ArchiveVisual Arts Articles
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
With the Walker’s International Pop now on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art we revisit this discussion on the role of the traveling mass-produced image during the 20th century.
A Culture Wars Chronicle
As identity politics made their way into galleries and museums in the ’80s and ’90s, social conservatives took note, lashing out at artists like Robert Mapplethorpe, Karen Finley, and Ron Athey for work that addressed sexuality, multiculturalism, and LGBT rights. Featuring many of these artists, the Walker found itself at the center of the conversation—and the controversies—that marked the Culture Wars.
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
Composer John Cage’s visits to Minneapolis often veered toward the unexpected—from a late-night reading of James Joyce with Tony Smith to Sunday-morning mushroom hunting in a church yard.
Joan Rothfuss and Olga Viso
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.
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.”