the post-World War II Europe and Poland, Bartana (of Polish descent and the grandchild of Holocaust victims) creates a disturbing filmic narrative that traces the rise and fall of the fictitious leader of the Jewish Resistance Movement in Poland, a political group that calls for the return of 3.3 million Jews to the land of its forefathers. Appropriating the symbols and rhetoric of different forms of national and political extremism, Bartana draws parallels between aspects of Zionist and Third Reich propaganda  and alludes to current tensions in the West Bank and throughout the Middle East.

These entries bring the complex structure of national representation at the Venice Biennale squarely into question. While the declaration of nationhood may have made sense at the inception of the Biennale di Venezia over 100 years ago, are such distinctions necessary, productive, or even relevant to artists now? Bice Curiger’s impulse to create “Para-Pavilions” — that is, temporary pavilions throughout the main exhibition, which were designed by artists to host the works of other artists of varying national origins and practice — provides an intriguing alternative to the tradition of national pavilions. It is my hope that in the future a new model such as this will be further developed to keep this massive international survey relevant as a barometer of the complex times in which we live, and artists’ responses to an aggressively dynamic world.

The Stories of Strangers: Alec Soth’s “From Here to There” Flickr Project: Assignment 2

With two weeks down, participants in Alec Soth’s Flickr project have been asked to be brave, curious souls and venture out into the world to tell a short story through pictures. As a way of generating the story, Soth asked participants to first find and photograph a stranger, then “Ask the stranger to show you […]

With two weeks down, participants in Alec Soth’s Flickr project have been asked to be brave, curious souls and venture out into the world to tell a short story through pictures. As a way of generating the story, Soth asked participants to first find and photograph a stranger, then “Ask the stranger to show you something (their house, their car, their cat, their body, etc).”

From there … well, things could go in any number of directions, as evidenced by this early entry from Benjamin Borley (bart1eby) , whose story presented here eventually explored his views on graffiti.

“I was wondering whether I was going to be brave enough for this one when chance threw an opportunity my way.”

Benjamin Borley, "I"

“On the way into town I was stopped by a woman with beautiful blue eyes.”

Benjamin Borley, "II"

“I’m a spastic,” she said, “I’m allowed to call myself that.”

Benjamin Borley, "III"

“She asked me to read the graffiti for her because her eyes weren’t too good.”

Benjamin Borley, "IV"

“I’m not sure,” I said.”

Benjamin Borley, "V"

 “But I think the middle word is love.”

Benjamin Borley, "VI"

 “She didn’t like that and told us about a graffiti wall that the council had set up.”

Benjamin Borley, "VII"

 She much preferred the graffiti there.

Benjamin Borley, "VIII"

 “For the rest of the day I was more aware of the graffiti.”

Benjamin Borley, "IX"

“I wondered whether it was art.”

Benjamin Borley, "X"

“or vandalism.”

Benjamin Borley, "XI"

 “and whether I preferred it on the walls of the city.”

Benjamin Borley, "XII"

“or on the walls of shops.”

Benjamin Borley, XIII

 “and on greeting cards…”

See how other photographers’ stories are coming along here — or join in the project yourself.

Alec Soth’s “From Here to There” Flickr project: Assignment 2

After commenting on images and selecting a winning photographer for Assignment 1 – The Treasure Hunt,  Alec Soth has announced his next assignment, open to all at Flickr.com: “In the 1st Flickr assignment, I often found myself responding to the story behind the picture. I was particularly taken with Hannah’s (gofeego) stories of her travels. […]

After commenting on images and selecting a winning photographer for Assignment 1 – The Treasure Hunt,  Alec Soth has announced his next assignment, open to all at Flickr.com:

“In the 1st Flickr assignment, I often found myself responding to the story behind the picture. I was particularly taken with Hannah’s (gofeego) stories of her travels. And the winner of the 1st assignment, Etienne Courtois, provided wonderfully cryptic back stories for his images.

So for assignment #2, I want participants to tell a short story. But to get the story going, I’ve added the following steps:

1) Find and photograph a stranger
2) Ask the stranger to show you something (their house, their car, their cat, their body, etc).
3) Based on what they show you, make another picture, or series of pictures.

For example, photograph a man you meet you meet on the side of the road. Ask the man if he has any hobbies. If he tells you he builds model airplanes, go to his house and photograph his airplanes. Then go to a model airplane club.

The only rule is that all images should be new. The deadline for posting is October 25th. Post all of your images together in a set marked ‘From Here To There: Assignment #2.’  Add text captions to the images when necessary. Winners will be chosen by November 1st.”

