Welcome to Artcetera. Arts-and-entertainment writers and critics post movie news, concert updates, people items, video, photos and more. Share your views. Check it daily. Remain in the know. Contributors: Mary Abbe, Jon Bream, Tim Campbell, Colin Covert, Laurie Hertzel, Tom Horgen, Neal Justin, Claude Peck, Rohan Preston, Chris Riemenschneider, Graydon Royce, Randy Salas and Kristin Tillotson.
It's time again for a commercial interruption. Walker Art center's annual presentation of the cream of Britain's TV advertising opens Friday and runs through Jan. 6. As always, the spots in the 75-minute showcase display extraordinary creativity, whether they're clipped, clever info-blips or ambitious entries dripping with cinematic production values.
A few even boast movie stars, peppering the spots with the kind of smartly targeted celebrity appeal not often seen in U.S. advertising. There's Hugh Jackman getting slapped silly for Lipton Tea, Kiefer Sutherland longing for a high school crush for Axe Body Wash, and Kevin Bacon, Michael Fassbender, Godzilla and He-Man making cameo appearances.
Some of the commercials are riotous (a small girl's fantasy of playing house with imaginary friends on Ikea furniture), some shocking (the ambulance service advert comparing cancer and accident fatalities) and some solemnly breathtaking. The Commercial of the Year winner, "Meet the Superhumans," a tribute to the extraordinary commitment of athletes in the Channel 4 Paralympics, will make any viewer reconsider his definitions of "handicapped" and "disabled." Tickets ($12 for the public, $10 for Walker members) sell out fast. Call (612) 375-7569.
The gnome foosball hole at last summer's garden-themed mini-golf course at Walker Art Center. Photo by Richard Sennott.
Think you can make a mini-golf masterpiece? Walker Art Center is accepting submissions for next summer's version of its always-creative take on hole design in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. And good news, this year they're expanding it to 18 holes.
An info meeting will be held at the Walker at 6 p.m. Dec. 10. To be eligible you must be based in Minnesota and registered with mnartists.org. Apply at:
Photo by Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune
Minneapolis gallery owner Martin Weinstein talks photos in a new You Tube video put out by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in connection with a show of his gifts to the museum. Over the past 31 years Weinstein, a former Minneapolis lawyer and long-time trustee of the Minneapolis museum, has given the Institute more than 500 photos about 75 of which are on view through August 31.
On the video, museum director Kaywin Feldman, photo curator David Little and photographer Alec Soth talk about Weinstein's contributions to the Twin Cities art scene along with comments from Weinstein himself.
Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong'o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," which gets its area premiere at Walker Art Center Wednesday.
When a prominent arts organization presents events themed around an important era for a specific demographic group, how much responsibilty does it have to ensure that a fair number of that group has access? That's one of the questions being raised by several Twin Citians who posted an "open letter" to the Walker on the commentary blog opineseason.com.
The writers, including poet/ activist Chaun Webster and north-Minneapolis artist Jeremiah Bey Ellison, expressed concern that Walker Art Center has not done enough outreach to give African-American people equal access to its sold-out regional premiere of "12 Years a Slave" Wednesday, and a Nov. 9 discussion with its director Steve McQueen, also sold out.
The letter calls the movie, based on the true story of a free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery, "one of the most highly recognized, fully Black cinematic collaborations in the history of film.
"We are concerned...that peoples of African descent, whose ancestors’ lives and histories were disrupted by the slaveocracy, will be largely underrepresented in the audience. Our position is that equity is not just about the diversity in the art being shown but the material work of creating greater access to exhibitions to ensure that audiences are representative of the subject matter."
The letter goes on to suggest that promotional efforts by the Walker, whose audiences tend to be mostly white, could do better at ensuring "that audiences are representative of the subject matter."
"Over the years we have become acutely aware of the way that art institutions are guided by an exceptionalism that will welcome works of art by select artists of African descent and other historically marginalized groups but will largely have little to no relationship with members of those communities. This in no small way contributes to the issue of representative audience," the letter continues.
"When white-dominated spaces, often of a homogenous class, bring work like McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave in, they in many ways manage the narrative and the way that it gets interpreted."
The entire letter and posted responses may be read here.
“We don’t question the intentions of the Walker, we just think they haven’t made the necessary effort,” Ellison said in an interview. “They have some pretty cool relationships with arts organizations that work with people of color and they could have maybe done a better job of using that.”
A lack of inclusion can become a form of exclusion, he said, citing his experience working as a political organizer on the campaign of his father, Rep. Keith Ellison. “You learn that if you don’t actively engage a marginalized community, you can’t blame them if they don’t show up at the polls to vote for you.”
Asked by the Star Tribune for a response, the Walker sent this statement:
"The Walker’s retrospective of the film works of Steve McQueen launches October 30 with the first regional screening of 12 Years a Slave. This viewing will be followed by additional screenings of McQueen’s previous films Shame and Hunger and will culminate with a dialogue between McQueen and Stuart Comer, curator at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, on November 9 addressing McQueen’s renowned visual arts practice and his more recent feature films.
"These programs were announced broadly, and after a short presale to Walker members, the dialogue and 12 Years a Slave sold out to the general public in a matter of days. Tickets to Hunger and Shame are still available. Unfortunately the Walker’s agreement with the film distributor prohibits additional screenings of 12 Years a Slave since it will be released in commercial theaters in the Twin Cities two days later, on November 1.
"The Walker appreciates and respects the voices of concern expressed by members of our community regarding questions of access to and representation of diverse audiences. We agree that this is a worthy and important topic for broader discussion within our arts community and we welcome this dialogue."
Ellison said he and his fellow letter writers hope that the Walker will consider asking director McQueen to schedule "another conversation in a community space, or invite more of the community into their space."
Gordon Parks, 1990 portrait by Richard Sennott for the Star Tribune
Two shows of photos by legendary photographer, filmmaker, musician Gordon Parks will run simultaneously at the Mill City Museum and Juxtaposition Arts in Minneapolis. They feature photos on loan from the Gordon Parks Foundation and work by Twin Cities students enrolled in a Juxtaposition program guided by nationally known photographer Jamel Shabazz.
Panel discussions and artist talks accompany the exhibits which open October 24. The Mill City show runs through June 8, 2014; the Juxtaposition exhibit through Dec.1. Both are free.
The exhibits' title, "A Choice of Weapons: A Living Legacy," alludes to Parks' powerful autobiography in which he recalls his tough, impoverished youth in Kansas and St. Paul during eras of racial tension and strife. Rather than respond to violence with more violence, Parks (1912-2006) chose to fight injustice and ignorance with a camera. His unsparing photo essays for Life and other magazines of the time documented the appalling living conditions endured by the poor in the United States, Brazil and elsewhere. Many of his photos are recognized as classics of the Civil Rights movement. He went on to be a pioneering filmmaker, composer, poet and inspiration to generations of admirers.
The exhibits complement One Minneapolis One Read, a community endeavor in which Twin Citians are invited to read the same book, this year's selection being "A Choice of Weapons" by Parks.
Opening reception and panel: 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Oct. 24, free. Mill City Museum, 704 S. 2nd St., Mpls. Panelists: Wing Young Huie, Archie Givens, Robin Hickman and Jahliah Holloman, moderator Daniel Bergin. RSVP to email@example.com or call 612-673-2509.
Reception and artist talk: 5 p.m.-7p.m., Nov. 7, free. Juxtaposition Arts, 2007 Emerson Av., N., Mpls. Speaker Jamel Shabazz. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 612-673-2509.
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