This week the hounds help us re-capture that Minneapolis sound, discover a new theater company tackling an ambitious first production and find a gathering of master guitar players in greater Minnesota.
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When Andrea Satter was coming of age in the mid-'80s Minneapolis was the epicenter of music, or at least that's what it felt like. So Satter, development manager of Coffee House Press, is very excited to recapture some of that feeling and Minneapolis sound this Friday at the Loring Theater. She'll be at the fDeluxe concert, which is a reincarnation of The Family, a short-lived Prince protégé band.
Kara Davidson and David Darrow were so entranced with the Twin Cities theater scene that they moved here from Nebraska to start a theater company - and they're starting out with a bang. Actor and producer Christopher Kehoe admires that their inaugural production is the most obscure work by a relatively obscure German playwright. "Leonce and Lena" is a lively satire on class and nobility written in the 19th century during a period of major social and political upheaval. You can see it this weekend at the Walker Community United Methodist Church in Minneapolis.
This weekend, Fergus Falls is hosting a who's who of Minnesota's acoustic music scene as part of the Midwest International Guitar Summit. Tim Litt produces the local television show "The Week in the Arts," and is excited to not only hear great performers like Tim Sparks, Ann Reed and Dakota Dave Hull (among others), but there are also workshops where you can work on your guitar playing and songwriting chops. The Summit is taking place this weekend at A Center for the Arts in downtown Fergus Falls.
And you can get an early sneak peek at the Art Hounds' picks every week by texting the word ART to 677-677.
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Posted at 5:00 PM on September 15, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Museums
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is handing over a piece of Greek pottery from 5th Century, B.C. to Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration in order to see that the object is returned to its rightful owner, the Italian government.
Athenian Red-figure Volute Krater
Attributed to the Methyse Painter, 460-450 B.C.
Image courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
The MIA purchased the Greek krater back in 1983 from a well known dealer. Since then it's held a prominent place in the museum's relatively modest antiquities collection.
But in 2006 a criminal investigation into another dealer, Giacomo Medici,
revealed a storehouse of images of looted objects. A few of those photographs depicted a krater that looked startlingly similar to the one in the MIA's collection.
According to the MIA's director Kaywin Feldman, the staff at the MIA began looking into the ownership history of their Grecian krater to determine whether it might or might not be the object in question, but a change in museum leadership, and the departure of a department head resulted in the issue being dropped.
After I arrived here, sometime later, I started to notice that whenever these polaroid photographs were mentioned in books or in the media, Minneapolis was always listed among the cities that might have some of these objects. Out of curiosity I actually contacted the Italian ministry of culture a year ago.
That conversation led to an exchange of information which eventually determined the MIA's krater had likely been illegally excavated. The MIA's board of directors voted in March to deaccession the object and return it to the Italian government. The Italian government for its part has stated that it is thankful for the return of the krater.
Feldman says standards around provenance requirements have changed drastically since the krater was first acquired in 1983:
At the time we did ask for provenance and were told that it came from 'a private collection in Switzerland.' That was acceptable in 1983 - now it would not be acceptable. And in fact now we wouldn't acquire any excavated work of ancient art unless it had provenance showing that it had been out of its country of origin since at least 1970.
Feldman says due to American museums' increased rigor around provenance, the market for looted antiquities has all but dried up.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts returned Fernand Leger's "Smoke Over Rooftops" to the heirs of Jewish art collector Alphonse Kann.
Image courtesy of Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This is not the first time the MIA has had to give up an item in its collection. In October of 2008 the museum returned an early 20th century painting by Fernand Leger, after determining it was looted by Nazis during the German occupation of France.
Currently no other items in the MIA are a source of concern, but Feldman says determining the history of objects in the collection is a regular part of the museum's work.
We have 83,000 objects in our collection. Since we've been here for almost 100 years, there are objects that came to us in 1916 that may not have been fully researched, so determining the history of an object is always an ongoing process.
While the return of the Greek krater has been agreed upon, logistics are still being worked out. Feldman estimates the krater will remain at the museum for at least a month, possibly several months. The MIA is taking advantage of the opportunity to educate the public; the krater is currently on display with an accompanying explanation of the investigation.
Oh and if you're wondering why a Greek object is being returned to Italian authorities, Feldman attributes it to "early globalism." Evidently Romans and Etruscans were very interested in collecting Greek objects, including kraters, which were used for mixing wine. This krater was so valued that it was included in a Roman burial, in what is present-day Italian soil.
Posted at 12:32 PM on September 15, 2011
by Marianne Combs
Filed under: Theater
"Neighbors" at Mixed Blood Theatre
September is truly the month for theater... not only are many theaters opening their first shows of the season, it's also the month of the Ivey Awards, in which local theaters get their night to celebrate the best work of the past year.
Here are just a few of the plays you can see on Twin Cities stages this weekend...and check back on Tuesday morning to find out who won this year's Ivey Awards.
Neighbors at Mixed Blood Theatre.
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Neighbors takes on both racial identity in modern America and the legacy of blacks in theater, specifically minstrels. New York Times writer Patrick Healy called Neighbors "one of the most sustained shocks of [the] theater season."
