art beat

Love and war

It's the kind of interesting juxtaposition that probably just happens by accident every once in a while in a museum as expansive a collection as the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Climb the steps to the third floor and you'll first find yourself exploring a set of ancient armor and weapons. Things like swords, chain mail, gauntlets.

Entombed in a glass exhibit case is a metal mask and helmet. Just think about someone suiting up in this stuff 500 years ago, hoping it would protect his head from getting bashed inside out during battle.

Then, a few more steps and you're surrounded by the images of peace, love and rock ‘n' roll.

&#8220San Francisco Psychedelic” is a pair of exhibitions of photographs and poster art from the Bay area in the mid-1960s.

The first room features album covers and 60 photos of some of the movement's seminal bands, including the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin with Big Brother and the Holding Company.

Another nearby room features 28 posters designed for two of San Francisco's main venues at the time, the Avalon Ballroom and the Fillmore Auditorium.

As musicians took folk and blues and bent it into a new sound with the addition of electric instruments, feedback, and lengthy, experimental jams, photographers were documenting the scene. Many of the photos in the exhibition are from the museum's permanent collection.

The photos are mostly black and white. They were taken in the studio, on location or during live performances and aimed to capture the group dynamics, personalities and energy of the music.

Highlights in the collection include a multiple-exposure color image of Janis Joplin by rock ‘n' roll photographer Jim Marshall and a more formal black-and-white image of Jefferson Airplane by the portraitist Herb Greene.

The soundtrack is also available at an audio station in the center of the room.

The posters are marked by intense colors, dense imagery and hand-drawn lettering. Unlike, conventional posters designed to convey their message quickly, these can take a little time to decipher.

Local collectors Paul Maurer and Scott West lent all the posters on display for San Francisco Psychedelic.

&#8220San Francisco Psychedelic” runs through June 10 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Third Ave. S. 870-3131. Free.

art beat

Eye on the Ball

The spectacle surrounding the Super Bowl and big-league sports in general easily pulls a wandering attention span away from the on-field drama and intensity.

Whether at the stadium or on the couch, the experience is saturated with distraction: listen to this, look at that, buy this.

Maybe that’s one of the reasons David Rathman’s high school football paintings look so strange and unique. Set in rural Montana, the small-squad football scenes strip the sport of the sideshow.

What’s left is a focused portrait of the game at its purest.

“Home and Away,” which runs through March 10 at the Weinstein Gallery, includes more than 15 new watercolor and ink paintings by the Minneapolis artist.

Most of the paintings are based on photographs Rathman took of six- and eight-man games in small Montana towns near his boyhood home.

Where we’re used to seeing truckloads of advertisements, the sidelines give way to big November skies. Hills shoot up beyond a flat line horizon dotted with the occasional pick-up truck.

The artist says personal memories were one thing that drew him to the project, but also what interested him was that the high school players “are men, but they still show the boy.” The body types include the sturdy, the stocky and the substitutes. Gear in the paintings include uniforms, helmets, shoulder pads and gloves.

Devoid of big stadiums and hype, they describe boys playing the game for the love of the sport.

Rathman lives and works in Minneapolis. “Home and Away” is his first show in the city since “Dialogues” at the Walker Art Center in 2002. That show revolved around dark, humorous paintings derived from classic Old Western films.

His last project was “Somebody’s Got to Go,” a look at the grit and melodrama in the boxing ring.

Rathman’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions, including at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Galerie Weiland in Berlin and the Clementine Gallery, also in New York.

His work is also in permanent collections at the Walker Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

“Home and Away” runs through March 10 at the Weinstein Gallery, 908 W. 46th St. 822-1722.