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Alicia Eler

Critic / reporter | Visual art
Phone: 612-673-4437

Alicia Eler is the Star Tribune's visual art critic/arts reporter. She is the author of the book “The Selfie Generation” (Skyhorse Publishing), which has been reviewed in the New York Times, WIRED Magazine and the Chicago Tribune.

A native of Chicago by way of L.A., Eler's writing has also been published in Glamour, the Guardian, CNN, Hyperallergic, Art21 Magazine, LA Weekly, and Aperture.
Recent content from Alicia Eler
Thanks to the grand reopening of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in June 2017, the Walker Art Center saw the number of visitors leap from 391,323 las

Walker Art Center gets a big attendance boost from Sculpture Garden reopening

Its reopening helped extend streak of balanced budgets.
An installation of Ziyang Wu’s “Smarter City 2,” part of Art(ists) on the Verge 9 at Rochester Art Center.

Rochester Art Center hits reset button

Once in danger of failing, it has new leadership and an ambitious exhibition program.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art added deep colors to its gallery walls for the block­buster 2015 exhibition “Delacroix’s Influence,” curated b

Must art gallery walls be white? Twin Cities exhibitors get colorful

"White walls equal modern art," says one museum designer. But some Twin Cities art spaces are challenging the norm.
Tristan Al-Haddad worked on his steel sculpture “Nimbus,” which will be installed in front of the Minneapolis Central Library on the Nicollet Mall

10-ton sculpture ready to swoop into Nicollet Mall

"Nimbus," a massive halo-like steel sculpture, will be the crowning touch of the remake of Nicollet Mall.
Towering granite statues of a pharaoh and his queen greet visitors in the lobby of the Minneapolis Institute of Art — a free taste of the 280 object

Ancient Egypt rises from the sea in a massive show at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Buried under the sea for centuries, precious artifacts resurface at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Sky Bridge No. 1 crosses Marquette Avenue between Wells Fargo Center and Six Quebec

5 public places to discover the work of famed Minnesota artist Siah Armajani

Take a weekend field trip to explore public work by the artist behind the Sculpture Garden walking bridge.
“This Painting Is Missing/This Painting Has Been Found” investigates missing pieces by Ed Ruscha.

Walker presents first U.S. museum overview of art-world trickster from Mexico City

Mario García Torres asks: How can an action be turned into art?
A bulldozer plows through a phosphate tailings pond in Florida.

Portraits of a planet in peril take center stage at a Minneapolis gallery

Photo show documents our impact on the Earth and "the loss of nature."
Tim Thompson’s “HMS Bristol in the Narrows, New York, 1776” is part of the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s new show “This Is New York.”

Winona's Marine Museum sails east with 'This Is New York' exhibit

Winona museum has gathered a surprising treasure trove of New York-centric art.
John Hock, co-founder of Franconia Sculpture Park.

Sculpture park founder fired for 'inappropriate conduct' toward young woman

The board of Franconia Sculpture Park, near Taylors Falls, made the unusual disclosure in response to demands for the return of former CEO John Hock.
Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery co-founders Tina Burnside, left, and Coventry Cowens. Above, the museum's fourth-floor interior

Minnesota gets an African-American museum, thanks to two visionary women

For decades, Minnesota lacked a museum dedicated to its African-American heritage. Two women finally changed that.
The bust of the colossal statue of Hapy, which weighs in at 9,700 pounds, before being cautiously raised out of the water of Aboukir bay, Egypt. It wi

Three giants from Egypt make their way to Minneapolis Institute of Art

"Egypt's Sunken Cities" features multi-ton colossi, gold coins and other treasures recovered from the Mediterranean Sea.
The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis.

Walker Art Center surveys 60-year career of artist behind iconic Minneapolis pedestrian bridge

From the architectural to the political, Walker Art Center surveys the unique space occupied by Minneapolis artist Siah Armajani.
Wing Young Huie

Twin Cities' 10 biggest art events of fall

‘Chinese-ness’ The latest project by Minneapolis photographer Wing Young Huie, who just won the 2018 McKnight Distinguished Artist Award, is part memoir and part…
Photo/new media curator Yasufumi Nakamori has left the Minneapolis Institute of Art to take a position in London.

