Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.
RN: Myron Kunin was my kind of magnate.
CP: Why? Was he sharing his hair-care profits with you?
RN: If only. No, the late founder of Regis Corp. channeled his millions into collecting art. A greatest-hits survey of his American Modernism collection just popped up at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I wish I could take up residence in those galleries.
CP: It’s a terrific show. Kunin bought pictures by some of my early-20th-century faves: Marsden Hartley, Stuart Davis, Paul Cadmus, Arthur Dove.
RN: A total Hartley-fest. I lost count after five. Let’s not forget two gorgeous Milton Avery canvases and a Beauford Delaney knockout that I was mentally positioning over my sofa.
CP: I checked out the free (!) show on New Year’s Day, when it was delightfully uncrowded.
RN: When I was there last Sunday, the museum was a mob scene, which made me blush with civic pride. As in, what do the residents of the biggest cold-weather city in the U.S. do for fun in January? They look at art, gosh darn it.
CP: Thanks to the Weisman Art Museum, we are not hurting for Hartleys here, but it was enlightening to see some new ones from Kunin’s stash. There was a gemlike Cubist canvas in the vein of “Hartley does Braque,” another Kandinsky-esque abstraction, and an odd painting of a sidewalk preacher with arms raised, seeming to exhort passersby. Kinda like lunch hour at 7th and Nicollet.
RN: And a semi-haunting 1909 landscape he called “An Evening Mountainscape.” How about those four crazy Walt Kuhn portraits?
CP: A show highlight. Kuhn loved the circus, which maybe helped qualify him as an art-world promoter. He was a key organizer of the 1913 Armory show that spread Euro-style modernism to the American hinterland.
RN: Look at you, a regular John Ruskin over there.
CP: Kunin’s eye was not unerring, and he wasn’t as rich as Duncan Phillips, who amassed enough art of this era for an entire museum in Washington, D.C. But I like how Kunin bought what he liked, regardless of whether it was an artist’s most “important” work.
RN: A larger-scale version of the DVDs of never-heard-of-them TV shows that you accumulate.
CP: Like that gorgeous, mildly suggestive “Banyan Tree,” by Joseph Stella, who is better known for his Futurist paintings of bridges and factories.
RN: I zipped over to the Impressionism galleries to say hello to my second-favorite John Singer Sargent — “The Birthday Party” — and found that it was out on loan, replaced by “Jerusalem,” a parched, sun-drenched Sargent landscape from Kunin’s treasure trove. A lovely surprise.
CP: Here’s hoping the Kunin family turns this loan into a gift. It would be a feather-in-cap for the Institute to have these works in perpetuity. If it happens, I can hobble over on my cane to see Stuart Davis’ “Composition With Coffee Pot.”
RN: Who says you don’t have a viable retirement plan?
Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib