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Posts about Museums

Minneapolis Institute of Arts to show reproduction paintings on Minneapolis streets

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: April 23, 2015 - 6:45 PM

Rembrandt's "Lucretia"

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will place high-quality reproductions of four of its paintings outside Minneapolis stores and businesses during May. Museum docents will be on site sharing anecdotes and answering questions about the art from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. each Saturday, weather permitting.

The project is part of the MIA's 100th birthday celebration. The reproductions will appear about May 1 and will be moved to new sites at the middle of the month. The first round will feature the following pictures at these locations:

Rembrandt's "Lucretia" at Bobby and Steve's Auto World. As there are several Bobby and Steve's in Minneapolis, the promise of a "Lucretia" sighting is perhaps an enticement to visit them all in hopes of spying her. One of the MIA's most famous pictures, "Lucretia" depicts a Roman noblewoman committing suicide to salvage her honor after having been raped.

Monet's "Grainstack, Sun in the Mist," at U.S. Bank, 2420 Hennepin Av. in Uptown. Shimmering with sunny pinks at sundown, the picture features a huge muffin-shaped stack of wheat in a French meadow.

Van Gogh's "Olive Trees," at the Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall in downtown MInneapolis.  A typically turbulent Van Gogh image, "Olive Trees" shows gnarled and twisted trees sweltering in the midday sun.

Chaim Soutine's "Carcass of Beef," at Kramarczuk's Deli, 215 E. Hennepin in Northeast Minneapolis. One of the more inspired pairings of art and enterprise, this places the Russian-born artist's expressively brutal image of a flayed carcass at a meatmarket famous for delicious sausage and other Eastern European delicacies linked to its founder's Ukrainian heritage.

The reproductions will be moved later to the Wedge Table, Loring Park, the Stone Arch Bridge and the Strip Club Meat & Fish. Check out other MIA birthday surprises at the museum's birthday website.
 

Walker Art Center curator heads to Andy Warhol Museum

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: April 14, 2015 - 3:12 PM

Bartholomew Ryan (left) with artist Goshka Macuga and Walker curator Peter Eleey. Star Tribune file photo by Joel Koyama.

Walker Art Center curator Bartholomew Ryan is leaving Minneapolis for a senior curatorial post at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA starting May 18. He will be the Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Warhol institution.

Most recently, Ryan co-curated with Darsie Alexander the ambitious "International Pop" show which opened April 11 at the Walker. Five years in the making, "International Pop" brought to Minneapolis more than 175 artworks by 100 artists from 20 countries. A stellar example of in-depth scholarship combined with splendid showmanship, the show is a brilliant and wide-ranging reappraisal of a pivotal moment in American art.

Running through August 29, "International Pop" focuses on 1958 - 1972 when Pop art was being adopted as a stylistic and conceptual approach by artists around the world, many of whom looked askance at American consumer culture but nevertheless realized that the bold, colorful techniques of advertising and popular publications could be used effectively to critique and even lampoon the heavy-handed politics of dictatorial governments elsewhere.

Minneapolis pals and museum colleagues from around the country stopped to high-five and congratulate Ryan, 38, at the crowded IP opening party Saturday night. Sipping a beer, he ruminated a bit about his six year tenure at the Walker.

With all its resources of staff, money, reputation, and travel opportunities, the Walker gave him a privileged perspective on the art world, he said. Curators at many of the places he and Alexander visited in preparing the IP show simply couldn't afford to put together an exhibition of that scale. Still, thinking of the new Warhol post, he said he was looking forward to rethinking how Andy Warhol is understood in art history and finding new ways to interpret his work.

"Walker really changed my perspective on art," Ryan said. "It's been great here, but it's time," for a change.

The Warhol museum apparently agrees. Announcing Ryan's new position, the Warhol museum said his work on "International Pop" prepared him to "further contextualize Andy Warhol and his place in global art history."

Ryan joined the Walker as a curatorial fellow and stayed on as an assistant curator. Shows he organized for the Walker often brought together international artists not previously seen in the Midwest. His  2013 group exhibition "9 Artists" actually featured the work of eight artists:  Yael Bartana, Liam Gillick, Renzo Martens, Bjarne Melgaard, Nastio Mosquito, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Hito Steyerl, and Danh Vo. That year he also co-curated "Painter Painter," an examination of contemporary approaches to abstraction. He oversaw the Walker's presentation of the 2012 traveling show "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s," and the previous year co-curated residency projects by Goshka Macuga and Pedro Reyes.

Ryan has a MA from the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and a B.A in drama and theater studies from Trinity College, Dublin.

"International Pop" is hot at Walker Art Center

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: April 9, 2015 - 5:10 PM

"International Pop" curators Darsie Alexander and Bartholomew Ryan with Italian artist Sergio Lombardo's silhouette painting of President John F. Kennedy. Star Tribune photo by Jim Gehrz

Walker Art Center's new "International Pop" show, running April 10 - August 29, is a sizzling, delectable feast that puts real meat on the bones of pop culture. The cheesy food metaphor is irresistible in an exhibition that opens with a gallery of wall-sized paintings of garish food and sculpture about eats and eating. But there's much more to this $1.5 million extravaganza than just a reprise of what Americans already think they know about Pop Art.

