Walker Art Center

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Feline Darlings and the Anti-Cute

By Sasha Archibald September 30, 2015

“YouTube speaks a tale of catness thoroughly at odds with feline history,” writes curator Sasha Archibald. For her contribution to the book, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, she looks to art, literature, and pop culture to show how the cat’s status as “cute icon extraordinaire” is recent, supplanting its early role as a symbol of “magical metamorphosis, potent danger, sexual provocation, and impervious autonomy.” More

He Gave Me Blues, I Gave Him Back Soul

September 26, 2015

A year to the day after Scaffold Room concluded its world premiere at the Walker, its creator, Ralph Lemon, returns for a “memory refraction” related to the work. A performance installation in the galleries, Scaffold Room fueled this conversation on curating performance between Lemon, Walker curator Philip Bither, and Sarah Michelson, whose work tournamento premiered Sept. 24 on the Walker stage.  More

Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room (memory refraction #1) will take place September 28, 2015, in conjunction with the New Circuits invitational curatorial convening.

William Pope.L: The Will to Exhaust

By Adrienne Edwards September 28, 2015

As Gilles Deleuze put it, to exhaust is not to be tired; it is the will to begin again. In Pope.L’s performances—which have found the artist crawling the streets of Manhattan in a black suit or consuming pages of the Wall Street Journal—the willingness to reformulate our experiences of subjectivity and collectivity is about exhausting limitations in order to know what indeed is possible. More

Pope.L speaks September 29, 2015 at the invitational curatorial convening, New Circuits: Curating Contemporary Performance.

This Just In: A Year of Collecting

By Visual Arts Staff September 25, 2015

More than 200 works have entered the Walker’s collection during its 75th-anniversary year, through generous gifts, purchases out of Walker shows, and acquisitions made for the renovated Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Standout examples include a work by Harlem Renaissance painter Beauford Delaney, installations by Danh Vo and Akram Zaatari, a Liz Larner sculpture, and a recent self-portrait by Chuck Close. More

Selections from the Walker collections can be viewed online or in the exhibition Art at the Center: Recent Acquisitions

Jack Whitten and the Philosophy of Jazz

By Victoria Sung September 23, 2015

“The person who got me trapped in all of this was John Coltrane.” By this artist Jack Whitten refers to his 50-year exploration of the possibilities of paint. Falling into the art historical narrative of Abstract Expressionists like de Kooning and Rothko and African American artists Bearden and Lawrence, Whitten counts the “philosophy of jazz” as a deep influence on the development of his distinct style. More

Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting, on view September 13, 2015–January 24, 2016.

Sarah Michelson: “The Question Takes me Forward”

By Gia Kourlas September 22, 2015

“The question in all my old pieces is what’s a dance, what could it be? Is making art a self-congratulatory, redundant practice, or if there’s a real pursuit of the nature of the beast to ground level, knowing there is no ground?” Back at the Walker 10 years after performing Daylight (For Minneapolis), Sarah Michelson discusses her return to the theater after years of creating works for museums. More

Commissioned by the Walker, the world premiere of Sarah Michelson’s tournamento takes place September 24–27, 2015.

11 Posters Honoring 30 Years of the Guerrilla Girls

By Olga Viso September 18, 2015

Thirty years ago, a band of anonymous women artists in gorilla masks began raising hell about discrimination, sexism, and racism in the art world and beyond. In celebration of the activist art collective’s anniversary, we present our favorite posters from the Girls’ Compleat Portfolio, which will be exhibited during the just-announced Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover in early 2016.  More

In conjunction with the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover, the Guerrilla Girls’ Compleat Portfolio will be view in Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections from January 21 to December 31, 2016.

The Gloaming: “Intensity Born from Near Silence”

By Mark Mahoney September 16, 2015

“We sometimes think that we’re not so much influenced by traditional music (which is kind of analogous to the language we just happen to speak), so much as by the other non-traditional music we’ve been listening to all these years”—from Arvo Pärt to Bob Dylan to Irish sean-nós singer Darach Ó Catháin. The Gloaming’s Iarla Ó Lionáird discusses sound, silence, and his Irish supergroup’s creative process.  More

The Gloaming performs in the McGuire Theater October 9, 2015.

Art News from Elsewhere More

Via theguardian.com

Art in the Extreme (External)

As danger and visibility combine in the age of “extreme selfies,” can art still be shocking? David Flusfeder looks back at the history of dangerous and shocking performance pieces in light of a current cultural phenomenon.

Via rhizome.org

Digitized Brushstrokes (External)

In a seemingly paradoxical project, Joe Hamilton explores how digital images can help us appreciate art that is “derived from an artist’s bodily gestures, rather than those that are derived from code-based practices.”

Via economist.com

Human Landscapes (External)

Wim Wenders on why he focuses on terrains when his real interest is people: “I am interested in what traces we leave in landscapes, in cities and places. But I wait until people have gone, until they are out of the shot. So the place can start talking about us.”

Via artnews.com

Almost Human (External)

“All of them are pleading for empathy. They’re desperate to say, ‘Just allow me this, please. Hear me,’” says Ed Atkins of his computer-generated avatars. The artist’s work is “beyond animation, not exactly film, and often resembling a kind of virtual theater.”

Via nytimes.com

Hirst Curates (External)

Showcasing work from his personal collection, Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery opens in London this week. Some laud the curatorial project as a welcome change for the artist, while others call it “a new aspect of his art practice.”

Via npr.org

Keeping the Wall (External)

25 years after the reunification of Germany, artists and activists are fighting to keep the Berlin Wall standing. The East Side Gallery, a mile-long-stretch of paintings on the historic barrier, is threatened by the construction of luxury apartment towers.

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

Value Is a Verb

Camille Erickson takes a bird’s-eye view on the recent Hand in Glove gathering, summing up the calls to action we might take away from the conversations arising in this emerging “common field.” More

Via mnartists.org

Art of the Impossible

Musician, poet, and bike advocate Ben Weaver reflects on the stories we tell ourselves and others about what it is we do, outside the safe confines of security and certainty, when we pursue the life of an artist.  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


Avant Garden 2015

Avant Garden, the Walker’s celebrated gala event, moves indoors for a one-of-a-kind party experience on Saturday, September 12, 2015. Proceeds from Avant Garden support the Walker’s award-winning artistic and educational programming. More


Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting

For 50 years, Jack Whitten has explored the possibilities of paint, the role of the artist, and the allure of material essence in his innovative studio process. With compositions that are abstract and elegiac, Whitten foregrounds… More

Artist Talk

Opening-Day Artist Talk: Jack Whitten

Join artist Jack Whitten and art historian Richard Shiff for a wide-ranging discussion about the artist’s decades-long commitment to the medium of painting. Shiff, a renowned scholar and professor at the University of Texas at… 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

Andrew Blauvelt

A Timeline of Design History

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


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


Shall We Take It? The Walker’s Founding Question

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