2015: A Walker Year in Review
2015 marked a major milestone in the Walker’s history: for 75 years it has served as a public center dedicated to contemporary art and culture. To celebrate, we invited artists and our community to come together for a series of exhibitions, programs, and events—all centered around an examination of the questions that have motivated our work since 1940. Here, a look back at this special year.
Letter from the Executive Director
The year 2015 marked a major milestone in the Walker Art Center’s history: for 75 years it has served as a public center dedicated to contemporary art and culture. To celebrate, we invited artists and our community to come together and join us in a series of WALKER@75 exhibitions, programs, and events that launched in the fall of 2014 and culminated with the public announcement of a major campus…
Down with Romance!
Claudia La Rocco & Chris Sharp
Commissioned to share two distinct perspectives on New Circuits: Curating Contemporary Performance, critic/poet Claudia La Rocco and writer/curator Chris Sharp decided instead to share their viewpoints as a series of email correspondences penned in the days following the Walker’s recent curatorial convening. Hello Chris. I hope you’re well, on your way to recovering from those 48 hours of words…
Finding the Door: The Quay Brothers’ Street of Crocodiles
“I would call it more of an ordeal than a viewing,” recalls Tom Schroeder of his first exposure, in 1987, to the Quay Brothers. That first experience with Street of Crocodiles, as he recounts here, involved crying, shortness of breath, and, ultimately, the discovery of a secret doorway to a new career as an animator with a clear vision.
Enter the Matrix: An Interview with Ken Isaacs
In the work of Ken Isaacs, creator of Superchair (1967) and the Knowledge Box (1962), simplicity is “absolutely monumental.” The architect/designer/writer discusses the ideas behind his pivotal designs, the concept of a “total environment,” his Microhouse project in Groveland, Illinois, and the way he developed and practiced “a lifelong commitment to a populist form of architecture.”
Todd Haynes: Modern Cinema’s Great Plastician
Todd Haynes is a grown man who plays with dolls, and American movies are immeasurably the richer because of it. For Haynes—whose films include Far From Heaven (1995), Velvet Goldmine (1998), Safe (2002), and Carol (2015)—is the great plastician of the modern cinema, modeling an elaborate simulacrum of the American experience out of the seeming ephemera of pop music and suburban domesticity.
johnbrown: Notions of Visual Evidence
Our cultural approach to evidence has shifted over the years, writes curator Rachel Cook, from witnessing, first-hand testimony, and archival evidence to photographic images and, more recently, forensic DNA samples. We can think about Dean Moss’s multimedia dance work johnbrown—about the noted white abolitionist—as a form of questioning evidence.
Feline Darlings and the Anti-Cute
“YouTube speaks a tale of catness thoroughly at odds with feline history,” writes curator Sasha Archibald. For her contribution to the book, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, she looks to art, literature, and pop culture to show how the cat’s status as “cute icon extraordinaire” is recent, supplanting its early role as a symbol of “magical metamorphosis, potent danger, sexual provocation, and impervious autonomy.”
William Pope.L: The Will to Exhaust
As Gilles Deleuze put it, to exhaust is not to be tired; it is the will to begin again. In Pope.L’s performances—which have found the artist crawling the streets of Manhattan in a black suit or consuming pages of the Wall Street Journal—the willingness to reformulate our experiences of subjectivity and collectivity is about exhausting limitations in order to know what indeed is possible.