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Posts about Museums

Minneapolis Institute of Arts to extend Friday hours starting Feb. 20

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 21, 2015 - 5:00 PM

Fashionistas attended a preview of the Italian Style show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Photo by Bre McGee.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts plans to stay open until 9 p.m. on Friday nights starting February 20. It has been open until 9 p.m. on Thursday evenings for years, so the addition of Friday doubles its evening availability.  It is now open until 5 p.m. on Fridays.

Admission is always free.

In the past year the museum jazzed up its Thursday evening programming by featuring local bands, craft beer, games, retro fun, and exhibition-themed events like a fashion show that accompanied the recent "Italian Style," exhibition of post WWII Italian clothing on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

"Thursday's programming will remain lively and very participatory while Fridays will have more of an art opening theme," said Anne-Marie Wagener, the museum's director of press and public relations.

Hours starting February 20: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Saturdays; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Closed Mondays. Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Av. S. 612-870-3000 or www.artsmia.org

Vermeer is the surprise guest for Minneapolis Institute of Arts' 100th birthday

Posted by: Tim Campbell Updated: January 16, 2015 - 10:05 AM

(Photo by Renee Jones-Schneider, StarTribune)

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts had promised surprise masterpieces for its centennial celebration, and it delivered a big one Friday, unveiling "Woman Reading a Letter," one of only 34 known works by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.

The oil painting -- an enigmatic gem about 18 inches high and 15 inches wide -- will be shown for a limited time in the museum's Cargill Gallery, just off the main lobby. There is no charge for admission.

The MIA scored this coup via a loan from Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum. It is a prime example of Vermeer's mastery of light and shadow, with the woman's dress rendered in a striking blue  created from lapis lazuli, a semiprecious stone that was imported from Afghanistan, ground into powder and then mixed with oil to make paint.

It's the first of three promised masterpieces on loan that the MIA will be unveiling at unannounced times throughout its centennial year.

Look for a bigger story about the Vermeer later today at startribune.com/art.

British calligrapher Donald Jackson to talk in St. Paul on February 12

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: January 12, 2015 - 6:04 PM

Donald Jackson photo provided by Concordia University

Officially known as scribe and calligrapher to the Crown Office of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Donald Jackson is more familiar in Minnesota as the founder and creative force behind The Saint John's Bible, the first handwritten Bible produced in the past 500 years which was commissioned by and produced for St. John's University in Collegeville, MN.

Jackson will be in the Twin Cities for a presentation at Concordia University in Saint Paul from 7 p.m. - 8:45 p.m. February 12 at the Buetow Music Center Auditorium (Hamline and Marshall Av.). The event is free and seating in the 480 seat auditorium will be on a first-come first seated basis. Expect it to be packed early.

The University is hosting an exhibition of the seven-volume "Heritage Edition" of The Saint John's Bible through the month of February with two of the volumes on view  through July 2015. The Heritage Edition is a facsimile of the handwritten version that Jackson and an international team of calligraphers worked on for more than a decade. The free exhibition is on display in Concordia's Library Technology Center at 1282 Concordia Av., Saint Paul. Exhibit hours: 10 a.m.- 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 10 a.m. -3 p.m. Fridays; 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays; 1 p.m. -7 p.m. Sundays.
 

Walker Art Center releases 2013-2014 annual report

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: December 23, 2014 - 9:18 PM

Olga Viso, Walker Art Center director

Walker Art Center released its 2013-2014 annual report barely in time to count as a holiday gift to its supporters and fans.

Beamed out at 8:01 p.m. December 23, the on-line report stated that the museum had balanced its $20.6 million annual budget and that the contemporary art institution has an endowment  of $173 million. It claimed 280,000 visitors to its events and exhibitions last year, and an additional 400,000 who visited the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Its most successful program in financial terms was the popular Rock the Garden summer concert which brought in $1.3 million, a sum that basically covered the event's expenses.

