Leopold Chamberland, Farmer, Riviere-Quelle, Quebec, 1977
black and white photograph by Fred Benedict Scheel
Earlier this year Plains Art Museum Director Colleen Sheehy was working with the Minneapolis Institute of Arts to borrow their collection of Fred B. Scheel's photographs for a show in Fargo-Moorhead. After all, Scheel is a Moorhead native and his family is a pillar in the community, so it was only right for the Plains to show his work.
Then Sheehy got a call informing her that wouldn't be necessary; the Scheel family had discovered a whole new set of photographs in Fred's basement darkroom when they had to evacuate it in the spring flood of 2009, and had decided to give this set of photographs to the Plains.
Sheehy couldn't be more thrilled. The 267 photographs include not only Scheel's fine work, but many of his colleagues - Ansel Adams, Andre Kertesz, Berenice Abbott and Brett Weston, among others.
[Scheel] is a superb photographer who studied with the master's of 20th century photoraphy and learned the highest level of aesthetics and techniques, in some cases directly from them--as with Ansel Adams, Brett Weston, and Andre Kertesz. While he photographed nationally and internationally, he also took a lot of photos of North Dakota, Canada, and Minnesota. So he has created some very beautiful and powerful images of this region.
Plains Art Museum Director Colleen Sheehy stands in a gallery full of photographs recently gifted to the museum.
In Fargo-Moorhead, the name Scheel is synonymous with sporting goods, the family business. The giant Scheel Allsports is the local equivalent of the Mall of America, containing an entire ferris wheel in it. While professional photographers are aware of Scheel's prowess with a camera, Sheey says many Fargo natives have yet to realize that he has been more than a local business leader.
With the Scheel name recognition in this region, the exhibition is bringing in a wide public who are curioius to see the work. The Plains Art Museum did an exhibition of his work in 1989, which is a long time ago now. We only had one of his photographs in our permanent collection before this gift.
Sheehy sees Fred Scheel as someone who was truly devoted to his art, even while he made a living at his sporting business. Born in 1921, Scheel is infirm but still with us, and has lived a full life.
Fred is really an inspiring person. He was an ace pilot and used to do flying stunts over Pelican Lake on the 4th of July to thrill all the kids and families there. He also published a book of poetry, In working through the photographs for this exhibition, I gained a sense of his poetic approach to life and the world. His work reminds me of the beauty of black-and-white film photography and how it can help you to see the world more clearly in a strange way.
Mt. Rundle, Sunrise, Vermilion Lakes, Canada, 1951
black and white photograph by Fred Benedict Scheel
Sheehy says that while Scheel may not be as well known a photographer as his contemporaries, she sees that changing as his work makes its way into museums like the Plains and the MIA.
She says the gift of 267 photographs adds tremendously to the museum's ability to represent an important artist from the region and to tell the story of 20th century photography.
"The Frederick B. Scheel Photography Collection: A New Gift to the Plains" an exhibition displaying 67 of the 267 gifted photographs will be up at the Plains Art Museum through August 12, 2011. In March, the museum will rotate out some images and add others to the mix.
Bloomington's Nancy Carlson has published more than 60 children's books, including such titles as Harriet and the Roller Coaster, I Like Me and Arnie Goes to Camp. Because she is both author and illustrator, Carlson's books are naturally the medium in which she and her readers are accustomed to viewing the work.
But if your Thanksgiving travel plans happen to involve going to Chicago, you can see Carlson's work in a different way.
At the Art Institute of Chicago, in an exhibition entitled "Everyday Adventures Growing Up: Art from Picture Books," Carlson's work joins that of two other children's book author/illustrators, Timothy Basil Ering of Massachusetts and Peter McCarty of New York. Their original artwork appears in frames in a traditional art museum setting. "Even though this is art from books, it's kind of nice to change how you see it and have it on the wall," Carlson says.
Children's literature often creates allegories to address kids' anxieties, and Carlson's illustrations use anthropomorphic animal characters to convey those emotions, ranging from ebullient joy to gut-wrenching fear. She also establishes each scene with careful detail, sometimes even inserting references to Minnesota places and things. Carlson's vivid color palette is similar to Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), while the expressiveness of her characters is reminiscent of Bill Peet (Big Bad Bruce).
