Posts tagged with "Minneapolis":
It may be no coincidence that the Walker Art Center, in conjunction with the unveiling of its new streamlined main entrance and lobby, has also opened a new exhibition of highly conceptual, intellectually exhilarating work that is oftentimes, concurrently, as bewildering as the welcoming new foyer is transparent. Question the Wall Itself—from its title to the show’s most architectural work—graciously invites interrogation.
They are installations in which traditional ideas of space, interiors, exterior structure, and the decorative are literally turned inside out, upside down, and sliced open, reassembled, or punctured. None accomplishes this more pointedly, perhaps, than Jonathan de Andrade’s Nostalgia, sentimiento de classe (Nostalgia, a class sentiment).
Andrade’s installation gets its own room, on which the white walls are printed with texts on “tropical modernism” by mid-20th-century Brazilian architecture writers Marcos Vasconcellos and Flavio de Carvalho, but with significant words replaced with red, blue, black, and yellow fiberglass shapes (blocks, triangles, rectangles). Resting on the floor is a framed photo of a 1960s entryway, which inspired the shapes, from a house in the artist’s home city of Recife. (Note the parrot in the photograph; more on that soon).
The overall effect of Andrade’s work is Mondrian-like, conjuring fantasies of a Lego party attended by mid-century design thinkers. But the installation—with its layering of references to the public and private, political and cultural, material and verbal—also points to how the exhibition as a whole examines, through a wide range of cultural frames, how interior spaces reflect ideas of identity.
Curated by Fionn Meade, the Walker Art Center artistic director, the show includes—in addition to installations—sculpture, video, photography, and other multimedia works by 23 artists from around the globe. Reflection, not coincidentally, is a recurring theme throughout the exhibition, as mirrors abound. So do parrots.
The birds, signifiers of repetition and mimicry, first appear in Marcel Broodthaers’ Dites partout que je l’ai dit (Say Everywhere I Said So), an installation that encompasses a drawing of a parrot from a bird species index, a taxidermied parrot inside a bell jar, a box splashed with paint and a taped recording of Broodthaer repeating lines from his poetry.
Broodthaer’s concept of “esprit décor” guided the exhibition’s curation, Meade explained. He described it as a critique of ideas about internationalism, national identity, globalization, and institutional space—all through the lens of how interior space is constructed. The most shocking manifestation of which is Rosemarie Trockel’s As far as possible.
Occupying its own room—its antiseptic white-tiled walls conjure chilling sensations of a hospital cleanroom or testing laboratory—Trockel’s installation includes taxidermied, mechanized songbirds and a bell under a bell jar (representation and mimesis, anyone?) in a white metal cage, an upside-down palm tree, a sculptural mass that might be a urinal and a print of Gustave Courbet’s L’Origine du monde over which the artist strategically placed an image of a tarantula.
Forget “Bathroom of the Day” on Houzz; Trockel’s installation is straight out of an indie science-fiction/horror film, while its props and decor—worthy of a stage or set design—summon Freud’s psychological concept of “the uncanny.” Theaster Gates’s A Maimed King also uses an array of objects, but to summon emotional resonance with political and cultural consequences.
His installation has an office chair facing a battered aluminum bulletin board framing a crumpled, torn image of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (salvaged from a condemned school in Chicago). On either side are blackboard-like sculptures, one called House Nation Wall and the other Founder’s Plaque, which suggest a rebuilding of a musical, educational, and cultural world that values inclusivity; institutions that still need to be built.
Similarly, such structures have yet to be constructed in the Arab world, argues Walid Raad in his 11-panel installation Letters to the Reader. Placed like dominoes in a graceful arc, each eight-by-four-foot painted panel features a thin cutout (some of which resemble fragments of an ornate picture frame) above a trompe l’oeil parquet or wood floor. Each panel also represents a fragment of a wall from a fictitious art gallery in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, calling into question issues of the place and prospect of Arab art in traditional Western contexts.
Lucy McKenzie’s Loos House is also a shadow structure of sorts. McKenzie’s installation deploys trompe l’oeil painting techniques to render her brusque not-to-scale layout of the Austrian architect’s 1930 Villa Müller (hers is an unfaithful copy, full of voids) in the cipollino green marble of the home’s salon, inverting the interior and exterior, public and private spaces. In her accompanying work, Fascist Bathroom, McKenzie similarly transposes the most private and intimate by enclosing oil-on-paper paintings of an opulent lavatory in a white-walled box.
Tom Burr’s Zog (a series of setbacks) brings the interrogation home, quite literally, with a sculpture that questions the corner offices of the IDS Center in downtown Minneapolis, a landmark skyscraper designed by Philip Johnson. One side of the work (the public side?) is comprised of 12 glass-fronted “zogs” that reflect the observer. On the inside are stainless-steel panels printed with Burr’s photos of Philip Johnson’s Glass House: imagistic fragments in which Burr is often reflected.
