Walker Art Center

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What is Hippie Modernism?

By Andrew Blauvelt November 24, 2015

The term “hippie modernism” doesn’t delineate a unique style, writes Andrew Blauvelt of the title for the design exhibition he curated. It denotes a historical moment—the creative eruption of countercultural art, architecture, and technology between 1964 and 1974. But what does this mashup of seemingly opposing concepts mean? He outlines the show’s thesis in this excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.  More

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia is on view October 24, 2015–February 28, 2016.

Finding the Door: On Street of Crocodiles

By Tom Schroeder November 23, 2015

“I would call it more of an ordeal than a viewing,” recalls Tom Schroeder of his first exposure, in 1987, to the Quay Brothers. That first experience with Street of Crocodiles, as he recounts here, involved crying, shortness of breath, and, ultimately, the discovery of a secret doorway to a new career as an animator with a clear vision. More

Street of Crocodiles screens November 27–28, 2015, as part of The Quay Brothers in 35mm.

Enter the Matrix: An Interview with Ken Isaacs

By Susan Snodgrass November 16, 2015

In the work of Ken Isaacs, creator of Superchair (1967) and the Knowledge Box (1962), simplicity is “absolutely monumental.” The architect/designer/writer discusses the ideas behind his pivotal designs, the concept of a “total environment,” his Microhouse project in Groveland, Illinois, and the way he developed and practiced “a lifelong commitment to a populist form of architecture.” More

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia is on view October 24, 2015–February 28, 2016.

Coco Fusco Transforms into an Ape Psychologist

By Paul Schmelzer November 13, 2015

One year ago, Coco Fusco made a radical transformation before our eyes—into the stunning likeness of Dr. Zira, the chimpanzee psychologist in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes. As she reprises that performance, Observations of Predation in Humans, at Monmouth University later this month, we look at the extensive processes—both intellectual and physical—that helped her get into character. More

Alec Soth’s Classroom of the Open Road

By Julia Anderson November 11, 2015

Alec Soth believes that art is often “best when you’re forced into the world and you’re not behind a screen.” So this past summer he tried out an experiment that went so well he’s now making it an official program: the Winnebago Workshop will instruct teenagers for a week on the art of storytelling. The catch: the classroom is an RV, and each day’s destination is dictated by a dart thrown at a map. More

Nurturing Creativity in the Rapidly Shifting Mind

November 10, 2015

“With Minnesota as our sandbox,” writes educator Courtney Gerber, “I want to take stock of some of the work being done at the intersection of creativity and dementia care, while offering an invitation to artists with a yen for community impact to consider contributing to the lives of people affected by memory loss by embedding themselves, their passion and skills, in our ‘dementia-friendly communities.’”  More

Todd Haynes: Modern Cinema’s Great Plastician

By Scott Foundas November 4, 2015

Todd Haynes is a grown man who plays with dolls, and American movies are immeasurably the richer because of it. For Haynes—whose films include Far From Heaven (1995), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Safe (2002), and Carol (2015)—is the great plastician of the modern cinema, modeling an elaborate simulacrum of the American experience out of the seeming ephemera of pop music and suburban domesticity. More

The series Todd Haynes: 20 Years of Killer Films runs November 4–15, 2015.

Aesthetic Radicalism and the Counterculture

October 24, 2015

“In their struggle to create a new social, cultural, political, and ecological utopia, the counterculture expressed its political activism and activated its cultural radicalism in new and imaginative ways. ” Hippie Modernism curator Andrew Blauvelt looks at how the artistic practices and “aesthetics of refusal” of 1960s counterculture are at once products and catalysts of the era’s resistance. More

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia is on view October 24, 2015–February 28, 2016.

Art News from Elsewhere More

Via nytimes.com

Introducing Art (External)

Starting Friday, football fans will be greeted by Ellsworth Kelly’s White Form (2012) at the entrance to the Cowboys’s AT&T Stadium. “I think it may be controversial to a lot of people. They’ll wonder what it means and I can’t explain that. They have to enjoy it.”

Via artnews.com

Vereen Reconstructed (External)

In 1981, Ben Vereen’s performance at Reagan’s inaugural celebration was censored for references to the history of segregation and racist stereotypes. Now Edgar Arceneaux has won the Malcom McLaren Prize for Until, Until, Until…, an homage to that performance.