Minneapolis' two biggest art museums struggle to increase diversity

Both the Walker and Mpls. Institute of Art have lost curators of color in recent months.
“Midway, Minnesota State Fair” by James Boyd Brent

10 must-see works at Minnesota State Fair's Fine Arts Building

If food and animals leave you wanting for more, try these pieces at the Minnesota State Fair.
“Black Out” by Richard Hull (detail shown here) is one of several paintings in the exhibit of art from Chicago artists opening Saturday.

A treasure trove of Chicago art finds a new home at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Colorful, populist and often surreal, the art of the Chicago Imagists finds a new Minneapolis home.
Photographer Wing Young Huie

Minnesota's biggest arts prize goes to a photographer who chronicles urban life

McKnight winner Wing Young Huie builds community, through his lens and in real life.
Bluebirds from the Bell Museum’s collection are piled in a display box in “She Was Concerned About the Loss of Habitat” by Jeff Millikan.

Forgotten taxidermy at Bell Museum becomes pointed art show about climate change

Using specimens from Bell Museum, Jeff Millikan speaks to the climate-change debate.
Chantel Schultz, 24, of Edmonton, worked on a piece made of Styrofoam. “I call them pods, but they reference wombs or intestines or some type of bod

Quirky Franconia Sculpture Park offers day trip, artist haven and free scavenger hunt

Franconia Sculpture Park is the place to encounter intrepid artists. Just don't call it a garden.
The new woolly mammoth at the Bell Museum.

11 hairy, buggy, spacey things to do at the brand-new Bell Museum

A far-out planetarium and a very woolly mammoth are just two of the museum's new attractions.
Children showed art they made during Walker Art Center’s new Sensory Friendly Sundays, aimed at accommodating children with autism and their familie

These sensory-friendly Twin Cities art events serve kids on the autism spectrum

With a first-ever Walker program and Minnesota Orchestra concert, Twin Cities cultural institutions are making themselves more sensory-friendly.
Blackware bowl by Maria Martinez.

New local auction house is changing the way Minnesotans buy and sell art

The state's first auction house devoted to fine art may help keep treasures from leaving.
Aaron Merrill and Masami Kawazato seek out work by local artists, such as “Untitled” by Andrea Carlson, for their condo in Uptown.

For younger Twin Cities collectors, art is a matter of love over money

A new generation of art lovers explains the allure — and how you might get started.
Carry on Homes, in the Commons park, is a multifunctional pavilion hosting the stories of Minnesota immigrants. It was conceived by artists Peng Wu, S

No more all-nighters for Northern Spark: This weekend's Minneapolis arts fest splits into two

The former dusk-to-dawn arts festival has been split into two (earlier) nights.
Weisman Art Museum director Lyndel King.

Weisman Art Museum director Lyndel King steps down after 40 years

Lyndel King led building of the Frank Gehry-designed museum and the growth of U of M art program.
Roger and DeAnna Cummings co-founded Juxtaposition to give children and young adults professional opportunities in the arts.

Juxtaposition Arts has shifted the landscape for young artists in north Minneapolis

JXTA, as it's called, has helped 3,000 children and young adults through its training programs.
This empty lot at W. Broadway and Emerson Avenue N. will be the site of Juxtaposition Arts' new building, with a temporary art plaza opening this year

Juxtaposition Arts launches $14M campaign for new home in north Mpls.

The funds will be used for a new building at W. Broadway and Emerson Avenue N., where two decrepit structures had to be demolished this spring.
“Hero’s Horse” by Kevin Box is one of the prominent pieces on display at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Artworks bloom amid the 38,000 tulips at Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

At the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, sculptures and other artworks are part of the growth plan.
Powderhorn Art Fair

From Edina to the North Side, a guide to summer art fairs in Twin Cities

Discover artists, enjoy being outdoors or just eat your way through an afternoon.
Wisconsin artist Jordan Jirschele worked in the spare bedroom of a Minneapolis home as part of a 10-day, short-term residency there. “It’s fast, e

'Speed residencies' offer quick getaways for Minnesota artists to recharge

Residencies are a traditional way for artists to recharge. Now there's a short-term alternative for those who can't afford to take several months off.
Kim Simonsson’s “Lisa and Louisa” stands at the end of a hallway at the American Swedish Institute.

