Blogs Walker Seen

What Makes a Crazy Cat Lady…?

We saw thousands of feline fans again fill the grass at our Internet Cat Video Festival as part of Open Field on August 14. What began two years ago as an idea here at the Walker has expanded into a global phenomenon with screenings from Stockholm to Boise. With more than 100 hours of video […]

We couldn't have asked for a better cat frenzy atmosphere

We couldn’t have asked for a better cat frenzy atmosphere.

We saw thousands of feline fans again fill the grass at our Internet Cat Video Festival as part of Open Field on August 14. What began two years ago as an idea here at the Walker has expanded into a global phenomenon with screenings from Stockholm to Boise. With more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, the infamous “cat video” genre has attracted more than its fair share of traffic, with such celebrities as Grumpy Cat and Lil BUB (who made a festival appearance this year) garnering enough attention to draw 10,000 people to our hillside for a 70-minute montage of this year’s best kitty clips.

But why cats? Are these people weird or something? Armed with two legitimating staff t-shirts and a microphone, Emily and I set out on our first field assignment as Walker PR interns. We were determined to hear what these crazies had to say and to find the answer to our question: How many cats make a crazy cat lady crazy? We compiled a list to guide us on our way.

Sure signs you’re a crazy cat lady:

1. You don’t think you’re crazy.

2. Your family won’t admit to knowing you.

3. You are dressed as a cat.

4. You came to the Walker alone to watch internet cat videos.

As we wove our way between the blankets on the grass, we talked to visitors young and old, from far and near, who all insisted they were sane! “It would be crazy not to love cats!” they told us, and we found it hard to disagree—this seemed like a pretty fun crowd. From the face-painting to the food trucks, we began to pity those who had not yet stumbled upon the joy of watching Shorty the Cat go through banana addiction withdrawal. As we looked around at all the fun-having, we began to realize the crazy ones were those who would miss such an event.

Yes the costumes were wacky, but what truly struck us was the community these cats created. It seems Lil BUB’s biggest fans were simply happy to know that they weren’t crazy for loving internet cat videos—or if they were, at least they could all be crazy together for one night at the Walker.

These two weren't the only ones dressed for the occasion.

These two weren’t the only ones dressed for the occasion.

Considering the breadth of content on the internet these days, it seems almost unreasonable that such a specific corner of the web could draw such a crowd, and one that’s not afraid to admit to who they are.

Though watching internet cat videos alone in a dark basement can be pretty isolating (from what I’ve heard), these kitty vids gave us a reason to ditch the laptop for the lawn, and share a screen with our fellow cat-loving citizens for a night. Oh, and we updated our guide to the #catvidfest at Open Field, too!

Even surer signs you’re a crazy cat lady:

1. You dig free stuff.

2. You enjoy being part of a global phenomenon.

3. You dress up for things.

4. You are not boring.

5. You enjoy gourmet food trucks and craft beer.

6. You like being outside on a gorgeous summer night in the greatest city in the world.

Cinefile: From the Coasts to The Clock

Linda Blackaby,  Sheryl Mousley, and Marian Marone at Christian Marclay: The Clock
Marian Masone, Sheryl Mousley, and Linda Blackaby at Christian Marclay: The Clock

Linda Blackaby, Sheryl Mousley, and Marian Masone at Christian Marclay: The Clock

In advance of the final 24-hour screening of The Clock (August 23–24: Saturday, 11 am–Sunday, 5 pm), I caught up with two special visitors from the last 24-hour screening. I’m on my own quest to see all 24 hours, so I wanted to get some thoughts and tips from two professional film-watchers who ended up fitting in 13 hours in just a couple of days!

Marian Masone and Linda Blackaby are used to watching films—Masone is Senior Programming Advisor at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, while Blackaby is Director of Cinema Projects and consults on film festival programming around the country. But watching The Clock was a new and unique experience, one that brought them from the coasts to meet in the middle at the Walker Art Center.

Both enjoyed the excuse to come to Minneapolis, and to the Walker specifically to see their friend and colleague, Walker Senior Film/Video Curator  Sheryl Mousley. While they didn’t have the chance to sightsee (“Sorry, the rest of town,” said Masone, “we were there to see The Clock and that’s what we did.”), Masone said that crossing the Mississippi River at least twice a day was a highlight of her trip.

