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Mary Abbe

Reporter | Visual Arts/Architecture
phone: 612-673-4431
Mary Abbe has been writing art chat for the Star Tribune through the reigns of three Walker Art Center directors, five heads of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and too many gallery scenes to count. She still finds interviewing artists, collectors, curators and crew more fun than fireworks.
Recent content from Mary Abbe
Black beauty: Minn. History Center shows vintage fashions of Ebony magazine

Black beauty: Minn. History Center shows vintage fashions of Ebony magazine

Ebony’s style influence is celebrated in “Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair,” a show featuring 40 stunning garments by top-name international designers, at the Minnesota History Center.
Frank Gehry's $4.5 million Winton Guest House auctioned for $905,000

Frank Gehry's $4.5 million Winton Guest House auctioned for $905,000

An out-of-state buyer bid $750,000 for house once valued at $4.5 million.
MIA unveils $50M Raphael painting on loan from London

MIA unveils $50M Raphael painting on loan from London

Raphael’s “small but mighty” painting of Mary and Jesus, on loan as a 100th birthday treat, drew gasps at its unveiling.
Photographer Edward Burtynsky explores water issues in Weinstein show

Photographer Edward Burtynsky explores water issues in Weinstein show

Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky explores troubling water issues in stunningly beautiful photos at Weinstein Gallery.
How Walker Art Center pulled off its big 'Pop' show

How Walker Art Center pulled off its big 'Pop' show

It took five years, hundreds of people and millions of dollars to pull off Walker Art Center's new exhibit “International Pop” — providing an object lesson in how museums work.
Will public love this $1M statue? MIA hopes so

Will public love this $1M statue? MIA hopes so

As the Minneapolis Institute of Arts unveils a $1 million "Eros" sculpture by Polish-born Igor Mitoraj in celebration of the museum’s 100th birthday this year, it's asking the public to help pay for it.
Wanna help MIA pay $1M for its new sculpture?

Wanna help MIA pay $1M for its new sculpture?

Minneapolis Institute of Arts unveils a massive sculpture — and a fundraising plan to pay for it.
How the Walker inspired new Whitney Museum

How the Walker inspired new Whitney Museum

As he prepares to open the New York museum’s riverfront home, director Adam Weinberg talks about his Minnesota roots.
Centennial confusion: '100+' photo show at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Centennial confusion: '100+' photo show at Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A muddled show samples a century of photography from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts collection.
Bell Museum prepares for an animal migration

Bell Museum prepares for an animal migration

Most of the Bell’s famed scenes will find a new home on the St. Paul campus.
Walker Art Center goes green in $75 million gateway project

Walker Art Center goes green in $75 million gateway project

Positioning itself as a neighborhood green space and cultural gateway, Walker Art Center will add a new glass-walled entrance pavilion, groves of trees and acres of new grass.
Pop goes the world in a dazzling Walker Art Center show

Pop goes the world in a dazzling Walker Art Center show

Walker Art Center takes a global view of an American favorite in “International Pop,” opening this weekend.
'International Pop' dazzles at Walker Art Center

'International Pop' dazzles at Walker Art Center

The Walker takes a global view of an American favorite in “International Pop,” opening this weekend.
The Walker enters its 'green period' with $75 million project

The Walker enters its 'green period' with $75 million project

The Minneapolis arts center plans a new entrance pavilion.
A garden grows in the Minnesota Museum of American Art

A garden grows in the Minnesota Museum of American Art

As gardens grow, the elegant one in downtown St. Paul came on fast. Two artists grow a conceptual garden in the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

'Washington Crossing the Delaware' lands in Winona museum

After decades in D.C., the famous 1851 painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” leaves the White House for a new home.
Made-by-hand art at three Minneapolis galleries

Made-by-hand art at three Minneapolis galleries

At a time when tech-heavy techniques are ubiquitous, it’s refreshing to encounter shows at three Minneapolis galleries featuring terrific work in such old-fashioned made-by-hand media…
MIA receives historic collection of Japanese art

MIA receives historic collection of Japanese art

Mary Griggs Burke’s bequest will elevate its Japanese collection into the top tier of U.S. museums.
MIA receives historic collection of Japanese art, $12.5M endowment

