Walker Art Center

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Jack Whitten on Mapping the Soul

September 3, 2015

“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, a large-scale acrylic collage that will be unveiled in the exhibition Jack Whitten: 50 Years of PaintingMore

Soul Map (2015) will be featured in the exhibition Jack Whitten: 50 Years of Painting, on view September 13, 2015–January 24, 2016.

How Jann Haworth’s Playboy Bunny Became a Maid

By Jann Haworth August 21, 2015

Initially commissioned as a birthday gift for Hugh Hefner, Jann Haworth’s soft-sculpture Playboy Bunny got a new life following a sexist encounter at London’s Playboy Club in the mid-1960s. A celebrated Pop artist and co-designer of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, Haworth tells the tale of Maid (1966), a “working girl” who isn’t a mere sex object for men. More

Jann Haworth’s Maid is featured in International Pop. Closing August 29, the exhibition will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art October 11, 2015–January 17, 2016.

A Listener’s Guide to Scorpio Rising

By Ed Halter August 18, 2015

The first film to use pop music for advanced artistic effect rather than mere youth appeal, Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1964) stands as one of the most influential masterpieces of American cinema. Here curator Ed Halter looks at the 13-song soundtrack for Anger’s swift and dense Eisensteinian montage of leather-clad bikers, Hollywood stars, Christian icons, Nazi imagery, and a simulated orgy. More

Kenneth Anger’s 1964 film Scorpio Rising screens August 20, 2015, as part of International Pop Cinema.

It’s Complicated: The Institution as Publisher

By Sarah Hromack August 7, 2015

What does it mean for a museum to function as a publisher now, in 2015? Publishing is no less complicated an endeavor within an institutional context than it is in the external “real” world, where the presence of a consumer-grade Internet began altering the social production, consumption, and distribution of text some decades ago, writes the Whitney Museum of American Art’s digital media director.  More

This essay was commissioned for Superscript Reader, an online supplement to the Walker’s May 2015 digital arts journalism conference.

Future Perfect: The Walker’s One-Campus Vision

August 5, 2015

Sculptures are starting to be moved. Construction fencing is going up. And big changes are afoot. As we begin renovation of the Walker Art Center/Minneapolis Sculpture Garden campus, here’s a look at key features of the 19-acre project—from a new entry pavilion for the Walker to reconstruction of the 26-year-old Garden, the greening of Hennepin Avenue to the addition of hundreds of new trees.  More

Burn the Maps

July 23, 2015

With the ever-shifting demographics and economic realities of rural America, the dividing lines between country and city spheres are increasingly fluid. Art of the Rural founder Matthew Fluharty makes a case for rejecting calcified notions of “rural art” and redrawing the geography of the cultural center and periphery accordingly. More

This essay was commissioned for Superscript Reader, an online companion to the Walker’s recent digital arts journalsm conference.

A Crossing: On the EU’s Failed Refugee Policies

By Natascha Sadr Haghighian July 8, 2015

A rubber raft filled with passive world leaders, their arms locked in unity. This image—an uncredited mashup circulated online—combines a photo-op of western politicos at the Paris Charlie Hebdo march with a more recent tragedy: the deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean. It’s an apt metaphor, writes Natascha Sadr Haghinian, for an EU refugee policy that’s hopelessly adrift.  More

The fifth in our ongoing series of Artist Op-Eds, Natascha Sadr Haghighian’s essay is also available as a print-on-demand pamphlet.

Tania Bruguera: Artivism & Repression in Cuba

By Gerardo Mosquera June 17, 2015

Leaving her Havana home on May 24 after a 100-hour public reading of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Tania Bruguera was intercepted by police—again. After releasing a white dove and throwing Hannah Arendt’s book into the sky, she was driven off in what Cuban curator Gerardo Mosquera calls “a unique case in art history: a street performance that was completed in response to its very repression.” More

Art News from Elsewhere More

Via arts.gov

Art Awards (External)

Nine artists and two organizations who “have broadened our horizons and enriched our lives” will receive National Medals of Arts from Pres. Obama on Sept. 10—including John Baldessari, Ann Hamilton, Meredith Monk, and Ping Chong, all artists with deep Walker ties.

Via latimes.com

Sirmans to Lead Pérez (External)

Franklin Sirmans, curator of contemporary art at LACMA, has been named named director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Formerly a curator at the Menil Collection, he curated the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s 2005 Basquiat show as an independent curator.

Via art21.org

Reunion (External)

Lynda Benglis recently reunited with The Wave of the World, a bronze sculpture she made for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition that for decades was feared lost. Her first fountain, it interpreted some of her childhood encounters in the bayous around Lake…

Via observer.com

Yoko in Lego (External)

In honor of the Fluxus legend’s soon-to-close Museum of Modern Art solo show, Lego “master sculptor” Veronica Watson has created a plastic homage to Yoko Ono, complete with replicas of her War is Over (1969–) poster and sculpture Apple (1966).

Via artforum.com

Depleting History (External)

Despite creating one of 2015’s “most striking national pavilions” in Venice, Danh Vo’s art makes Claire Bishop uneasy—partly due to “the artist’s use of history and the way in which his poetics of the past is prone to devolving into information as ornament.”

Via papermag.com

A New Era (External)

“We are just at the very beginning of a new epoch.” Using US mail and encrypted web platforms, Holly Herndon, Mat Dryhurst, Metahaven, and Jacob Appelbaum interview Wikileaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning on technology, culture, and gender.

Minnesota Art News

Via mnartists.org

Trash Films and the People Who Love Them

Ira Brooker weighs in on the timeless allure of exploding heads and chats with enthusiasts in the thick of the growing “trash film” scene.  More

Via mnartists.org

Art in the Attention Economy

Emily Gastineau ponders the evolving currencies of attention in the arts, what it means to produce something for another’s gaze and, conversely, the real agency and power of the viewing experience.  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


The Walker Needs You

Love the arts? Become a vital part of what it takes to present contemporary arts programming by becoming a Walker Art Center volunteer. Fulfill a variety of important functions during special events, performing arts programs, and exhibitions by donating a few… More


Performing Arts 2015-2016 Season Trailer

The global, multidisciplinary spectrum of artists we have invited in 2015–2016 demonstrate the force of the individual imagination and the power of collective art-making. These 27 events offer a window on a vast and ecstatically… More


International Pop: Personal Pop

Often seen as cold, distant, and mass-produced, Pop art’s intimate strains were in evidence around the world, from Marta Minujín and Rubén Santantonín’s installation in Buenos Aires that invited audiences to witness a man and a… 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