Art Beat // Looking forward

Visual art events to watch for in 2011

Did your 2010 begin with “Foot in the Door” at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and end with “Yves Klien: With the Void, Full Powers”?

If you’re among the many regular visitors to the city’s two major art institutions, you probably didn’t miss the MIA’s spectacular exhibition of American Indian art from the Thaw Collection, or the Walker’s survey of work by the hometown photographer turned international art star, Alec Soth, either.

Those are just a few of the visual arts highpoints from the last year. To usher in 2011, Art Beat this month perused the Walker and MIA’s exhibition schedules for a peek at the year ahead.

The Walker released its long-range exhibition schedule in December, and first on the list was an investigation into the use of popular iconography in contemporary art. With “The Spectacular of the Vernacular” (opening Jan. 29­) the Walker presents the work of 27 artists who incorporate cultural cast-offs into their work, everything from commercial illustration and logos to kitsch objects to homemade crafts, blurring the low-brow/high-brow divide in the process.

One of the major events on the Walker calendar is “Midnight Party” (opening Mar. 19), an exhibition that ranges from symbolism to expressionism to surrealism in search of artists’ unique interpretations of reality. Scheduled to remain on-view for nearly three years, “Midnight Party” will include some of the Walker’s most important pieces, including video work from Matthew Barney and Mark Rothko paintings.

The museum plans to close 2011 with “Graphic Design Now: In Production” (opening Oct. 22), exploring the pervasiveness of graphic design in modern visual culture, as well as the evolving role of designers in a digital world.

The MIA has a potential blockbuster scheduled for next month with “Titian and the Golden Age of Venetian Painting: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of Scotland” (opening Feb. 6). On loan from the National Galleries of Scotland are works from its collection of 16th century Venetian School paintings, including several by Titian, one of the great masters of the Italian Renaissance.

The museum delves into its photography archives for “Facing the Lens: Portraits of Photographers” (opening Jan. 21), featuring portraits and self-portraits of the likes of Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe. Included in the show are “anti-portraits” by several local photographers, depicted not in portraits but personal identification documents.

The MIA has a particularly rich collection of Edo-period Japanese woodblock prints, numbering some 3,000 pieces produced from the 1600s through the 1800s. About 200–300 of the best examples will be on view in “Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints” (opening Oct. 16), a thematically arranged exhibition of ukiyo-e, or “floating world,” prints.


To learn more about the exhibitions planned for 2011 at the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Institute of Arts, visit their websites: and, respectively.

Get lucky at SooVAC

THE WEDGE — Soo Visual Arts Center celebrates its ninth birthday in January with its annual Get Lucky gala, when it will be offering a unique gift to 40 of its friends.

Well, “gift” may not be the right word, since those 40 people will be paying $100 apiece for the privilege of having Karl Unnasch transform one of their possessions into a one-of-a-kind art object. The objects will be the focus of Unnash’s installation-slash-performance piece for the gala and then return home with their owners.

If you’re just hearing about this now, it’s probably too late to get one of your tchotchkes into the mix; SooVAC set a Jan. 5 deadline to participate. That doesn’t mean you can’t show up Jan. 29 for a taste of Unnasch’s twisted re-engineering.

Also scheduled for the gala was a silent auction of pieces by dozens of local artists, including SooVAC regulars like Rob McBroom, Amy Rice, Erin Currie (of Manufactory, next door) and Jennifer Davis.

Southwest Journal columnist Jim Walsh was invited to create an art-themed soundtrack for the evening, and Bryant Lake Bowl and Chowgirls Killer Catering will provide the food.


Get Lucky 2011 is 7 p.m.­–

11 p.m. Jan. 29 at Soo Visual Arts Center, 2638 Lyndale Ave. S. Tickets are $35 for members and $40 for non-members, or $45 at the door. 871-2263.