MIA receives historic collection of Japanese art, $12.5M endowment

Mary Griggs Burke’s bequest will elevate its Japanese collection into the top tier of U.S. museums. It includes 700 pieces of rare Japanese and Korean art, spanning 5,000 years, along with a $12.5 million endowment.
MIA's 'The Art of Murder' slays

MIA's 'The Art of Murder' slays

In prints, drawings and photos, artists depict murder or its aftermath in a don’t-miss exhibit.
MIA's 'The Art of Murder': Let us count the ways

MIA's 'The Art of Murder': Let us count the ways

In prints, drawings and photos, artists depict murder or its aftermath in a don’t-miss exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
Julie Buffalohead tells trickster tales with her art

Julie Buffalohead tells trickster tales with her art

St. Paul artist Julie Buffalohead fuses American Indian motifs and beautifully drawn animal images in a new show at Highpoint Center for Printmaking.
Gehry-designed guest house on the road again

Gehry-designed guest house on the road again

Come spring the Winton guesthouse will be on the road again. And for $1 million or so, it could roll up your driveway.
Photographer Soth hears America singing in book, Weinstein show

Photographer Soth hears America singing in book, Weinstein show

Trips through the heartland yield a “Songbook” of new photographs, and a smashing show at Weinstein Gallery.
Hymns to the horizon: Art of George Morrison at Minnesota History Center

Hymns to the horizon: Art of George Morrison at Minnesota History Center

The career of Minnesota artist George Morrison is celebrated in a major retrospective at the History Center in St. Paul.
Two Russian artists 'make beauty' in Minnesota

Two Russian artists 'make beauty' in Minnesota

Dreamy works by Katia Andreeva and Konstantin Berkovski are featured at the Museum of Russian Art.
'Habsburgs' at MIA is a fairy-tale treasury

'Habsburgs' at MIA is a fairy-tale treasury

A fairy-tale treasury of Austrian art debuts at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts in “The Habsburgs.”
Minn. again accepting TurboTax filings after suspicions of fraud

Minn. again accepting TurboTax filings after suspicions of fraud

The state had halted accepting the returns Thursday night after some taxpayers received a message saying their return had already been filed.

A dozen detained after harassment, loitering reported in St. Paul skyway

A dozen adults and juveniles were detained in downtown St. Paul on Saturday after residents of a condominium building reported being harassed by a group…
Walker unwraps a birthday present in '75 Gifts for 75 Years'

Walker unwraps a birthday present in '75 Gifts for 75 Years'

“75 Gifts for 75 Years” is a capstone moment for Walker Art Center, which celebrates this weekend.
Internet Cat Video Festival to move to new Saints stadium

Internet Cat Video Festival to move to new Saints stadium

The one-night event, which attracted more than 11,000 fans last year has outgrown the grassy hillside next to the Walker Arts Center. It's new home will be the $63 million CHS Field, which is scheduled to open in May near the Farmers’ Market in St. Paul’s Lowertown.
Winter blooms on the Minneapolis gallery scene

Winter blooms on the Minneapolis gallery scene

Two galleries try to revitalize the Minneapolis art scene with a biennial and youthful ideas.
Artists in Nash Gallery show are wonder women, indeed

Artists in Nash Gallery show are wonder women, indeed

Feminist artists from around the world join forces for an impressive show at the U's Katherine E. Nash Gallery.
Mpls. Institute of Arts unveils rare Vermeer painting for 100th birthday

Mpls. Institute of Arts unveils rare Vermeer painting for 100th birthday

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts had promised surprise masterpieces for its centennial celebration, and it delivered a big one Friday: one of only 34 known works by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer.
A minimalist mystery at the Walker

A minimalist mystery at the Walker

An anniversary show by New York artist Liz Deschenes fails to rise to the occasion.
Planned in secret, a major loan pumps up MIA's collection

Planned in secret, a major loan pumps up MIA's collection

The unannounced exhibit is an 80-piece sample of more than 550 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photos on loan from the Kunin family, with the hope it will become a permanent part of the museum.
MIA has some surprises in store as it turns 100

MIA has some surprises in store as it turns 100

A century ago, when the Minneapolis Institute of Arts opened its doors, museums were a symbol of civic pride, much like stadiums are now. Making art available to everyone remains the MIA's mission.
The People's Museum: MIA at 100

The People's Museum: MIA at 100

A century ago, museums were a symbol of civic pride, much like stadiums are now. Making art available to everyone remains the MIA's mission.
Art doctors keep paintings healthy