To join in, go to the “From Here to There” Flickr page.

Alec Soth’s Flickr pool party: comments (& winner) for Assignment 1

  Not one to do things halfway, when Alec Soth decided to do a Flickr photo project with the public in conjunction with his survey show here, he actually expanded the idea into multiple “assignments.” Earlier this week, 732 participants finished up Assignment #1 (“The Treasure Hunt”), uploading 1,275 images and generating some great discussions […]

 

Not one to do things halfway, when Alec Soth decided to do a Flickr photo project with the public in conjunction with his survey show here, he actually expanded the idea into multiple “assignments.” Earlier this week, 732 participants finished up Assignment #1 (“The Treasure Hunt”), uploading 1,275 images and generating some great discussions on photography in the process.

Here’s Soth’s take on The Treasure Hunt:

“I’ve just looked at the 1000+ entries to the 1st Flickr assignment and I’m blown away by the results. The assignment was to photograph from a number of categories. Here were some favorite individual images:

Pilot:
pilot

Amateur Painting:
.

Unusually Tall People:
...

Museum Guards:

Sleeping Children:
trampoline

Neighborhood Bars:
Bartender, Hattiesburg MS

Supermarket Cashiers

Sheep:

Sedans:
sedan2

Suitcases:

All of this is, of course, just personal taste.  I doubt everyone loves that suitcase picture (by Erik Neufurth), for example. But I’m a sucker for this kind of dumb immediacy. It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite photographers, Lars Tunbjork. And I’m a big fan of Erik’s entire approach to the project. He decided to take just a single picture of each item without going further than 10 kilometers from his bed. I love these kinds of limitations. In the end, Erik produced a number of my favorite pictures. See the whole set here.

I would like Erik’s pictures without knowing about his strategy, but sometimes the story behind the series does add a lot. A great example of this is Hannah (gofeetgo). Hannah produced a number of excellent images, but I was equally inspired by her writing. Through the course of her From Here To There project, we follow Hannah from Taiwan to a road trip around America. Along the way she wrote poignantly about this project:

Before we moved to Taiwan, my husband photographed his job for ten years. He was a paramedic in a rural North Florida county. His everyday process has always been very lyric, using his cell phone and pocket camera more like a notebook, uploading to flickr frequently, and just charging ahead through ideas. The initial transition to Taiwan, and now back to the states had him a little lost for a way to a “real” story, it had left him something unsatisfied about his pictures.

I showed him your blog post about your business card and Frank’s quote. Then I told him last night to write a list. And he did. This morning he read it to me. It’s beautiful. Here’s just a few of my favorites: drug company giveaways, re-purposed chain store, “someday this car will rise again”, sensible haircuts…

Anyway, it hit us that we’ve been listing all along, but in our heads. There’s a mental list of collected observations that come to shape what and how we see a place, but damned if we always get a picture of them. The list makes you do it. Perhaps, photography-wise this process can make having no bearings more bearable.

So what is the list in your head?

The list I provided was my own, but it was also over ten years old. My list of current interests are quite a bit different. Nonetheless, I loved the different approaches people took. It was almost impossible coming up with favorite set. Check out these excellent submissions by Lost in St. Leonards, Jen Trail, Tony Huang. My runner up was Andie Wilkinson. As shown above, her ‘pilot’ and ‘sleeping child’ pictures were two of my favorites. And all of Andie’s images have a kind of dark lyricism.

But I have to give the prize to Etienne Courtois. Not all of the pictures are related to the list, but all were made during the journey to complete the project. And his images manage to both have a story but also remain mysterious:

It is true that Etienne broke a lot of rules. His sleeping child is wide awake. But art isn’t math. There is always room to play.

So congrats to Etienne and everyone else who participated in the 1st assignment. Stay tuned for assignment #2.”

A New Purpose for Old Crates

As a museum registrar, I subscribe to the Packing, Art handling & Crating Information Network (PACIN). The forum is a great way for art handlers to receive information and pose questions about the many conundrums we encounter in our line of work. Following up on a recent conversation on the PACIN listserve about what to […]

As a museum registrar, I subscribe to the Packing, Art handling & Crating Information Network (PACIN). The forum is a great way for art handlers to receive information and pose questions about the many conundrums we encounter in our line of work.

Following up on a recent conversation on the PACIN listserve about what to do with old crates, the artist collective Red 76 has temporarily landed its Anywhere, Anyplace Academy in the Open Field, and they have salvaged our old crates for a higher purpose. This is only the beginning of what they’re building with local collaborators (anyone’s welcome), so check in for more updates!

