One of the Twin Cities most stylish and popular showplaces for contemporary art, Burnet Gallery, will close December 31 at the conclusion of its present show of drawings by Alyssa Baguss.
Baguss' ethereal drawings look like relief maps of the surface of a blue moon. Coincidentally, the classy Burnet Gallery, which flourished for nearly a decade, was a once-in-a-blue-moon venue in the Twin Cities too.
Located in a spacious, white-walled room with windows overlooking Hennepin Av, the gallery was a smart art showcase in the heart of Minneapolis' theater district. On the ground floor of Le Meridien Chambershotel, it was a popular site for board meetings, dinners and events frequented by arty types affiliated with Walker Art Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and other culture organizations.
Its owner and namesake, Ralph Burnet, a longtime Walker board member, often partnered with the center and housed visiting artists at the Chambers. In keeping with Chambers' designation as an "art boutique hotel," Burnet personally selected original art -- often by Minnesota talents -- for all of its 60 rooms and loaned pieces from his and his wife Peggy's personal collection for display in the lobby and public rooms.
In June 2015, Burnet sold the hotel and its Foshay Tower partner, the W Minneapolis, to the Dallas-based Ashford Hospitality Trust, leaving the gallery's future in limbo. On Thursday, gallery director Jennifer Phelps confirmed that it will be closing in two weeks.
"The new owners of the hotel have decided not to continue the gallery," Phelps explained in an email. Burnet was out of the country, but confirmed the new owners' intentions through Phelps.
"Nine years and four months is a great run!" Phelps wrote, trying to take an upbeat stance. "I can't think of a better way to end [than] with an elegant and thoughtful show by Alyssa." Agreed.