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Crystal Clips, a film reel in the Walker’s preservation freezer, bears a note that it “may have been compiled by Stan Brakhage.” Is it a Brakhage work in progress? As she waits for the reel to thaw for viewing, researcher Isla Leaver-Yap parses the clues—from the packing materials accompanying the film to its provenance as part of the collection donated by film curator and Brakhage supporter Sally Dixon. More
During his four-decade relationship with the Walker, composer John Cage visited Minneapolis numerous times. As Walker director emeritus Martin Friedman recalls, these visits often veered toward the unexpected—fitting for an artist closely associated with the musical concept of Indeterminacy—from a late-night reading of James Joyce with Tony Smith to Sunday-morning mushroom hunting in a church yard. More
This essay is part of Art (re)Collecting, a series of previously unpublished writings by Martin Friedman, the Walker’s iconic director from 1961 to 1990.
Why is it that we can talk at length about the personal, psychological, formal and material qualities of art, explore the artist’s process and experiences in the scrap yard and the studio, smartly discuss art historical and pop cultural reference points—but not “the political”? Critic Christina Schmid addresses the question through the works of Michael Kareken and Michael Sailstorfer. More
This review was commissioned for the newly redesigned Mn Artists, a joint project of the Walker and The McKnight Foundation.
With an eye toward the future, and across disciplines and geography, the Walker’s collecting practices have long sought to support artists early in their careers. Looking at works in Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections, the exhibition’s curators tell the stories behind well-timed purchases of favorite works by artists including Chuck Close, Maya Deren, Cindy Sherman, and Za Wou-Ki. More
Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections, on view October 16, 2014–September 11, 2016.
No other work in Yves Klein’s oeuvre speaks to the transitive, vulnerable nature of human existence as does the Mondo Cane Shroud. His decision to realize the work in front of a camera drove home his pursuit of the immaterial, as the impromptu, faint traces of nude bodies on porous gauze were rendered as a film frame—an ephemeral moment stilled and visible. More
To Trisha Brown, drawings are more than investigatory tools to examine the limits of her body; they let her look at her body as an object, allowing her to incorporate “found” gestures into dance and reorient our bodies to our environment, writes curator Peter Eleey. At a time when commodifiable art objects were favored over ephemeral movements, she made action, at long last, good enough by itself. More
“How has the national culture changed over the past half-century that we could elect a black president? Just as important,” writes Jeff Chang in his new book Who We Be: The Colorization of America, “how has it not changed?” Chronicling the rise and fall of multiculturalism through the lens of visual culture, Chang looks at political and aesthetic struggles for racial equity, inside the art world and out. More
“You can never know what is and what is not powerful, but you can always find out what the powerful people are scared of,” says Ai Weiwei. “A state like China looks so powerful, but they are so scared of the Internet, so the Internet is more powerful than them.” Journalist Ben Valentine visits with Ai in his Beijing studio to discuss art and the enduring potency of online activism. More
Known for photographing everything from members of the queer community to, here in Minnesota, ice-fishing shanties, Catherine Opie has a new subject: Carrie and Fred from Portlandia. Her photos make up the campaign for the show’s fourth season.
“Artists, called upon by political circumstances, [are] trying to find a new language to respond in present cultural conditions of omnipresent urgency.” But can art be equal to the challenge of our times? Ben Davis on the state of art in our new protest culture.
Installations illustrating ethnographic studies, architecture media serving as evidence of political crimes, and artifacts staged as dioramas: A growing range of art involving “speculative archaeology” aim to uncover the hidden structures of our society.
Artist Joe Milutis’s new conceptual project transforms Duchamp’s 1957 lecture into a Dadaist, fill-in-the-blank Mad Libs, with select nouns and verbs and images erased to emphasize the original context: how we imbue meaning into a work of art.
Definitions of terms for work loosely designated as “social practice” is contentious business. So, how can we begin to carve out a space for serious evaluation and analysis? More
“There’s no question, I had some attitude about the way I wanted to be perceived,” said Chuck Close in discussing his Big Self-Portrait (1967–1968) at the Walker in 1980. “Now it seems very funny… More
Exhibition curator Valerie Cassel Oliver of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston discusses the development of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art. More
“I never tried to do anything to make my films friendly.” From his start in Britain’s video art scene in the 1990s to his first feature film in 2008 to the Oscar-nominated 12 Years a Slave, Steve… More
Since the early 1990s, Liz Deschenes has produced a singular body of work that has advanced photography’s material potential and critical scope. Making use of the medium’s most elemental aspects, she has recently worked without a camera to produce mirrored… More
A conversation about Minnesota’s historical identity as a member of the Midwest—a nether region lying somewhere between the East and West coasts and spanning a broad latitudinal range. Should… More
History of Contact Improvisation in the Twin Cities with Patrick Scully and Jane Shockley, and special guests Ric Watson, Kristin Van Loon, Linda Shapiro, Jeff Bartlett, Olive Bieringa, and Otto… More
In celebration of the Walker’s 75th anniversary, Martin Friedman—Walker director from 1961 to 1990—shares his reflections on encountering artists from Duchamp to Cage.
A series of commissioned opinion pieces featuring provocative reactions to the headlines by artists James Bridle, Liz Deschenes, Liam Gillick, Metahaven, and others.
In 10 chapters, curator Bartholomew Ryan presents his keystone essay “If You Are Willing: The Army of the Individuals” from the 9 Artists catalogue.
about 18 hours ago
For nearly fifty years, the Walker’s Design Quarterly chronicled the changing terrains of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and product and graphic design. Featuring provocative thinkers—including Muriel Cooper… More
A ghostly image of T.B. Walker on the grand staircase of the 1927 Walker Galleries reminds us that before the brick-and-aluminum facility we know today there was another home for the Walker. More
The Walker was founded on a question. “Shall we take it?” In 1939 Minneapolis citizens were offered the chance to start a federally funded art center. The answer? Yes. But how did this offer come about, and what did it mean? More