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Internationally known Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth has produced a limited edition of 100 prints (above) whose sale will go to support the Soap Factory, a non-profit Minneapolis arts organization that showcases experimental projects in a former factory warehouse. This summer Soth staged a "slide show" review there at which participants in his Summer Camp for Socially Awkward Photographers explained and exhibited their own work.
Soth's own work has garnered international attention for the past decade at the 2004 Whitney and Sao Paulo biennials, in 2008 shows at the Jeu de Paume in Paris and the Photomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland, and a 2010 retrospective at Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While his gallery and museum career perks along, Soth uses the book format to tell stories in pictures. At regular intervals he turns out small editions of books and magazines that quickly become collector's items including "Sleeping by the Mississippi," (2004); "NIAGARA," (2006), "Fashion Magazine," (2007); "Dog Days, Bogota," (2007); "The Last Days of W," (2008); "Broken Manual," (2010). For the past five years he's been devoting a lot of attention to quirky publications issued through his publishing firm, Little Brown Mushroom.
The Soap Factory print is roughly 12 inches wide by 9 inches tall and will be issued in an edition of 100. Cost $400. Orders can be placed through the Soap Factory here.
Gordon Parks, 1990 portrait by Richard Sennott for the Star Tribune
Two shows of photos by legendary photographer, filmmaker, musician Gordon Parks will run simultaneously at the Mill City Museum and Juxtaposition Arts in Minneapolis. They feature photos on loan from the Gordon Parks Foundation and work by Twin Cities students enrolled in a Juxtaposition program guided by nationally known photographer Jamel Shabazz.
Panel discussions and artist talks accompany the exhibits which open October 24. The Mill City show runs through June 8, 2014; the Juxtaposition exhibit through Dec.1. Both are free.
The exhibits' title, "A Choice of Weapons: A Living Legacy," alludes to Parks' powerful autobiography in which he recalls his tough, impoverished youth in Kansas and St. Paul during eras of racial tension and strife. Rather than respond to violence with more violence, Parks (1912-2006) chose to fight injustice and ignorance with a camera. His unsparing photo essays for Life and other magazines of the time documented the appalling living conditions endured by the poor in the United States, Brazil and elsewhere. Many of his photos are recognized as classics of the Civil Rights movement. He went on to be a pioneering filmmaker, composer, poet and inspiration to generations of admirers.
The exhibits complement One Minneapolis One Read, a community endeavor in which Twin Citians are invited to read the same book, this year's selection being "A Choice of Weapons" by Parks.
Opening reception and panel: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Oct. 24, free. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Mpls. Panelists: Wing Young Huie, Archie Givens, Robin Hickman and Jahliah Holloman, moderator Daniel Bergin. RSVP to email@example.com or call 612-673-2509.
Reception and artist talk: 5 p.m.-7p.m., Nov. 7, free. Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Av., N., Mpls. Speaker Jamel Shabazz. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-673-2509.
Internationally known Minnesota wildlife artists Joe, Bob and Jim Hautman have proved so popular that the Minnetonka Center for the Arts is extending its show of their work through Tuesday, October 29. This adds three days to the exhibit which was originally scheduled to close October 26.
The brothers will also sign reproductions of their artwork at a public reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, October 24. Prints of their images will be available for purchase that evening.
Organized by architect Jim Dayton, the exhibit is the first in which the guys have shown their work together. It features about 100 paintings of birds, game animals (deer, bear, lions) and even pets plus sketches and photos of work in progress. Fans of their meticulously observed nature studies have an unprecedented opportunity to see original paintings that have been reproduced on thousands of popular duck stamps over more than 20 years. Read a Star Tribune review of the show here.
Together the three brothers have won an unprecedented 10 Federal Duck Stamp competitions. Sales of duck stamps, which are essentially federal hunting licenses for migratory waterfowl, raise about $25 million annually for the preservation of marshes and watersheds for migratory birds and human enjoyment.
McKnight Fellowships are intended, in part, to challenge artists to try new materials, explore new concepts and test their mettle against the unknown. The four ceramicists whose work is on view through July 7 at the Northern Clay Center made splendid use of the opportunities afforded by their McKnight support.
