Posted at 11:16 AM on August 19, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Galleries
Photography by Stephanie Morris
This past week a large hallway in a St. Paul warehouse has been transformed into a gallery showcasing large, bold artworks by a group of Twin Cities' African-American artists. It's called "Big Blaq: The End of Acquiescence."
The artists are all members of TAWU (The Art Within Us), a group that formed back in the late 1990s to support artists of color in their professional development. They meet for monthlly critique sessions, and range in membership from folk artists to formally trained painters and photographers.
While TAWU has exhibited its members' work at many local art fairs, and at other local galleries, this is the first time it's organized its own exhibition.
Christopher-Aaron Deanes with his sculpture "Man's Thoughts."
TAWU member and show curator Christopher-Aaron Deanes says this is the first in what will become a series of exhibitions of members' work, every six months or so.
Deanes says he's been excited by the appearance of artists of color in major Twin Cities' museums, especially the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
I almost cried when I saw Kehinde Wiley's piece in the MIA's baroque gallery. That the curators were bold enough to do that. And in their exhibition "Until Now: Collecting the New," I was blown away by the number of artists of color included in the show. But there were no people of color walking around the galleries looking at them. That needs to change.
Painting by Richard Amos
Deanes says one of TAWU's goals is to help people of color feel more comfortable in a gallery setting.
There's not a large community of color coming into galleries. They might look in the window, but they don't feel invited for some reason. So what we're doing is creating a different type of salon, a different opportunity to show outside of the galleries.
Deanes says TAWU is hoping to inhabit empty storefronts for its temporary shows, in order to be more accessible to the general public. For Big Blaq, he marketed the opening the same way you might see a club party advertised. The event featured jazz, funk and R&B music, as well as soul food, Ethiopian food and lots of desserts and beverages.
Deanes says the event drew over 300 people:
I saw everyone from guys who hang out at a barber shop I go to, to people that I've seen in the art world, and a lot of youth. It was really a great experience.
"I Am Not My Hair" by Melodee Strong
Deanes said the show also presented him with the opportunity for "teachable moments." When a teenager touched one of the works of art, he talked to him about the oils in our fingers can corrode a work over time. Deanes told the teenager that if he went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, he might see people standing around in suits, looking serious, protecting the artwork. It's a small step that might help one kid feel a little more prepared to walk in the door of a big museum.
Tonight the artists will gather at 6pm at Franklin Art Works in Minneapolis for a panel discussion on the exhibition and their work. The exhibition, located at 558 Vandalia in St. Paul, ends tomorrow.
This week the hounds show us the unintentional beauty of graffiti that's been painted over, an old vaudeville theater Duluth that's getting a new life, and a new group of veteran rockers that are creating a new sound.
(Want to be an art hound? Sign up!)
Duluth artist and arts writer Ann Klefstad is happy to report the famed NorShor Theatre is back in the public domain. The city of Duluth purchased the 100-year-old former vaudeville theater and one-time strip club and asked the Duluth Playhouse to provide programming. Duluth mayor Don Ness will celebrate the NorShor's centennial with a $100 plate benefit to raise money for its restoration on tonight at 7pm. On Saturday, Aug. 21 at noon there will be an open house commemorating the NorShor's vaudeville history and that night, an evening of live music featuring the Duluth area's hottest bands.
If you happen to be stuck in traffic, painter and MCAD and CVA instructor Allen Brewer suggests you be on the lookout for graffiti that's been painted over. Allen says you can find it all over the Twin Cities -- on overpasses, the sides of buildings, railroad bridges, etc. He describes it as taggers and clean-up workers engaged in an accidental collaboration that results in unintentionally beautiful, completely pure abstract art.
Holly Newsom has discovered a band she wants the rest of the world to know about. Holly, the frontwoman for the Minneapolis indie rock band Zoo Animal, says Satellite Voices consists of a group of veteran local rockers and creates a sound all its own. She's especially impressed with the band's eccentric yet charismatic leader, singer-songwriter Knol Tate. Satellite Voices' next gig is at St. Paul's Turf Club on Thursday, Aug. 26. The group plans to release its first CD this fall.
And you can get an early sneak peek at the Art Hounds' picks every week by texting the word ART to 677-677.
A crowd gathers around Rebecca Krinke's table at Mears Park in St. Paul.
If you've lived any place for a long time, there are bound to be ghosts that haunt you, and memories you linger over longingly: the house where you once lived, the scene of your first date, the place where a loved one died.
