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Culture Shock at the Cocktail Reception for New Society

At times it can be useful to reflect upon an experience by observing the setting and circumstances a person is currently in; to use the present moment as a mirror to the previous. In considering Miranda July’s world premiere of New Society on October 30, 2014 at the McGuire Theater, this approach is not only […]

Miranda July Reception

At times it can be useful to reflect upon an experience by observing the setting and circumstances a person is currently in; to use the present moment as a mirror to the previous. In considering Miranda July’s world premiere of New Society on October 30, 2014 at the McGuire Theater, this approach is not only useful, but necessary. To maintain the truth and novelty in this performance for all who will attend – or rather, participate in – it, July has asked that no explicit details be published about the piece for one year.

As the Walker’s Contributing members gathered at a post-performance reception to mingle and react, Philip Bither, Senior Curator of Performing Arts, emphasized the importance of this rule. Bither pointed out that the structure of New Society allows for “a completely different show every night,” and that each one remains “truly a surprise,” for both performer and audience, which is what live theater is all about.

But as daily life is different every day and quite often a surprise, was it required this rule be established because the experience of live theater has become the opposite: an expectation of knowing what will happen ahead of time? How often today do audiences attend a performance simply because they do not know what will happen during the course of two hours? Perhaps this is what gives contemporary theater its modern relevance, but even July flips this concept on its head with her latest creation. The uncertainty in New Society is not only a nervous experience for the audience, but for the performer. July admits she was curious, eager, and anxious about her initial participants, wondering “who will all these people be?” And like a performing artist would thank their fellow actors, Miranda told this group of audience members, “thank you for coming through for me.”

It was all slightly surreal, returning to a non-theatrical setting after taking part in New Society. Although it was simply a cocktail hour, it was difficult not to notice people gathering in small groups to have private discussions, the photographer documenting our actions, the ability to walk wherever one liked, or to even not interact with others at all, and the large windows on the north wall. This hyperawareness of space and socialization pointed out the freedoms of daily life, and the limitations as well as the possibilities available within the walls of a theater. A  group of a few hundred confined in a space for a specific number of hours has the potential to experience almost anything – if they decide to. This is, at the core, what July accomplishes with New Society: a stark examination of our lives outside of theater by creating a new world within one.

July’s eyes sparkle with this concept in mind, commenting that there is “so much raw enthusiasm to be shaped” in a piece like hers, in theater that asks an audience to sit down and let go. Whereas our everyday lives are chained to expectation, theater gives us a unique freedom in that it allows an experience to be shaped for, or with us. Yet as the reception ended, it can be noted that even in real life, people still don’t like when the lights come up and they have to go home.

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.

After Hours: Under Construction

What do you get when you combine a brand new exhibition, a live band, vats of melted brie, art activities for adults, and a whole host of good looking people? Walker After Hours! Members, staff, and guests from near and far came together for a preview party to celebrate the opening of Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, a […]

What do you get when you combine a brand new exhibition, a live band, vats of melted brie, art activities for adults, and a whole host of good looking people? Walker After Hours! Members, staff, and guests from near and far came together for a preview party to celebrate the opening of Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites, a solo show of work by the Mexico-city based artist.

(Left to Right) Caroline Kent, Walker Executive Director Olga Viso, Maria Jose Lopez, and Angela Robins

(Left to Right) Caroline Kent, Walker Executive Director Olga Viso, Maria Jose Lopez, and Angela Robins

Up in the tower that is (literally) under construction, Malamanya got everyone,  including the artist and exhibition curator, moving:

Adriana Rimpel of Malamanya

Adriana Rimpel of Malamanya

Abraham Cruzvillegas dancing with his wife Alejandra

Abraham Cruzvillegas dancing with his wife Alejandra

Shaun Regen and Walker Senior Curator Clara Kim

Shaun Regen and Walker Senior Curator Clara Kim

Bobby Wilson and Natasha Hilt

Bobby Wilson and Natasha Hilt

In the Art Lab, party-goers tried their hand at autoconstrucción. Check out this homage to the original Aeropuerto Alterno on view in the galleries:

3.!art lab.knives w duck record

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After the galleries, art making, and dancing there was always a good drink to be had:

(L to R) Blaire Moliter, Brandon Cotton, Mimi Jamaleldin, Brady Cotton, Lauren Villareal, and Kai Bawkol.

(L to R) Blaire Moliter, Brandon Cotton, Mimi Jamaleldin, Brady Cotton, Lauren Villareal, and Kai Bawkol.

