Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category
Plains Art Museum has been named a finalist for a grant from ArtPlace, an initiative to accelerate creative placemaking across the United States through grants and loans, research, communication, and advocacy. The Museum was selected as one of 105 finalists, representing the best of the 1,225 letters of inquiry from across the country. Finalists were chosen for their potential to transform communities through placing art and culture at the heart of portfolios of integrated strategies that drive vibrancy and diversity.
“It is a huge honor to be a finalist for this prestigious national grant,” said Colleen Sheehy, Plains Art Museum Director and CEO. “We have been working on these public art projects for Fargo-Moorhead for several years, and an ArtPlace grant would help us to bring these to fruition. Our communities want more public art.”
The Museum’s grant proposal aims to increase the vibrancy of the urban cores of downtown Fargo and neighboring Moorhead by fulfilling three artist-led initiatives in Plains Art Museum’s program, Defiant Gardens for Fargo-Moorhead. The project was inspired by landscape historian Kenneth Helphand’s book, “Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime” (2006) and applies his concept of “defiant gardens” as a productive model for place-making by artists to build vibrancy and social engagement into urban spaces. Projects include:
- Defiant Garden for the Moorhead Power Plant
- The Moorhead City Council, Moorhead Public Service Commission, and citizens have been grappling for five years about the redevelopment of the Power Plant building and site. The Defiant Garden for that site will bring people to a new garden in an area that has been off-limits because of its industrial nature and will create an amenity. Rob Fischer and Kevin Johson are serving as the artists for the Power Plant.
- Pollinator Garden for Plains Art Museum
- The Pollinator Garden will be created with K-12 school students and be tied to 4-H and science classes. The Museum site, which is surrounded by building, streets, and parking lots, will incorporate a lively green space and learning laboratory, where people in the neighborhood can convene and enjoy the outdoors. Christine Bauemler is serving as the lead artist for the Pollinator Garden.
- Fern Grotto for Fargo
- The Fern Grotto will bring people to a new amenity – a small greenhouse on the main retail street of downtown and be a pleasant respite during North Dakota’s long winters. There is currently no indoor green space in Fargo, like a conservatory, accessible to the public. Mark Dion, in collaboration with architect Regin Schwaen, is servings as the lead artist for the Fern Grotto.
This year’s grant recipients will be announced in May. To date, ArtPlace has distributed $26.9 million to 76 organizations in 46 communities across the country. ArtPlace is a collaboration of 13 leading national and regional foundations and six of the nation’s largest banks. Participating foundations include Bloomberg Philanthropies, The Ford Foundation, The James Irvine Foundation, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The William Penn Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, Rasmuson Foundation, The Surdna Foundation and two anonymous donors. ArtPlace also seeks advice and counsel from close working relationships with various federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the departments of Housing and Urban Development, Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Education, and Transportation, along with leadership from the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Domestic Policy Council. ArtPlace is also supported by a $12 million loan fund capitalized by six major financial institutions and managed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund. Participating institutions are Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Chase, MetLife and Morgan Stanley.
Planning on heading downtown for the Fargo Street Fair? On Friday, July 20 and Saturday, July 21 local artist Jon Offutt will be taking his mobile glass blowing studio to the front of the Museum. Starting at 11 AM, he will be holding hourly demonstrations on glass-blowing and you can experience how he makes his unique pieces (last demo begins at 4 PM).
Stop in to the museum for free admission on Friday and Saturday, and to see more of Offutt’s work, including his installation Dakota Horizons. Additionally, Offutt will have some of his finished pieces on sale in The Store. Located inside the Museum, The Store also has a variety of jewelry, purses, books, toys, and unique crafts available for purchase.
Yesterday, after two weeks with the Architecture for the Birds exhibition by NDSU architecture students, our atrium again became temporary home to some small-scale architectural wonders. Fifty Popsicle stick towers–created by second-year ALA students in NDSU’s architecture department, will be on display through April 10.