Creepy ceramic kids and 'Moss People' take over a Mpls. mansion museum

I saw it with my own eyes: The children of “Hunger Games” met Swamp Thing and then joined forces with the twin girls from…
Aparna Ramaswamy, left, and Ranee Ramaswamy. ORG XMIT: MIN1404220936490498

Three Twin Cities artists win prestigious Guggenheim Fellowships

Prestigious fellowships go to mother-daughter dance team, multimedia artist.
“Receiving Blanket,” a plush blanket imprinted with a bombed-out building, is part of Essma Imady’s exhibit “Thicker Than Water.”

Minneapolis show by Syrian-born artist explores the effect of war on children

Essma Imady's solo show at Minneapolis Institute of Art is a solemn meditation on the Syrian conflict's sad fallout.
Allen Ruppersberg’s “The Singing Posters: Allen Ginsberg’s Howl by Allen Ginsberg (Part 1 & 2)” is a massive depiction of the Ginsberg poem.

Greetings from L.A.: Sprawling show takes over Walker Art Center

Walker celebrates L.A. conceptual artist Allen Ruppersberg with a sprawling 50-year retrospective.
Olga Viso rebuilt the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, rebricked the old museum building, carved out a new entrance and restaurant on Vineland Place and

What's next for Walker Art Center? There's a ripe opportunity for the new boss

The search for Olga Viso's successor offers the arts center a tantalizing opportunity.
Objects in “Power and Beauty” show at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Minneapolis Institute of Art's new exhibit is part theater experience

You enter through darkness. The room is pitch-black, except for a single light on a single vase. For five minutes you and a small group of other visitors will sit in the dark, as if waiting for a play to begin.
A guard armed with an ice-fishing pole stood outside the Tomb of the Unknown Minnow by artists Nicholas Maurstad, Angela Maki North and Mike Taus at t

Go to the lake this weekend: Art Shanty Projects offer 21 reasons for freezin'

Spend the weekend at the lake with the creative minds behind Art Shanty Projects.
Marcia Sheppleman of St. Paul, a member of the Lake Country Pastel Society, worked on her pastel of an old barn in winter during a “paint-in” at t

Minnesota 'paint-in' shows pastels aren't just for kids

The word "pastel" may call to mind middle-school art class, but the medium has made appearances throughout art history.
“Rooms & Apts” (1987) by Mike Lynch.

Minnesota legend Mike Lynch: A portrait of the artist as blue-collar hero

Legendary Minnesota artist Mike Lynch is celebrated in a retrospective opening Saturday.
“Luther” ranked among the museum’s all-time top five exhibits for attendance, bringing in 111,000 visitors.

'Luther' show helps Minneapolis Institute of Art set another attendance record

It ranked among the museum's all-time top five exhibits for attendance, bringing in 111,000 visitors.
The “Merce Cunningham : Common Time” exhibit at the Walker was a big draw in 2017.

Endowment helps Walker Art Center balance its budget despite a drop in earnings

Investments boomed while attendance sagged during a rebuilding year.
Work by Julie Buffalohead

Animal tricksters rule in Julie Buffalohead's narrative artworks

Julie Buffalohead makes visual fables using animal characters from Native American stories.
Jennifer Nevitt’s solo exhibition <a href="">“Sans Terre,”</a> on view at the Minneapol

Objects rule in a highly tactile show at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Mpls. Institute of Art presents solo show by Jennifer Nevitt.
“Dot Dot Dot” by John Pearson

Six great places for holiday art buying in Minneapolis

This holiday season, give the gift of art.
Charles Chamblis photographed Jerry Ray and Johnny Ray on their motorcycles at Lake Calhoun in 1986.

