Walker Art Center

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Bringing Backstage into the Spotlight

By Karen Sherman December 2, 2016

To bring any theater piece to life, a raft of unseen technicians works quietly backstage. In Karen Sherman’s new dance/performance work, stagehands—and their vulnerabilities and mortality—take center stage in an arresting meditation on labor, life, and loss. Here, she discusses Soft Goods, the tragedies that sparked it, and the challenges of crossing between roles as performer and technician. More

Karen Sherman’s Soft Goods, a Walker commission, makes its world premiere December 8–10, 2016.

The Future Should Come in Multiples

By Jacqueline Stahlmann November 30, 2016

How can design help us imagine alternative futures? And, more importantly, how can anyone contribute to such imaginings? Here Elliott Montgomery and Chris Woebken, cofounders of the Extrapolation Factory art and design team, discuss their practice, the way techniques used by think tanks, futurists, and designers can reshape the future, and what participants can expect at their upcoming Walker workshops.  More

Be part of Extrapolation Factory’s drop-in workshops during Walker Open House Weekend, December 1–4, 2016.

Shining X Greets Visitors to the New Walker Entry

By Pavel Pyś November 11, 2016

Oscillating between the two- and three-dimensional, between drawing and sculpture, artist Liz Larner’s works draw attention to the relationship between ourselves and the surrounding environment. Here, curator Pavel Pyś discusses one such work—a gleaming, stainless-steel X that greets visitors to the Walker’s new main entrance—with the Los Angeles–based sculptor.  More

The new Walker entrance and lobby opened to the public on November 11, 2016.

Storylines/Bloodlines: Robert & Dylan Redford

By Dylan Redford November 10, 2016

Stories are the connective tissue in Robert Redford’s family: the actor, director, and Sundance founder’s son James is a documentary filmmaker, and his grandson Dylan is an artist and the Walker’s Bentson Research Associate. In a cross-generational interview, Dylan and Robert discuss the power of narrative, celebrity, and the elder Redford’s announcement that he’ll soon be retiring from acting. More

The film retrospective Robert Redford: Independent/Visionary concludes November 12 with a Walker Dialogue between Redford and critic Amy Taubin.

Forward Progress and Finishing Touches

By Paul Schmelzer November 3, 2016

With the Walker’s new lobby, shop, and entryway opening in just days, here’s an update on the progress of our construction projects on both sides of Vineland Place—from the recent additions of outdoor sculptures by Liz Larner, Barry Flanagan, and Kris Martin to a new pond for Spoonbridge and Cherry to the installation of the new Walker signage on the exterior of Esker Grove, our new restaurant and bar. More

The Walker lobby and entryway opens to the public November 11, 2016. See it all during the Walker Open House Weekend, December 1–4.

The Rise & Demise of Otto Piene’s Helium Sculpture

Walker Channel October 31, 2016

“Dear Otto,” wrote former Walker director Martin Friedman to Otto Piene 40 years ago this week. “It’s just possible that having your spectacular work shot down may have hastened its immortalization process.” On Halloween of 1976, a vandal with a gun took down Piene’s artwork Black Stacks Helium Sculpture, four giant, undulating inflatable tubes ascending from smokestacks on the Minneapolis riverfront. More

Otto Piene’s Black Stacks Helium Sculpture was commissioned as part of the 1976 Walker exhibition The River: Images of the Mississippi.

Ericka Beckman on Games, Chance, and Capitalism

By Victoria Sung October 18, 2016

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 an interview illustrated by developmental drawings for the work, Beckmann discusses You The Better (1983/2015), a video informed by that visit that explores chance and capitalism through game play. More

Ericka Beckman’s You The Better (1983/2015) is on view through December 31, 2016 in the exhibition Less Than One.