A purpose for old crates: in progress

A purpose for old crates: in progress

Reviewing our Reviews: “Has the Walker Art Center Discovered … Fun?”

So asks Tad Simons on Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s “Morning After” blog. While we would of course heartily affirm that notion – we love the f-word! – we also wonder why Mr. Simons believes the Walker was previously a no-fun zone. (Read his blog yourself for his take on that.) Suffice it to say that we are […]

So asks Tad Simons on Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s “Morning After” blog. While we would of course heartily affirm that notion – we love the f-word! – we also wonder why Mr. Simons believes the Walker was previously a no-fun zone. (Read his blog yourself for his take on that.) Suffice it to say that we are delighted by his delight.

va2009art1028dg_001Simons began his tour of the galleries with the retrospective of work from “prolific prankster” Dan Graham (shown here during the installation), noting how the artist says he was inspired by a Beyoncé poster to name his show Dan Graham: Beyond. “From this one can deduce that either Graham doesn’t care about looking cool, or he’s so cool it doesn’t matter.” (Both are probably true.)

Matt Olson, a co-founder of the ROLU design studio in Minneapolis (see their fine blog here), also loved this exhibition, and while he didn’t openly use the f-word in his review, he came darn close:

“as I found myself being drawn into heavy philosophical questions about perception and analysis, I kept thinking about kids and how they react to these pieces. Children don’t think about these things, they experience these things, they participate, they experiment… and I encourage you to do the same thing.”

Indeed! You can do just that– experience, participate, experiment, all for free – at this Saturday’s Wall-to-Wall Walker open house.

There you will discover that “whole new levels of weird are also being explored,” as Simons puts it, in Event Horizon, an exhibition that he declares is “the boldest, most refreshing thing the Walker has done with its permanent collection in a long time.” The other new exhibition of works from the Walker collection, Benches & Binoculars, is “a fabulously overwhelming extravaganza of art, made all the more tantalizing because the Walker never does this kind of thing.”

ex2009bb_promo_015Moving on (Simons is starting to make us blush), Star Tribune critic Mary Abbe also seemed to have fun with Benches & Binoculars. Homing in on a 1968 abstract work by Frank Stella and a 1978 figurative piece by Jim Dine, she observed: “The paintings don’t exactly glare at one another across the gallery, but the conceptual smack-down is obvious.”

Meanwhile, Jay Gabler noted in the Daily Planet that this cheek-by-jowl, salon-style painting installation “isn’t just novel, it’s tremendously illuminating. Not only do eras and artists get to intermingle, abstract art isn’t segregated from figurative art. In the windowless gallery, the eclectic warmth of the display feels like a giant hug by artists who typically are presented as ice cold.”

A giant hug from artists. Could it get more friendly—and, dare we way, fun—than that?

he got the idea for the exhibit’s name from a Beyoncé poster—which is like saying you decided to go deer hunting because you like the way Sarah Palin holds a rifle. From this one can deduce that either Graham doesn’t care about looking cool, or he’s so cool it doesn’t matter.

Bits & Pieces

Reports on the burning of Hélio Oiticica’s work have been somewhat exaggerated: The artist’s work is not a quite a near-total loss. Stories a couple of days ago cited that “90%” of the work made by Oiticica, a major figure of the Brazilian avante garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s, had been destroyed […]

Reports on the burning of Hélio Oiticica’s work have been somewhat exaggerated: The artist’s work is not a quite a near-total loss. Stories a couple of days ago cited that “90%” of the work made by Oiticica, a major figure of the Brazilian avante garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s, had been destroyed in a fire at the home of Oiticica’s brother César in Rio de Janeiro. Now César and others been able to look more closely at the damage, reporting that a number of works were spared and for others, restoration is possible. No word yet on how such devastation could occur — reportedly the storage spaces had humidity control, sprinklers, and fire alarms — but no doubt more is yet to come with this story. In related and bittersweet news, Oiticica’s CC5 Hendrixwar Cosmococa, acquired by the Walker in 2007, goes on view here on February 27, 2010.

chuck close

"Big Self-Portrait," Chuck Close, collection Walker Art Center

The man who brought us (Chuck) Close: A recent story in the Akron Beacon Journal delves into the history of Linda, a Chuck Close portrait that’s considered a key piece in the collection of the Akron Art Museum. Turns out that Rosenkrantz’s husband, Christopher Finch, is not only a former associate curator at the Walker, but according to the Beacon Journal story, Finch is responsible for Close’s Big-Self Portait becoming a key piece in the Walker’s collection: “in 1968 [he] had persuaded the museum to buy a Close, which, as it happened, was the first Close to go into a public collection.”

