What does it mean to present the art of our time? Why do we need a safe place for unsafe ideas? How can art show us who we are—and aren’t? The Walker’s founding as a public art center in 1940 was sparked by a question, and during the 75 years since it’s been animated by relentless inquisitiveness. Launching our 75th anniversary celebration, Olga Viso reflects on the power of the well-formed question.
“Oh, Ask This!”
A conversation with Piotr Szyhalski and Richard Shelton, the creators of Dolphin Oracle II, Sarah Schultz, director of education and community programs, and Andrew Blauvelt, design director and curator, winter 2005. Sarah Schultz: Perhaps we should start with Dolphin Oracle I, the original project you created in 2004. Richard Shelton: We thought it would be interesting to take this new-age symbol of the…
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?
La Cultura de la Basura
“Where are the videos showing a woman in her role as sister—or protector, or economic head of family, or devoted daughter, or grandmother dignified in her old age?” In her Artist Op-Ed, Chilean hip-hop MC and activist Ana Tijoux looks at la violencia del cuerpo en la musica: the objectification of female pop stars, which she likens to “visual punches: it’s about snatching away the very beauty of women.”
“A female shaman for the McLuhan age,” Juilliard-trained cellist Charlotte Moorman is best known as Nam June Paik’s formidable collaborator, often performing nude as she activated his avant-garde works. In this exclusive excerpt from Topless Cellist, art historian Joan Rothfuss explores the creation of Paik’s TV Bra for Living Sculpture, a send-up of the nation’s addiction to “electronic breastfeeding.”
Beyoncé the Readymade
“A machine, a high-powered Porsche, hip-hop technology. She consumes everything around her.” In Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room, this is how Beyoncé is discussed—as an overwhelming force of capital that takes over our senses. With Lemon’s work as a jumping-off point, performer Okwui Okpokwasili recently met with scholar Saidiya Hartman to discuss the iconography and cultural consumption of black women’s bodies.
Design for Explication not Veneration: Remembering Mickey Friedman
For Mildred “Mickey” Friedman, curating design was less about acquiring objects than letting such artifacts tell stories within the galleries, “not for veneration but explication,” writes curator Andrew Blauvelt of Friedman, who passed away Sept. 3. As Design Quarterly editor and design curator for nearly 23 years, she consistently “drew upon the power of design itself to create a compelling experience.”
“If you’re the head of an empire and see that an unarmed youth is gunned down by the police and your advice is for people to be calm,” writes Dread Scott in his essay on Michael Brown’s death, “your rule is illegitimate.” Taking his name from the slave who unsuccessfully sued the government in a St. Louis court, Scott salutes protesters in Ferguson while decrying those who aim to control them through force.
Microsoft and the Walker: The Art of IT
Over the years, Microsoft has been instrumental in keeping the Walker running smoothly. The corporation’s behind-the-scenes software contributions have kept the museum’s infrastructure fresh and efficient in today’s everchanging technological climate. Recently, Microsoft generously granted the Walker its new state-of-the-art software ecosystem for businesses, Office 365. An important part of this…