Altogether, the pair watched 13 hours of The Clock over the course of the weekend. (Blackaby noted that a cup of coffee at 2 am would have got them a few more hours.) Though it showed in their hometowns (at the Lincoln Center Festival and MoMA in New York and at SFMOMA), “it’s difficult to incorporate something like this into your daily busy life, so it made sense to do it as an excursion,” said Blackaby, noting that they travel to see films at festivals professionally, “so it fit into that model.”

I wanted to learn how these cinephiles, who have had experiences with “durational” pieces like SATANTANGO and The Coast of Utopia, watched The Clock. For both Blackaby and Masone, it was less about the specific clips selected and more about how the editing created rhythms and moods, and showed a wide span of cinematic styles over time.

One thing I’ve noticed about The Clock is its consistent state of narrative tension—Marclay uses sound and editing to build things up, but there is no chance for true resolution. Masone said that “it’s actually kind of a gas to get all excited, or scared, or… something, and then: poof! We’re at the top of the hour and things start to shift.”

Masone’s “big question” for Marclay would be if he considered any part of the 24 hours to be the beginning—or the end. “If there is none of those, then of course there is no climax! Very cool.”

For Blackaby, “the whole experience was really a lot of fun—I wish The Clock were running here now so I could pop in and revisit it.”

The Visitors: The People of #catvidfest

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s #catvidfest, never fear: you can watch the videos on the Walker’s YouTube channel, and if you want to experience the communal viewing (which is what it’s all about), there will be screenings at the Walker Cinema in September. I’m still shocked that so many thousands of people […]

The 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival. Photo: Gene Pittman

The 2014 Internet Cat Video Festival. Photo: Gene Pittman

If you weren’t able to attend this year’s #catvidfest, never fear: you can watch the videos on the Walker’s YouTube channel, and if you want to experience the communal viewing (which is what it’s all about), there will be screenings at the Walker Cinema in September. I’m still shocked that so many thousands of people turned up to collectively watch a series of cat videos and take part in cat activities for an entire evening. Then again, it is the Internet. And cats.

Here are some cat lovers who caught my eye (many of them self-proclaimed “crazy cat ladies”) throughout the night and a snippet of what they had to say about the evening and about themselves.

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Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

Do you have any cats? Yes, one, his name is Ching. He’s going to have to wait a little longer for dinner tonight because I’ll be home late.

Do you have a favorite internet cat? No, I don’t go online. I’m still in the 20th century.

Tell me about your shirt: I dug it out for tonight. I just realized I got it in ’92. Michelle Pfeiffer was great as Catwoman.

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Name: Squeaky the cat

Where are you from? Minneapolis

Occupation: Feline foster auntie. Squeaky’s owner takes in foster kitties and Squeaky teaches them the ropes. In other words, how to respect their elders (read: Squeaky).

Most excited for:  The grass. To roam on her leash and eat grass is her version of heaven.

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Where are you from? Clara City, Minnesota. It’s 2 hours away.

What brought you here? Cats. And my daughters.

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

Do you have a favorite internet cat? Grumpy Cat (even though that’s a generic choice).

Are all the kitties on your outfit named? No, not all of them. I do have two live cats with names at home though – Eddie and Emmy.

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Names: Kathy and Katie (yes, those are their real names).

“I’m the (C)at and she’s my Kitten”

Where are you from?: Richfield.

What brought you here? The love of the cats. Our kitten Mei Mei is the cutest.

Kathy: I’m that cat lady. We’re probably over the city limit. I swear I won’t reach an old age because the 80 cats in my house will eat me alive before that happens.

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

Tell me about your outfits: Kathy’s the old cat and Katie’s the kitten (which is why Katie doesn’t have any gray in her ears). We thought there was a costume contest…

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Name: Rudy Fig

When did you start painting? That’s a good question. I don’t know. A long time ago.

What kinds of things do you primarily paint? Female characters. Scenes that are daydream-y and whimsical. A lot of cats.

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? I painted at the one last year too. Obviously I had fun because I’m back this year!

Do you have a favorite internet cat? The “wiggle” video is my favorite.

