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Posts about Design + Architecture

Five international design honchos to speak at Walker Art Center

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: February 27, 2015 - 1:23 PM

Andrew Blauvelt, Walker Art Center design curator. Star Tribune photo by Tom Wallace

Walker Art Center's "Insights 2015 Design Lecture Series" will feature talks by top talent from Minneapolis, Los Angeles, New York, Amsterdam and Liverpool, running March 3 through March 31. The opening talk March 3, by the Walker's own design guru Andrew Blauvelt, is sold out but will be available for viewing as an archived webcast on the Walker Channel. Later talks will also be available on the Walker Channel.

Cosponsored by AIGA Minnesota, the series is augmented with an exhibition"MGDA/AIGA Minnesota: A History Exhibit about the history of the AIGA Minnesota chapter on the occasion of the AIGA's centennial.

Lectures 7 p.m. Tuesdays, March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31. Tickets for individual lectures are $24; a series ticket providing admission to all five talks is $100. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av., Minneapolis.  For ticket information call 612-375-7600 or go to www.walkerart.org.

Lectures and events will showcase:

March 3: "Minnesota Design: A Celebration" :  Andrew Blauvelt, Senior Curator of Design, Research, and Publishing at Walker Art Center will discuss the history of innovative design in Minnesota which ranges from the Honeycrisp apple to the sticky note and the Prince logo. Blauvelt will introduce the Walker's new web-based virtual Minnesota design collection.

March 10: "Technology and Art": Los Angeles-based April Greiman will address "2-D thinking in a 3-D world." A pioneer in desk-top publishing and design, artist-designer Greiman has a long association with the Walker starting with her production of a 1986 issue of the center's influential "Design Quarterly." Known for her early embrace of digital technology, she was art director with Jayme Odgers of Wet Magazine, and brought postmodernist sass to a stripped-down sans-serif world.

March 17: "K-HOLE": A five-member New York based collective, K-HOLE seems to be all-things to all design-savvy people. A shape-shifting entity, it does consulting and web development, makes art, turns out a publication, has a hand in fashion, dabbles in advertising or mock advertising, and appropriates the lingo of trend-forecasting. It's been credited with the invention of such terms as "Youth Mode," "Brand Anxiety Matrix," and "Normcore." Plus the K-HOLE crowd has consulted for private equity and generated its own line of deodorant. Why not?

March 24: Bart de Baets, Amsterdam: Described as a "fierce formalist" and "unrelenting experimenter," this Netherlandish talent works in art, music, performance and film including clubs, fanzines, posters and political statements. Plus he teaches graphic design at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam, and the Royal Academy of Arts, the Hague.

March 31: "Design Fiction" : Liverpool designer James Langdon will go back to basics and focus on the storytelling and emotional pull that are essential to the success of design.

Life of design curator Mildred "Mickey" Friedman celebrated in NYC

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: November 19, 2014 - 5:32 PM

Star Tribune file photos of Mildred "Mickey" Friedman

Mildred "Mickey" Friedman, the influential Walker Art Center design curator who died in September at 85, was remembered this week in New York City for her samba, her style, her curiosity, and her quiet grace. About 100 A-list artists (Chuck Close, Claes Oldenburg, Christo, Judith Shea), architects (Hugh Hardy, Billie Tsien, Frank Gehry), museum directors (Sam Sachs, Frick emeritus; Adam Weinberg, Whitney; Olga Viso, Walker) and past and present Walker friends gathered at the Century Association on a rainy Monday evening.

Former Walker curator Dean Swanson recalled dancing the samba with her on a "glamorous dance floor in Rio" in 1963 when they were helping Friedman's husband Martin, then the Walker's director, prepare a show of American art that took grand prize at that year's Sao Paulo biennial. With a nod to the Friedmans' long marriage (she died on their 65th birthday), Tsien compared "smart, tough, rational" Mickey to the character Rosalind Russell played opposite mischievous, fast-talking Cary Grant (Martin) in the classic 1940 film "His Girl Friday."

Recalling the "quiet grace and gentle beauty of a loving friend," Gehry took a jib at a Manhattan institution when he credited her with always "searching for uncharted water, unlike MOMA." Lise Friedman, eldest of the couple's three daughters, observed that one of their mom's "most important lessons was always to make an extra place at the table when someone unexpectedly comes."

After Hardy led toasts to the Friedmans, the crowd munched hors d'oeuvres, including a high-style version of  that old Midwestern standard, "pigs-in-a-blanket" (puff pastry, no cheese, Dijon mustard).

Oslund firm recommended for $10 million Sculpture Garden redo

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: August 15, 2014 - 5:50 PM
"Spoonbridge and Cherry" sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Photo by Courtney Perry for Star Tribune

The Oslund and Associates landscape architecture firm, in association with Snow Kreilich Architects, is expected to be picked for a $10 million reconstruction of the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardenand renovation of  the Cowles Conservatory.