Take the “Collector Challenge”: This nifty game at PBS.org tests your eye based around the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel—the librarian and postal worker who became renowned for amassing a hugely important collection, mostly of conceptual and minimalist works. Now they’ve dispersed that collection to 50 museums in 50 states; the Vogels selected the Weisman Art Museum in Minnesota. To Have it About You: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection opens there this Friday.; you might also want to check out the documentary film Herb and Dorothy.

Miroslaw-Balks-How-It-Is-001

Photograph: David Levene, via The Guardian UK

“It embraces you with a velvet chill”: So says the Guardian about How It Is, Miroslaw Balka’s new installation in the Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall, which is basically a gigantic, raised steel box that visitors can walk under—or inside (see video here). The latter choice means you get swallowed by darkness — unless giggling youths illuminate the interior with their cell-phone cameras. Is that the equivalent of ignorant theater-goers interrupting a performance when their cell phones ring?

Remembering visual arts curator Robert Murdoch: Back in 1965, he was the Walker’s first curatorial intern to serve in a program supported by the Ford Foundation, and he returned here from 1983 to 1985 as chief curator. In the ‘70s, as the first curator of contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Murdock organized the first solo museum show for Richard Tuttle. Read more in the New York Times’ obituary, and in this Star Tribune piece. Annie Murdock, Robert’s daughter, wrote to us to note that his family has made arrangements for donations in his memory to be made to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. “This is the first time that the foundation has done anything like this,” she said, “and we hope it will result in building a fund for Emerging Artists in Robert’s memory.”

1. Reports on the burning of Helio Oiticica’s work have been exaggerated (but, sadly, only a little): Stories http://greg.org/archive/2009/10/18/fire_destroys_90_of_helio_oiticicas_work.html a couple of days ago cited that “90%” of the work made by Oiticica, a major figure of the Brazilian avante garde in the late 1960s and early 1970s, had been destroyed in a fire at the home of Oiticica’s brother in Rio de Janeiro. Now Cesar and others been able to look more closely at the damage, reporting that a number of works were spared and for others, restoration is possible. (Greg.org) <http://www.artinfo.com/news/story/32990/fire-destroys-brazilian-artist-helio-oiticicas-works/>

Related and bittersweet news: Oiticica’s CC5 Hendrixwar Cosmococa goes on view here at the Walker on February 27.


2. The man who brought us (Chuck) Close: http://www.ohio.com/news/63970597.html — A recent story in the Akron Beacon Journal delves into the history of Linda, by Chuck Close – which, as Big Self-Portrait is to the Walker, is considered a key piece in the collection of the Akron Art Museum. Turns out that Rosenkrantz’s husband, Christopher Finch, is not only a former associate curator at the Walker, but according to the Beacon Journal story, “in 1968 had persuaded the museum [the Walker, that is] to buy a Close, which, as it happened, was the first Close to go into a public collection.”

3. Take the “Collector Challenge” – this nifty game at PBS.org tests your eye based around the collection of Dorothy and Herbert Vogel—the librarian and postal worker who became renowned for amassing a hugely important collection, mostly of conceptual and minimalist works. Now they’ve dispersed that collection to 50 museums in 50 states; in Minnesota, the Weisman Art Museum was the lucky recipient. To Have it About You opens there this Friday. – link to show at Weisman—http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/herb-and-dorothy/collector-challenge.html

4. It embraces you with a velvet chill”: so says the Guardian about Miroslaw Balka’s How It Is, a gigantic, raised steel box in the Tate Modern’s cavernous Turbine Hall that visitors can walk under—or inside. The latter choice basically means you get swallowed by darkness, a perhaps welcome sensation as Halloween approaches. See The Guardian’s video here. http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/video/2009/oct/12/miroslaw-balka-tate-modern (Closer to home, for Minnesotans at least, is the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement.)



5. Remembering visual arts curator Robert Murdoch: Back in 1965, he was the first curatorial intern to serve in a program supported by the Ford Foundation, and he returned here from 1983 to 1985 as chief curator. In the ‘70s, as the first curator of contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, Murdock organized the first solo museum show for Richard Tuttle. Read more in the New York Times’ obituary, and in this Star Tribune piece < http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/64461777.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU>. Annie Murdock, Robert’s daughter, wrote to us to note that his family has made arrangements for donations in his memory to be made to the Pollock-Krasner Foundation < http://www.pkf.org/ >. “This is the first time that the foundation has done anything like this,” she said, “and we hope it will result in building a fund for Emerging Artists in Robert’s memory.”