Why the extra eye?  I have a 3-year old and once when I painted a third eye he loved it; it sort of grew organically from there and I’ve been playing with the idea ever since. There’s nothing really deep to it, that’s just it.

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So what is that thing? It’s a cat dancer! You have to jump for it.

Tell me about it: I was shocked that this many people could gather without beach balls or cat toys.

How do you use it? You jump for it and if it hits you in the face you might get mad and have to run.

Why a cat dancer? Why not?!

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Where are you from? Minneapolis

Tell me about your outfit: I don’t remember where the shirt is from. The necklace is a memorial for two cats I used to have named Maude and Princess. I got it on Amazon in their “cat jewelry” section.

Do you have any cats now? I have one. Her name is Pride – it’s a combination of Princess and Maude.

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? I went to the festival at the State Fair last year.

What was your favorite part? The assortment of videos. And when the two cats met onstage.

Do you have a favorite internet cat? I like the video where they built a New York skyscraper and Godzilla cat destroys it.

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Names: They call themselves the “Crazy Cat Ladies”

Where are you from? Bloomington and Minneapolis.

Most excited for: Lil Bub!

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Last year was our first time.

Any surprises? The engineers are here?

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“Can I take a picture of you?” “Only if I can take a picture of you”

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Names: Amelia and Natalia

“Strike your best kitten pose!” – Mom

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

Tell me about your outfits: They are dance costumes! We are competitive dancers. Last year Natalia did a Jellicoe Kitty solo. That was a full-body outfit, though, and we figured that it would probably be too warm to wear the whole thing.

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Where are you from? Brooklyn Park

Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

What brought you here? Cats, obviously. And we heard there was going to be good food.

Do you have a favorite internet cat? Grumpy cat.

Tell me about your outfits: One already owned, the other was thrifted.

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Is this your first time attending #catvidfest? Yes.

How did you hear about it? Facebook.

Tell me about your outfits: For the girls, these are everyday outfits. Meowington is Deadmau5’s cat.

Do you have a favorite internet cat? The girls like Yoda. He’s a munchkin cat. Also, cats in general.

 

 

 

 

 

The Visitors: The People of Summer Music & Movies

On August 4 we kicked off this year’s Summer Music & Movies. Delicious smells filled the air from nearby food trucks, easily tempting many visitors who came to take in the night. With amazing tunes from The Cloak Ox followed by the film High Noon directed by Fred Zinnemann, it was the perfect way to start the […]

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The crowd relaxing as The Cloak Ox performs Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

On August 4 we kicked off this year’s Summer Music & Movies. Delicious smells filled the air from nearby food trucks, easily tempting many visitors who came to take in the night. With amazing tunes from The Cloak Ox followed by the film High Noon directed by Fred Zinnemann, it was the perfect way to start the week. I took advantage of the brief time in between the band and before the film to ask attendees about their favorite summer pastimes and how they had been enjoying the evening.

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Heather Reid and Pickle Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Heather Johnson-Reid. My dog is Pickle.

Occupation: I’m a lawyer by trade, but home raising kids for now.

Describe the evening in three words: Magical, Musical, Summer.

Did you get a chance to try any food truck items? Yes! We had Andrew Zimmern’s gumbo and potato bites, and a red velvet cupcake. The gumbo and cupcake were delicious.

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Lobster and most seafood, probably because I spent my childhood summers on Cape Cod.

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies? It always has a great vibe, we wanted to see Cloak Ox, and it’s a walk away so we can bring Pickle. I guess that’s three reasons :)

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Tom Hoarty. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Tom Hoarty

Occupation: Lab Technician

Describe the evening in three words: Quiet Summer Night.

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Watermelon, because it tastes like summer.

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies? It’s a relaxing, enjoyable time and a great opportunity to not think about work.

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Loretta Herning and Jordan Ermer appreciating the summer evening Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Loretta Herning & Jordan Ermer

Occupation: Herning—activities coordinator and advocate for clients with mental illness; Ermer—middle school educator, tandem skydive instructor

Describe the evening in three words: Calm, Refreshing, and Comfortable.

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota summers?  Biking and running Lake of the Isles after work!

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Chicken wings, because they are the BEST on the grill!

