Walker Art Center

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The Six Sides of Merce Cunningham

February 22, 2017

Over seven decades, Merce Cunningham reshaped dance into a new kind of art form. Through an embrace of technology, a fascination with the creative potential of chance, and a dedication to cross-disciplinary collaboration, he became the 20th century’s most influential choreographer. Here we look at the many sides of Cunningham: dance maker, collaborator, chance-taker, innovator, film producer, and teacher. More

Merce Cunnigham: Common Time is on view Feb. 8–July 30, 2017.

Zigzagging Between Public and Private

February 17, 2017

Tom Burr’s Zog (a series of setbacks) takes its name and inspiration from a feature of Minneapolis’s Philip Johnson–designed IDS Center, the building’s zigzagging glass profile. Burr’s aim: to examine dualities of inside and outside, playing the architect’s hard-edged corporate facades against his softer domestic architecture and personal story—“a mid-century homosexual who lived in a glass house.” More

Tom Burr’s sculpture Zog (a series of setbacks) is on view through May 21, 2017, in the exhibition Question the Wall Itself.

Stillness and Spectacle

By Aram Moshayedi February 8, 2017

“I am concerned with the separation between the spectacular and the everyday, between subject and object, between bystander and viewer.” In Maria Hassabi’s STAGING (2017), eight dancers will inhabit locations throughout the Walker, creating a live installation. Here she discusses the work, her approach to institutional spaces and the body, and the relationship between the spectacular and the intimate. More

Commissioned by the Walker, Maria Hassabi’s STAGING (2017) will be performed throughout the building February 8–12 and 14–19, 2017, in conjunction with the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time.

Remounting a Cunningham Classic in a Rural Quarry

By Philip Bither February 2, 2017

Remounting Ocean, a 1994 Merce Cunningham/John Cage collaboration, in 2008 was one of the most challenging projects ever for both Cunningham and the Walker. Despite a deluge of rain, technical obstacles, and chilly weather, the work was a triumph, bringing 13 dancers, 150 musicians, and 5,000 audience members together for a powerful dance experience in an unlikely site—a granite quarry in Minnesota. More

Charles Atlas’s film Ocean screens February 9 as part of the opening celebration for the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time, on view Feb. 8–July 30, 2017.

Native Youth Give Voice to Big Bear’s New Work

By Taylor Payer February 1, 2017

Visitors taking in the new mural by Frank Big Bear in the Target Project Space in December were greeted by some of the art world’s newest educators—members of the Little Earth Arts Collective, a cohort of Native youth who participated in a 10-week program aimed at helping them see the arts as a viable career path and teaching valuable job skills such as organization and public speaking. More

Frank Big Bear’s The Walker Collage, Multiverse #10 is on view for one year in the Target Project Space, adjacent Esker Grove restaurant.

Forward Ever, Backward Never

By Gary Simmons January 20, 2017

Gary Simmons created Everforward—a pair of gleaming white boxing gloves embroidered with the words “Everforward” and “Neverback”—in response to troubled times: the killing of Yusef Hawkins, recession, the AIDS epidemic, the Crown Heights riots. Commemorating Inauguration Day, he reconsiders the work nearly 25 years later—its echoes today and its optimistic call for artists and others to fight back. More

Gary Simmons’s essay is part of the ongoing Artist Op-Eds series, which invites artists—including Dread Scott, Ana Tijoux, and Jack Whitten—to respond to events in the news.

Critical Administration: On Artstrike & Institutions

By João Enxuto & Erica Love January 20, 2017

What will the relationship between art museums and their publics look like following recent global events like Brexit and the US elections? Weaving together the January 20 Artstrike and Liberate Tate, Donald Trump’s election and the Walker’s Avant Museology symposium, artists João Enxuto and Erica Love offer an examination of social change and protest, both within and targeted at art institutions.  More

This essay was commissioned as part of the ongoing Artist Op-Eds series.

A Reading List for the New America

By Paul Schmelzer January 19, 2017

Our country and world are clearly in the midst of seismic changes—politically, environmentally, socially. How do we prepare for the uncertain future we’re facing? We posed this question to an array of artists, writers, and curators—including Thomas Hirschhorn, Kimberly Drew, Lucy Lippard, and Hank Willis Thomas—seeking their help in building a reading list that could prove instructive in the coming years.  More

Art News from Elsewhere More

Via huffingtonpost.com

All Genders Welcome (External)

Museums are working to be safe spaces for transgender teens, writes Katherine Brooks, who notes that the Walker’s “all gender restroom” sign offers “a quiet reminder of how inclusivity can take shape functionally in public spaces.”

