American Express has commissioned a new mural for Hennepin Avenue from Minneapolis-based artist Greg Gossel, whose colorful collage-style designs have been shown throughout the country and abroad in both Copenhagen and London.
The mural will be situated at 930 Hennepin Av., at the corner of 10th Street, on the north wall of the building that previously housed the National Camera Exchange. Gossel plans to begin painting Saturday and complete the work by Nov. 16.
Gossel's pop style has been compared to the graphic designs of Shepard Fairey and the comic-book inspired paintings of the late Roy Lichtenstein. For the Hennepin site he plans to incorporate references to the avenue's long history as an entertainment district that began with vaudeville and moved on to movies, Broadway musicals, dance companies, strip joints, restaurants and sports bars. Over the decades the avenue was also home to auto dealerships, a grocery store, and in the late 19th century, a hay market.
Hennepin is being repurposed as the spine of the Minneapolis Cultural District, an aspirational upgrade that is intended to link the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden to the Mississippi River.
Gossel's project is the second mural to sprout on Hennepin Avenue this year. It follows a five-story, cubistic interpretation of three stages in the life of Minnesota-born troubadour Bob Dylan, by Brazilian artist Eduardo Kobra, overlooking a parking lot and the light-rail train line at the intersection of 5th Street and Hennepin Avenue.
The American Express commission is part of Small Business Saturday Street Art, a national effort to support local businesses throughout the country. In partnership with Juxtapoz, a monthly magazine about contemporary art, American Express commissioned neighborhood murals in 20 markets including Minneapolis. The nonprofit Hennepin Theatre Trust, which owns the Orpheum, State, Pantages and New Century theaters, is overseeing implementation of Gossel's mural.