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies?  We live in Lowry Hill and needed an outing in our busy week!

Franny Carroll (center) and friends

Franny Carroll (center) and friends Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Franny Carroll

Occupation: Art student at Parsons The New School for Design

Describe the evening in three words: Former Substitute Teachers

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota summers? Reading on my porch with a big glass of lemonade and seeing friendly neighbors.

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Definitely corn on the cob. There’s nothing better than Minnesota corn that’s in season.

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies? I live in the neighborhood and it’s the perfect summer event to enjoy with friends on a Monday night. And High Noon is a classic!

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Jamie Bonczyk and daughter play bean bag toss Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Jamie Bonczyk

Occupation: Director of Health and Nutrition, PICA Head Start

Describe the evening in three words: Connected, Community, and Fun.

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota summers? Taking my 16-month-old daughter outside. We go to the park, the pool, the zoo, camping, hiking, on a walk around the neighborhood. She loves being able to experience everything through her senses. She likes to touch and smell things and puts more things in her mouth than I would like her to.

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Anything made on the grill. We try to cook and eat outside as much as possible in the summer.

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies? Experience is the architect of the brain, and my husband and I want to ensure our daughter has as many consistent, positive experiences as possible. The Summer Movies & Music series allows her to see lots of people coming together in one place for the common goal of enjoying the Minnesota summer.

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Michele Braley & Nils Dybvig make the evening a fun date night Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Michele Braley & Nils Dybvig

Occupation: Social workers

Describe the evening in three words: Braley— Sunshine, Sandwiches, and My Sweetheart; Dybvig— Awesome Date Night.

What is your favorite thing about Minnesota summers? Braley—They are jam-packed with great activities. We biked to the University of Minnesota for a Fringe Fest show before continuing on to Movies & Music. What a city!

Did you get a chance to try any food truck items? Dybvig— No. What would you have tried? I was tempted by the cupcakes.

What is one food that reminds you of summer? Braley— Is white wine a food? Sharing a glass with friends on the porch is pure summer.

Dybvig— Gazpacho. I love it when fresh, local tomatoes and cucumbers are available.

Why did you decide to come to Summer Music & Movies? BraleyWhat’s not to love about music and a movie at a lovely Minneapolis park? The only thing that makes it better is the bike ride home. Biking through the quiet streets of downtown at 11 pm to my home in Seward is a perfect end to the evening.

Dybvig— To get outside, enjoy the summer, soak up some culture, and spend time with my sweetie. All for free, what’s not to love?

Fashion at the Radical Presence Opening

July 24 celebrated the opening of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art in the Target and Friedman Galleries. As the show itself spans three generations of artists, similarly there were guests of all ages and backgrounds in attendance. Performances of the night were held inside and outside of the galleries and interacted with the […]

Jordan and Aaron Marx stop by Benjamin Patterson's Pond (1962) for a quick photo. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Jordan and Aaron Marx stop by Benjamin Patterson’s Pond (1962) for a quick photo. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

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Terry Adkins’ The Last Trumpet set up at the entrance of Radical Presence. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

July 24 celebrated the opening of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art in the Target and Friedman Galleries. As the show itself spans three generations of artists, similarly there were guests of all ages and backgrounds in attendance. Performances of the night were held inside and outside of the galleries and interacted with the artwork. Large crowds gathered around to view Terry Adkins’ The Last Trumpet, Senga Nengudi’s Untitled (RSVP) performed by Maren Hassinger, Pope.L’s Costume Made of Nothing, and Jacolby Satterwhite’s Orifice.

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Jacolby Satterwhite captures the audience’s attention on Satch Hoyt’s Say It Loud. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

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Guests relax and chat in the Cargill lobby. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

It was amazing to watch the artists perform and bring another experience to the pieces in the show. The space remained packed throughout the evening as everyone navigated their way through the galleries. The whole evening had immense energy and a shared sense of enthusiasm. In addition to the performances, it was fun to witness the different styles of expression through guests’ clothing. I was able to document just a few of the interesting styles seen that night and inquire about their fashion choices.

