A laboratory for the art of the future, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, begins where most art museums leave off. The starting point is right now, today! In fact, many of the pieces displayed, screened or performed here are commissioned directly from the artists. Founded in 1879, the Walker began as the first public art gallery west of the Mississippi and has become one of the world’s leading contemporary art museums, covering art and design, music and dance, film, and art education. The special features interviews with choreographer/dancer Bill T. Jones and artist Chuck Close. The newly expanded Walker opened in 2005 with new galleries, cinema, and a state-of-the-art theater, as well as restaurants and other public amenities.
Chuck Close’s images, which can be reduced to psychedelic swirls of color when examined from just a short distance away, begin with photographic images broken down into a grid. The painting happens within each square.
The Ordinary as Art
Shoestring Potatoes Spilling from a Bag, Claes Oldenburg, 1966
Contemporary modern artists attempt to evaporate the distance between the viewer and the artist. With classic pop art like Claes Oldenburg’s Shoestring Potatoes Falling from a Bag, viewers are connected through the power of ordinary objects.
An African Anonymous Adventuress, Kara Walker, 2001
Artist Kara Walker uses her work to connect with those parts of being human that we can’t put into words. Artists do things that the rest of us are afraid to do or find impossible to express. “Endless Conundrum” is an explicitly sexual piece that speaks in black and white terms about race.
Shadows of Meaning
Transcending: The New International, Julie Mehretu, 2003
Julie Mehretu builds power in her images through virtual space. She does that by layering many, many images, erasing them some, layering again, erasing, layering, so what remains are shadows of meaning, shadows of images.
Untitled, Kazuo Shiraga, 1959
Kazuo Shiraga made this painting in post-war Japan on a small island that had been hit by multiple bombs. The canvas was on the floor. He hung from a wire or a rope in the ceiling and he used his feet to make this painting. With red splashing everywhere it shows violence, but it also conveys the spirit of the time.