Walker Art Center

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Chris Larson: Land Speed Record

For the past two decades, Minnesota-based artist Chris Larson has developed a multimedia practice rooted in sculpture. His work incorporates film, video, photography, and performance as well as drawing and painting. Often he integrates these elements into sculptural installations that reference architecture—from iconic buildings by architects such as Marcel Breuer to ordinary rural cabins to imaginary, sometimes illogical structures—while building a unique narrative structure.

Land Speed Record focuses on objects and memories left behind when their architectural enclosure has disappeared. Titled after a live album by acclaimed Twin Cities punk band Hüsker Dü, the piece explores a group of smoke-blackened objects—including antiques, auto parts, rock ephemera, master tapes, and musical instruments—from the childhood home of band member Grant Hart, which were retrieved from a 2011 fire. Stored for several years in Larson’s studio, these became the basis for a meditative film installation that forms both a portrait of an artist and a tribute to a moment in alternative music history. Playing intermittently in the gallery is a recent recording duplicating Hart’s breakneck drum speed and precision on the original Land Speed Record album. Photographs on view, made by Larson and Hart, reveal the drum kit in shadow, layered with the memories of the spaces the sounds once inhabited.

Curators: Siri Engberg and Doug Benidt

Limited-Edition Vinyl LP

Accompanying the exhibition is a clear vinyl LP containing a duplicate version of Hüsker Dü’s original drum track played by Yousif Del Valle and recorded live at 7th St Entry in April 2016. Published by the Walker, the album serves as the catalogue for Larson’s exhibition and includes liner notes by Walker exhibition curator Siri Engberg, Walker artistic director Fionn Meade, independent curator Dieter Roelstraete, and Rev. Russell Rathbun, a writer and founding preacher at the St. Paul–based church House of Mercy. A separate, deluxe limited-edition LP additionally features a color photograph, signed and numbered by Larson, of the accumulation of salvaged objects that are the subject of his film.

Available in the Walker Shop, the LP was released on August 15, the 35th anniversary of Hüsker Dü’s album Land Speed Record. A limited-edition print is also available.

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Funding

Chris Larson: Land Speed Record is made possible by generous support from Megan and James Dayton, Franklin Art Works, and Monica and David Nassif. Additional support provided by the Harpo Foundation.