'Minneatures' by Plasticgod

Minneapolis might appear to be the opposite of celebrity-obsessed Los Angeles. But the truth is, everyone sneaks a peek at US Weekly while in line at the grocery store and turns on "Dancing With the Stars" when no one is looking. Feed your celebrity obsession under the guise of art appreciation with L.A.-based artist Plasticgod's first Minneapolis exhibition at Soo Visual Arts' Toomer Gallery, in which pop icons, political figures and movie stars are re-created into Lego-like figures. The self-described "21st Century Warhol" and "King of Flat" has reimagined more than 700 celebs, from Britney to Barack, in his quirky figure paintings. In an ironic twist, the artist is popular among the celebrity set, boasting on his website that more than 70 celebrities (including Madonna, Michael Jackson and Hugh Hefner) own his art. While it's easy to criticize Plasticgod's repetitious style as one-note, his paintings serve as a commentary in the vein of political cartoons. Take his humorous spin on "The Axis of Evil" in a 4-by-7-inch painting of the same name, featuring caricatures of Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il, George W. Bush and Tony Blair. The "Minneatures" exhibition also includes selections from his popular "God Heads" collection.

  • Jahna Peloquin

'Paper Tigers'

Local artist John Vogt, proud recipient of a Jerome Fellowship and a finalist for a past McKnight grant, opens his first solo

show this weekend at Soo Visual Arts Center. Vogt zeroes in on icons emblematic of human greed and excess, and does so with a black dose of design humor. Accenting his gargantuan tools of destruction with a neon blaze, Vogt's warships and bomb clouds have an early-'90s screen-print feel -- a sort of apocalypse jive, if you will, as if the Fresh Prince were rapping war propaganda.

  • Gregory J. Scott