Curators Darsie Alexander and Bartholomew Ryan spent much of the past five years delving deep into the history and archives of Pop before assembing a carefully edited and provocative interpretation of that zesty cultural moment. Focused on the formative dates 1958 - 1972, the show is a dense, fast-paced melange of 175 paintings, sculpture, videos and installations by more than 100 artists from 20 countries, most of which haven't been seen here before and many of which stretch  common notions of what Pop Art is.

Looking abroad, they discovered that American products, politics and personalities were everywhere, but that artists from Iceland to Argentina, Germany to Japan looked askance at the dominance of the American-way-of-life even as they embraced it. And so artists elsewhere gave Pop the flavor of their own cultures, slyly using Pop imagery and idioms to critique capitalism, war-mongering, dictatorships, and even to mock the hypersexualized cult of big-boobed blondes that pervaded movies and magazines of the day.

In 1964 Icelandic painter Erro, for example, produced a vast 6 ft. by 9 ft. "Foodscape" cluttered with American fast food and brands (look for the Jolly Green Giant, Heinz ketchup, etc.) while the French-born Venezuelan sculptor Marisol served painted tv dinners to the self-portrait figures in her 1963 "Dinner Date." By 1970, however, Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles was using Coca-Cola bottles as a distribution system for criticisms of his homeland's military dictatorship. Had the authorities noticed the messages he printed on his altered Coca-Cola bottles he'd have been jailed, but the popular pop sailed under the censor's radar. And now several of Meireles bottles are on view at the Walker, footnoted too, of course.

Every item in this color-saturated, complex show is rich with art, history and socio-political commentary. You can look at the art and videos, read the labels and footnotes, and groove on the memories. Or you can just stroll through and enjoy the moment. In either case, it's a fabulous exhibit.

Walker Art Center retitles and hires new staff

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: April 8, 2015 - 4:20 PM

   Fionn Meade. Image provided by Walker Art Center.

Walker Art Center has retitled Fionn Meade and hired a new staff member to head its education and public programs department effective immediately.

Meade was hired in February 2014 to be the Walker's Senior Curator of Cross-Disciplinary Platforms, a new title then intended to "cut across artistic disciplines" in a contemporary art center that presents films, theatrical and dance performances, and exhibitions featuring diverse media. His title has now been streamlined to Artistic Director. The job remains the same.

His new title also replaces that of Chief Curator which is a more common designation for whoever leads a museum's programming departments. His predecessor as Chief Curator was Darsie Alexander who left in January 2014, after five years at the Walker, to become director of the Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, New York. Alexander had a more traditional background in art history with an emphasis on contemporary photography. Meade was a curator, writer and faculty member at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College and Columbia University in New York prior to joining the Walker staff.

  Nisa Mackie, image from Walker Art Center

The Center also named Nisa Mackie as Director and Curator of Education and Public Programs. A native of New South Wales, Australia, she most recently managed public programs at the Biennale of Sydney.

U of Mn's Weisman Art Museum gets dubious third place award

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: April 9, 2015 - 12:24 PM

Fans of the U of Mn's Weisman Art Museum rejoiced at the news that the jazzy museum overlooking the Mississippi has been ranked No. 3 in a list of "The 50 Most Amazing College Museums."

As the news ricocheted through the emails of Twin Cities art mavens Wednesday, congratulations poured in to the offices of Weisman director Lyndel King who has led the museum for more than 30 years and masterminded the move into its distinctive Frank Gehry-designed building.

"WOW!  Fantastic!  Yippee!  We are thrilled," gushed two long-time supporters. 

King responded with typical aplomb, telling supporters, "As my mom said, it's an amazing journey from three rooms in the attic of old Northrop [Auditorium] to being ranked #3 university museum in the nation--and #1 art museum, as the first two are both natural history."

True enough, and the Weisman definitely deserves plaudits for its audacious building and contributions to the U and the Twin Cities. In fact, it deserves a real rating, not the dubious honor bestowed by CollegeRank.net, an online rating system based in Columbus, Ohio, whose website provides no hint of what criteria or research methods were used to arrive at its conclusions.

The 50 museums in its ranking are a hodge podge of natural history, anthropology, art and miscellaneous subjects. Harvard's Museum of Natural History is No. 1, followed by Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural Science at No. 2. Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, ranked  No. 5, is a public non-profit with no college or university affiliation. And the U.S. Naval War College Museum, No. 9, merely "displays the legacy of naval warfare in various interesting exhibits."

The Harvard Art Museums complex, which encompasses the legendary Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler museums, isn't even listed. That omission is ridiculous considering that the three institutions together have more than 250,000 top notch works of art spanning world history and culture from archaic Chinese jades and bronzes to Chinese and Korean ceramics, Greek vases, Islamic works on paper, European paintings from the Italian Renaissance to the Impressionists and beyond (Titian, Poussin, Canaletto, Degas, Monet, Gauguin, Picasso, Van Gogh, etc.) To say nothing about one of the country's most significant collections of German Expressionism and Bauhaus material.

The dubious CollegeRank.net site abounds with lists of everything from "50 Best College Campus Hospitals" to "25 Must Follow Pinterest Accounts for College Students." Among those Pinterest accounts don't miss No. 20: "Casey the College Celiac," a blog of "personal stories about surviving college with celiac disease and trying to maintain a gluten-free life." No future college student should be without it.

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