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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
Ai Weiwei's "Safe Passage" uses life jackets abandoned by Syrian Civil War refugees to wrap the pillars utside the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
(Phot

Thousands of life jackets worn by refugees attached to pillars at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art opens a provocative exhibition.
“Flags 1” (1973) by Jasper Johns.

Jasper Johns plants his flags in a new show at Walker Art Center

As he nears 90, the celebrated artist continues to be fascinated by symbols "the mind already knows."
Harriet Bart, “Abracadabra Universe,” 2007, gold leaf, vintage chemistry materials.

Mysticism abounds in Minnesota artist Harriet Bart's grand retrospective

The veteran artist gets a grand retrospective at Weisman, Mia.
Patrick Pryor’s “Horizon With Yellow Hue 3."

In the depths of winter, Twin Cities art scene screams for yellow

A new art history book — and a Minneapolis gallery exhibition — try to redeem the often-maligned color.
"Nothing is Apparent" by Clarence Morgan is part of the exhibit "The Beginning of Everything."

Giant exhibit at the U of M presents 500 years' worth of drawings

A giant exhibition at the U of M explores the malleable medium.
"Youth and Age" by Jamel Shabazz

Legacy of Gordon Parks lives on, in a photo show at St. Paul museum

Show weaves his work with that of an artist he influenced.
The “bus garage” built on a frozen Lake Harriet.

Pedal-powered bus will shuttle visitors as Art Shanty returns to icy Lake Harriet

As the Art Shanty Projects return to icy Lake Harriet, we went behind the scenes with one of the creative teams.
Pamela Andell, executive director of the Jaques Art Center, and board vice president Jan Hasselius toured a 25th anniversary exhibit devoted to its na

Aitkin museum is dedicated to Minnesota wildlife artist

A Minnesota small-town gem, Jaques Art Center celebrates 25 years with giant show on the great Minnesota wildlife painter Francis Lee Jaques.
To invite new audiences, Twin Cities museums are translating the humble wall label

To invite new audiences, Twin Cities museums are translating the humble wall label

At Twin Cities museums, art speaks more than one language.
"Sparkly Red Shoes" by Carmen Soth, daughter of photographer Alec Soth.

Kid-centered photo show is anything but cute at Minneapolis Institute of Art

It features more than 100 youth-focused photographs from the past century.
"What have my parents left behind ... what have they carried with them," mixed-media collage by Ana Laura Juarez Espinoza.

Don't miss these 5 Twin Cities art exhibits that are closing soon

Now that 2020 is here, everything starts anew. But a few killer art exhibitions are lingering into the next decade for just a few more…
“Turn Your Back” by Melissa Chimera

Minneapolis art exhibit rejects 'Middle East' in favor of a more inclusive community

Show at SooVAC rejects the term "Middle East" in favor of a more inclusive look at the region.
Travelers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport walked past "You Are Here," a floor mosaic by Andrea Myklebust and Stanton G. Sears.

Art at the airport: 10 great spots to catch a flight of fancy

Mario Montalvo was busy texting away at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Behind him, rabbits, faces and pots made of ceramics loomed. “Sometimes airports can be…
The beaded back of a child’s floral jacket, made by a Dakota artist in the late 1800s, is part of the “Our Home: Native Minnesota” exhibit openi

There's a new 'Home' for Dakota & Ojibwe at Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center creates a dedicated space to highlight Dakota and Ojibwe life, then and now.
A candle design by Christy Johnson on sale at Aristry in Bloomington.

5 Twin Cities spots to buy gifts for the artist or art-lover in your life

Shopping for the holidays can be an overwhelming ordeal if you don’t know where to go. There are more than 100,000 artists residing in…
The troupe New Black City performed on the Walker Art Center rooftop terrace last summer.

Walker Art Center balances its budget again in a leaner, quieter year

Fiscal 2019 saw the hiring of a new director.
“The Workshop” at Haunted Basement

Christmas-themed Haunted Basement opens this weekend at Rosedale Center

Ho-ho-haunted basement? Your yuletide just got spookier.
“What Have My Parents Left Behind ... What Have They Carried With Them” by Ana Laura Juarez Espinoza.

With holiday feasting over, feast your eyes on these Twin Cities art exhibits

No desire to go shopping? Check out these three shows.
A detail from the Finnish display at the American Swedish Institute's holiday show.

Holiday exhibit imagines past, present and future of Scandinavia

Personal ties abound in the American Swedish Institute's holiday display.
A splotch of metallic gold paint suggests the blond hair of Marilyn Monroe in Marlene Dumas’ 2005 drawing “Name No Names,” inspired by the Commu

'The Walker is like family': Minnesota collectors give the museum a remakable gift

Assembled over 60 years, the exquisite art collection of Erwin and Miriam Kelen has a new home at the Walker.
Cara Romero’s “Jackrabbit & Cottontail.”

