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Minneapolis Institute of Arts hires new curator of Native American art

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 30, 2014 - 5:04 PM

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has hired Jill Ahlberg Yohe to be Assistant Curator of Native American Art in the department of Africa and the Americas. Ahlberg Yohe, who will start work in Minneapolis on August 4, comes from the Saint Louis Art Museum where she has been an assistant curator of Native American Art since 2013 and a Mellon Fellow since 2011. She replaces Joe Horse-Capture, former associate curator of Native American Art, who moved to Washington, D. C. in May 2013 for a post at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Ahlberg Yohe earned a doctorate in cultural anthropology at the University of New Mexico with a dissertation on "The Social Life of Weaving in Contemporary Navaho Life." Previously she was a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, PA. She co-curated the exhibition "Mother Earth, Father Sky: Textiles from the Navajo World," which is currently on view at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Walker Art Center to publish its collection online in serial format

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 30, 2014 - 4:47 PM

Helio Oiticica and Neville D'Almedia's "Block-Experience in Cosmococa--Program in Progress (1973) as seen on a tablet.

In 2005 when Walker Art Center published the most recent catalogue of its 12,000 piece collection, the 616 page volume was years in the making and covered a mere fraction of the center's holdings. Film, video, music, dance and other performance activities--  which are a key part of the Minneapolis' institution's program-- were described but not as thoroughly represented as paintings, sculpture and other objects.

A new "Living Collections Catalogue" aims to be more interactive, flexible, and responsive to the multidisciplinary focus of the collection. The web-based project will be accessible via laptop, smartphone, a tablet computer or other digital devices. Published in serial form, the segments will include documents, original interpretations from scholars commissioned by the Walker, and a variety of media resources about selected work from the collection.

The first segment, "On Performativity," deals with performance-based work in relationship to the visual arts. Scholars Philip Auslander, Shannon Jackson, and Dorothea von Hantelmann provide an overview of contemporary performance. Individual works in the collection are discussed by Elizabeth Carpenter, Eric Crosby, Peter Eleey, Bartholomew Ryan, and Irene Small. Multimedia material enhances their comments.

Artists whose work is explored in "On Performativity" include dancer/choreographer Trisha Brown, installation artist Helio Oiticica, filmmaker Neville D'Almedia, performers Eiko & Koma, mixed media installation artist Tino Sehgal, and an Anthropometry painting by Yves Klein.

The current exhibition "Art Expanded, 1958-1978, will be explored in a future segment.The online catalogue is supported by grants from the Getty Foundation as part of its "Online Scholarly Catalogue Initiative (OSCI) which supports similar programs at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Seattle Art Museum and the Tate Gallery.
 

Dancing through a mansion

Posted by: Claude Peck Updated: June 25, 2014 - 4:18 PM
The performers of "KOM HIT!" gather near the end of the piece for an ensemble scene in the Turnblad mansion's small top-floor theater. Photo provided by American Swedish Institute.
 
A young woman, barefoot and wearing all white, invokes the spirit of Sweden's literary hero August Strindberg, then opens the heavy wooden doors of the Turnblad mansion on Park Avenue in Minneapolis to begin "KOM HIT!" In the hour that follows, audience members (no more than 35 will be allowed at each performance) poke their heads into nearly all of the mansion's 33 rooms, where they witness snippets of modern dance, mime, music and a small amount of narration. Don't expect to learn much about Strindberg, as the dance-theater piece is "loosely inspired by," and not directly drawn from his life and obsessions.

While immersive, site-specific dance-theater has been popular in New York and elsewhere for several years, as evidenced by such long-running shows as "Sleep No More" by Punchdrunk Theater, it is more rarely seen in the Twin Cities.

In "KOM HIT!" Audience members, who are encouraged to wear stick-on moustaches a la Strindberg, may wander freely from room to room, up staircases and into hallways. You may be invited into a room for a solo performance by a singer playing electric guitar, or witness a thrashing dancer in a "mad scene" through the window of a what looks like a walk-in closet.

Here a woman gazes at her reflection in a mirror, there a teenaged girl plays electric bass with an angel-wing-wearing guy on the accordion. Feathers drop into the foyer from above. A sad creature writhes alone on a bare wood floor.

