ArchiveVisual Arts Articles
Towards a New Digital Landscape
With dismal representation by women and people of color in tech and art fields, it’s time to imagine a new landscape of digital art, one that’s diverse and equitable, writes Black Contemporary Art founder Kimberly Drew. Here she highlights—in their own words—18 artists shaping this new terrain.
Homage to the 21st Century
After a 1964 coup in Brazil, intense censorship scattered artists across the globe or forced them to adopt less public forms of art-making. One, Antônio Henrique Amaral, is best known for large paintings of bananas, a critique that the military dictatorship was turning Brazil into a banana republic. “They can’t censor bananas,” said Amaral, who passed away April 24 at age 79, in this final interview.
Pop and the Traveling Image
“An early Pop artist was originally a Pop culture viewer,” says art historian Tomáš Pospiszyl. “Being a producer and a consumer was never so close.” Moderated by independent curator Charlotte Cotton, this discussion brings together key voices from Eastern Europe, Japan, and the UK to discuss the role of the traveling mass-produced image during the 20th century—and tell the story of international Pop.
The Political Provocations of Keith Haring
John R. Killacky
Keith Haring’s activism, delivered in his trademark effervescent candy-colored pop aesthetic, is alive and well in works featured in Keith Haring: The Political Line, now on view in San Francisco. Reviewing the exhibition catalogue, former Walker performing arts curator John Killacky examines Haring’s provocations, from guerrilla postings of agitprop collages to works commenting on AIDS, crack, and racism.
Indeterminate Adventures with Cage
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.
The Ruins of the Culture Wars
“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.
The Internet Is More Powerful than China
“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.
“It’s Art If I Say So”
“And what exactly is it that you do, Mr. Duchamp?” That question was posed to the Walker’s guest one fall evening 49 years ago during a dinner in honor of Duchamp and his wife, Teeny. “Well,” the 78-year-old exemplar of Dada coolly responded, “I play chess.” Former Walker director Martin Friedman recalls Duchamp’s 1965 visit to Minneapolis and their conversations about readymades, Precisionism, and Pop.
A Seat at the Table
Nicole J. Caruth
The metaphor of the table evokes images of folks coming together to break bread or discuss personal and political issues. For Seitu Jones and Theaster Gates, the table is more than a metaphor; it’s a medium. In the Twin Cities, their tables are provoking dialogue about systemic reform, in local foodways and cultural institutions. Can these conversations effect change? Or is the change the conversation itself?