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Geoff McFetridge's 2012 design "3 by 3."
For the design savvy, Walker Art Center is the place to see and be seen on Tuesday nights in March. The Walker's "Insights" design lecture series will showcase talent from Los Angeles, Berlin and Amsterdam. Each of the four designers also has been commissioned to create a project for the Walker.
March 5: Los Angeles designer Geoff McFetridge of Champion Studio will launch the series with a talk about his whimsical, figurative designs which have garnished everything from limited-edition Nike sneakers to wallpaper and a music video for OK Go. The Walker hired McFetridge to design a pattern for the 10 ft. tall construction fence that will surround the museum's 1971 wing starting in early March.
The fence is expected to be in place through December while the building's original brick facade is removed, new insulation and drainage systems installed, and new bricks applied. In the 42 years since that section of the building opened, moisture seeped between the bricks and the concrete block understructure. The condensation eroded the inner surface of the bricks, necessitating their replacement.
March 12: Berlin-based Eike Honig calls his studio, Hort, a "playground for creative people." In practice, the firm's playful aesthetic has been applied to everything from record-sleeves to the signage for a German architectural icon, the original Bauhaus building designed by Walter Gropius. Konig, who teaches graphic design and illustration at the HfG University of Arts, Offenbach, is designing a web-based project for the Walker.
March 19: Remember psychedelia? That 60s moment is apparently thriving in Amsterdam where Job Wouters, a.k.a. Letman, is a "practitioner of the lost art of psychedelic, delirious penmanship," according to the Walker. Wouters' clients range from the New York Times Magazine to Audi, Tommy Hilfiger and Heineken. For them he's done everything from illustrations, fabrics, posters and typefaces to murals and body-paint designs. He is creating a mural for the Walker where his lecture will include a demo of his hand-lettering techniques.
March 26: The only one of the designers known to have issued a manifesto, Luna Maurer claims to use "logic-based design as a tool to understand the ungraspable." The Amsterdam-based designer is intrigued by the relationship between people and technology, and plans to involve the lecture audience in one of her "social experiments." Be warned: her previous events have had people using tape, markers and sticky notes "to implement . . . algorithmic explorations of group thought." A visiting critic at Yale University's School of Art, Maurer also teaches "interaction design" at the Gerrit Reitveld Academy in Amsterdam.
Lectures, 7 p.m. Tuesdays in March. $85 four-part series; $24 each. Walker Cinema, Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-375-7600 or walkerart.org/tickets
Veteran Twin Cities arts administrator David Galligan will return to Walker Art Center as deputy director and chief operating officer starting April 15. He served in a similar role at the Walker from 1996 to 2002 under the title COO/treasurer.
He is expected to focus on bonding issues and developing a "campus plan" that will better integrate the Walker's building with the city owned Minneapolis Sculpture Garden across the street. A key question in the plan will be how to use the now-vacant land west of the Walker where the original Guthrie Theater once stood. It is now a popular sledding hill and site for community celebrations including the annual Rock the Garden concert. Various plans have been sketched out during the past eight years, but all have been shelved for lack of money.
During his previous Walker employment, Galligan helped plan the museum's 2005 expansion and was particularly influential in persuading the Minneapolis City Council to pay for a $25 million underground parking garage as part of the complex. He also championed new online education programs, helped diversify the center's financial support and balanced the budget throughout his tenure, a status the Walker has consistently maintained.
Following his Walker tenure, Galligan was president and CEO of the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts for four years, during which he restructured relationships with the organization's resident tenants, the Minnesota Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Schubert Club.
A shrewd political operator, he engineered the Ordway's first public support of $8 million from the state of Minnesota and the city of St. Paul and raised $4 million in new endowment funds. He also balanced the Ordway's budget each year.
As an independent consultant since leaving the Ordway, Galligan's nonprofit clients include the Guthrie Theater, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Wexner Center for the Arts at Ohio State University, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the University of Utah.
Groups suing Minneapolis over demolition of Peavey Plaza claimed a moral victory Thursday when the downtown Minneapolis site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is a very exciting day for us,” said Doug Gasek, the new executive director of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. “It helps us by showing this place is important not just locally, but at a national level.”
Gasek’s group, along with the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, is suing Minneapolis over its plan to demolish the plaza as part of an in-progress renovation of Orchestra Hall.
Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff, who chairs the city’s zoning and planning committee, said Thursday that the announcement “shouldn’t affect the plans at all. It already went through the local review process. This just brings more attention to the space.”
The designation, announced Thursday, will be published on Jan. 25, according to a statement from the Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Well-known landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg designed Peavey Plaza, which opened in 1975, around the same time as the current Orchestra Hall. It features a sunken plaza, a shallow pool, stepped seating areas and a fountain at the corner of 12th Street and Nicollet Mall. It used to feature ice skating in the winter.
The National Register action was “not a surprise to us,” said Erin Hanafan Berg, field representative of the Preservation Alliance. “We have believed all along that it’s a historically and architecturally significant site, but the city wouldn’t listen to us,” Berg said.
The current plan, approved by the City Council in 2012, would scrap most of Friedberg’s original design. The city maintains that a redo is needed to maximize usage and bring the place into compliance with new disability-access laws. The current plan, with a projected $10 million price tag, was unveiled in October 2011, but has not yet been put in place, although work is underway on the adjoining Orchestra Hall renovation.
Opponents remain determined to save the plaza. “Peavey Plaza’s National Register designation is a victory of Paul Friedberg’s brilliant design, for Modernist landscape architecture and further undermines the City of Minneapolis’ ill-advised demolition plans,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, Cultural Landscape Foundation founder and president, in a statement.
Berg said the next step in the dispute comes Feb. 5, when a judge is scheduled to hear from both sides in the pending litigation. A trial is set for June.
The National Register lists 88,000 historic sites, but only about 2,500 of those are deemed significant as works of landscape architecture. Thursday’s listing is not the same as a landmark designation, which is rarer and harder to achieve. Minnesota has just 29 places that have been designated as landmarks on the National Register.
Staff writer Eric Roper contributed to this report.Claude Peck • 612-673-7977 • On Twitter: @ClaudePeck
The just-opened Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, N.Y. / Photos by Matthu Placek
Herzog & de Meuron, who designed the Walker Art Center renovation that opened in Minneapolis in 2005, have done museum projects in San Francisco (the de Young) and in Spain (the Caixa Forum in Madrid and the Museum of Natural Sciences in Barcelona).
The Swiss architects' newest art palace is a stunner of a shed on Long Island. Their new Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, which opened in mid-November, is a 600-foot long shed of steel, salvaged wood, glass and concrete. The original idea, for an $80 million museum, was scrapped when fund-raising hit a snag. The new project came in at a budget of just $26 million.
Justin Davidson wrote this review of the new place in New York magazine.
More photos of the exterior can be seen here.
Veteran preservationist Doug Gasek has been named Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM). The Minnesota organization, based in St. Paul, promotes understanding of Minnesota history and education about community preservation and values.
Prior to taking the Minnesota job, Gasek held a dual post as Executive Director of the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation and as State Architectural Historian for the Alaska Department of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. In his preservation role he increased membership, revenue and strategic partnerships with public and private organizations. Previous to that he served as historian and archaeologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He holds a M.A. in historic preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.