Artist Cara Romero plays with Native tricksters, clay goddesses and creation stories in Minneapolis show

Cara Romero blends a sense of humanity with the supernatural.
Ginger Shulick Porcella

Franconia Sculpture Park's new leader aims to go beyond 'big art'

A summer solstice festival, a camp for kids and a wider diversity of artists are all on Porcella's agenda.
"Thoughts and Prayers" by Essma Imady.

Minnesota artists go big for 'On the Verge' exhibition at Rochester Art Center

Rochester Art Center hosts the yearly Minnesota showcase.
Coco Fusco

In show at St. Olaf, artist Coco Fusco confronts Cuba's past, and tries to shape its future

Noted artist Coco Fusco is the subject of a show at St. Olaf.
Above: Mark Meister has returned to the Twin Cities after nearly 20 years to lead the Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis.

His plans for this Minneapolis museum are bigger than Russia itself

Mark Meister, who launched the Children's Museum, has ambitious plans for the Museum of Russian Art.
Victoria Marie is founder of Native-owned Indigenous Lotus, which offers yoga classes and clothing. Much of her practice focuses on at-risk youth.

Twin Cities Native yoga instructor teaches mind-body classes as way to heal from trauma

Indigenous Lotus offers yoga classes at venues such as the Indian Health Board of Minneapolis and sells Native American-designed yoga clothing.
“Squirrel Mumbles” by Julie Buffalohead. Provided by Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Minneapolis center presents an all-star show of Native prints from 'Mni Sota'

"Transference," an exhibit at Highpoint Center, reflects on a land whose very name is about the idea of reflection.
Henriette Huldisch, framed by the signature Kenneth Noland painted-aluminum wall at the List Visual Arts Center in Cambridge, Mass.

New Walker Art Center curator wants to engage 'wide variety of audiences'

As the new chief curator, Henriette Huldisch has been tasked with thinking "about how art matters."
Portraits of Hmong veterans by Twin Cities artist Pao Houa Her.

Minneapolis museum show reflects on the Vietnam War, then and now

A massive exhibit at Minneapolis Institute of Art reflects on the war from various perspectives.
“We Dreamt Deaf” by Nicholas Galanin: A taxidermy polar bear (shot in the 1970s in Shishmaref by a sport hunter, the village now being swallowed b

St. Paul gallery show flips the script on American Indian art

An Alaskan artist's new exhibit critiques the American dream.
In 2013, dozens of supporters came out for the 8th Annual $99 Art Sale at the Soap Factory gallery in Minneapolis.

Once a hub of Minneapolis art scene, Soap Factory calls it quits

The decision came after worsening finances resulted in the sale of the company's flagship space near the downtown Minneapolis riverfront.
Mia staffers Elisabeth Callihan, Karleen Gardner and Anniessa Antar lead a museum effort called MASS Action. “We can start to work toward undoing le

Minneapolis team is changing museums from the inside out

A homegrown project at Minneapolis Institute of Art has spread nationwide — and beyond — as museums confront their colonial past.
Included in the “Queer Forms” exhibit is Savana Ogburn’s “Valentine’s Day Fantasy” (2017, archival pigmented prints with found objects)

More than 100 LGBTQ artists take over the University of Minnesota's Nash Gallery

"Queer Forms" is a sweeping exhibit.
The Walker exhibition includes a reading room like this one at Theaster Gates’ Stony Island Arts Bank on Chicago’s South Side. TOM HARRIS • Whit

Chicago artist Theaster Gates takes care of all the forgotten stuff

With a sprinkle of "Theaster dust," a Chicago artist finds deeper meanings in discarded objects at the Walker.
Local artist Chuck U will participate in Chroma Zone Mural & Art Fest.

Artists will transform St. Paul buildings during eight-day mural festival

15 mural artists from around the globe transform St. Paul's Creative Enterprise Zone.
Jim Denomie is the first Native American artist to win the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award.

Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie takes home Minnesota's highest arts prize

He's the first Native American to win the $50K McKnight Award.
"In Dreams" by Patty Voje at the State Fair.