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Destiny Anderson’s fun outfit caught my eye before she even got to the exhibition. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Destiny Anderson

What are you wearing? A red and black head scarf (store unknown), a white cropped tee from H&M, a calf-length African printed skirt, light brown heels from Goodwill

Describe your style in three words. Old school, colorful, and outlandish

Do you expect your style to speak for you? I feel my style describes me perfectly and can speak for my personality.

Have people from other generations inspired your style? My family. I always see pictures of my parents and aunts and uncles when they were younger. They always looked so cool to me, and their style now doesn’t stop me from going through their closet.

Social Media: @notorious_destiny on Instagram

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Jaafar Alnabi in the Radical Presence galleries. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Jaafar Alnabi

Occuption: Art Student at MCAD

What are you wearing? Everything is H&M, and shoes are from Aldo

Describe your style in three words. Dark, Americana, and Curtain

Do you expect your style to speak for you? I think someone’s style speaks about them all the time. It’s a way of saying who you are without saying anything. I think my style speaks about me in a way, except you caught me on a lazy day!

Social Media: @jaafaralnabi on Instagram

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Junauda Petrus and Sarah White allowed me to capture their amazing outfits. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Names: Junauda Petrus & Sarah White

Occupation: Petrus—writer, dancer, derformance artist, co-founder of Free Black Dirt; White—singer, photographer, creative

What are you wearing? Petrus—I’m wearing a mustard-colored silk shirt from B. Resale, jeans from Buffalo Exchange in San Francisco, the knitted red necklace I bought from a sister in Brooklyn, sandals from DSW, gold earrings from Savers, and blue dangly earrings from a sister in front of Palmer’s.

White—Hat from H&M, earrings and top from Cliché, bracelet from Belle Weather, septum ring from BVLA, ring made by Sol Rebel, skirt from some shop off the beach in Orange County, vintage clutch, XOXO shoes.

Describe your style in three words. Petrus—Cosmic, warrior, goddess. White—Gangsta, hippie, and eclectic.

Do you expect your style to speak for you? White—I try to speak though my style, but stay away from the expectations. In general, my style often reflects what I am feeling like at a certain stage of my life, but I think if I had more time to dig and more funds to splurge, I’d definitely turn it up a notch and be even more expressive.

Have people from other generations inspired your style?  Petrus—Yes, I am channeling Whoopi Goldberg from the Jumpin’ Jack Flash days, Afrobeat queen, 1970’s Abby Lincoln, and Sally Bowles from Cabaret.

Social Media: @sarahwhiteblack on Twitter, @shirodame on Instagram

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ADDAM gives a peace sign while in the galleries. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: ADDAM

What are you wearing? Hair styled by Loc Starz, pants from William Rast, top from Club Monaco, shoes from H&M, glasses from RETROSUPERFUTURE

Describe your style in three words. I like it.

Do you expect your style to speak for you? I expect my style to be an honest representation of myself, even when I fail to meet those expectations, which makes it all the more honest.

Have people from other generations inspired your style? Yes. My mother has been a big inspiration lately. I’ve raided her closet a few more times than I’d like to admit.

Social Media:  @AddamUp on Twitter

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Elliot Reed’s all black outfit caught my attention. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Elliot Reed

Occupation: Artist, musician, part-time magician/full-time Walker employee

What are you wearing? Mesh hat, vintage jacket and shirt, skeleton pendant from somewhere in the American Southwest, modified silver chain originally from Kokorokoko Vintage, TRIPP NYC shorts (major shout out to Hot Topic circa 2005), 8-inch black leather steel toe boots.

Describe your style in 3 words. Big Black ” ____.”

Do you expect your style to speak for you? To be frank, no. I believe in the power of costume and think of my clothes as power objects in their own way. I am usually drawn to over-sized and loose pieces because they emphasize my movements and exaggerate different parts of my body.

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Donte Collins (center) with friends. Photo: Nehwoen Luogon

Name: Donte Collins

Occupation: Spoken word poet

What are you wearing? Red, black, and white newsboy hat from Wilson’s Leather, silver suit coat from H&M, red, black, and white checkered button up shirt from H&M, black belt from Wilson’s Leather, dark blue men’s jeans from Forever 21, shoes from H&M

Describe your style in three words. Music, remixed, and mine

Have people from other generations inspired your style? Yes. New York, 1920’s/1930’s. Suspenders, overalls, newsboys.