Designing Bon Iver’s 22, a Million

By Emmet Byrne October 3, 2016

Eric Timothy Carlson’s design for Bon Iver’s 22, a Million is less a graphic identity for an album than a documentation of a network of players, places, times, and tools. In conversation with the Walker’s design director, he discusses the intense work sessions with Justin Vernon and others, the numbers that permeate the track list, the midwest music scene’s love of cryptic symbolism, and the Packers. More

Art News from Elsewhere More

Via artnet.com

Call for Relevance (External)

“It will not be enough to languish in mythological beliefs about art’s value as a humanistic salve, or to fly the flag for ‘political art.’ […] We have to debate strategy.” Critic Ben Davis unpacks the liberal art world’s failure to influence minds during the election.

Via mprnews.org

Our Multiverse (External)

“What’s up with the nudity, Dude?” “What about all the sharks?” Youth from the Little Earth Arts Collective question artist Frank Big Bear about Multiverse #10, his massive collage featured in the Walker Art Center’s newly redesigned entrance.

Via artmuseumteaching.com

Museums Go to Work (External)

Be more local. Support Black Lives Matter. Flip the script. Have a personal vision for change. Build communities of action. Mike Murawski calls for social action in museums and artworks of empathy, like Ferguson activists’ Mirror Casket project.

Via hyperallergic.com

Modeling Resistance (External)

“If art feels futile, start by saying no. Reject the role of the rook.” The life of artist Julie Ault and her long-term involvement with political art collective Group Material remind us that artists are defined by their activism as well as their art.

Via bbc.co.uk

Mirroring Humanity (External)

“I’m hoping they can see through all the protective armament to see their humanity, because it’s hard for us to see it.” Artist Cannupa Hanska Luger discusses the mirror shields he’s making for water protectors facing off with riot police at Standing Rock.

Via npr.org

Passings: Pauline Oliveros (External)

Pauline Oliveros—the composer, artist, and sonic pioneer behind “deep listening” and “sonic meditation”—has passed away at age 84. Her mantra: “Listen to everything all the time and remind yourself when you are not listening.”

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

The Golden Age of VHS

Filmmaker Kevin Obsatz ponders slow watching in a streaming age with an essay ranging through Marshall McLuhan, Kubrick, and an education in moving image by way of the neighborhood video store. More

Via mnartists.org

Anger in the Work of Love

Ben Weaver on the work of activism, love, and putting anger to good use for both as we contemplate the future of ourselves, the land, the wildlife, and the clean water necessary to sustain them all. 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


Amanda Ross-Ho on OMEGA and Her Creative Origins

For her contribution to Ordinary Pictures, Amanda Ross-Ho worked with movie industry prop fabricators to create a large-scale, hand-made replica of the photo enlarger she remembers her parents, both artists, using when she was a… More


Andrea Büttner’s Piano Destructions

“There are many ways to destroy a piano,” says Andrea Büttner of Piano Destructions (2014), a video installation that presents interventions by (largely male) artists alongside footage of women pianists performing Chopin, Schumann, and… More

Walker Channel


The Rise & Demise of Otto Piene’s Black Stacks Helium Sculpture (1976)

“Dear Otto,” wrote former Walker director Martin Friedman to Otto Piene 40 years ago this week. “It’s just possible that having your spectacular work shot down may have hastened its immortalization… More


Wayne Coyne Reflects at Rock the Garden

Flaming Lips lead singer, Wayne Coyne, sits down with Walker Art Center’s Chris Cloud to discuss hearing his band on the radio for the first time and playing the same songs every show. More


Lee Kit Documentary

The first US solo museum exhibition of artist Lee Kit (b. 1978) features work from the past five years, including an ambitious 13-channel video installation acquired by the Walker—I can’t help falling in love (2012)—alongside a newly commissioned site-specific… 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

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

Untitled (Blog)

The Sculpture is Never Finished

Named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow on September 22, 2016, sculptor Vincent Fecteau discussed his studio practice with the Walker’s Brooke Kellaway in 2012.  More

Growing the Garden

As we break ground on an expansion to the 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