Having her work displayed on a wall is not entirely new to Carlson. She graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with a degree in printmaking, and she says her focus after graduating was getting her work into gallery shows. "I've never been in a big museum for a show," she says, "but I guess you could say it is getting back to my roots."
Carlson discovered her vocation as a children's book author some years after her graduation from MCAD, but her printmaking background informs her illustrations. Working in colored pencil and technical pen, she initially employed a lot of cross-hatching with color overlays as a way to reflect the intaglio printmaking she had done as a student. Over time, her lines have become bolder and she doesn't use cross-hatching as much.
Carlson's work on display at the Art Institute of Chicago comes from six of her titles, spanning as far back as 1985 (Louanne Pig in the Talent Show) to as recently as 2007 (Loudmouth George Earns His Allowance). Isolated from the text and framed on the wall, Carlson's technique and her artistic evolution are palpable.
Two illustrations from Nancy Carlson's I Like Me, published in 1988. At left, a character in the background reads a newspaper hailing the Minnesota Twins as 1987 World Series champions.
Carlson admits that having her work on display is exciting, but she maintains that creating books for children is her first love. "When you have a show, it's thrilling the entire run of the show, and there's nothing you like more as an artist than seeing your art up on the wall -- but then it's over," she says. "For me, the longevity of published books is very, very fulfilling. Publishing a book and having the art seen by so many more people is a thrill. I go to the library and I see my books, and I'm excited."
The exhibition featuring the work of Nancy Carlson, Timothy Basil Ering and Peter McCarty is in the Art Institute of Chicago's Gallery 10 (lower level) and continues in the Vitale Family Room in the Ryan Education Center (level 1). More information at www.artic.edu/aic.
Posted at 7:25 AM on November 24, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: News and reviews
Can you tell it's the beginning of a long weekend? The arts start early...
Susana di Palma curates this year's Choreographers' Evening at the Walker - Camille Lefevre, MinnPost
This year, flamenco powerhouse Susana di Palma, artistic director of Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater, is in charge. According to press materials, after auditioning 56 "acts," she was determined to find the right combination of emerging and established artists to usher in the holiday season.
Disney's golden hair surprise - Colin Covert, Star Tribune
'Tangled,' opening Wednesday, finds the just-right balance between sentiment and satire, action and romance. Plus it's pretty.
She's no damsel in distress, but she does need to let her hair down - Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
The wicked stepmother, that popular villain of animated musicals, gets an update in "Tangled": Now, she's the passive-aggressive stepmother.
Likable actors can't cope with the clutter in their messy melodrama - Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
Two people who don't want to fall in love do it anyway in "Love and Other Drugs."
Magic pill - Colin Covert, Star Tribune
Non-stupid direction and great acting by Gyllenhaal and Hathaway save what could have been a standard dying-lover romance.
Pop diva Cher teaches Christina Aguilera the shticks of the trade - Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
Like Kraft macaroni and cheese or a Barry Manilow song, "Burlesque" is kinda terrible and kinda great.
Cue the sequins & dream - Colin Covert, Star Tribune
Christina meets Cher in a showbiz fantasyland.
The Rock, muscled up, is out for revenge - Tom Horgan, Star Tribune
Dwayne Johnson leaves comedy behind in a laughs-free, average action film.
"Today's Special" - Colin Covert, Star Tribune
Aasif Mandvi movie lacks passion.
There's a reason this dish is on so many menus - Chris Hewitt, Pioneer Press
Although it's called "Today's Special," a more appropriate title for the restaurant-themed comedy would be "Comfort Food."
Who needs touring acts when the homegrown stuff is so fine? - Ross Raihala, Pioneer Press
Thanksgiving signals a slowdown for touring club acts because the arrival of the holidays and Minnesota's sometimes sketchy early winter weather keep many bands at home. But that doesn't mean empty venues.
What you missed: Grinderman Cake In 15
From the enraptured mass of beards, mustaches and balding pates swamping up the Mainroom on Tuesday, it's not just the hot girls that Nick Cave and Grinderman have sway over, but any noise-loving dude with a righteous desire to get louche and loud and god bless us all if we weren't ground down under Cave's patent leather squaretoe last night night, in the best possible way.
A trifecta of country superstars is headed to the Twin Cities - Chris Riemenshneider/Jon Bream, Star Tribune
Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban all announce 2011 concert dates.