Repetition and reflection; homage and critique; mimicry and mimesis; staging and sets; fragments and shadows: Question the Wall Itself was curated over a period of several years, yet is strangely of its time. At a time when fascism, seemingly in the guise of nationalism, is rearing its hydra-head around the globe, and fears of exclusivity rise as elitism cloaks itself in populism, and lies are allowed to masquerade as truth, the fractured architectural narratives of the exhibition are poignantly resonant. Question everything, seems to be the message, not just the wall.
Explore culture and identity through interior design and décor at the Walker Art Center’s latest exhibit
The Walker Art Center has brought together 23 international and multigenerational artists in its latest exhibition Question the Wall Itself. The show explores cultural belonging and identity through interior spaces and décor. The show is curated by Fionn Meade with Jordan Carter, and shown in the Target, Friedman, and Burnet galleries.
The exhibition includes sculptures, installations, films, videos, photographs, performances, and site-responsive works, presented as a series of rooms. From the prison cell to living room, and the library to the interior garden, many artists drew on their personal, social, and cultural backgrounds to produce works for the show.
An accompanying publication will include new writings and visual essays by participating artists, as well as an extensive photographic walkthrough of the installations with essays by curators Fionn Meade and Jordan Carter, as well as visual arts curator Adrienne Edwards, Walker Art Center’s Bentson Scholar of Moving Image Isla Leaver-Yap, and art historian Robert Wiesenberger.
Question the Wall Itself Walker Art Center 725 Vineland Place, Minneapolis November 20, 2016 through May 21, 2017
Death Star. The Bird Killer. Jawa Sandcrawler. The Spank. Skulldome. The Dark Crystal. Black Bullfrog. Banks a Billion.
Since the design for the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis was unveiled in May 2013, the black zinc, glass, and ETFE-paneled angular structure by HKS Architects has inspired a plethora of derogatory nicknames. Fueling the disparagement has been the sports team itself, which has been engaged since groundbreaking occurred on the 75,000-seat, 1.75-million-square-foot facility, in one public-relations fiasco after another on a level befitting a parody in The Onion.
In May 2012, the Minnesota state legislature signed a bill calling for a $975 million multipurpose stadium to be built for the Minnesota Vikings football team on the former site of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on the east side of downtown Minneapolis. Across the state, citizens groaned: another taxpayer-funded stadium built for millionaires. To date, the cost to state and local taxpayers is close to $498 million, with the total cost of the stadium slated at $1.1 billion.
In 2013, after the design was unveiled, Audubon Minnesota called the structure a “death trap” for birds due to its 200,000 square feet of transparent glass. Local bird enthusiast Howard Miller painted a grim picture in the local newspaper, the Star Tribune. Miller “raised the specter of dead indigo buntings and ruby-throated hummingbirds ‘thwacking’ against the glass, falling to the ground and lying lifeless on the sidewalk as purple-clad masses arrived for the games.” The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, involved in building the stadium, declined to replace the glass with a less-deadly fritted version due to costs and delays.
Meanwhile, the stadium’s construction began spurring development in an urban area that had been largely occupied by surface parking lots. Renamed Downtown East or East Town, the area filled with cranes and workers constructing apartment and condo buildings, a park, and Wells Fargo office towers. Proponents of the stadium talked up how the project was contributing a much-needed economic boost to Minneapolis in jobs via new construction, new and existing restaurants and bars, new hotels, and new retail.
Then the “photo bomb” incident occurred: The Minnesota Vikings organization sued Wells Fargo over two signs on its new office towers “that permanently ‘photo bomb’ the images of the iconic U.S. Bank Stadium,” the lawsuit stated. In January of this year, a U.S. district judge allowed the Vikings to proceed with the lawsuit. Then the Vikings applied to have Chicago Avenue, which runs for three blocks in front of the stadium, renamed “Vikings Way” due to the team’s aversion to a street address that evokes a division rival. Minneapolis City Hall would not budge on the street name, and the Vikings eventually withdrew the application.
There was also the dispute over $16 million in cost overruns that had to be settled with Mortenson Construction (and there’s yet to be a final tally) and a leak in the snow gutters at the top of the building requiring nearly $4 million in repairs. Lastly, the Vikings announced a “distinct monument”: A Viking ship–themed sculpture with an LED screen for a sail on the plaza outside the stadium (by RipBang Studios, a California-based division of the Minneapolis design firm Nelson), as well as The Horn sculpture (by the Minneapolis-based Alliiance) inside—both drew criticism from the local arts community.
What’s done is done. In August, the Vikings kick off the first game in the new stadium. The structure is more than twice as big as the Metrodome. The first row of seats is a mere 41 feet away from the sideline, and the field seats get fans even closer at 25 feet. The wi-fi network is capable of accommodating upward of 30,000 fans as well as vendors and staff. While fully enclosed, the stadium’s vast expanses of roof, wall, and clerestory glass provide a feeling of openness.
Whether viewed on foot, car, or from a seat on the Blue Line of the light-rail train, it’s easy to see how the building meshes with surrounding streets amid the fast-changing, rebranded Downtown East neighborhood. To what extent the stadium is a game changer for the City of Minneapolis, and the economic and cultural life of the area, however, remains to be seen.