10 must-see pieces at the Minnesota State Fair fine arts show

This year brought less overtly political work, more depictions of women, fewer animals and a lot of imagery of American Indians.
Top, “Tradeswomen: Get Serious!” by Meadow Muska, 1976.
Above, Muska stands beside a 1978 photo of herself in the exhibit. Courtesy of the Minneap

Once-taboo images by a Minnesota-born photographer reveal lesbian lives in the 1970s

Once-taboo images by a Minnesota-born photographer reveal lesbian lives in the 1970s.
R.J. Kern ‘s “The Best of the Best” features portraits of livestock from the 2018 State Fair made using a 19th-century bronze-tinted salt photo

R.J. Kern photographs 'best' animals for Minnesota State Fair

Twin Cities photographer R.J. Kern showcases pairs of prizewinners from last year's Minnesota State Fair.
Laura Wertheim Joseph

Minnesota Museum of American Art's new curator: 'There are widespread calls to decolonize museums'

Macalester alum Laura Wertheim Joseph brings broad arts experience to Minnesota Museum of American Art.
File photo by Joey McLeister: Gendron Jensen in 1987

'Bone man' artist Gendron Jensen dies at age 79

He died last month in New Mexico after a battle with a rare bone cancer. "The irony of that diagnosis was not lost on him," a friend said.
“Wisdom of the Universe” by Christi Belcourt.

Last chance to see groundbreaking art show by more than 100 Native female artists in Minneapolis

More than 100 Native female artists from across the U.S. and Canada came together for the groundbreaking exhibition “Hearts of Our People,” the first…
Casiville Bullard helped lay the brickwork for the Cathedral of St. Paul.

These 3 builders helped shape Twin Cities architectural landscape

Mill City exhibit showcases work of black groundbreakers Cap Wigington, Casiville Bullard and William Hazel.
“Homeless or Homebody?” is a pop-up exhibit of 54 portraits, pasted to a wall under Hennepin Avenue S. in Uptown, showing people from the Hiawatha

Photos under Uptown bridge draw attention to the problem of homelessness in Minneapolis

The Minneapolis homeless camp inspired a photographer to get off Instagram and onto the street.
Brad Kahlhamer

Punk dream catchers and native iconography make magic in two Twin Cities exhibitions

Two exhibits show the unique worldview of Brad Kahlhamer.
Artist Seitu Jones, right, discussed the flat sculpture commemorating freed slave Harriet Robinson Scott at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden on Thursd

Minnesota historical figures step out of the shadows and into the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

New works in Sculpture Garden bring historical figures back into the light
Blake Vang, 21, of Lake Elmo, tried out a quarter-pipe at the new skate-able art park in north Minneapolis, his moves echoed by a mural by New York’

Skate plaza rises from JXTA rubble in Minneapolis: 'It's about community'

A neighborhood park is rising from the rubble of the Juxtaposition Arts building.
A rendition of “Radical Playground” by Candida Gonzalez and Mary Anne Quiroz, to be staged at the Commons park near U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapol

With a theme of 'resilience,' Northern Spark flies into Rondo and Franklin Av. neighborhoods

Rondo and Franklin Av. share the focus of a fest devoted to renewal.
“Nancy,” left, and “Megan” from the series “Outcry” by Whitney Bradshaw.

No shoutout: 160 women let loose their screams in St. Paul photo show

Chicago photographer makes "Outcry."
"The Garden" by Julie Buffalohead.

In Minneapolis, Native women's art shines in a revolutionary exhibition

Review: Groundbreaking exhibit showcases once-anonymous American Indian artists.
Sonya Kelliher-Combs’ installation “Idiot Strings, The Things We Carry” — part of the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s new exhibit “Hearts o

Meet 5 Native women whose art is at the heart of a groundbreaking Minneapolis exhibit

A sampling of the Native women whose art is the focus of the new exhibit "Hearts of Our People."
Sara Cluggish, director of FD13 residency for the arts in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The spark for this arts program was lit in a St. Paul firehouse

FD13, an artist-residency program, connects local creatives to the world through performance.
Charles Gilbert Kapsner in the Committal Hall of the Minnesota State Veterans Cemetery, where his finished murals hang.

Calling it 'my Sistine Chapel,' painter puts final touches on a memorial to Minnesota veterans

After a decade of work, a Minnesota painter puts the final touches on a memorial to the state's veterans.
Leslie Barlow with art by Lissa Karpeh, part of Studio #400 in northeast Minneapolis.

Young talents get a boost from Minneapolis artist Leslie Barlow

New studio program is the brainchild of Leslie Barlow.
A warrior’s helmet from a seventh-century boat grave.

'Vikings Begin' shows relics from ancient Swedish burial ground: 'They were real people'

What was life like in Scandinavia before the rise of the Vikings 1,300 years ago? This show at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis offers a dazzling peek.
Work by Jose Dominguez in “Weirdly Positive/Positively Weird.”

Want to actually see art at Art-a-Whirl? Here are 5 must-see events

If your head is spinning at the very thought of Art-A-Whirl, do not worry. You are not alone. Make a weekend out of discovering oddities,…
“The Art of High-Style: Minnesota Couture 1880-1914” pairs fashions and artwork from the late 1800s and early 1990s — an era when European-ins

A century ago, Twin Cities was a surprising hub of hand-sewn haute couture

Over a century ago, Twin Cities dressmakers took their cues from Europe, as a new exhibit shows.
Warren MacKenzie experimented with brush designs on a vase in January 1950.