Other "measures of success," as the report dubs them, include five Walker-organized exhibitions, 15 performing arts commissions, and 22 regional and world-premiere film and video screenings.
 

Richard Hillstrom (1915-2014), Lutheran minister, art collector, museum namesake

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: December 16, 2014 - 5:14 PM

Richard Hillstrom at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts,1993. Star Tribune photo by Rita Reed

The Rev. Richard Hillstrom, a Lutheran minister who parlayed a modest salary, a discerning eye and a passion for American art into a museum-quality collection, died at his home in Edina on Dec. 16. His health had been failing in recent weeks, and his death was announced by Gary Langness, a longtime friend. He was 99.

Though Hillstrom devoted his long professional career to the ministry, it was as an art collector that he made his most enduring mark on the culture of Minnesota. His most important legacy is likely to be the collection of about 250 American modernist paintings and drawings that he donated to his namesake Hillstrom Museum of Art at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, his alma mater.

Over the years he also gave the museum an endowment totaling $1.5 million as of 2012. Asked how a minister could amass so much money, he credited smart investing through Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent Financial) at a time when the stock market was strong, according to the Gustavus Quarterly.

He was also founding curator of the Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent Financial) art collection which features Old Master prints and drawings on Christian themes by Albrecht Durer, Rembrandt  and others.

Starting in the 1940s when Hillstrom was ministering to a parish in the hard-scrabble steel milling town of Gary, Indiana, he would visit the Art Institute of Chicago on his days off and then poke through the city's galleries and antique shops where he was drawn to paintings by Swedish American artists. His budget was extremely modest, and he later recalled the guilt he felt at having bought, for $5 each, original lithographs by Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry and Thomas Hart Benton, three of the country's leading regionalists. Each of those prints would be worth thousands now but, at the time, his $15 purchase felt like a fortune on a minister's salary.

Over his 70 year career, Hillstrom amassed a refined and important collection of paintings by early 20th century American modernists Maurice Prendergast, Guy Pene du Bois, Everett Shinn, John Twachtman, Willard Metcalf and Reginald Marsh plus prints and drawings by John Sloan, Grant Wood, George Luks and Edward Hopper among others.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts staged a show of his collection in 1993, and he gave pieces of art to the Institute as well as to the Weisman Art Museum, the Minnesota Historical Society, the American Swedish Institute and the Minnesota Museum of American Art among other venues.

"I admired Rick greatly, both for his deep, self-taught knowledge of art and for his supportive friendship," said Donald Myers, director of the Hillstrom Museum at Gustavus." He was eager to make it possible for others to be affected by art in the way that he was. And he was always happy to guide and encourage friends in their interest in collecting art and in supporting art institutions.  

"He was a great mentor and friend to me, always ready with encouragement and advice but never insistent on having things done just his way," Myers continued.  "He enjoyed his friends and loved to be able to joke with and tease them and have the same kind of good-natured ribbing come his way."

Born in Dassel, Minn, a town of 800 about 50 miles west of the Twin Cities, Hillstrom and his four brothers were first generation Americans, their parents Alma and Martin Hillstrom having immigrated from Sweden to the United States. Following his 1938 graduation from Gustavus Adolphus College, he studied theology and was ordained as a Lutheran minister in 1942. 

After serving the Gary parish for five years during World War II, he was an assistant minister at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis for five years. He spent the bulk of his career, 30 years, as chaplain at St. Paul's Bethesda Lutheran Medical Center from which he retired in 1982. In retirement he went on to establish the Lutheran Brotherhood (now Thrivent) art collection which has toured exhibitions to communities and churches throughout the Midwest.

At the time of the 1993 Minneapolis Institute of Arts exhibit, his friend Edward Lindell, a senior vice president of Lutheran Brotherhood, said that Hillstrom's generosity was characteristic of a man who was by temperament  "a great mixture of art sophistication and Lutheran piety."

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