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Posts about Minnesota artists

Minnesota photographer James Crnkovich launches new book

Posted by: Mary Abbe Updated: June 23, 2014 - 5:20 PM

"Reds, Virginia, Minnesota, 1985" by James Crnkovich

Former Minnesota photographer James Crnkovich returns to his home state for a five-day tour to launch a sweet book of his photos. Starting with a signing at the Saint Paul Saints game on July 1, the tour will include additional stops in St. Paul, Aurora, Gilbert, Virginia and Mountain Iron.

A graduate of the University of Minnesota, Crnkovich has been featured on CBS's Sunday Morning with Charles Kuralt, has his work in the collection of the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and has exhibited around the world. Locally he's best known for his 1980s photos of the Iron Range which were included in the exhibition "At a Close Range," which traveled to colleges, universities and historical societies throughout the Midwest.

His new paperback, "Authentic Americana: The Art of Social Documentary," reprints about 50 of his color and black-and-white images dating from 1980 to the present. Taken in Minnesota, New York, Boston, Phoenix, Chicago and elsewhere, they capture the American scene in all its gaudy  vulgarity, latent violence, decay, cornball nonsense, and good humor. His commentary about the images is as insightful as the pictures themselves. There's a certain tenderness and big hearted acceptance of human frailty and loneliness that makes his photos very special.

Now a resident of Mesa, Arizona, Crnkovich will be back home in Minnesota to promote the book at the following events. The book also is available through: Naciketas Press, 715 E. McPherson, Kirksville, MO 63501.

July 1: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Saint Paul Saints "Christmas in July" game, Midway Stadium, 1771 Energy Park Dr., St. Paul.

July 2: 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Common Good Books, Snelling at Grand, St. Paul.

July 3: 6 p.m., Aurora; 7 p.m., Gilbert. Patriotic Parades.

July 4: 1 p.m.-2 p.m. Aurora Public Library. 6 p.m. Virginia 4th of July parade.

July 5: 7 p.m.-9 p.m., Mac's Bar, 8881 Main St., Mountain Iron.

Edina one of 10 schools chosen for theater festival

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: June 17, 2014 - 1:03 PM


Edina High School's production of "Fiddler on the Roof." / Photo by Mike Braun


More than 100 theater kids from Edina High School are heading to the Educational Theater Association’s “Thespian Festival” in Lincoln, Neb. The school is one of ten nationally chosen to perform at the annual conference at the Lied Center of the Performing Arts.

Anthony Matthes, Edina’s director of theater, said the school was one of about 70 that requested a look from the Association. Edina staged “Fiddler on the Roof” last fall and judges came to evaluate whether it should make the festival. Notice came in January that the school had passed the audition, so to speak. Three years ago, Edina brought “Anything Goes” to the same event.

“We designed ‘Fiddler’ with the thought that we would take it on the road so we stored the set over the winter,” Matthes said.

Edina will send 54 actors, 25 crew members and about 25 musicians to the festival, at a cost of $770 per student.

“We’re about the only school that brings its own pit band,” Matthes said. The school has been fundraising since last fall and plans two performances June 19-20 to get the show in shape and raise some final cash.

You can get ticket information at Edinatheater.org

Playwrights' Center announces McKnight Theater Artists

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: June 12, 2014 - 10:27 AM

The Playwrights’ Center has named Sally Wingert, Austene Van and Mathew LeFebvre as McKnight Theater Artists. The award comes with $25,000 and also provides $7,000 to develop new theatrical work.

Wingert has worked on Twin Cities stages for more than 30 years. In 2013, she was selected the Star Tribune’s Artist of the Year. She’s most often seen at the Guthrie Theater but has made significant contributions such as her performance in Theater Latte Da’s “Cabaret” in January and a leading role in Dark and Stormy’s small production of “The Receptionist” in December.

Van has worked as an actor, director and choreographer. She found her footing at Penumbra under Lou Bellamy and was seen there in “Spunk” last year. Van performed the title role in Latte Da’s “Aida” in 2013 and was Blanche Dubois in Ten Thousand Things’ staging of “A Street Car Named Desire.” She’s directed at Park Square, History Theatre and Theatre in the Round.

LeFebvre has designed costumes for more than 20 productions at the Guthrie and 15 at Penumbra – in addition to many other Twin Cities companies. His credits include shows at Signature Theatre in New York, Milwaukee Rep, the Geffen Playhouse, Minnesota Opera and Arizona Theatre Company. LeFebvre teaches and directs at the University of Minnesota. Jeremy Cohen, producing artistic director at the Playwrights’ Center, said LeFebvre is the first costume designed honored with the McKnight Award since 1997.

Last year’s winners – Sun Mee Chomet, Denise Prosek and Stephen Yoakam – will showcase their works in progress Monday at the Southern Theater.

McKnight Fellows to unveil works in progress

Posted by: Graydon Royce Updated: June 9, 2014 - 4:25 PM

Three theater artists will test drive new work next Monday at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis. The three are current Playwrights’ Center McKnight fellows Sun Mee Chomet, Denise Prosek and Stephen Yoakam.

Chomet is collaborating with Brenda Wong Aoki, a San Francisco-based performance artist, and Twin Cities musician Susan Tanabe on a reimagining of “The Queen’s Garden.” Aoki wrote the fairy tale with a jazz score. Chomet, last seen in “Othello” at the Guthrie, previously wrote and performed “How to Be a Korean Woman” about her experience as an adoptee reuniting with her birth family.

Prosek, the longtime resident music director of Theater Latte Da, will unveil a first look at a musical she’s putting together with actors Joshua James Campbell, James Detmar and Max Wojtanowicz. “Fire It Up” is about the restaurant industry. Prosek has been talking about writing a musical for many years and the fellowship has given her chance to put some extended work into it.

Yoakam is perhaps making the biggest leap among the three. A celebrated dramatic actor (Iago in “Othello” and lauded for the one-man “Iliad”), Yoakam is teaming with dancer/choreographer Uri Sands and TU Dance on a new project. The combination of talents and their diverse track records make this something of an event.

The show is 7 p.m. Monday at the Southern, 1420 S. Washington Av., Mpls. Tickets are free but you should reserve, either online or by calling 612-332-7481.

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.


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