Art doctors keep paintings healthy

Who are you going to call when good art goes bad? This is a case for the Midwest Art Conservation Center. Interactive: Check out the before/after restoration of a classic painting.
Obituary: The Rev. Richard Hillstrom, minister and art collector

Obituary: The Rev. Richard Hillstrom, minister and art collector

The Rev. Richard Hillstrom, a Lutheran minister who parlayed a modest salary, a discerning eye and a passion for American art into a museum-quality collection,…
Review: 'The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi,' edited by Gianfranco Malafarina

Review: 'The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi,' edited by Gianfranco Malafarina

NONFICTION: A beautifully illustrated history of Italy’s Basilica of St. Francis.
Minneapolis Institute of Arts given $8M to endow director's salary

Minneapolis Institute of Arts given $8M to endow director's salary

Duncan and Nivin MacMillan are announcing Tuesday an $8 million gift from their foundation to endow the director position now held by Kaywin Feldman, who has led the MIA since 2008.
Bits and pieces of the zeitgeist in a new SooVAC show

Bits and pieces of the zeitgeist in a new SooVAC show

A new show at SooVAC in Minneapolis surveys the contemporary scene through work by 18 artists.
Holiday books: The best art books

Holiday books: The best art books

“Ciao, Carpaccio!” By Jan Morris (Liveright, 160 pages, $19.95) Travel writer and deep-dish Venice fan Jan Morris indulges a lifelong infatuation with the…
Streetscapes: Minnesota architecture's best win awards

Streetscapes: Minnesota architecture's best win awards

Four Minnesota architecture firms take eight Honor Awards at AIA Minnesota’s annual convention.
Color with an edge: Jim Denomie critiques culture with biting humor

Color with an edge: Jim Denomie critiques culture with biting humor

Wild colors, bawdy humor and biting satire are Jim Denomie’s signature in his new paintings at Bockley Gallery through Dec. 13.
Local collector's African art fetches record $41.6M

Local collector's African art fetches record $41.6M

The sale brought in more than $12 million above the high estimate that Sotheby’s had set.
Minneapolis collector's African art collection fetches record $41.6M

Minneapolis collector's African art collection fetches record $41.6M

The Myron Kunin sale brought in more than $12 million above the high estimate that Sotheby’s had set before the sale. Of the 164 pieces in Kunin’s African art collection, all but 40 sold Tuesday morning.
Weinstein Gallery spotlights female photographers in 'Fashion Show'

Weinstein Gallery spotlights female photographers in 'Fashion Show'

In magazines like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar or Elle, women wear the clothes and men take the photos. So it seemed through much of the 20th century.
Art marathon: 8 events this weekend at Twin Cities galleries

Art marathon: 8 events this weekend at Twin Cities galleries

At least eight attention-worthy shows and events are in store, offering everything from high-fashion photography to American Indian satire.
Art to order: The history behind the Union Depot's new murals

Art to order: The history behind the Union Depot's new murals

An Atlanta muralist brings railroad history to the walls of St. Paul’s Union Depot.
American idyll: Sculptor Aaron Spangler comes out of the North Woods

American idyll: Sculptor Aaron Spangler comes out of the North Woods

Back from New York, Minnesota sculptor Aaron Spangler fuses city smarts with rustic imagery in a print show at Highpoint.
Mpls. Institute of Arts strikes a pose with Italian fashion

Mpls. Institute of Arts strikes a pose with Italian fashion

REVIEW: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts celebrates 70 years of Italian fashion in a splendid new show opening Sunday.
New tricks from an 'old Viking': The art of Nancy Randall at St. John's Abbey

New tricks from an 'old Viking': The art of Nancy Randall at St. John's Abbey

Twin Cities artist Nancy Randall takes on life, death and her Norse ancestry in an installation and show at St. John’s Abbey.
Walker Art Center throws itself a 75th anniversary party

Walker Art Center throws itself a 75th anniversary party

Walker Art Center celebrates its 75th anniversary with a weekend-long Walktoberfest and two handsome shows drawn from its collection.
Obituary: Textile artist Nancy MacKenzie produced one-of-a-kind pieces

Obituary: Textile artist Nancy MacKenzie produced one-of-a-kind pieces

  Textile artist Nancy MacKenzie often found materials for her sculptures and wearable art in the woods and fields around her rural Stillwater home. She…
Minneapolis Institute of Arts prepares to throw itself a 100th birthday party

