Posts tagged with "Walker Art Center":
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
Contemporary political issues will be considered through the lens of the interior in Question the Wall Itself, which will feature works by 23 artists from 15 countries. The Walker Art Center has commissioned seven of the works, and although most date from 2012 to the present, some are from the 1970s. Question the Wall Itself will present a wide variety of works conceived as rooms, including everything from an anteroom, a living room, and a prison cell, to a showroom, a library, and an interior garden. “Recasting our conception of interior space and design, the works on view will exist between artwork, prop and set, or stage, challenging understandings of social convention, habit, and code,” said the exhibition’s curator, Walker Art Center artistic director Fionn Meade.
For example, artist Walid Raad’s 2014 Letters to the Reader (1864, 1877, 1916, 1923), creates and questions “potentially hollow decors imperceptible to spectators…the speculative promise of museum-scale showrooms for modern and contemporary ‘Arab art’ in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates,” said Meade. Also according to Meade, Jonathas de Andrade’s 2012 Nostalgia, a Class Sentiment “animates the modern architecture of Brazil as a foyer of the politics of nostalgia.” He added: “Through each of the artist’s examinations of specific interior spaces and architecture—both public and private—the political, social and subjective contexts of these environments are revealed.”
Question the Wall Itself Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis November 20–May 21
Mildred Friedman, the longtime design curator of Minneapolis' Walker Art Center and a prolific architectural author, died Wednesday at her home in New York City. She was 85. Friedman, whose friends called her “Mickey,” ran the Walker for 21 years with her husband, Martin, who was its director. Together they made it “America's leading design museum,” according to a tribute from Architectural Record on the occasion of the couple's “retirement” in 1990.
As the museum's design curator, Ms. Friedman also edited its publication, Design Quarterly, which she managed deftly, according to Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker’s senior curator of design, research, and publishing. "With its singular focus, generous reproductions, and smart design, it was decidedly not one of those dry and often poorly designed, peer-reviewed, academic journals,” wrote Blauvelt in a remembrance. “Although it’s been more than 20 years since DQ ceased publication, the void that it left has never been filled.”
Much of her work curating and editing Design Quarterly would spin off into publications. Friedman wrote or co-wrote dozens of books, including Graphic Design in America: A Visual Language History, the first large-scale museum survey of the field.
Since 1990, she and her husband had lived in New York City, where Ms. Friedman continued writing and curating at institutions including the Guggenheim Museum, the Canadian Centre for Architecture, and the Brooklyn Museum.
Under Friedman, shows at the Walker were not just shows but immersive experiences.
“In Mickey’s hands, a design show was never simply about a subject, but drew upon the principles and power of design itself to create a compelling experience,” wrote Blauvelt. “ This particular strategy of restaging, wherein visitors can not only look at works of art on view but also experience them directly and even viscerally, certainly drew upon Mickey’s skills and experience in interior design but also signaled a powerful new curatorial technique.”
Mickey was instrumental in defining the architectural landscape of the Twin Cities by connecting patrons to architects … She was the design maven of the Twin Cities for many years and she had a huge impact— huge.
Friedman's legacy is inextricably linked to those of many 20th century architects. Her 1986 exhibition of Frank Gehry's work bolstered the architect's career—a feat she replicated by championing the likes of Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Tod Williams, Billie Tsien and César Pelli, whom she also helped win commissions in the region by suggesting them for local landmark projects.
Born Mildred Shenberg in 1929, Ms. Friedman grew up in California. She met Martin Friedman at UCLA, where her future husband was teaching drawing as a graduate student in art history and painting. They married in 1949.
In 1980 she started the Mildred S. Friedman Design Fellowship, a program to give recent design graduates experience in her design studio at the Walker Art Center.
Her survivors include her husband, three daughters, and six grandchildren.