Keillor and VocalEssence serve up a wistfully funny feast - Rob Hubbard, Pioneer Press
Garrison Keillor is aging quite gracefully. The host of the popular radio revue, "A Prairie Home Companion," seems to be sliding comfortably into the role of sage elder. He still waxes humorous on his seemingly stream-of-consciousness stories, but now offers wistful recurring encouragement to enjoy your life and those around you.
Minnesota Orchestra to play at Convention Center during construction - Graydon Royce, Star Tribune
The orchestra will move to the nearby 2,100-seat auditorium for its 2012-13 season.
Cloud Cult Showcases New Album at First Ave - Michelle Los, Minneapolis Examiner
Last Wednesday and Thursday nights, local favorite Cloud Cult celebrated the release of their new CD, Light Chasers, at First Ave.
Scarecrow on Fire: The Lost Notebooks of Oz - Amy Carlson, Pioneer Press
Ever wonder what happened to Dorothy and her crew of misfits after their "Wizard of Oz" adventure? Noted actor, writer and storyteller Kevin Kling will provide some insight when his "Scarecrow on Fire: The Lost Notebooks of Oz" opens a three-show run Friday at the Fitzgerald Theater
Arts Orbit Radar 11/25/10 - Jay Gabler, TC Daily Planet
What's on this week
Posted at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Music
Ike Reilly (left) remains calm as Chris Roberts displays his best radio interviewer face. (MPR photos by Euan Kerr)
So, both Chris Roberts and I were convinced Ike Reilly was from Michigan. Chris says it's because I told him. I think I read it somewhere years ago.
Whatever. We were wrong.
Of course we all know how quick many Minnesotans are to claim someone as a being from here.
Our colleague Dan Olson has commented that a layover at Minneapolis St Paul International is good enough for some, so we will be adding many unknowing-Minnesotans to the roster this Thanksgiving.
And they thought their biggest problem was the TSA screening...
Anyway, Ike Reilly's long standing tradition of Thanksgiving gigs at First Avenue certainly gives him Minnesotan street cred.
He plays tonight with White Light Riot and John Swardson& Get Gone in support.
You can hear Chris Roberts' interview tonight, but we thought you'd like to see some photos in the meantime.
Posted at 3:09 PM on November 24, 2010
by Euan Kerr
Filed under: Funding
The Bush Foundation which has long been a funding source for Minnesota's arts community (including Minnesota Public Radio) announced today it's ending its popular Artist Fellows program.
In emails sent to current fellows and grantees Bush Vice-President Pam Wheelock announced the creation of what will now be the Bush Fellowship Program.
The Bush Fellowship Program is informed by and replaces all fellowship programs that came before it, including the Bush Artist Fellowship and the Enduring Vision Awards.
We've made this change to our fellowship programs because we believe that economic, social and demographic forces across the three states are challenging people to develop creative and innovative solutions. The Bush Fellowship Program can be instrumental in building an individual's capacity and confidence to advance needed community change in partnership with others to solve these tough problems. Our history with the fellowship programs provides ample evidence that the commitment and courage to lead others in seeking solutions to our tough problems rests in individuals in every part of our community. We need "all hands on deck" every social entrepreneur, business owner, artist, public sector employee, community volunteer, and the like to embrace the opportunity to learn and grow so others in our communities can have the hoped for future. This Fellowship Program offers the support needed to achieve that shared vision.
The foundation will begin taking applications for the new Fellowships in December.
According to the Foundation website since 1965 its Fellowship Programs "have supported more than 2,200 accomplished artists, physicians and leaders in deepening their skills and pursuing training for greater leadership."
The change does not come as a huge surprise. Bush ended its medical fellowships last year, and announced a refining period for the fellowship programs beginning in July.
The Foundation's Director of Engagement and Communication Scott Cooper told me this afternoon he expects about 35 people to be accepted for the first intake of fellows under the new program next year. They will receive $50,000 to $75,000 depending on the fellowship, each which will be specifically designed. He also expects they will come from all walks of life, including artists.
"Our goal is to help expand the capacity of communities to address the challenges they are facing and we are trying to figure out the best way to do that. And we had had several different fellowship programs grow up for specific audiences and it seemed that was no longer necessarily the right way to go."