Brian Boldon and Ursula Hargens received McKnight fellowships in 2012; Edith Garcia and Janet Williams had McKnight residencies to work at the center for serveral months in 2011. Their four-person show offers an excellent sample of contemporary ceramic sculpture ranging in scale from Garcia's doll-sized modernist figures to Boldon's room-sized installation. Conceptually it encompases Hargens' beautiful ceramic alphabets and Williams' ethereal landscape collages mapped on graph paper and boldly sketched in porcelain and wire.
Brian Boldon's work is dramatically installed in a midnight blue gallery that compliments his steel, aluminum, rubber and stoneware sculptures whose surfaces are imprinted with digital photos of cattails and rice grass. Taken at dusk just as the landscape around his northern Wisconsin cabin disappeared into blackness, the photos were sharply illuminated by flashlights that make the grasses stand out against the night sky. He later transfer-printed the images onto rectangular ceramic cylinders that are threaded onto steel pipes. Thanks to Boldon's keen design sense, the sculptures retain their poetry despite a remarkable amount of technical manipulation, and the installation is mesmerizingly beautiful.
Ursula Hargens' handsome ceramic alphabet seems disarmingly childlike, a grid of tile-like letters and numbers each about a foot tall. They appear to be glazed in random colors -- rose, brown, French blue, lemon yellow. But there is more to her earthenware alphabet than meets the casual eye. She has, as she explains in a gallery placard, a neurological condition that inherently associates colors and letters. Called color-grapheme synesthesia, her linkage is not a simple "P = pink" system but a more arbitrary yet persistent tie in which, for example, S = orange/yellow. From that starting point she has created tiles with various linguisitic connections, some with letters excised from flora designs, others combining colors and letters in what she calls a "Mash-up." The results are both beautiful and conceptually fascinating.
Janet Williams incorporates personal information -- her fingerprint -- into computer-assisted line drawings that suggest airy maps of imaginary landscapes. Pushing the technology, she creates topographical sculptures consisting of dozens of tabs of glazed clay that are imprinted with her fingerprints and attached by monofilament wires to an overhead frame. Suspended in semi-circles at different heights, the tabs appear to form in mid-air a topographical image of an imaginary mountain.
Since completing her BFA at Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 1998, Edith Garcia worked and exhibited in many locales before settling in London. Her doll-sized androgynous figures hang on the wall but seem to be performers in enigmatic little dramas of non-communication. Though their actions and expressions are inscrutible, they are strangely compelling characters whose silence speaks louder than words.
Edith Garcia "Constant, Same and Forever" (detail)
Hundreds partied at the American Swedish Institute this spring. Star Tribune photo by Jeff Wheeler.
Everyone loves a party, especially arty types eager to celebrate in style. Three of Minneapolis' leading arts organizations are staging galas this summer either as fund-raisers or to celebrate their heritage.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts leads off June 1 with a simple "summer party" theme to raise money. It promises "sunset cocktails" followed by a "celebration of the Minneapolis music scene" with Doomtree and Morris Day and the Time. Pick your price range: General tickets: $85 per person for nibbles, 1 drink, 2 tickets to the special exhibition "More Real? Art in the Age of Truthiness." VIP tickets: $175 per person including all of the above plus valet parking and more drinks. Gala tickets: $750 and up for 6 p.m. dinner, etc. (8:30 p.m. to midnight, June 1. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls. 612-870-6323 or www.artsmia.org)
Next up on June 15 is the American Swedish Institute with a traditional, day-long Swedish Midsommar Festival. The family-friendly event includes singing, dancing, fiddling, "flower head-wreath making," glass-blowing, a flea market and a mini-golf course. Yep, just when Walker Art Center seemed to have a lock on mini-golf with its artist-designed course, the Swedes try to muscle in. The glass blowers will be giving demos in conjunction with the opening of ASI's new "Kingdom of Crystal," exhibition of Swedish glass art. Be advised that the festival food will include pickled herring as well as the usual hot dogs, ice cream and lemonade. (10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 15, $7 adults. American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Av. S., Mpls. www.ASImn.org)
Walker Art Center will round out the season September 21 with its annual fund raising gala in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Dubbed "Avant Garden," the event promises music, art, gourmet food, specialty cocktails, an auction and dancing. How long you can stay depends on what you pay: Silver Key, 8:30 to 11 p.m., $100. Gold Key, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., $500. (6 p.m. or 8:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Walker Art Center, 175 Hennepin Av., Mpls. 612-375-7600 or www.walkerart.org)