Art spotlight: 'This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s

  • Article by: MARY ABBE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2012 - 4:26 PM
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David Hammons' controversial 1988 painting "How Ya Like Me Now?" shows the Rev. Jesse Jackson as a blue-eyed blond. Hammons and Jackson are black.

Photo: Joel Koyama, Star Tribune

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'THIS WILL HAVE BEEN: ART, LOVE & POLITICS IN THE 1980S'

Continuing: When memory's door slammed on the 1980s, it shut out a lot of tough-minded and highly topical art. Walker Art Center has revisited that troubled era (think AIDS crisis, race tension, Berlin Wall confrontation) with a show that's unexpectedly fresh and startlingly relevant. Its themes -- race and gender issues, affluence and envy, abuses of power -- are explored in paintings, photos, sculpture, videos and installations that volley ideas with lightning speed and pointed insight. Among the underappreciated artists: painters Robert Colescott and Jimmie Durham, sculptors Martin Puryear and Ashley Bickerton, filmmaker Nan Goldin and photographers Mike and Doug Starn. A rarely seen installation by Hans Haacke juxtaposes a pompous oil portrait of President Ronald Reagan with a photo of a massive nuclear-war protest at which he appears to be sneering. A portrait by black artist David Hammons depicts two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson as a blue-eyed blond. Like the rest of this show, "How Ya Like Me Now?" is still provocative and worth a repeat visit. (Ends Sept. 30. $6-$10; free after 5 p.m. Thu. Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. 612-375-7600 or www.walkerart.org.)

 

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