Your 10-minute guide to Dan Graham at the Walker

Galleries 4, 5, and 6 are getting prepped for the arrival of work from Dan Graham: Beyond, which closed on Sunday at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The Los Angeles Times called this retrospective “witty, surprising, smart and engaging” (the show originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art there), and Art […]

va2006po_graham_0106_001

Artist's portrait by Cameron Wittig

Galleries 4, 5, and 6 are getting prepped for the arrival of work from Dan Graham: Beyond, which closed on Sunday at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The Los Angeles Times called this retrospective “witty, surprising, smart and engaging” (the show originated at the Museum of Contemporary Art there), and Art in America noted that it “perhaps says as much about popular culture of the last 40 years as about Graham himself.”

Peter Eleey, who is organizing the Walker’s presentation of this show, has noted a pretty consistent binary quality that runs through Graham’s otherwise incredibly diverse body of work: It’s in the low/high, inside/outside take on the ways in which Graham views culture, and in the ways viewers see Graham’s work (and often in how the work itself is configured); in the artist’s ideas about both the production and the consumption of culture; and in the various combinations of transparency and reflection that form the crux of many of his projects.

This oppositional way of reading his work, coupled with its lack of a signature “style,” can combine to make Graham’s art seem elusive. But once you tap into the frequency on which he’s operating, the artist’s vision really does cohere. In fact, that consistent vision, coupled with a restless curiosity—thus the “beyond” of the exhibition title—is what led the Walker to follow Graham’s career and collect his work for decades, acquiring its first piece by the artist in 1978.

That means there’s a fair amount of material on our websites about this artist—a convenient source for background on Graham before the retrospective opens on October 31. You might start with this profile of Graham, plus a selection of his works from the Walker collection. The biography is taken from the catalog for Let’s Entertain—a Walker exhibition curated in 2000 by former chief curator Philippe Vergne that featured one of Graham’s pavilions, New Space for Showing Videos (shown here), which offers bean bag chairs and the prospect of watching videos of other people watching videos in the same pavilion. That piece will also be on view in Dan Graham: Beyond. (Graham’s work has also been included several other Walker-organized exhibitions: American Tableaux, Artists’ Books, The Last Picture Show: Artists Using Photography, 1960-1982, and Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes.)

“New Space for Showing Videos,” installed at the Walker's 2000 exhibition, "Let's Entertain"

“New Space for Showing Videos,” installed at the Walker's 200 exhibition, "Let's Entertain"

See also:

Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30 — Six years after his work appeared in Let’s Entertain, the Walker co-commissioned and presented this splashier Graham spectacle: a rock opera performed by puppets. Since collaboration was at the heart of Don’t Trust Anyone, Graham participated in a discussion (if you’ve got more than 10 minutes, there’s a 45-minute video here) with several other artists who worked on the piece, including Phillip Huber, who created its puppets (and those for another notorious work, Spike Jonze’s film Being John Malkovich), and members of the punk duo Japanther (who return to play at the opening-day talk with Graham on October 31).

Two-way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth — this Walker-commissioned pavilion is on permanent display in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and is probably second only to Spoonbridge and Cherry in terms of popularity.

The annual Student Open House on October 29 — includes this year a preview of Dan Graham: Beyond, and should be a spectacle of its own sort, as it’s inspired by Graham’s passion for rock and punk (see Japanther, above).

Get a closer look at other Graham works in the Walker collection on ArtsConnectEd.org, including his groundbreaking Homes for America project from the 60s. And on mnartists.org, you can get a hint of Graham’s influence locally with this description of a project at the Art of This gallery last month, and an interview with artist Aaron van Dyke, who runs a gallery out of his St. Paul house.

Kara Walker — “The Anti-Oprah?”

Slate, the online magazine, has posted a brief but smart slideshow of Kara Walker. Several pieces are drawn from the Walker collection, with some photos shot from within the Walker galleries by our Gene Pittman. No mention in the accompanying text of Queen O beyond Slate’s headline.

Slate, the online magazine, has posted a brief but smart slideshow of Kara Walker. Several pieces are drawn from the Walker collection, with some photos shot from within the Walker galleries by our Gene Pittman. No mention in the accompanying text of Queen O beyond Slate’s headline.