Artist Rebecca Krinke thinks these emotional attachments we have to specific places, both joyful and painful, are worth noting, and she's creating a map to do just that. The project is called "Unseen/Seen: The Mapping of Joy and Pain," and has been travelling around the Twin Cities so that people can add their stories.
Do you have happy memories of your childhood? Then pick up a gold pencil, and decorate the area where you grew up in gold. Not so happy memories? Then choose a dark gray pencil, and make your mark.
Certain buildings have received dark marks from people who find them to be a source of pain. Those include several U of MN campus buildings, the governor's mansion, and the state capitol.
Yesterday Krinke set up her "table" (in truth it's a sculpture of sorts) in Mears Park over the lunch hour, assisted by two U of MN undergrad students. While many folks rushed by on their limited time off, others were easily drawn in by Krinke's call to participate.
One woman walking with a cane picked up a dark pencil, found a spot on the map, and made a small dot. "There! I'm done," she said. When Krinke asked her how it felt, the woman responded "Good, they needed that" and walked off.
A man marked the area where he grew up in West St. Paul with both gold and gray. "They tore down our house, but I still have happy memories from there," he said. After a pause, he added "I feel better now" before walking off.
Krinke says all of her work, in broad terms, has dealt with themes of pain and joy, or recovery. This is the third time she's used the format of a table for her work.
At Franconia Sculpture Park, I created a table called The Table of Remembering and Forgetting which alluded to repression (of pain/perhaps any emotion), but to me it was like a moment of repression was stilled and made beautiful or became beautiful since it was acknowledged.
In the interior courtyard of Rapson Hall on the U of MN campus, you can find Krinke's "Table for Contemplation and Action: A Place to Share Beauty and Fear."
It's a table where a center copper element contains a single unusual changing element of nature. You are invited to write of fears or hopes on slips of paper and place them into a large glass vessel embedded within the table. When the vessel is full, the writings are burned without reading them.
Krinke sees her "Joy and Pain" project as a way to take the cathartic experience even further, allowing people to stand side by side and share their joy and pain visually, without having to explain themselves.
It can perhaps be inspiring and / or healing to remember joy and perhaps leave some pain on the table. Emotions are bound up in the places we have them - but emotional mapping is rare. I wanted to make a place of mystery in a way - to remind us all of the mystery of actually being alive and having these joy and/or pain experiences.
Inside the table
While passers-by leave their marks on the surface of Krinke's table, they might not notice what's going on beneath the surface. The interior of the table is filled with strange gray and gold sculptures, which Krinke says reflect the shedding, emerging and growing that's taking place just above.
Krinke says she's been surprised by how many people have really thought about their marks, and have seemed to get something meaningful out of it.
They often talk and talk about very personal things sometimes , have emotional reactions, showing us bruises and scars...I am surprised that the project seems to be reaching a deep chord, and I don't know what it is yet. Perhaps we are never asked about our emotional life in any deep way. Perhaps we don't share much. One person said to me that if she talked about too much joy at work- people got jealous. It seems that perhaps joy is more taboo to talk about than pain. People map more gold- but talk about pain much more often. Or maybe this needing to talk is a fundamental part of pain and joy needs no words? I have a lot to mull over as I create my next works.
If you're interested in adding your experiences to the map, Krinke will be out with her table in Minneapolis at Juxtaposition Arts on August 26 from 1-3pm and at the Minnesota State Fair on August 27 from 5-9pm and August 28 from 9am-1pm at the Crossroads Building.
Once completed, the table will be included in an exhibition at Virginia Tech called "Mapping Spectral Traces."
Posted at 3:44 PM on August 19, 2010
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Museums
Francesco Clemente's self-portrait is one of the many artworks that may garner enough popular votes to make it into the Walker Art Center's winter exhibition "50/50: Audience and Experts Curate the Paper Collection."
On August 1st, the Walker Art Center started accepting ballots in its own democratic election; it's letting the public cast votes on what works of art should be included in its upcoming exhibition "50/50." It's so named because the public gets to choose half the works, and the staff curators will pick the other half.
The voting remains open through September 15 (the exhibition opens in December) and already the museum has received more than 112,000 votes via its website, smartphone, or the on-site kiosk (in the "Benches and Binoculars" gallery). According to the Walker's public relations office, art works are averaging 600 votes each. But are they "for," or "against?"
So, what would you put in the exhibition? And what would you want to make sure stayed out of the show?