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In two small exhibitions, the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum showcases gifts of 20th century sculpture, prints and drawings from Minneapolis collectors Lillian (Babe) and Julius Davis, and topical sculpture by Hungarian-born emigre Peter Dallos.
The Weisman overlooks the Mississippi River at 333 E. River Road, Minneapolis on the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota. (10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Tue., Thu., Fri.; 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Wed.; 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sat., Sun.; closed Mondays. Free. 612-625-9494 or www.weisman.umn.edu)
"Acid Rain" by Peter Dallos.
Selections from "The Struggle" series by Peter Dallos: As a child in Hungary, Dallos survived the German occupation, the siege of Budapest and the Holocaust. Then came the repressive post war occupation by the Soviet Union. After the Hungarian revolution in 1956, he escaped and emigrated to the United States where he settled in Chicago. He is now an emeritus professor of neuroscience at Northwestern University.
Only fragments of his improbable and ultimately fortunate life are evident in the small, wall-hung sculptures on display at the Weisman. Part of a series Dallos calls "The Struggle," the polished steel and rough metal objects suggest the tensions between order and chaos, civilization and anarchy, rebirth and environmental degredation that are omnipresent in human society.
An earlier series called "War" more directly alluded to the horrors of W.W. II and the existential alienation that followed. Dallos' entire "War" series is now in the permanent collection of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D. C. (February 14 - March 22, 2015).
"Element Bleu 1" by Jean Dubuffet.
Artful Giving: Lillian (Babe) and Julius Davis: Longtime supporters of both Walker Art Center and the Weisman, the late Babe and Julius Davis were avid collectors of contemporary art as well. Between 1975 and 2013, they gave more than 85 artworks to the Weisman, virtually all of them dating from the post - W.W. II era when they were most deeply engaged in collecting.
Their taste ran to abstract and somewhat conceptual pieces including lithographs for unrealized sculpture projects by Robert Morris and a wall-hung sculpture by French artist Jean Dubuffet made of polyester resin covered with acrylic paint. Dubuffet made it based on doodles he scribbled while talking on the telephone.
About 15 of the Davis gifts are featured in a small show that offers a tidy sample of leading names of the era including Chuck Close, Helen Frankenthaler, Sol LeWitt, Louise Nevelson, Claes Oldenburg, Lucas Samaras, Jonathan Borofsky, Sol LeWitt, Bruce Nauman, George Segal, Brice Marden, James Kielkopf and Takeshi Kawashima. (February 28 - August 9, 2015)
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.
Frank Gehyr's "Glass Fish" sculpture in the Cowles Conservatory at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; image provided by Walker Art Center
Art from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden will be stored or shown at other Twin Cities museums and parks during the garden's $10 million renovation starting in June 2015.
Five of the garden's 40 sculptures, all owned by Walker Art Center, will be loaned to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, or the Gold Medal Park adjacent to theGuthrie Theater near the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The remainder will be placed in storage during the 18 month renovation.
Three of the loaned sculptures will be transplanted to Gold Medal Park:
1) Brower Hatcher's "Prophecy of the Ancients (1988)," a circle of pillars surmounted by a domed mesh- canopy studded with astrological symbols and glyphs; 2) Mark di Suvero's "Molecule (1977-83)," a wide-legged steel tripod painted bright red; 3) Tony Cragg's "Ordovician Pore (1989)" consisting of metal funnels, rough balls and a bent droplet cascading over the edge of a stone base.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts will take in Jacques Lipchitz's "Prometheus Strangling the Vulture II (1944/1953), and the Weisman Art Museum will house Frank Gehry's "Standing Glass Fish (1986)."
The Gehry sculpture, which is presently the centerpiece of the Sculpture Garden's Cowles Conservatory and palm house, is expected to be displayed inside the Weisman whose building was designed by the Los Angeles architect.
The loans are renewable annually for up to five years, after which the agreements will be reevaulated.
The Minnesota legislature has approved $8.5 million to renovate and upgrade the 11 acre garden's infrastructure including irrigation, drainage, walkways, retaining walls and other features. The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization chipped in an additional up to $1.5 million for storm-water-management-systems on the site.
The renovation money went to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board which owns the land on which the park sits. Walker Art Center, the adjacent contemporary art organization, owns the sculptures and will pay for their storage, maintenance and relocation costs in conjunction with the temporary hosts of the art.
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
Abby and Orin Rutchick, co-founders of the Mpls Photo Center, at the popular Minneapolis venue. Star Tribune photo by Sara Glassman
After seven years nurturing the Mpls Photo Center, co-founders Abby and Orin Rutchick are looking to sell the business and move on. By next winter they hope to be settled in northern California, most likely Oakland, near their daughter Andrea, 36, and her four children, and not far from their son Maxx, 27, who lives in Sonoma.
"We're not looking for somebody just to manage MPC and we'd own it from a distance. We want out," said Orin, 63. "This is an opportunity for a younger person with passion and energy to create a future for themselves and take it to the next level, or for someone older and retired who wants to continue to be of service to the community."
Incorporated as a for-profit business, MPC is unusual in that it provides many of the educational opportunities and community features common to nonprofit organizations such as Highpoint Center for Printmaking or the Northern Clay Center. They all operate galleries that stage regular exhibitions, complete with publications, in their respective fields. All offer lectures, discussions, classes and workshops primarily for adults. They all have studios, work space and equipment for rent or cooperative use. Highpoint and the Clay Center have more ambitious and extensive educational programs for kids, but the basic services are similar in the three organizations.
The chief differences show up in the organizations' basic structures. Highpoint and the Clay Center have boards of directors to oversee their operations, and staff members who seek grants and help stage fund raising events. Their exhibition programs are more sophisticated and often feature international artists and complex exhibitions that require museum-style security and transportation. And both Highpoint and the Clay Center own their buildings.
By contrast, MPC is owned run by the Rutchicks with the assistance of a facilities manager, a part-time staff member, a bookkeeper and an accountant. Classes are taught by professional photographers operating as independent contractors. It's so down-home and personal that Orin even cooks the lunchs and prepares the snacks set out at openings.
"We offer about 25 classes per month taught by 10 different photographers," Orin said. "We try to provide classes that mold photographers from just learning how to use a camera to framing, editing, creating a personal project and then getting them out there to work."
The Rutchicks rent 12,000 square feet in an old brick warehouse into which they've invested "quite a bit of leasehold improvements," including building studios, digital labs, dark rooms, a gallery, storage and meeting spaces. They own the equipment -- printers, cameras, computers, lights and other photographic gear.
"This was always built to be a self-sustaining entity that survives on its own revenue; it's a revenue generating machine," Orin said.
Even so, they investigated the possibility of transforming it into a nonprofit organization "but it appears to be so complicated to get anything out of it that a personal sale, a for-profit sale, makes the most sense." he continued.
"We have certain things that we make money with, things we spend money for. There's no secrets," Rutchick said. " Nobody is going to get rich but they can enjoy what they're doing. It's like a community center or a hobby farm for photography. Rather than playing basketball, they're doing photography."
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