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Recalling a “Scary” Collective’s Lone Walker Show

By Martin Friedman December 18, 2014

“It wasn’t that I hadn’t seen daredevil events before,” recalls former Walker director Martin Friedman of a lone 1965 performance by the ONCE Group in the Walker lobby, “but this was the first time I was responsible for them, all in the name of art.” The collective of composers, poets, and dancers “took scary chances,” he remembers: “My heart was in my mouth from beginning to end.” More

In this third installment of Art (re)Collecting, a series of reflections in honor of the Walker’s 75th anniversary as a public art center, former Walker director Martin Friedman recalls a nerve-wracking performance.


Waiting for a Film to Thaw

By Isla Leaver-Yap December 16, 2014

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


Indeterminate Adventures with Cage

By Martin Friedman December 10, 2014

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This essay is part of Art (re)Collecting, a series of previously unpublished writings by Martin Friedman, the Walker’s iconic director from 1961 to 1990.

Haunted by the Zeitgeist

December 5, 2014

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.


Collecting Forward: 10 Well-Timed Acquisitions

By Joan Rothfuss and Olga Viso December 2, 2014

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.


Painting on, or as, Film

November 27, 2014

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

Yves Klein’s Suaire de Mondo Cane (Mondo Cane Shroud) (1961) is featured in the exhibition Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections, on view October 16, 2014–September 11, 2016.


The Colorization of America

By Jeff Chang November 10, 2014

“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


The Internet Is More Powerful than China

By Ben Valentine November 4, 2014

“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

Art News from Elsewhere More


Via vulture.com

Life with Louise (External)

Jerry Gorovoy speaks about his 30-year relationship as assistant to Louise Bourgeois and his continued devotion to her legacy. “Her creative process was an attempt at understanding herself in terms of the difficulty she had with other people.”


Via thenewinquiry.com

Attention Economy (External)

In a society that places increasing value on “views” and “clicks,” can we look at attention economically? The difficulty lies in holding attention, argues Jason Read. In the age of memes and trending, “Attention must be constantly reconstituted in the present.”


Via hollywoodreporter.com

Culture Balloons (External)

For two years the Human Rights Foundation has used balloons to drop DVDs of US-made movies and TV shows on North Korean soil. While The Interview won’t be out on DVD for the January drop, HRF’s founder says it’s on the list to be floated across the DMZ.


Via theartnewspaper.com

To the Streets (External)

“It is rare, when you make art with a social impact in mind, that it resonates so much with what people are dealing with in the street,” says Hank Willis Thomas, one of many artists who are responding to police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.


Via artinfo.com

Opie’s Portlandia (External)

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.


Via artnet.com

New Protest Culture (External)

“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.

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

Why Is It So Difficult to Talk Critically About Socially Engaged 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

Via mnartists.org

Dressing for la Dolce Vita

Camille LeFevre browses the Minneapolis Institute of Arts’ new exhibition devoted to the glamour, luxury, and business sense behind post-war Italian fashion design. 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



Valerie Cassel Oliver Discusses Radical Presence

Exhibition curator Valerie Cassel Oliver of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston discusses the development of Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary ArtMore



Obliterating the Frame: Steve McQueen on Art and Film

“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

Walker Channel


Liz Deschenes: Gallery 7

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



Midwest? The Past, Present, and Future of Minnesota’s Identity

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

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


Ongoing Series

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.

Artist Op-Eds

A series of commissioned opinion pieces featuring provocative reactions to the headlines by artists James Bridle, Liz Deschenes, Liam Gillick, Metahaven, and others.

9 Artists

In 10 chapters, curator Bartholomew Ryan presents his keystone essay “If You Are Willing: The Army of the Individuals” from the 9 Artists catalogue.

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



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