Via bbc.com

Palatial Provocation (External)

From Jeff Koons’s balloon animals at the Palace of Versailles to Lawrence Weiner’s text-based pieces in the Blenheim Palace: “Royal patronage is not dead, it has just evolved beyond being a buttress for talent that uses art as a pawn in a game of propaganda.”

Via hyperallergic.com

Disrupting Supremacy (External)

Considering how to challenge “an institutionally facilitated, historically formed, systemic power relationship” favoring whiteness, five artists and scholars answer the question: “What would you do to disrupt white supremacy in the current system of art production?”

Via artsy.net

To Breathe (External)

Building on “themes of wrapping and unwrapping” from her past works, Kimsooja’s new installation is an 80-meter-long gallery in Centre Pompidou-Metz incorporates light, space, video projection, and sound “into a hall of mirrors and colorful inflections of light.”

Via gizmodo.in

Tensegrity (External)

NASA’s Super Ball Bot may look futuristic, but it owes its design to the radical architecture of the ‘60s. Buckminster Fuller’s concept of tensegrity—combining aspects of compression and tension—is what enables the robot to move via a network of wires and rods.

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

Cheating Death

Even 30 years after her death, viewed in light of current political battles over women’s autonomy and equality, the silent imagery in Ana Mendieta’s film works have never felt more urgent, necessary, and emphatically vocal.  More

Via mnartists.org

It’s Complicated

May Lee-Yang and Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay defy entrenched inter-community divides and glib stereotypes in The Hmong-Lao/Lao-Hmong Friendship Play, a new play about the complexities of identity and immigrant life in America.  More



Jack Whitten on Mapping the Soul

“As an abstract painter, I work with things that I cannot see,” says Jack Whitten. “Google has mapped the whole earth. We have maps of Mars. We don’t have a map of the soul, and that intrigues me.” Here the painter discusses Soul Map… More


Lynda Benglis Discusses Adhesive Products

After beginning her career as a painter, Lynda Benglis began seeking a “more sensuous kind of surface.” Her nine-piece work Adhesive Products (1971)—commissioned for the Walker Art Center’s Edward Larabee Barnes–designed building—is… More


Chuck Close Discusses Big Self-Portrait (1967–1968)

“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

Walker Channel


Hippie Localism

Part of Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia Ten pioneering local activists, artists, musicians, and innovators of the era share firsthand experiences of the Twin Cities in the 1960s and ’70s through personal stories and photos. Topics range from life on the… More


Hippie Modernism

This Walker-organized exhibition, assembled with the assistance of the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, examines the intersections of art, architecture, and design with the counterculture of the 1960s and early 1970s. A time of great upheaval, this period… More

Dialogue / Interview

Hippie Modernism Opening-Day Talk Part 6: Panel Discussion

Join exhibition curator Andrew Blauvelt for an overview of the exhibition’s themes and ideas. He will be joined by professors Greg Castillo (UC Berkeley), moderator Ross Elfline (Carleton College… More


Ongoing Series

Superscript Reader

Six artists have each been commissioned to create a new work that will premiere online. These works respond to the inspirations, inquiry, and influence of three key artists in the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection: Derek Jarman, Bruce Conner, and Marcel Broodthaers.

Superscript Reader

An editorial supplement to Superscript: Arts Journalism and Criticism in a Digital Age, an international conference held at the Walker Art Center May 28–30, 2015.

Artist Op-Eds

A series of commissioned opinion pieces featuring provocative reactions to the headlines by artists Ron Athey, Ana Tijoux, Dread Scott, and others.

Art (re)Collecting

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.

Lowercase P

An election-year series on personal politics and the way artists contribute to the conversation on making a better society.

From the Archives

Charlotte Cotton

Pop and the Traveling Image

With the Walker’s International Pop now on view at the Dallas Museum of Art we revisit this discussion on the role of the traveling mass-produced image during the 20th century. More

Andrew Blauvelt

A Timeline of Design History

For nearly fifty years, Design Quarterly chronicled the changing terrains of architecture, urban planning, and design. Here’s a selection of our favorite issues, featuring the likes of Muriel Cooper, Martin Filler, and Armin Hofmann. More


Ghost Building: Walker Galleries 1927

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