Minneapolis Institute of Arts prepares to throw itself a 100th birthday party

Museum’s schedule includes blockbuster shows, plus an exhibit by a former Devo musician.
Museum of Russian Art evokes forests of homeland

Museum of Russian Art evokes forests of homeland

The forests of Mother Russia nourished the soul as well as the body, as shown in a charming new exhibit at TMORA.
St. Paul artists will split $1.4 million from Knight Foundation

St. Paul artists will split $1.4 million from Knight Foundation

From a food-inspired opera to a Latino radio novella to “The Smallest Museum in St. Paul” in an old fire-hose cabinet, St. Paul will be inundated next year with arts activities after the announcement of Knight Foundation grants.
Out of Africa: Works from Liberia and Sierra Leone at MIA

Out of Africa: Works from Liberia and Sierra Leone at MIA

Richard Tsong-Taatarii
Deconstructed pictures at Highpoint, reconstructed nature at Soap Factory

Deconstructed pictures at Highpoint, reconstructed nature at Soap Factory

The world comes to Minneapolis in shows at Highpoint and the Soap Factory.
Gallery shows closing soon

Gallery shows closing soon

Three Minneapolis galleries showcase recent work by Twin Cities artists in noteworthy exhibits closing soon.
Twin Cities art galleries, museums launch into busy fall

Twin Cities art galleries, museums launch into busy fall

Pots, photos, paintings, parties. There’s plenty of arty stuff to do, see, buy and celebrate this weekend as the fall season kicks off in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Here’s a sample of what’s on.
Mildred Friedman, who made Walker Art Center a world leader, dies

Mildred Friedman, who made Walker Art Center a world leader, dies

Innovative architecture and design curator Mildred Friedman, who helped launched Frank Gehry and many others, died Wednesday in New York at 85.
Rising stars: American Indian artists featured in two Minneapolis exhibitions

Rising stars: American Indian artists featured in two Minneapolis exhibitions

Andrea Carlson and 15 other American Indian artists are featured in two Minneapolis exhibitions.
Art on the (Green) Line: Community trying to make a connection

Art on the (Green) Line: Community trying to make a connection

Artists respond to the new light-rail link in a show at St. Paul’s Minnesota Museum of American Art.
Picturing the good life at Minnesota State Fair art show

Picturing the good life at Minnesota State Fair art show

Life in Minnesota is passive, pleasant and unprovocative, at least as depicted in the State Fair's art show.

Top prizes from the State Fair art show

OIL/ACRYLIC/MIXED MEDIA1. Greg DeGrace, Minneapolis; 2. Melissa Kashmark, Minneapolis; 3. Thomas Westberg, Spring Lake Park; 4. Scott Lloyd Anderson, Minneapolis.SCULPTURE1. Danny Saathoff, Edina; 2. Robert…
Minneapolis hosts 3 outdoor art festivals this weekend

Minneapolis hosts 3 outdoor art festivals this weekend

Starting Friday, Minneapolis will feel — momentarily — like the epicenter of the art world as nearly 700 artists converge for a long weekend of showing and selling everything handmade.
Q&A: Walker Art Center's Fionn Meade

Q&A: Walker Art Center's Fionn Meade

Fresh from New York, cross-disciplinary curator Fionn Meade talks about life, art and the Walker’s new show of black performance art.
Visual art: Prints at Highpoint showcases Minnesota talent

Visual art: Prints at Highpoint showcases Minnesota talent

For the “Silver” show, 37 members of the Highpoint cooperative have turned out a sparkling variety of images.
Minneapolis Art Institute set for another ‘banner year’

Minneapolis Art Institute set for another ‘banner year’

Museum ended fiscal year with balanced budget and near-record attendance.
American Swedish Institute offers Scandinavian sampler

American Swedish Institute offers Scandinavian sampler

The American Swedish Institute showcases Swedish photos, Norwegian sculpture and Finnish rugs this summer.
Minneapolis museum showcases 100 master drawings

Minneapolis museum showcases 100 master drawings

Minneapolis Institute of Arts unveils, from its collection, 100 master drawings spanning 500 years.
New director hired by Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis

New director hired by Museum of Russian Art in Minneapolis

Moscow-educated historian tasked with helping TMORA grow.
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