Envisioning an Art Ecology
Writer and landscape architect Diane Hellekson outlines a dynamic model for thinking about cultivation of the arts in Minnesota -- specifically, she makes the case for seeing the health of state's arts and artists in ecological rather than economic terms.
START PONDERING THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ART AND ECOLOGY, and you find yourself confronting a complex web, which, depending on your point of view, could look like a stairway to heaven (where art and the rest of life seamlessly connect) or a deathtrap, where good work goes unreward…
Into the Heart of Darkness
Black steers all varieties of brightness into the shade, darkening and deepening lighter hues. Likewise, we can begin to see—through a glass darkly, so to speak—the random and formless as virtues. It is from this dark formlessness that Caroline Kent’s paintings emerge.
Darkness is our first reality, the looming riddle of our becoming. Throughout our lives—in the circadian rhythms of sleep and waking, in the creative imagination waiting for emergence out of the depths of the unconscious, in encountering the transpersonal at the horizon of…
Caroline Kent, Omni, acrylic on paper, 2014. On view in Joyful is the Dark at Public Functionary in Minneapolis through July 23, 2016.
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