Meet the Pictureman, whose goal was to show 'the best of black life' in Minnesota

"The best of black life" in Minnesota comes alive in a book and show of photographs by the late Charles Chamblis.
“Rosas y Estrellas” (“Roses and Stars”) by Raúl Martínez depicts 19th-century Cuban revolutionary José Martí (center) flanked by Fidel Cas

Walker Art Center show presents Cuba as the land of disenchantment

"Adiós Utopia" is a portrait of Cuba's revolution as told by the artists who stayed.
L.A. artist Amalia Ulman played with “extreme makeover culture” on Instagram in her 2014 series “Excellences and Perfections,” playing off ste

How selfies reflect a new generation of artists

There's more to selfies than meets the eye, especially among the millennial artists of "The Selfie Generation."
Walker Art Center's "Hahn/Cock" rooster in the snow.

It's so Minnesotan to look at sculptures in the snow

It's possible to explore – and even embrace – sculpture in the snow.
Murals adorn the Intermedia Arts building in south Minneapolis. The creative space attracts artists “of different backgrounds, ethnicities and creat

What would be lost if Intermedia closes? Twin Cities artists reflect

Artists reflect on the value of the Minneapolis center, facing a dire crisis.
Aliza Nisenbaum teaches a portrait drawing class at Centro Tyrone Guzman.

What does 'community' look like? That challenge brought a N.Y. artist to Minnesota

New York-based, Mexico City-born painter Aliza Nisenbaum had never been in Minneapolis. But this summer it became her second home.
"Spirit Island Projection," by Andrea Carlson.

Two artists 'lock it down' with projects illuminating the history of St. Anthony Falls

Light shows this month illuminate the history of St. Anthony Falls.
John Berkey's “Defending Rose, ND.”

How a Minnesotan created the galaxy: Meet 'Star Wars' artist John Berkey

Minnesota artist's futuristic visions for "Star Wars" and other sci-fi projects land at MCAD.
Edgar Heap of Birds’ “Nuance of Sky #1, Neuf series”

New Bockley Gallery show reflects history of American Indians in south Minneapolis

Artist Edgar Heap of Birds incorporates local history for his solo exhibition at Bockley Gallery.
Finnish artist Mari Mathlin sat in a tent-like piece she was exhibiting during the opening for a show of her work at Hair and Nails in south Minneapol

For a growing number of Twin Cities galleries, home is where the art is

Artists in the Twin Cities are turning their private homes into public galleries.
Chris Kraus

'I Love Dick' author Chris Kraus talks about new book she wrote at Minnesota cabin

It took 20 years, but Kraus finally finished a biography of Kathy Acker, the "punk poet" who inspired her.
The church almost upstages the people in Giovanni Paolo Panini’s "The Consecration of Giuseppe Pozzobeonelli as Archbishop in San Carlo al Corso," a

Snapshots of the 18th century, at the Minneapolis Institute of Art

History is writ large in "Eyewitness Views," a show of huge oil paintings that capture moments in time.
Ifrah Mansour's video/installation “Can I Touch It" is featured in the show "I Am Somali."

First Somali-American art show at Minneapolis Institute of Art spans three generations

Organized by Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, the museum's curator of African art, "I Am Somali" draws its title from a poem of that name by Abdulkadir Hersi Siyad.
Seitu Jones’ work includes large-scale Green Line corridor art and set design.

St. Paul's Seitu Jones takes home $50K for this year's McKnight Distinguished Artist award

The prestigious Distinguished Artist Award goes to a St. Paulite dedicated to community work.
Megan Vossler organized "Ekphrastic 2.0: A Collaborative Storytelling Experiment."

38 artists create one giant work at SooVAC gallery in Minneapolis

"Ekphrastic 2.0" is a five-week experiment taking shape on a white brick wall at SooVAC gallery in Minneapolis.
“Lunch Lady,” Minneapolis yarn artist HoTTea’s biggest installation to date, hangs in the Mall of America’s North Atrium. The work will remain

Minneapolis yarn artist HoTTea hangs his largest piece to date at Mall of America

The artist's multicolored yarn design is a tribute to the ladies who serve lunch.
Paige Coletti-Swenson holds "Nest," by Carley McHenry, at a past Minneapolis Art Lending Library event.