Amalia Nicholson and Hannah Haugberg

Amalia Nicholson and Hannah Haugberg

(L to R) Paige Mathews, Paul Bochan, Emma Berg, and Rae Spencer

(L to R) Paige Mathews, Paul Bochan, Emma Berg, and Rae Spencer

Abraham Cruzvillegas: The Autoconstrucción Suites is on view at the Walker Art Center March 23–September 22, 2013.

A Think & A Drink with Merce & Rei

“I start every collection with one word.” —Rei Kawakubo Fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons reportedly gives a single word as instruction to her pattern makers as they begin working on a new collection. In this spirit, Walker members gave one word (or two) in response to Friday’s A Think & A Drink: Member Event, which included a private tour […]

emma and laurie in gallery

“I start every collection with one word.” —Rei Kawakubo

Fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons reportedly gives a single word as instruction to her pattern makers as they begin working on a new collection. In this spirit, Walker members gave one word (or two) in response to Friday’s A Think & A Drink: Member Event, which included a private tour of Dance Works III: Merce Cunningham/Rei Kawakubo with curator Betsy Carpenter, Walker Cunningham Research Fellow Abi Sebaly, fashion designer Emma Berg, and choreographer, curator, performer, and producer Laurie Van Wieren, followed by drinks and small bites in the Garden Terrace Room. (more…)

From Framer to Curator: An Evening with General Mills Art Curator Don McNeil

The Walker Contemporaries recently took a field trip out to the General Mills Campus in Golden Valley and had a tour with Don McNeil, curator of the General Mills Art Collection. The Contemporaries, made up of young professionals at Twin Cities companies, had expressed an interest in learning more about corporate art collections, and there was a specific […]

The Walker Contemporaries recently took a field trip out to the General Mills Campus in Golden Valley and had a tour with Don McNeil, curator of the General Mills Art Collection. The Contemporaries, made up of young professionals at Twin Cities companies, had expressed an interest in learning more about corporate art collections, and there was a specific interest in General Mills as it has a focus on collecting contemporary art. Thanks to Don and Mark Addicks, chief marketing officer of General Mills and a member of the Walker board, the group was able to get a look at this private collection after work hours.

Don has worked at General Mills since 1976, and has been a consultant since 2006. “I had a degree in economics and masters in art history, but what General Mills was really interested in was that I had worked in a frame shop, and knew how to frame art,” Don told the group at the introduction to the tour.

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#catvidfest: The Recap

The world’s first ever Internet Cat Video Film Festival–held on the Walker’s hillside August 30–drew plaudits from Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, press from around the world, and a crowd of around 10,000 people. Here’s a rundown of a memorable night.

Photo: Gene Pittman

It seems like every time I do one of these event recaps, I have to start out by featuring a tweet by Mayor R. T. Rybak.

Unknowingly, the Internet Cat Video Film Festival was scheduled to go up another big night in entertainment: Mitt Romney (and Clint Eastwood & Chair) at the Republican National Convention. Thoughts of that gathering were far away on Open Field last night (though often mentioned together in tweets), as over 10,000 cat video fans came to watch 79 cat videos. The videos were divided into categories: Comedy, Drama, Foreign, Documentary, Animated, Musical, Art House, Lifetime Achievement, and People’s Choice. #catvidfest t-shirts sold out in a hot second, but you can pre-order from the next batch here.

When we announced the festival, we thought maybe 100 people might come. Last week, we were estimating about 2,000 people. A few days ago, it wasn’t a stretch to say 5,000 people. Last night, we were dumbfounded. We want to thank everybody who nominated videos, who voted, and who showed up last night and made it a truly memorable event. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Here are some of our favorite tweets & photos from the evening:
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Introducing Walker Seen

As you may have noticed, the  Walker Blogs have a new look and improved functionality. Plus there’s a new one: This one! So, an introduction: While most art museums share party photos and member events — and we will too — Walker Seen aims to go beyond to truly make the social seen. Check back […]


As you may have noticed, the  Walker Blogs have a new look and improved functionality. Plus there’s a new one: This one!

So, an introduction: While most art museums share party photos and member events — and we will too — Walker Seen aims to go beyond to truly make the social seen. Check back for quirky snapshots of Walker daily life, from who’s coming to our galleries and events and what they’re wearing to the artists we’re hosting to, if we’re lucky, the occasional celebrity sighting. We also hope to give glimpses of what’s going on backstage and underground to share scenes rarely seen by our visitors. A project shared by our membership, design, visitors services and photography staff, Walker Seen will be up and running in the coming days.