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  • CAITLIN KAROLCZAK IS NOT AFRAID OF CONTROVERSIAL subject matter. Taking on taboo subjects such as physical deformity, violence, and death, Karolczak's work provokes a visceral reaction in viewers that has led to both praise and hate mail. Her exquisite yet grotesque paintings (and one sculpture) are currently on view, along with Michael Thomsen's sculptures in Science & Wonder at Rogue Buddha Gallery through June 12.   Karolczak says that she is "strangely compelled" by her material: she fe…
  • WHEN BAIN BOEHLKE WAS A YOUNG ACTOR, he was sure that he was going to have a chance to play Hamlet. He was blond, after all, and felt an affinity for the role; it was a part he felt he was meant to perform. He had a copy of the play with him when he was in Berlin, serving in the army from 1959-1961. He was in Germany when the Berlin wall went up. "The challenge of being an actor," Boehlke says, "is that the opportunity must arise."  The chance to play the prince of Denmark is rare -- and Boehlk…
  • SUMMER IS THE TIME FOR CAMP, and I'm not talking about summer camp. I'm referring to the camp style, a "sensibility" as Susan Sontag describes it, that she argues "among other things, converts the serious into the frivolous." Camp can be deliberate (think Oscar Wilde or Monty Python) or accidental (Mommy Dearest or Reefer Madness) but with camp there's always a sense of the absurd, of artifice, and of silliness, even if it's unintentional. This summer, one of the great masterpieces of camp, The …
  • IN THE ART OF CONFLICT, AT TARNISH AND GOLD GALLERY in Northeast Minneapolis, Iraqi and American artists show their work together in a fascinating show dealing with the conflict in Iraq. Utilizing the talents of artists who represent a broad range of wartime experiences -- including those of the Iraqi citizens whose home country has been occupied, American veterans who served in the Iraq war, and peace activists decrying the conflict  -- the show asks the viewers to question their own feelings …
  • LAST WEEKEND, ALL MY RELATIONS ART GALLERY CELEBRATED their grand opening on Franklin Avenue with Frank Big Bear: From the Rez, to the Hood, to the Lake. This exhibition marks the Anishinaabe artist's first painting show since the 1970s when the artist was 23 years old. "I stopped painting, because I was working," Big Bear says simply; he drove a cab for 31 years, and when he retired in 2006, he started painting again. "In 2006, I gave myself three years to learn how to paint," he explains. "You…
  • THE BRILLIANCE OF THE SOAP FACTORY'S HAUNTED BASEMENT as a marketing scheme cannot be emphasized enough. That's not to say that it's brilliant art, but it's damn entertaining, and obviously a great way to get people in the door, on the mailing list, and thinking of the Soap Factory as a fun destination where, perhaps, they will enjoy other shows. This year was my second going through the basement. I arrived on Friday, October 7, and even though it was the second weekend, and only about a quarter…
  • Camille Erickson updated the Article The Living End
    SINCE HUMAN BEINGS BEGAN TO MAKE ART before they even called it "art", they've been using earth as material. As "civilization" has progressed, though, creative use of such elemental materials has transitioned to more man-made stuff, to the point where today an artist can easily construct an entire work of art on a computer. However, even as hide skins have been replaced by canvas and natural pigments by synthetic paints, the attraction for some to create beautiful things from nature endures stil…
  • THE MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ARTS RECENTLY OPENED the The Sports Show, an enormous overview of sports culture from the late 19th century up to the present day. While there are plenty of big name artists in the show -- Andy Warhol, Gordon Parks, Richard Avedon, Annie Leibovitz, and Robert Mapplethorpe, to name a few -- there are just as many, if not more photographs on view for which the artist is unknown. Many images included in this collection, especially the earlier work, portray amateur athle…
  • NO WORK OF ART EXISTS ALONE, IN A VACUUM. Rather, an artwork is from the beginning part of an ongoing conversation, drawing from what’s been created around and before it. Many of the world’s great artists have gone even further, to blatant thievery: Shakespeare, for instance, borrowed many of his plots from other sources; Duchamp stuck a moustache on Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and called it his own. Indeed, 20th- and 21st-century contemporary art is full of examples of appropriation, from Andy W…
  • WALKING THROUGH STRAY WARMINGS, an exhibition now at Midway Contemporary Art, is like walking through a junkyard. The work is by by Nina Canell, an artist born in Sweden, educated in Dublin, and who currently works in Berlin; there are bits of scrap metal lying around, obscure electrical devices, chewing gum, sticks and nails, all scattered about, seemingly haphazardly. Canell creates a space that echoes with the decline of civilization, filled with objects that could have once been majestic b…