Money for the project came from the Minnesota State Legislature which appropriated $8.5 million in state bonding funds in May 2014, and from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) which is providing up to $1.5 million for new stormwater management systems.

The 11 acre Sculpture Garden, sited across the street from Walker Art Center near downtown Minneapolis, is built on former marshland owned by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). The Sculpture Garden, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opened in 1988 and hosts 45 sculptures that are owned by the Walker.

The Oslund team was chosen from three finalists. The team will be recommended to a committee of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for action on August 20 and, if approved there, to the full MPRB for action on September 3. If approved by the MPRB, as expected in September, the team will begin getting input from community meetings starting in October. Designs will be drafted over the winter, and construction should start in summer 2015.

The project will include repair or replacement of "deteriorated and inadequate infrastructure," the MPRB said in a statement. Among those items will be irrigation, drainage and stormwater systems, walkways and retaining walls.

The garden and conservatory will be closed throughout construction which is scheduled to be finished in fall 2016.
 

MCC Plaza public artwork chosen

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: March 10, 2014 - 10:56 AM

 

This rendering depicts "Balancing Ground," this summer's temporary art installation for MCC Plaza.

 

Last summer, it was MIMMI, a giant inflatable sculpture that hovered over the Minneapolis Convention Center plaza like a giant mood ring, allegedly changing colors along with the emotional ebb and flow of passersby. This year's Creative City Challenge winner is "Balancing Ground," a series of wooden benches interspersed with teeter-totters and surrounded by a canopy of prisms that will cast constantly changing shadows, patterns and colors.

The interactive artwork by Amanda Lovelee, Christopher Field, Kyle Waites and Sarah West was one of several finalists the public could vote for online.The foursome will get $75,000 to build and install their project in early June. They intend it to be a "space without walls, open to all."

Begun last year as a way of attracting more people to hang out on the underused plaza and interact with both the art and each other, Creative City Challenge is now a collaboration between the the city of Minneapolis, the MCC and Northernlights.mn, which puts on the annual dusk-to-dawn Northern Spark festival.

"Balancing Ground" will be unveiled at 8:30 p.m. on June 14 as part of this summer's Northern Spark event.

Go ahead, vote on some public art

Posted by: Kristin Tillotson Updated: February 10, 2014 - 4:31 PM

MIMMI, an interactive sculpture lit from inside by LED lights that changed color, won the 2013 Creative City Challenge in the program's first year.  Photo by Renee Jones Schneider.

Remember that giant multicolored UFO-like sculpture hovering over the plaza by the Minneapolis Convention Center last summer? The city is bringing back the program that made it possible, expanding funding for the winning entry from $50,000 to $75,000. They've also added a partner, Northern Lights.mn, the force behind the annual dusk-to-dawn outdoor arts extravaganza known as Nothern Spark, at which this year's winning public artwork will make its debut (June 14).

The Creative City Challenge competition for a "temporary destination artwork" was launched last year as a way of attracting more people to hang out on the plaza, actually a green roof across the street from the Convention Center.  It is open to individuals or teams of designers, artists, architects and engineers, but at least half of the members must be based in Minnesota.

The public can vote online for one of this year's jury-selected  finalists, all of which encourage interactivity. The proposals will be presented publicly at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture and Design, Rapson Hall at 6 p.m. tonight (Monday Feb. 10). They are:

  •          Balancing Ground by Amanda Lovelee, Christopher Field, Kyle Waites & Sarah West: A welcoming interactive space that weaves play and peacefulness together through the use of sound, light, text and group movements to create meaningful engagement and the opportunity for intimate, public conversations. The installation will consist of long rows of wood benches interrupted with a series of playground teeter-totters which will be surrounded by a large wood structure with a canopy of prisms and reflective fragments strung between rafters.
  •          Chrysalis by Wil Natzel & Jerry Natzel: An assemblage of deployable elements including a series of entry archways where the lighting reacts to people’s movements, a communal seating court and a tower pavilion through which the public will be guided. Once inside the pavilion, the public will experience an overhead explosion of baroque pattern, light and decoration, which will transform each month to display different exotic designs and configuration.
  •          SPark by Will Peterson, Bill Ferenc, Melissa Gagner & Trygve Nordberg: A colony of autonomous, self-moving “flowers” in which visitors are welcomed and encouraged to walk among to experience these human-sized components. SPark responds to visitors through movement and light, and each sculptural flower is a self-governed entity, linked to the other flowers by a wireless network. Through different interactions, visitors will be able to make SPark come to life: it can move, pulse and even breathe. 

Voting runs through Feb. 28 at http://www.startribune.com/a2560

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