You can get art, with no buyer's remorse, at Minneapolis Art Lending Library

Operating like a cross between a bookmobile and a mini-art gallery, Minneapolis Art Lending Library sets up shop at city parks four times a year.
"Ghost" by Joe Sinness.

Minnesota artist's solo show is a reminder to 'stop and smell the flowers'

Minneapolis Institute of Art show brings beauty to sometimes gritty details of queer male life.
“Baby’s First Gun” by Renee Stout

Artists take aim at U.S. gun ownership in Minneapolis gallery show

An exhibition at MCAD Gallery considers the role of guns in U.S. households, for children and adults alike.
Members of the Dakota Sioux tribe held a drum ceremony in front of the “Scaffold” sculpture before it was dismantled in a Dakota-led ceremony.

Lessons from the 'Scaffold' controversy: 'Museums are inherently colonial institutions'

Curators from across the U.S. share lessons learned from the "Scaffold" controversy.
Tommy Tiokasin, with the Standing Rock Sioux Nation, held a staff from his tribal community as the "Scaffold" sculpture was dismantled behind him. Tio

Dakota elders meet to ponder fate of 'Scaffold' materials

It was dismantled and removed from Sculpture Garden.
“The Times Thay Aint a Changing, Fast Enough!” depicts Castile’s death.

Painting of Philando Castile's death on display in New York's Whitney Museum

On exhibit at N.Y.'s Whitney Museum, Henry Taylor's painting is both a sympathetic portrayal and a rallying cry.
Artist Jimmie Durham at his studio and home, a former 12th-century convent, in Naples, Italy, Feb. 3, 2017. (Giulio Piscitelli/New York Times)

Walker exhibit raising new questions from American Indian artists

Some are disputing claims of Cherokee heritage by international artist Jimmie Durham, whose retrospective opens in Minneapolis this week.
A pile of broken concrete was all that remained of “Scaffold” at the Walker’s Sculpture Garden on Tuesday afternoon.

Walker 'Scaffold' sculpture may not be burned after all

Wood will be stored while the Dakota organize a broader meeting with spiritual leaders.
Brian LaBatte, a Lakota and Dakota from Cheyenne River, held up one of the pieces removed from the "Scaffold" Sculpture as its demolishment begun Frid

With prayers, drums and chainsaws, dismantling of 'Scaffold' begins

Work is expected to take four days, although the concrete pad poured for the controversial Walker sculpture may remain longer.
Walker Art Center director Olga Viso watched as Sam Durant, the artist behind the "Scaffold" sculpture, spoke during a Q&A on May 31.

Walker director admits to pain of 'learning in public'

Sculpture may not be burned after all, Olga Viso says in one of her first interviews since the controversy erupted.
Walker Art Center executive director Olga Viso, right, watched as artist Sam Durant spoke at a news conference on May 31.

June 2017: 'I take full responsibility,' Viso says of 'Scaffold' controversy

"We were always hoping to bring awareness" through the work but realized it could only be viewed "through the lens of trauma," says Olga Viso.
Patrick Greffin of Minneapolis, left, and Virgil Blacklance from the Lower Sioux Reservation visited the site of a protest near Sam Durant’s “Scaf

Where the Walker went wrong: Eight questions posed by the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden controversy

Here's how to better understand the brouhaha over the "Scaffold" sculpture.
Coming down: The decision to dismantle “Scaffold” was widely praised, but the plan to burn it has sparked debate.

Why Dakota elders want to burn controversial 'Scaffold' sculpture

The decision, reached in agreement with the Dakota, also provokes questions and concerns, with some Minnesotans citing other moments in history when art was destroyed.
Members of the Dakota Sioux tribe held a drum ceremony Wednesday in front of the "Scaffold" sculpture by Sam Durant outside the Minneapolis Sculpture

'Scaffold' to be dismantled, then burned in Dakota ceremony

Dakota leaders will oversee the dismantling of the controversial sculpture "Scaffold," beginning Friday. The gallows-like work then will be burned in a ceremony in the Fort Snelling area.
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