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Mpls. photo curator David Little goes to Amherst

Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) photo curator David Little is decamping from Minnesota to Massachusetts where he will become the Director and Chief Curator of the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College starting August 31.

In his seven year tenure at the MIA, Little organized more than 20 exhibitions including “The Sports Show,” a pioneering 2012 examination of the history of sports photography. His 2010 show “The Embarrassment of Riches,” brought together contemporary photos — many of them subtly critical — of the world’s uber wealthy. He also added more than 1,000 photos to the museum’s collection which now numbers 12,000 images.

At Amherst he will oversee a staff of 12, a $10 million endowment, and an omnibus collection of 19,000 objects that range from photography to African textiles, Hudson River school paintings, Russian art and 20th century modernism. Plus he’ll be closer to his two teenage daughters and wife, Darsie Alexander, the former Walker Art Center curator who last year was named director of the Katoah Museum of Art  in Katonah, N.Y., a suburb of New York City.

Leaving the MIA and his Minnesota friends is “bitter sweet,” Little said, but the past year “has been a long commute.”

Prior to his Minneapolis work, Little was Associate Director and chair of education at the Whitney Museum of American Art and before that director of adult and academic programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He has taught contemporary art and theory at the Maryland Institute of Art and for the Duke University leadership and arts program and was a visiting scholar at the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University.

He earned his B.A. from Bowdoin College (1985), his M.A. from Williams College (1992) and his Ph.D. from Duke University (2001).

Rhymesayers hip-hop events to take over fairgrounds, Target Center

God loves soggy? Slug and Atmosphere performed in the rain at Sunday's Soundset festival, the last one to be held at Canterbury Park. / Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

God loves soggy? Slug and Atmosphere performed in the rain at Sunday's Soundset festival, the last one to be held at Canterbury Park. / Mark Vancleave, Star Tribune

Fans of Atmosphere and its many Rhymesayers-affiliated pals won’t have to drive all the way out to Shakopee to see them in a big venue. Not only is Rhymesayers planning to move its Soundset music festival from Canterbury Park to the State Fairgrounds next year, as was revealed at the tail end of Sunday’s soakathon, but the Minneapolis-based record label and promotions company is also planning to put on a special 20th anniversary celebration at the end of this year at Target Center.

Rhymesayers Entertainment will take over its hometown basketball arena on Friday, Dec. 4, for a party that could wind up drawing the biggest crowd of the basketball season. Details of the RSE20 celebration will soon be announced. The label trumpeted its 20th anniversary around the music industry with a couple events at the South by Southwest Music Conference in March but has yet to host a big hometown party.

South by Southwest hosted the panel "Rhymesayers: Independent Since Day One" in March. / Tony Nelson

South by Southwest hosted the panel "Rhymesayers: Independent Since Day One" in March. / Tony Nelson

As for Soundset’s move to the State Fairgrounds, it wasn’t by choice: Canterbury Park and the city of Shakopee are about to launch a $200 million housing and retail development that will take over the land where the festival is held annually (as is the Warped Tour). Soundset has been held on the horse track’s grounds for seven straight years, following its inaugural run outside the Metrodome in 2008. Funny to think that a lot of people -- including Soundset organizers -- wondered if the crowds would still show up way out in Shakopee.

It's easy to see a positive side to the relocation, though. As was the case with the Metrodome site, the fairgrounds are much closer to home for city kids and are highly accessible by bicycle and mass transit. At the fair, Soundset’s stages will not be held in the grandstand, whose 15,000 capacity would only accommodate half of Soundset’s draw. Instead, it will either be set up on the huge asphalt space where the Midway operates or just north of there, in the newly developed West End Market area.

“We don’t know what the capacity will be but it might be a little bigger,” Soundset co-organizer Randy Levy told us.

Another unknown: how hip-hop music will play with the horse show already scheduled in the fair’s Warner Coliseum that weekend. The date for Soundset 2016 is May 29.
 

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