Social Media: @Donte_ThePoet on Twitter, @justdontecollins on Instagram

Artists on Site: Alison Klayman with Olga Viso

After winning accolades and racking up awards, including Sundance’s Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance, for her documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, filmmaker Alison Klayman is directing her attention to another fiercely independent artist: Carmen Herrera. Born in Cuba in 1915 but long a resident of New York City, Herrera has been painting for […]

Alison Klayman and Olga Viso. Photo: Paul Schemlzer

Alison Klayman and Olga Viso. Photo: Paul Schmelzer

After winning accolades and racking up awards, including Sundance’s Special Jury Prize for Spirit of Defiance, for her documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, filmmaker Alison Klayman is directing her attention to another fiercely independent artist: Carmen Herrera. Born in Cuba in 1915 but long a resident of New York City, Herrera has been painting for more than seven decades, six of which were in near total obscurity. It was only in 2004, at age 89, that Herrera sold her first painting. That was when her work started selling swiftly. It was “very pleasant to be recognized a little bit,” she told The Guardian a few years ago. “I’ve made it on to the cover of the New York Times without ­having to kill anyone. All I had to do was get old. The world came to me ­eventually – I just had to wait 94 years, that’s all.” Today her geometric paintings are in collections worldwide, including the Walker’s.

Last week, Klayman dropped by the Walker to conduct an on-camera interview with Walker Executive Director Olga Viso on Herrera’s work and legacy for her upcoming film, Carmen Herrera: The 100 Years Show, scheduled for release to coincide with the artist’s 100th birthday on May 31. In 2010, Viso acquired four works by Herrera for the Walker’s collection: a series of three gouache paintings on paper from 1966 and a rare sculptural work from 1971, which will be on view in the Walker’s upcoming 75th-anniversary exhibition, Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections.

Carmen Herrera, Untitled, 1971

Carmen Herrera, Untitled, 1971

 

Spotlight: Rock the Garden Volunteers

More than 600 shifts were filled by volunteers at last month’s two-day Rock the Garden festival, making it our largest volunteer event of the year. Volunteers assist at nearly every turn on the Walker campus: festival entrances, Eureka Recycling’s zero-waste composting stations, beer tents, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden VIP areas! We are continually delighted and […]

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More than 600 shifts were filled by volunteers at last month’s two-day Rock the Garden festival, making it our largest volunteer event of the year. Volunteers assist at nearly every turn on the Walker campus: festival entrances, Eureka Recycling’s zero-waste composting stations, beer tents, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden VIP areas! We are continually delighted and impressed by the dedication, energy, and pure excitement that volunteers bring to this event. We love our volunteers! From their stories, it sounds like they had a great time, too!

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Susan Mikutowski:

I was positioned at the entrance putting on wrist bands. All the attendants were pleasant and cordial. That fact made the wrist band application streamlined and easy. I enjoyed saying a few words to each visitor, welcoming them and saying, “Please enjoy the show.” I think that they appreciated this, which made me feel good about the job I was doing. Even without that, I felt good about having this opportunity to help out at Rock the Garden. I’m so thankful for the extraordinary organization of all of the volunteers. It must have been an enormous endeavor to coordinate everyone.

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Emily Davis volunteering next to the Ampersand, Martin Puryear’s 1988 sculpture

Emily Davis volunteering next to the Ampersand, Martin Puryear’s 1988 sculpture

Emily Davis:

This year was my very first experience and I enjoyed every minute!  It was wonderful to people watch while listening to some awesome performances.

Mid shift volunteers on Saturday!

Mid-shift volunteers on Saturday!

Courtney Kleckner:

My favorite part of Rock the Garden was meeting Caroline Smith! I was able to chat with her for a few moments at the entrance. I love meeting local artists.

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Jennie Eisert and Carla Super stand guard next to a high-traffic zero-waste station

Jennie Eisert and Carla Super stand guard next to a high-traffic zero-waste station

Jennie Eisert:

I have been volunteering at RTG since 2008 on the Green Team (helping make this large scale event waste free). This year I had an awesome time volunteering with my buddy Carla. The day was beautiful, and the bands were great. Lizzo from the Chalice was amazing, and De La Sol knocked it out of the park.  I’ve learned so much about composting and have thought about what an accomplishment it would be for Minneapolis to become the first (at least 90%) waste-free city!

