art beat

Body Politics

From state portraits to fashion ads, images of the human body show something about the culture from which they came. That's one of the premises behind a new Walker Art Center show called &#8220Body Politics.”

It features some 60 works of art from the first half of the 20th century by more than two dozen artists, including Pablo Picasso, Max Beckmann and Georgia O'Keefe.

The period in the Western world was marked by revolution, economic depression, labor struggles and wars. Conventional gender roles also began to collapse as women gained the vote and entered the work force.

The pieces were mostly drawn from public and private collections in the Twin Cities, including the Weisman Museum and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

&#8220Body Politics” runs through July 15. Walker Art Center. 1750 Hennepin Ave. www.walkerart.org. 375-7600.

The Anti-Christmas

Santa drinks, parents swear and kids lose it in &#8220The Santaland Diaries,” an anti-Christmas carol comedy by David Sedaris.

The piece is being performed by Theatre Limina this month at the Bryant-Lake Bowl with two shows remaining before the New Year.

The story revolves around three narrators who share the horrors of taking jobs as elves at Macy's. It's the fourth year the local theater has presented the show.

&#8220Sooner or later, the frantic pace of the holiday season and forced ‘quality time' with friends, family and co-workers results in burnout,” Director Eric Nelson said. &#8220Maintaining one's sanity sometimes requires escapism.”

Mature audiences only for adult language.

&#8220The Santaland Diaries” plays Dec. 21 and Dec. 27 at 7 p.m. Bryant Lake Bowl. 810 W. Lake St. www.bryantlakebowl.com. 825-8949. $15.

Rust and rulers into art

Local artist Danny Saathoff collects discarded antiques - ruler bits, typewriter keys, rusted metal clock parts - and cobbles them into works that fall somewhere between fine art and wearable sculpture.

His show called &#8220Back Space” premiered at Gallery 360 earlier this month and runs through the middle of next month.

Saathoff, also a jewelry craftsman, pairs the pieces he finds with highly rendered drawings of a seafaring voyage. His works contain oxidized metals, carved hardwoods and semiprecious stones.

The show coincides with five-foot shows by Diana Darden, Laurie Pruitt, and Sabrina Dechert, and windows by Saathoff and Dechert.

&#8220Back Space” runs through Jan. 14. Gallery 360. 3011 W. 50th St. 925-2400.

Green actors

It's green, grumbly and getting off to a good start in its fifth run at the Children's Theatre Company.

&#8220Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas” played to sold-out houses in 1994, 1995, 1998 and 2001, and ticket sales this season show the production is as popular as ever, according to the theater.

The show has a few new actors debuting on the theater's main stage. They include one from Minneapolis, Nathan Barlow, who plays Young Max.

&#8220It's always exciting to have new actors inhabit classic roles because we can all benefit from the fresh perspective that they bring not only to these characters but to the essential story as well,” said Director Matthew Howe.

&#8220How the Grinch Stole Christmas” runs through Jan. 5. The Children's Theatre. 2400 3rd Ave. S. www.childrenstheatre.org. 874-0400. $17-39.

art beat

Fine art for babies

A Southwest parent and printmaker has created a series of animal works meant to hang in baby and toddler rooms.

Mike Murray wants parents to have a fine art alternative to the same old Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh decorations.

He started crafting monotype images of giraffes, hippos and other nursery-friendly animals for his daughter Lucy two years ago.

&#8220People who saw them wanted them,” Murray said.

Through his website, www.animalsinmyroom.com, Murray is selling signed, numbered, limited edition prints of frogs, elephants, hippos, turtles, ostriches, giraffes.

&#8220Lucy falls in love with a new animal about once a week,” he said, &#8220so chances are, I'll be doing more.”

Murray's more widely known art, for grown-ups, can be found at www.mikemurrayart.com.

Early American art

More than 300 pieces from Henry Francis du Pont's collection of American decorative arts will be on view at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts next year.

&#8220American Vision” presents a selection of du Pont's rarest and most renowned objects, including furniture, textiles, paintings, works on paper, ceramics, glass and metalwork, all made or used in America between 1640 and 1860.

Nearly half a million people visited the show when it was at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is its first venue on its national tour outside of Washington.

&#8220American Vision” runs Feb. 18 through May 6.Minneapolis Institute of Arts. 2400 3rd Ave. S.www.artsmia.org. 870-3000. $4-$8

Holiday at the Illusion

The Illusion Theater's holiday season includes Miss Richfield 1981, &#8220The Seven Poor Travelers and Festival of Lights.”

Miss Richfield 1981 returns with her new production, &#8220Holiday Telethon! Miss Richfield 1981 Saves Pageant TV (in time for Christmas),” after a successful run in Provincetown, Mass. Miss Richfield believes beauty pageants should be televised 24 hours a day, and this telethon is her attempt to make a difference. The production runs through Dec. 10.

Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale of &#8220The Seven Poor Travelers” is the story of a nameless traveler who arrives at an inn on Christmas Eve and hosts the holiday meal for other guests. The show is in its second year at the Illusion Theater and runs Dec. 14-17.

A new production, &#8220Festival of Lights,” celebrates Hanukah with song, stories and memories. It features the work of six Jewish playwrights who explore the holiday with contemporary points of view and a wry senses of humor. Each evening features guest musicians, including Steve Barnett and Jeanie Brindley Barnett, Adam Levy of the Honeydogs, and Rabbi Sim Glaser.

Contact theater for show times.Illusion Theater. 528 Hennepin Ave.www.illusiontheater.org. 339-4944.

Printmaking co-op show

Highpoint Center for Printmaking announced its &#8220Prints on Ice,” the 10th sale and exhibition of its Printshop Cooperative, from through Jan. 27.

Twenty-seven local artists will present dozens of recent, original lithographs, screenprints, etchings, woodcuts and monoprints.

&#8220Highpoint just celebrated its fifth anniversary, and that reminded us of the important role the co-op members have in the life of our organization,” said Carla McGrath, executive director of Highpoint. ”Our latest Co-op show promises to be full of the beautiful work, technical expertise and artistic surprises we've come to expect from this talented group.”

Highpoint Center for Printmaking is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art of printmaking.

&#8220Prints on Ice” runs through Jan. 27.Highpoint Center for Printmaking. 2638 Lyndale Ave. S.www.highpointprintmaking.org. 871-1326