Twin Cities art aficionados are living in a pandemic upside-down world. Some museums and galleries are re-emerging, while others remain closed.
The Walker Art Center opened its scheduled fall exhibition “Designs for Different Futures,” but without touch screens or headphones. Minneapolis Institute of Art curator Pujan Gandhi got a few additional months to plan the reopening of the museum’s South Asian, Southeast Asian and Himalayan art galleries, now set for Oct. 15.
The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery reopened Aug. 18 with artwork in response to the killing of George Floyd, including portraits by John Steitz of people at the protests and community events; photos by Jabari Holloman documenting the scene at 38th and Chicago, and a video compilation by 10 artists expressing their feelings about the movement. Outside the museum, 16 artists painted a Black Lives Matter mural on Plymouth Avenue.
The Minnesota Museum of American Art plans to remain closed through June, but is welcoming patrons for exhibitions in its front windows and neighboring skyways. Meanwhile, it’s searching for a new executive director after the firing of Kristin Makholm in July.
The Weisman Art Museum reopens Oct. 1 with “Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection,” which shut down prematurely but is now extended through Nov. 29. “It was a personal art eclipse,” said Bart. The Weisman will carry on without executive director Lyndel King, who retired in June after a nearly 40-year run. “Access to art is always important — but especially now, when we may all crave some time and a space for reflection, solace, creativity and inspiration,” said interim director Karen Hanson.
The American Swedish Institute reopened with “We Who Believe in Freedom,” a 2016 touring exhibition of works by the Women of Color Quilters Network (WCQN), even more relevant in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police.
Many galleries returned, such as Hair & Nails, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, and Weinstein Hammons. SooVAC reopens Sept. 26 with three exhibitions. Indigenous-focused gallery All My Relations Arts remains temporarily closed. The gallery at Juxtaposition Arts in north Minneapolis is also closed while it focuses on a $14 million capital campaign.
Artists are perhaps the most affected by the pandemic. Some enjoy the extra studio time; others yearn for the social life that gallery openings provide.
One of those regulars, Chris Harrison, said he is “cautiously optimistic” about the fall arts season. “The human desire to create, experience and accept creative pursuits will always overcome any calamity thrust upon us. Just be safe, be smart and we should be all right.”