Via nytimes.com

Why Art Matters (External)

“The public needs a vital arts scene, one that will inspire us to understand who we are and how we got here… one that will help us see other countries as partners in a complicated world.” Met director Thomas Campbell offers a nuanced defense of the NEA.

Via louisiana.dk

Politics of Pixels (External)

Thomas Hirschhorn’s collage work explores the abstract properties of the pixel, but his interest extends beyond aesthetics to the political. “I try to give form to what I can’t accept: that someone else can decide for me what I should do, see, or think.”

Via nytimes.com

Aesthetics & Protest (External)

M.H. Miller looks at six artists whose work responds to this moment, from Andrea Bowers’s repurposing of protest signs to Postcommodity’s border-focused art to Rirkrit Tiravanija’s quoting of Aldo van Eyck (“The tyranny of common sense has reached its final stage”).

Via theguardian.com

Passings: Jannis Kounellis (External)

Arte Povera icon Jannis Kounellis—known for installations using objects like coal, stone, and plaster heads—has died. The Rome-based artist described his work as “engaged in a permanent dialogue with the culture of the past.”

Via artnet.com

Our Revolution (External)

Some 200 art-world figures—including Steve McQueen, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Laurie Anderson—are backing the “Hands Off Our Revolution” movement, which asserts art’s role in opposing “right-wing populism, fascism and […] unapologetic intolerance.”

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

The Believing Game

Filmmaker Kevin Obsatz on art experiments, the freedom in making “unmarketable” work, exercises in belief, and practicing porousness in an impermeable age. More

Via mnartists.org

The Most Necessary Band in Minnesota

Ira Brooker profiles local supergroup Ambassadors of Culture: former Aviette frontwoman Holly Muñoz; Dalmar Yare, a favorite in the Somali music scene; and solo artists Martin Dosh and Al Church. More



Zigzagging Between Public and Private: Tom Burr on Philip Johnson, Sexuality and Architecture

Tom Burr’s sculpture Zog (a series of setbacks), on view in the exhibition Question the Wall Itself, takes its name and inspiration from a feature of Minneapolis’s… More


Ericka Beckman’s You The Better

Visiting a casino in the early 1980s, Ericka Beckman was struck by the “use of human value” on display: white gamblers in elevated seats placing bets on a jai-alai game played by Mexicans in a pit below. In a new interview Beckman… More


Faye Driscoll’s Thank You For Coming: Attendance

“I think that when you feel connected and you are not distracted, there is a greater possibility that you will feel joy.” As we present Thank You For Coming: Play, the second part of choreographer/director Faye Driscoll’s trilogy of… More

Walker Channel


The Six Sides of Merce Cunningham

Choreographer Merce Cunningham took chances. Over a seven decade career, his explorations reshaped dance into a new kind of art form, deeply influencing visual art, film, and music along the way. Through experimental collaborations… More


Merce Cunningham: Common Time

Renowned as both choreographer and dancer, Merce Cunningham (American, 1919–2009) revolutionized dance through his partnerships with leading artists who created costumes, lighting, films, music, and décor and whose independent… More


A New Sculpture Garden

Save the date for Saturday June 3, 2017 for the opening of the renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the newly expanded Walker Art Center campus. Join us and see over 18 new artworks, a reimagined 19-acre campus, and a landmark that will be enjoyed for… More


Ongoing Series

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.

Superscript Reader

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

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.

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.

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

Chance Conversations

In conjunction with the exhibition Merce Cunningham: Common Time (Feb. 8–Jul. 30, 2017), we revisit this 1981 Walker interview between Cunningham and frequent collaborator, John Cage, on their approaches to chance operations. More

By Jack Whitten

Art in Times of Unspeakable Violence

In celebration of Jack Whitten being honored with a National Medal of Arts on September 22, 2016, we revisit the painter’s 2015 Artist Op-Ed, a powerful personal essay on the potential for art in times of violence and injustice. More

Growing the Garden

As we anticipate the June 2017 opening of the renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, we revisit a 1988 Design Quarterly account of the birth of this iconic art park by former director Martin Friedman, who passed away May 9, 2016.  More