Art speaks to us and tells us who we are. Sometimes the interpretive skills of curators help us understand the significance. This year’s art exhibitions in Minnesota are fresh, alive and relevant. Catch the U.S. debut of a show direct from London that opens our eyes to the world of fashion. Plunge into a multi-media sensory treat on the emergence of black performing arts. See the skies as seen for centuries by the Ojibwe as explained by Native Skywatchers. Be amazed by the striking show of beautiful Finnish tapestries interpreted by the Swedish Institute Artist-In-Residence from Finland. Contemplate the works of Native youth as they interpret seven core values in sacred Anishinaabeg teachings in the form of lowrider bicycles and pennants.
More exhibits shown earlier in 2014 are described in a previously published article — “Best Museum Exhibits This Spring.”
“Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945”
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
2400 3rd Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55404
Dates: Oct. 26, 2014 through Jan. 4, 2015
Direct from London, “MIA is the first American venue to present this groundbreaking fashion exhibition,” according to Kaywin Feldman, MIA director and president. The London show was highly publicized in glitzy magazines such as Apollo, Vogue and Vanity. “Italian Style” is as inspirational as it is instructive with 100 dazzling ensembles and accessories supplemented by film and fashion photography. See how major Italian movies in the 1950s and fashion icons like Audrey Hepburn, Lee Radziwill and Maria Callas stirred an international appetite for luxurious clothing and jewelry made in Italy. The Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum, London organized this first major exhibition to examine the recent emergence of Italy’s role in fashion to point out that few of the world’s designers come close to the status of Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi, Gucci, Missoni, Prada, Pucci, Versace and Valentino.
“Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art”
Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Dates: Now through Jan 4, 2015
Just as every successful movie appeals to several levels of audience, so does this groundbreaking exhibition offer something for all who visit. First, the show excels as an inclusive chronicle of performance practices by black artists from the 1960s to the present by featuring more than 100 works by some 36 artists. Second, the show reveals the power of the visual arts as a means of capturing ephemeral acts of performance through video, photography, sculpture, scores and interactive works. Third is the question of whether there is truly such a thing as black performance. The curatorial genius of Valerie Cassel Oliver of the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston started a dialogue on how blackness is performed that found currency among museums throughout the U.S. and is now captured in print as a book published in 2013.
Related: Best Museums For Dates In Minnesota
“Native Skywatchers-Reach for the Art in the Sky”
Mille Lacs Indian Museum and Trading Post
43411 Oodena Drive
Onamia, MN 56359
Dates: Closing reception on Aug. 23, 2014
The Ojibwe sky has the North Star, or Polaris, at the center in the Maang–Loon Constellation, what we call the Little Dipper. All other constellations surround this center point. Annette S. Lee, professor of physics and astronomy at St. Cloud State University, unites astronomy with Native language and culture in her instructive art. William Wilson creates brightly colored paintings of outer forms that reveal Ojibwe-inspired inner spirits. Lee and Wilson are part of the Native Skywatchers program actively preserving indigenous astronomy. All are welcome to meet these savant artist-astronomers at the closing reception.
“The Living Tradition of Ryijy: Finnish Rugs and Their Makers”
The American Swedish Institute
2600 Park Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55407
Dates: On view through Nov 2, 2014
Dating back to the 9th century, the ryijy, from the Scandinavian word rya, meaning “thick cloth,” evolved to a folk art of beautiful tapestry. The Swedish Institute masterfully depicts this evolution of Finnish tapestries in a striking show set throughout the historic Turnblad Mansion. ASI Artist-In-Residence Siiri Kohronen of Finland explains the showpieces and demonstrates the artistry of weaving from August 6 through August 17, 2014.
“Anishinaabensag Biimskowebshkigewag: Native Kids Ride Bikes”
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum
333 E. River Parkway
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Dates: Oct 3, 2014 through Jan 4, 2015
Seven lowrider bicycles embody urban Native hope for physical and economic mobility. The Native youth who constructed these bikes in Michigan worked with contemporary Indigenous artists and non-Native university students. The 22 photographs and video show how they made the bicycles. The 250 felt pennants and eight flags express concepts from the seven core values in sacred Anishinaabeg teachings known as Our Seven Grandfathers. Artist Dylan Miner coordinates the Michigan Native Arts Initiative at the Michigan State University Museum and plans a number of local projects such as student tours and a workshop with Native youth in Minneapolis.
Related: Best Local Bookstores In Minnesota
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.