The troupe numbers more than 14 performers, but co-creators Sally Rousse and Noah Bremer are showcased in certain "episodes," including a group scene in the American Swedish Institute's top floor that involves posing for photographs and passing through a large picture frame. Well-known Ballet of the Dolls dancer Stephanie Fellner gets a lot to do, and does it well. In the end, however, the piece is more about mood and movement, perhaps the ephemeral nature of souls and old houses, than it is a coherent narrative.

See "KOM HIT!" at 6 and 7:30 p.m. on June 26 and July 1, 3, 8 and 10. $20, 612-871-43907, or go here.

Dancers in a room that also has a visual art exhibit on view. Photo by Claude Peck.

The performances are timed to the opening of a terrific small photo show in the new wing at ASI. Turns out old August S. was both a fashion hound and a fan of selfies (well before the term came into vogue, and almost at the dawn of photography itself). The photos of Strindberg come from Fotografiska, Sweden's preeminent photo museum.

 
 
Strindberg
 
"KOM HIT!" dancer on the rooftop of the new wing of the American Swedish Institute.
 
Dancer on the mansion's second floor.
 
Below, trailer for "KOM HIT"

Eight Minnesota visual artists receive McKnight Foundation grants

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 9, 2014 - 1:20 PM

A MCAD staff member finished installing the last McKnight Foundation visual art exhibition in January 2014. Star Tribune staff photo by Richard Sennott

Eight Minnesota visual artists have received $25,000 each from the McKnight Foundation in a program administered by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD). The winners are: David Bowen of Duluth, and Sam Gould, Alexa Horochowski, Michael Hoyt, Alison Malone, Lamar Peterson, Joe Smith, and Tetsuya Hamada, all Twin Cities residents.

A support program for mid-career artists, the McKnight Artist Fellowships for Visual Artists provides each winner with three things besides the money: critiques with national critics; a limited edition book about their work; a speaking opportunity. The public exhibitions that were an element of the program for 32 years were discontinued this year in favor of the book/talk component. When the exhibitions were cancelled, the number of visual art grants also was increased from four to eight.

Five of the 2014/15 Fellowship winners are academics. Bowden is an associate professor of sculpture and computing at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Horochowski is a sculpture professor at St. Cloud State University. Smith is an art professor at University of Northwestern in St. Paul. Peterson, an assistant professor of drawing and painting, and Yamada, an associate professor of art, both teach at the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.

The other three winners are engaged in various activities. Gould is a writer/ publisher who co-founded Red 76 and is the editor/designer of the Journal of Radical Shimming. Hoyt produces arts-based community development projects. Malone is a photographer who documents American subcultures.

Fellowship winners were picked by three jurors: Xandra Eden, exhibition curator at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro; Hesse McGraw, vice-president of exhibitions at the San Francisco Art Institute; and Deborah Willis, artist, professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch Center for the Arts at New York University.

Twin Cities arts leader to be honored

Posted by: Rohan Preston Updated: May 14, 2014 - 4:10 PM

Twin Cities arts leader Catherine Jordan is being honored for her longtime championing of arts and culture.

Jordan, who has served such organizations as the Bush Foundation, Intermedia Arts and Circus Juventas over the past several decades, is one of the recipients of the first annual Artspace Artist Awards, which will be presented Monday in a celebration at the Cowles Center for Dance in Minneapolis.

The award comes from  Artspace, the nation’s leading nonprofit arts developer with a billion dollar portfolio of nearly three dozen residential and office properties across the nation, including the Cowles Center.

Jordan is one of four winners annnounced; the others, all of whom live in Artspace properties and each of whom will receive $5,000, are photographer Tabatha Mudra of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; poet and visual artist Linda Cover of Santa Cruz, N.M.; and Quest Skinner, a painter and teacher in Washington, D.C.

Monday’s celebration, called “Breaking Ground,” features the dance and drum duo Buckets and Tap Shoes; singer Ashley DuBose from NBC’s “The Voice”; and New Orleans jazz trumpet supremo James Andrews.

John Moe, host of American Public Media's comedy show "Wits," will do similar honors Monday.

Tickets, $20, are on sale.

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