Volunteer Ashlee Haluptzok helping at the entrances

Volunteer Ashlee Haluptzok helping at the entrances

Ashlee Haluptzok:

2014 marks my fourth year volunteering at Rock the Garden. I look forward to that precious weekend every single year. The atmosphere is my favorite part. Everyone is so excited, happy, and friendly. This year was my first time wrist-banding at the entrances, and it was a whirlwind of fun. Greeting attendees into the greatest summer festival in Minnesota is enlightening and put a permanent smile on my face that weekend. The volunteer program at Walker is extremely organized. Crystal and her team truly make the experience inviting and uplifting. You can tell how appreciated you are the second you put on your volunteer t-shirt.

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Julianne Queensen helping a visitor to sort compost and recycling at a zero-waste station

Bonnie Berquam:

What a well-organized volunteer event! I’m proud to be involved with a zero-waste event and impressed that it can be done! People at the event were so nice and accommodating with keeping the site clean and manageable.

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The Visitors: The People of Rock the Garden 2014

In the sea of summer concerts, not one could upstage the confetti-raining, swag-stylin’, toddler-dancing energy of Rock the Garden. The 2014 two-day festival, a project of the Walker and The Current, ranged from the rap rhythms of hip-hop trio De La Soul to the catchy harmonics of Spoon. The Walker hillside was filled with colorful […]

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In the sea of summer concerts, not one could upstage the confetti-raining, swag-stylin’, toddler-dancing energy of Rock the Garden. The 2014 two-day festival, a project of the Walker and The Current, ranged from the rap rhythms of hip-hop trio De La Soul to the catchy harmonics of Spoon. The Walker hillside was filled with colorful blankets, enthusiastic concert-goers, and mad spirit. The weather gods seemed to be on our side this year with a sunshine-filled Saturday and on-and-off droplets on Sunday, which ended in a symphony of light.  Audience members showed off their crowd-surfing ways, cat enthusiasm, and groovy dance moves. Nothing peeled back the layers and revealed radiating summer fun more than Rock the Garden. Photographer Carina Lofgren was there to capture the faces and the fun during the festival’s first day.

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Performing Arts Associate Curator Doug Benidt with De La Soul's David Jude Jolicoeur and Kelvin Mercer

Performing Arts Associate Curator Doug Benidt with De La Soul’s David Jude Jolicoeur and Kelvin Mercer

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Avant Guard: Gallery Assistant Diane Mullen on Edward Hopper

At the Walker or any other art venue, no one spends more time with the art—not curators, installation crew, or visitors—than the sentinels standing among the works of masters: the guards. Many of these gallery assistants (as they’re known at the Walker) are themselves artists, a role that gives them a unique perspective on the […]

Diane-Mullen

Diane Mullen states that the methodical process of Hopper’s work has informed her own approach as a writer. Photo: Emylisa Warrick

At the Walker or any other art venue, no one spends more time with the art—not curators, installation crew, or visitors—than the sentinels standing among the works of masters: the guards. Many of these gallery assistants (as they’re known at the Walker) are themselves artists, a role that gives them a unique perspective on the work we show. In the new series “Avant Guard,” we tap into the experiences of these individuals to see how their attitudes and perceptions about a particular work or artist change over the duration of an exhibition. First up: Diane Mullen offers her take on Hopper Drawing: A Painter’s Process (closing June 20, 2014).

Emylisa Warrick: How does your perception of a piece of art or an exhibition change from the beginning of the show to, say, three months later?

Diane Mullen: My perception is always changing. I was familiar with Hopper’s work through Nighthawks, which I had seen in Chicago. But it was surprising going into the Walker show for the first time because it’s different from some of the typical shows I’ve been here to work at as a guard: the layout of it, the benches, the strong emphasis on the paintings and the sketches. It also has a completely different feel than the other shows, and I think that’s partly because of the layout. I know that the curator was very specific in setting it up that way.

Room-For-Tourists

Edward Hopper, Room for Tourists, 1945

Warrick: Have you formed a special attachment or bond to a piece in the exhibition?