August: Osage County at Park Square Theatre
Actress Barbara Kingsley gets to finally perform the role for which she was understudy on its Broadway run. As Violet Weston, Kingsley slings barbs at her family which has reunited in the wake of her alcoholic husband's death. The play was a critical success in New York and has won both Tony and Pulitzer awards.
Playwright Neil LaBute loves to make his audiences squirm, and our quest for beauty has inspired a trilogy of plays from him: The Shape of Things, Fat Pig and now Reasons to be Pretty. In the third and final play, a husband's off-hand comment sends his marriage into a downward spiral.
Can we get an "Amen?"
After 15 years of painstaking calligraphy and illumination by an international team of artists, the St. John's Bible is complete.
Detail from Letter to the Seven Churches with the Heavenly Choir, Donald Jackson, 2011. The Saint John's Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.
In the tradition of medieval Bibles, The Saint John's Bible is two feet tall and three feet wide when opened. It's bound in seven distinct volumes. It is the first handwritten bible to be commissioned by a Benedectine Monastery in more than 500 years.
Starting tomorrow, visitors to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts can see excerpts from the final volume, which comprises the Book of Letters and the Book of Revelation.
Detail from Valley of the Dry Bones, The Saint John's Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota
The St. John's Bible was written and drawn entirely by hand by a team of 23 professional scribes, artists and assistants, using quills and paints hand-ground from precious minerals and stones such as lapis lazuli, malachite, silver, and 24-karat gold.
The project was conceived and overseen by Donald Jackson, one of the world's foremost calligraphers and Senior Scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's Crown Office at the House of Lords.
"Now that I have inscribed the final Amen, I realise that over the long years of this task, a boyhood dream, I have gradually absorbed an enduring conviction of the pin-sharp relevance of these ancient Biblical Texts to the past, present and the future of our personal and public life and experience," Jackson said in a release. "These texts have a life of their own and their life is a mirror of the human spirit and experience."
Wisdom Woman, The Saint John's Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.
You can read about Minnesota calligrapher Diane von Arx's participation in illuminating the bible here.
Editor's Note: This story by MPR's Chris Roberts will air on All Things Considered tonight, but I didn't think you'd want to have to wait that long.
A project in St. Paul has won a sizable grant to employ artists to promote economic development along the Central Corridor. The project, called "Irrigate," was awarded 750-thousand dollars by a national consortium of funders, partly because of its potential to be replicated across the U.S.
"Irrigate" is perhaps the largest, most deliberate effort yet in the Twin Cities to harness the creative energy of artists in community development. It's the result of a partnership between the city of St. Paul, the Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Coalition, and St. Paul-based Springboard for the Arts. It came about because of the biggest, costliest, messiest infrastuctural improvement project ever to hit St. Paul, the Central Corridor Light Rail line. Or as, St. Paul Director of Arts and Culture Joe Spencer affectionately refers to it, "the trench."
"And that trench is the recipient of a billion dollar infrastructure project," he said. "And this is a way to sort of irrigate that investment out into the neighborhoods that surround Central Corridor."
"Irrigate" stands out, Springboard for the Arts Executive Director Laura Zabel said, because of the faith it places in the ability of artists to help businesses and neighborhood groups solve problems.
"We believe that artists are creative thinkers and they're entrepeneurs, and they makes them particularly well suited to do this work," she said. "They're able to look at something that other people might view as a problem or a crisis and turn in it into an opportunity."
"Irrigate" will extend for three years, about as long as it will take the Central Corridor line to be built. First, it will train artists in one day workshops on community organizing and economic development skills. They'll learn how to work with people who speak a different language, with businesses that have been dealt a blow by light rail construction, or neighborhood groups contending with livability issues. Then a peer review panel will award grants of up to a thousand dollars to artists who come up with the most innovative projects.
"Some of those are going to look like creative marketing ideas," Zabel said. "They're going to look like creative events. Some of them are going to look like permanent public art, or ways of engaging a neighborhood or community around a particularly difficult issue."
Up to 100 artists will be awarded grants in the first year. The city of St. Paul's Joe Spencer thinks it's unrealistic to expect that all their ideas will take hold.
"But if one really strikes a chord and we can find a way then to take that to scale, it's going to be transformative, not only for Central Corridor, but I think for the whole city of St. Paul," he said.
The 750-thousand dollar grant for the project comes from ArtPlace, a coalition of national funders and federal agencies led by the National Endowment for the Arts. It chose "Irrigate" because of its potential to be a national model for how to engage artists in infrastructure and economic development. ArtPlace President Carol Coletta says in the short term, artists can help St. Paul communities survive the massive upheavel that accompanies installing a light rail line.
"In the long term I think what they'll do is leave an art legacy in these neighborhoods along the transit corridor which will create new brand and new value for those neighborhoods and the people who live in them," she said.
Officials with "Irrigate" have already raised about 200-thousand dollars for the project. Combined with the ArtPlace grant, that's nearly a million dollars. Laura Zabel of Springboard for the Arts says that level of commitment reflects the need for creative ideas along the Central Corridor.
"And that also creates an opening to really demonstrate the power that artists have when they have the skills and the training to do this work," she said.
Zabel has come up with a way to frame the Irrigate project that has almost bumper sticker appeal. This isn't about artists asking for more, she says. It's about communities knowing they can ask for more from their artists.(1 Comments)