Posted at 4:57 PM on April 14, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Museums
1/2 (Text), 1998
Chromogenic color print
For a long time now, the Twin Cities has looked to the Walker Art Center for its contemporary art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts for a more historical perspective.
That's going to change.
"Until Now," the MIA's new exhibition opening Friday, and its accompanying exhibition "Art ReMix," present a strong case for the argument that contemporary art belongs in the MIA. And not just on an occasional basis.
Liz Armstrong, recently hired by the MIA to head up its new Department of Contemporary Art, provided the vision for both projects. She looked at it as an opportunity to assemble a strong array of works from the past 50 years that have both a place in history and stand on their own in today's more globalized artistic landscape.
It felt like it was important to set the parameters for what contemporary art would look like at the MIA as soon as possible. I had the benefit of hindsight, and so as I looked at the 50 years of work we weren't actively collecting, I asked what is the picture here that makes sense for this collection at the MIA?
Rather than borrow works from other museums, Armstrong chose pieces for the show that are available for acquisition. Already the MIA's board has approved the purchase of a few of the more than 80 paintings, sculpture and videos.
Many of Armstrong's fellow curators at the MIA appear to not only accept the change in the museum's scope, but are excited by it. As Curator of Prints and Drawings Tom Rassieur said to Armstrong, "how can we be an encyclopedic museum if we don't collect volumes X, Y and Z?"
That excitement shows in "Art ReMix," which places contemporary art in a historical setting. Alec Soth's photograph of a woman leaning back on a bed hangs on a wall just feet from Gustave Caillebotte's painting of a reclining nude from 1880. Kehinde Wiley's Santos-Dumont - The Father of Aviation II hangs in a room filled with baroque paintings.
The fact that Wiley is African-American, and that his painting depicts young black men in a very baroque style, only heightens the experience. For years Wiley has worked to take black men off the street and put them center stage in an epic story. Now one of those paintings has found its place among the masterworks of European history.
It is that juxtaposition of works from both different eras and different cultures that capture the imagination, and invite the mind to connect to art in a whole new way. In the case of artist Willie Cole's "Ann Klein with a Baby in Transit," a sculpture which at first appears to be right at home in the African art gallery, is in fact made out of designer shoes.
"Ann Klein with a Baby in Transit," 2009
The notion of women's designer shoes being imbued somehow with an almost animist power is underscored not just by the shape of the work itself, but in this case, by its location in the museum.
Curator Liz Armstrong says she's constantly asked "so how are you going to be different than the Walker?" She says that's not going to be hard; there is so much art out there to choose from, for a start. But also the MIA has the opportunity to put it in a historical context.
There's so much here that it can get lost. The job of a curator is to pull things out, to highlight certain objects and underscore different meanings. It's really about activating the power of what you have.
If "Until Now" and "Art ReMixed" are any indicaiton, Armstrong has a vision for contemporary art at the MIA which will not only give it a prominent place in the collection, but go a long way to bring older works to life for new audiences.
"Until Now: Collecting the New" opens Friday April 16 and runs through Sunday, August 1 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Posted at 3:05 PM on April 14, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Events
Frank Theatre presents Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. Photo by Tony Nelson.
They say art has the power to transform people. What they didn't mention is that sometimes it transforms them into really disturbing oversized insects. Take, for example, Metamorphosis, by Franz Kafka, in which one man wakes up to find himself now in the shape of a cockroach, but nobody seems to take his predicament seriously. Find out just how bad things can get in this Frank Theatre production at Open Eye Theatre in Minneapolis. Performances run through May 1.
There's a ton of great music that blends classical training with modern sensibilities and a love of folk music at the Southern Theater in the coming days. Tonight and tomorrow you can see Nico Muhly and Sam Amidon. Friday and Saturday yMusic joins singer, composer and pianist Gabriel Kahane (for more on Kahane, check out this story). If you haven't had enough already, come back Monday night for a show by local chamber group Accordo.
The Loft Literary Center continues its spoken word series Equilibrium Thursday night at 7pm with guest Anida Yoeu Ali. Also performing will be Tatiana Ormaza, Tish Jones, Kohl Miner, Tou Saik, Marisa Carr, and Preeti Kaur.
Patrick's Cabaret presents the "Somewhat Sci-Fi Variety Show," an evening of hip-hop modern, singing, waacking, performance art, comedy and freestylin, all inspired by science fiction culture.
Bryant Lake Bowl has two shows running this weekend: the annual Dykes Do Drag show, and a remount of "The Harty Boys and the Case of the Limping Platypus."
Update: And if you're in Lanesboro this weekend (great little town, 30 minutes south of Rochester - heard of it?) check out the Commonweal Theatre's Ibsen Festival, featuring a world premiere adaptation of the rarely-produced John Gabriel Borkman by Minnesota playwright Jeffrey Hatcher.
Still not found what you're looking for? Check back later for posts on MIA's "Until Now" exhibition of contemporary art, Bedlam's Ten Minute Play Fest, and Gallery 13's latest show. And if you've got other plans this weekend, let us know what they are.
The American Craft Council has announced it's moving to the historic Grain Belt Brewery building in northeast Minneapolis this summer.
The ACC had previously declared its intention to relocate to the Twin Cities, based on the high level of craft interest and activity in the area, but there was some speculation it might choose St. Paul for its home base.
The ACC has also hired a new director. Chris Amundsen is currently the Chief Operating Officer of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, a position he's held since 2004. Amundsen is a Minneapolis native and graduate of the University of Minnesota.
The ACC plans to move into its new home August 1. It will share the building with its new landlord, RSP Architects.(1 Comments)
Posted at 7:28 PM on April 14, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Arts management
The Minnesota Center for Book Arts is looking for a new Executive Director.
According to the MCBA, Execturive Director Dorothy Goldie's last day was today. She served in that position for seven years.
In a press release, Luca Gunther, chairman of the MCBA Board, stated the center - the largest of its kind in the country - is looking to expand its scope and reach as an organization. To that end, the board has formed a search committee for Goldie's replacement.
In the meantime, Artistic Director Jeff Rathermel will take on the duties of Interim Executive Director.
The announcement comes just as the MCBA is marking its 25th anniversary.