Memorial for famed artist Warren MacKenzie to follow St. Croix pottery tour

His studio in rural Stillwater was once part of the tour.
A generation of potters were influenced by "the Warren MacKenzie lifestyle." The Stillwater-based ceramicist strove for utility and personal connectio

World-famous Minnesota potter Warren MacKenzie dies at 94

In 1981, he was named one of the 12 greatest potters in the world. His work is featured in museums collections worldwide and is especially loved in Japan.
Diane Shelgren cleaned “Wayzata Reel” by Philip King at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Harrison Scupture Garden.

Spring cleaning at Arboretum: 'Winter really takes a toll' on outdoor sculptures

At the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, outdoor sculptures get an extra-careful scrub.
A tiny street scene at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum in St. Paul.

From tiny trains to dog-tooth necklaces, 10 quirkiest museums in the Twin Cities

Feel like you've already done the local museum circuit? Here are 10 Twin Cities museums offering something completely different.
Pujan Gandhi; Jane Emison Assistant Curator of South & Southeast Asian Art; Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art takes a fresh look at South and Southeast Asian art

New curator of Asian art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art has big plans for his first year.
Mock-up of Grant Hart Palace Theater project.

Giant art by famed rocker Grant Hart will adorn St. Paul's Palace Theatre

St. Paul theater will install giant mural-like sculptures to honor the late Grant Hart.
The Freeletics app provides customized sessions that use your body weight, instead of any equipment, to target specific muscle groups.

Learning to speak Turkish helped me lose 20 pounds

Step one: Take Turkish lessons. Step two: Watch several episodes of "Ezel" on Netflix — without subtitles. Step three: Download (and use) the ­Freeletics Bodyweight app for interval training.
In the 1934 etching “Minotaure,” Picasso depicted himself as a bull-like beast caught between his lover and his wife.

Picasso's bulls charge into Minneapolis through an ultra-rare set of prints

Prints in a tiny but fascinating exhibition offer a revealing glimpse of his artistic process.
Aneta Grzeszykowska’s “Selfie #10,” 2014, pigment ink on cotton paper

Walker Art Center plugs into 'The Body Electric' for a live-wire new show

No selfies were harmed in the making of this exhibition. In “The Body Electric,” opening Saturday at Walker Art Center, nearly 50 artists or…
Works from Walker Art Center’s permanent collection figure in the new exhibition “5 Ways In."

Unraveling a Minnesota museum mystery: What do they collect – or get rid of?

Unraveling one of the mysteries of museums: What kind of art do they collect — or get rid of?
Sieng Lee worked on his exhibit “Siv Yis and His Wooden Horses.”

St. Paul artist mixes sacred themes with 'simple objects' to unpack Hmong-American experience

A St. Paul artist used mass-produced materials for a trio of installations packed with rich Hmong-American narratives.
The Alec Soth works “Anna, Kentfield, California, 2017” left, and “Galina, Odessa, 2018.”

After self-imposed hiatus, famed Minnesota photographer Alec Soth returns

His show opens Friday at Weinstein Hammons Gallery in Minneapolis.
“Shelves for Dynamite,” a triptych by London-based painter Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, is part of the “Mapping Black Identities” exhibit at Mia.

In 'Black Identities,' Minneapolis Institute of Art draws a map to a better world

"Black Identities" aims to start a dialogue about how we view art, and the artists themselves.
Jim Denomie worked in his home studio, surrounded by his own paintings and a vast collection of masks and trinkets.

Growing in skill at 63, Minnesota artist Jim Denomie is a 'delayed bloomer'

At 63, Jim Denomie is finally hitting his stride, making paintings packed with color, humor and a potent dose of righteous fury.
In this photograph from the exhibit “In the Company of Others,” Den-Zill Gilliard documents a south Minneapolis black church.

Musings on black history and more in three Twin Cities photo shows

Two exhibits for Black History Month and one for the sake of still images.
A scene from Meiro Koizumi’s video “Battlelands.”

Video of veterans at Minneapolis museum delivers a shell shock to the system

Wartime memories take on a life of their own in an hourlong film at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
Work by Anton Kats is shown by projector inside "Goethe in the Skyways." ] LEILA NAVIDI ´ leila.navidi@startribune.com BACKGROUND INFORMATION: The Go

Pop-up gallery in Minneapolis skyway offers taste of Berlin's hot art scene

German sponsors are behind an unusual pop-up gallery in downtown Minneapolis.
John Hock will be the new head of NE Sculpture Gallery Factory in Minneapolis.

Ousted Franconia CEO to be director of northeast Minneapolis gallery

John Hock's previous job ended in August over "inappropriate conduct."