Let's Talk About the "Universal" (White, Male) Artist
In a sprawling essay meandering from Joseph Beuys and George Morrison to recent MFA thesis work by MCAD graduate Nick Rivers, artist Andrea Carlson unpacks the tangled, Eurocentric assumptions inherent in art historical notions of Abstract Expressionism as a bastion for universal, "pure" artistic expression.
I visited Nick Rivers while he was in the throes of pulling together his ideas and materials for his MFA thesis work at Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in April. He surprised me.…
Nicholas Rivers, 5 Day Fast. Photo documentation courtesy of the artist's website.
The Escape Artist
Consider Samantha French's bright, Impressionistic paintings of a summer idyll: When so much contemporary art seeks to shock and surprise, to push boundaries, is such an unabashedly pleasant, familiar style of work still relevant to the conversation?
LAST SUMMER I WENT TO SOO VISUAL ARTS CENTER to see a show by Samantha French, a Minnesota painter living in New York. The paintings were bright and lively, mostl…
Photo courtesy of the author
Culture Wars and Culture Gaps
Lauren DeLand looks back at the Culture Wars of the 1990s and, specifically, the facts and apocrypha surrounding a 1994 performance in Minneapolis by Ron Athey that galvanized the country's conservative backlash against government funding for artists.
It is mid-March 2010, and I am deep in the belly of the Walker Art Center archives, settling in to watch a videotape retrieved for me by the archivist.…
Ron Athey, Solar Anus (1998). Photo: Regis Hertrich
Repetition & Repair
Miranda Trimmier asks, how can we repair the wearisome effects of endless novelty? Her modest but surprisingly transgressive tonic? Simple repetition as a sort of detoxifying reparation for our shared cultural attraction to the easily blurbed.
Listen, there's something unsavory pooling in my joints. I am tired, in a deep way. And I have been thinking about it for some time; I believe I am beginning to know what this weariness is about:I am weary of novelty.I am weary of variety.…
Courtesy of the photographer, reproduced via Creative Commons license. http://www.flickr.com/people/tancread/
Why Does Minnesota Still Go Crazy for Prince?
Ira Brooker made a 2 a.m. pilgrimage to Paisley Park recently (and paid $50 for the privilege) on the off chance he might hear Prince play. It got him to wondering about the Purple One's enduring (maybe irrational) appeal for the hometown crowd.
I PULLED UP TO THE CURB OUTSIDE A NONDESCRIPT OFFICE building around 1:15 a.m., happy to have found parking within a quarter-mile of Paisley Park.…
Photo: 3rd Eye Girl website
What Surplus Should Taste Like
Writer Jay Orff wanders the aisles of Ax-Man Surplus, musing on aesthetic evolutions, beautiful ugliness, creative ironies and the irresistible invitation to put old things to new use.
I'm wandering the aisles of Ax-Man Surplus on University Avenue.…
Everything is Not Beautiful
Poet and dancer Lightsey Darst on her years in ballet class, giving a candid glimpse into what it feels like on the inside of the dance: both the devotion and the ordeal of daily practice, and the human moments of pain, pettiness, and triumph.
If you stay in ballet class long enough, everything happens. I just found out a girl from class killed herself. Or let herself die — she was found in her car in New York City, cold.…