St. Paul is spearheading a quiet revolution in public art. A 2009 city ordinance includes artists in the regulations by which the city makes and remakes itself. Here, artists don’t merely make sculptures and murals to adorn the urban landscape; they have a meaningful role in government. As a result, public art is so deeply placed in the workaday services of the city as to be indistinguishable from them.
I Am for an Art: Claes Oldenburg on His 1961 “Ode to Possibilities”
Claes Oldenburg’s most famous piece of writing, I Am For …, isn’t a manifesto. It’s a “slightly satirical ode or paean to the possibilities of using anything in one’s surroundings” to create art.
The Momentary Monument
Ten years after Thomas Hirschhorn pitched his idea for a temporary philosophy center on South Minneapolis’ Lake Street, the Swiss artist’s Gramsci Monument has been realized in the Bronx. Former Walker chief curator Philippe Vergne, now director of the Dia Art Foundation, discusses both projects and the ripple effect he hopes the New York “monument” leaves behind when it closes September 15.
Changing Theater’s Nature
Intrigued by the way people tell their stories—in looping, often tangential tales—Pavol Liska phoned a fellow member of Nature Theater of Oklahoma. Over 10 calls and 16 hours, the script unfolded for Life and Times, a 10-part work in which an entire life—birth to the present day—will be sung verbatim onstage. Maddy Costa uses the piece as a window into the company’s ingenious, mischievous style.
Station to Station: Doug Aitken’s Polyphonic Culture Train
“Human beings need a starting point.” The motto for The Source, Doug Aitken’s video series on creativity’s origins, could easily be the slogan for Station to Station, the art train he’s taking across the US this month. While the trip has its concrete elements—a starting point, an ending point, some really heavy train cars—he sees it as entirely open-ended: whatever happens along the way is anybody’s guess.
The Nine Lives of the Internet Cat Video Festival
Paul Schmelzer & Scott Stulen
The world’s first Internet Cat Video Festival brought 10,000 people—some in costumes, others cradling kitty companions—to the Walker last August. Since then, the event has spawned other lives, from an international tour to 2013’s edition, held at the Minnesota State Fair. Festival producer Scott Stulen discusses cat culture, viral trends, and how the Internet is the cat lover’s version of the dog park.