Mullen: I really love Rooms for Tourists (1945). It’s a painting of a New England–style house. It’s white with a little glow in the window, and it has the “Rooms Available” sign. I love that piece and I can’t explain why. Maybe it’s partly because I was in New England a couple of years ago, in Exeter, New Hampshire, and had such a great time. But the painting has the same architecture and everything. I love what Hopper did with it. I love looking at the sketches, the way he decided to crop off the top of the house, and how he decided how much to show of the hedges. You can look at the sketches and see what he was trying to do figure out. It’s a painting of a house, but I think it’s just so filled with layers of emotions, thoughts, and processes. I love that piece. It feels very alive. I like so many of the sketches and scenes of Greenwich Village, too, but this particular piece really resonates with me.

Warrick: What have you taken away from this exhibition?

Mullen: As an artist, I think what I’ve taken away from studying Edward Hopper’s process is his determination and resilience. Looking at the pieces that involved him as a commercial artist makes me think, “We’ve all done that.” We create art at times to pay the bills. I was a filmmaker for 13 years before I got my MFA. I shot end caps at Target overnight and things like that. And to see that Hopper did that in order to pay his bills, even though he didn’t like doing it, so that he could get to where he wanted to be—that is inspiring.

Also, he didn’t give up. He did what he had to do in order to live the life of an artist, which we’re all still doing today–and to create work that says so much in a small space. It seems like every painting that I look at, even if it’s a building, has a narrative. I think that is a true gift.

It’s purposeful and he studied and worked until he came to what we see hanging on the walls. I have a tremendous amount of respect for him for doing that. Every artist does that, but Hopper, specifically, what he did was really tell the story of where he lived, where he walked, where he had coffee, where he was. I believe his work is considered realism. They’re snapshots with a true narrative. I don’t ever look at a piece and say, “Nice painting.” It’s always, “What was going on here? What were the dynamics?”

Party Around The Clock: Northern Spark 2014

From sundown to sunup, Northern Spark was a splash and arts lovers braved the howling winds to fill the Walker on a soggy Saturday night. With an interactive multimedia projection, poetry tarot, a roving accordion player, and the opening of two exhibitions, it was a popular place to dry off, pass the time, and grab a cup of coffee […]

Graffiti Angel in Sophronia by Joellyn Rock, Kathy McTavish, and Rob Wittig

Graffiti Angel in Sophronia by Joellyn Rock, Kathy McTavish, and Rob Wittig

From sundown to sunup, Northern Spark was a splash and arts lovers braved the howling winds to fill the Walker on a soggy Saturday night. With an interactive multimedia projection, poetry tarot, a roving accordion player, and the opening of two exhibitions, it was a popular place to dry off, pass the time, and grab a cup of coffee before heading back out into the city to explore more projects.

Office at Night tableau Old School Art School

Members of the Atelier School spent the evening sketching an Office at Night tableau for Old School Art School

Edward Hopper’s beloved Office At Night came to life for Old School Art School.

Drawing Club moved to the

Drawing Club moved to the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab

Drawing Club moved in from Open Field and stayed low and dry tucked away in the Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab.

Graffiti Angel in Sophronia

Graffiti Angel in Sophronia

Graffiti Angel in Sophronia incorporated video, images, music, and text inspired by Italo Calvino’s imaginary city of Sophronia. Improvising on audience suggestions sent via Twitter, a team of writers wove together words to tell a story projected on the walls of Medtronic Gallery.

Ed Bok Lee reading tarot cards for Poetry Tarot

Ed Bok Lee reading tarot cards for Poetry Tarot.

Poetry tarot offered a chance to confer with a poet for a personalized poem-fortune.

People waited for their first chance to catch all 24-hours of Christian Marclay's The Clock

People waited for their first chance to catch all 24-hours of Christian Marclay’s The Clock

Some chose to pass the time with Christian Marclay’s looping, 24-hour film, The Clock.

Costumes: a Northern Spark tradition

Costumes: a Northern Spark tradition

Although the storm moved much of the action indoors, people dressed up—in their best costumes or rain gear—and went out into the evening to celebrate the vibrant and boisterous arts community that pulls together every year around Northern Spark.

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