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A rendering of MIMMI, the winning public-art project for the Minneapolis Convention Center's first Creative CIty Challenge.
Chicago's Millenium Park has The Bean, a giant silver sculpture that begs people to touch and play with it. In June, Minneapolis will one-up that with MIMMI, "The Minneapolis Interactive Macro Mood Installation," a giant fabric balloon, anchored by a metal framework, that will float 35 feet above the ground on the convention-center plaza and reflect the community's collective sad-mad-gladness like a giant mood ring. Its light displays changing color with the intensity of the emotion it "feels." If the Twins lose in a squeaker, it might glow red. If it's a rainy Monday morning, it might be blue. And there are microphones at the base if you want to try to influence things. It will also periodically drop mist onto people below it, just for added kicks.
A team including two young local architects (Jack Cochran and Carl Koepcke) and the Cambridge, Mass-.based firm Invivia created the concept that beat out four other finalists in an online Facebook public vote. They will get $50,000 to create, install, and take down the artwork.
How can it possibly work? By using technology to combine the "virtual and physical layers" of the city to detect some sort of aggregate mood. Still confused? Me, too, but the judges, inclduing City Council Member Lisa Goodman and U of M design-school dean Tom Fisher, were wowed enough by a demo to vote it in.
What will be done in November, when the team has to take it down? "They're thinking of recycling it by making raincoats," said Gulgun Kayim, director of arts, culture and creative economy for the city.
"Gopher Hole," by Locus Architecture
Since its 1988 debut, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has become a Twin Cities landmark attracting more than 325,000 people annually. To mark its 25th birthday, Walker Art Center is bringing back such popular diversions as artist-designed mini-golf, Monday-night movies and music across the freeway in Loring Park, and an artist in residence.
The annual Rock the Garden street party, co-sponsored with 89.3 The Current, is booked for Saturday, June 15, 4 p.m. - 11 p.m. with band line-up to be announced April 16.
Artist-in-residence Fritz Haeg is on a tear to replace front lawns with productive, edible gardens. He plans to transform a local yard into an organic edible garden and to launch a "Foraging Circle" filled with wild plants native to Minnesota at the heart of the Sculpture Garden. The Walker will also host Haeg's "Domestic Integrities A05" exhibition including a crocheted rug made on site plus local foods and DIY projects. (May 11 - November 17)
A quasi retrospective of Claes Oldenburg's sculpture rounds out the season. Popularly known for the gigantic "Spoonbridge and Cherry" sculpture that he and his late wife Coosje van Bruggen designed for the garden, Oldenburg is the quintessential Pop artist, inventor of soft-sculpture, extreme scale shifts, and unlikely objects including shoestring potatoes made from canvas and a "Mouse Museum." (September 21, 2013 - January 12, 2014)
Two seven-hole mini-golf courses are being designed by local artists, architects and designers. They will share an 8th hole and include such mini-golf classics as a tiered Zen garden and gnomes plus novelties including a giant ant farm, bee hives, spiraling gopher holes, a French bagatelle game and, of course, rocks.
The mini-golf course, open May 23 - September 8, will be designed by Locus Architecture; Makesh!t; David Lefkowitz and Stephen Mohring; Nicola Carpenter, Susanne Carpenter and Bryan Carpenter; Sarah Balk McGrill and Wesley Thayne Petersen; David Hultman and David Wulfman; Aaron Dysart; Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman; Sean Donovan; Stormi Balise; Jeffrey and Tyler Whitehead; Karl Unnasch; Alyssa Baguss and Alison Hiltner; Chris Larson and U. of Mn. students.
Groups suing Minneapolis over demolition of Peavey Plaza claimed a moral victory Thursday when the downtown Minneapolis site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“This is a very exciting day for us,” said Doug Gasek, the new executive director of Preservation Alliance of Minnesota. “It helps us by showing this place is important not just locally, but at a national level.”
Gasek’s group, along with the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, is suing Minneapolis over its plan to demolish the plaza as part of an in-progress renovation of Orchestra Hall.
Minneapolis City Council Member Gary Schiff, who chairs the city’s zoning and planning committee, said Thursday that the announcement “shouldn’t affect the plans at all. It already went through the local review process. This just brings more attention to the space.”
The designation, announced Thursday, will be published on Jan. 25, according to a statement from the Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Well-known landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg designed Peavey Plaza, which opened in 1975, around the same time as the current Orchestra Hall. It features a sunken plaza, a shallow pool, stepped seating areas and a fountain at the corner of 12th Street and Nicollet Mall. It used to feature ice skating in the winter.
The National Register action was “not a surprise to us,” said Erin Hanafan Berg, field representative of the Preservation Alliance. “We have believed all along that it’s a historically and architecturally significant site, but the city wouldn’t listen to us,” Berg said.
The current plan, approved by the City Council in 2012, would scrap most of Friedberg’s original design. The city maintains that a redo is needed to maximize usage and bring the place into compliance with new disability-access laws. The current plan, with a projected $10 million price tag, was unveiled in October 2011, but has not yet been put in place, although work is underway on the adjoining Orchestra Hall renovation.
Opponents remain determined to save the plaza. “Peavey Plaza’s National Register designation is a victory of Paul Friedberg’s brilliant design, for Modernist landscape architecture and further undermines the City of Minneapolis’ ill-advised demolition plans,” said Charles A. Birnbaum, Cultural Landscape Foundation founder and president, in a statement.
Berg said the next step in the dispute comes Feb. 5, when a judge is scheduled to hear from both sides in the pending litigation. A trial is set for June.
The National Register lists 88,000 historic sites, but only about 2,500 of those are deemed significant as works of landscape architecture. Thursday’s listing is not the same as a landmark designation, which is rarer and harder to achieve. Minnesota has just 29 places that have been designated as landmarks on the National Register.
Staff writer Eric Roper contributed to this report.Claude Peck • 612-673-7977 • On Twitter: @ClaudePeck
The just-opened Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, N.Y. / Photos by Matthu Placek
Herzog & de Meuron, who designed the Walker Art Center renovation that opened in Minneapolis in 2005, have done museum projects in San Francisco (the de Young) and in Spain (the Caixa Forum in Madrid and the Museum of Natural Sciences in Barcelona).
The Swiss architects' newest art palace is a stunner of a shed on Long Island. Their new Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, which opened in mid-November, is a 600-foot long shed of steel, salvaged wood, glass and concrete. The original idea, for an $80 million museum, was scrapped when fund-raising hit a snag. The new project came in at a budget of just $26 million.
Justin Davidson wrote this review of the new place in New York magazine.
More photos of the exterior can be seen here.
Veteran preservationist Doug Gasek has been named Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota (PAM). The Minnesota organization, based in St. Paul, promotes understanding of Minnesota history and education about community preservation and values.
Prior to taking the Minnesota job, Gasek held a dual post as Executive Director of the Alaska Association for Historic Preservation and as State Architectural Historian for the Alaska Department of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. In his preservation role he increased membership, revenue and strategic partnerships with public and private organizations. Previous to that he served as historian and archaeologist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
He holds a M.A. in historic preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and a B.A. in history from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.