This short exhibition is the result of a unique challenge given to these studetns each year: constructing a tower entirely from Popsicle sticks that is equal to their own height. The results are meant to teach the students to mimic the balancing act that goes into the creation of a skyscraper, learning a valuable lesson in design and construction in the process. For the rest of us, the towers are a welcome bit of eye candy for the Atrium.
Birdhouses of a slightly different feather will be on display in the Museum atrium through April 1. The houses, created by architecture students at North Dakota State University, are part of an annual project called “Architecture for the Birds.” Students randomly choose a Pritzker-Prize winning architect and a species of bird or bat, then set to work on creating a work in the style of that architect that will suit that particular species. The resulting works offer a glimpse into the design and build process vital to the development of a budding architect–plus, they’re a lot of fun to look at. Stop in for a birds-eye view.
This project is overseen by Joan Vorderbruggen, assistant professor of architecture at NDSU.
Last November, Congress voted for a bill that allowed two tablespoons of processed tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable. The decision not only flew in the face of common sense, it also undermined efforts to create more nutritious school lunches, a move that could reduce childhood obesity and future healthcare costs.
Lori Larusso’s installation Pizza is a Vegetable is the newest in our ongoing Art = Food installation series comprised of site-specific works created for Cafe Muse. With her work, Larusso calls into question the various forces that contribute to a modern food culture that would allow pizza to be designated a vegetable, one that leans toward hypercapitalist interests and focuses less on our common health. Utilizing food imagery that calls to mind Michael Pollan’s concept of “pastoral fantasy,” Larusso points out the contradictions and complexities embedded in our food culture and illustrates how our expectation of fresh and healthy food is often exploited—primarily through advertising—to benefit the gargantuan food industry.
Lori Larusso currently holds the James Rosenquist Artist Residency at North Dakota State University. She was born in Massillon, Ohio, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and a minor in Women’s Studies. She earned an Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art’s graduate interdisciplinary program, the Mount Royal School of Art. Lori has worked in the community as an advocate and has also maintained a solid studio practice, continuing to show her artworks regionally, nationally and internationally.
Pizza is a Vegetable will hang in Cafe Muse through May.
On Friday evening, we had a capacity crowd for Michael J. Strand’s talk “The Space Between: Art and Humanity.” Despite a shortage of seating and some technical difficulties, Michael delivered a memorable talk highlighting his approach to socially engaged projects and expressing the delight in the stories and lives he has been able to share through those projects.
The evening also served as a kickoff for Michael’s newest endeavor, The Misfit Cup Liberation Project, which asked participants to bring in little-used “misfit” cups and trade them in for a cup hand-thrown by Michael, but only if participants left the cup’s story along with the cup. Everyone was intrigued and delighted by the process, and the stories provided with the cups documented a wide array of emotions, from humor to bittersweet loss.
Click the thumbnails to embiggen.
Brittany Greenwood, a graduate student in architecture and a member of artist Michael Strand’s Engage U group, installs “orphanages” for the Misfit Cup Liberation Project, an ongoing project by Strand. Strand will put a hand-fired cup in each of the wooden “orphanages.” The public is welcome to bring in their own misfit cup and exchange it for one of Michael’s, provided they also leave a short story about their own cup. Michael will be speaking about this and his other recent projects in a talk at the Museum on Friday night.
We had a ball at the opening reception for Art on the Plains XI, held on Saturday, January 28. A boisterous crowd showed up to catch the first few glimpses of this regional juried exhibition, including an impressive showing from the featured artists, many of whom traveled to be part of the festivities.
Artists winning awards during the reception for their work:
1st place – Jamie Burmeister, for two works; a video installation entitled The Music Within My Head and an installation of ceramic figurines entitled vermin.me.
2nd place – Keith Taylor. He has two photographs in AOP: Hill, The Badlands, and Rain Cloud, The Badlands.
3rd place – Raina Belleau, for her work Dignity in Dexterity.
Receiving honorable mentions were: Amber Fletschock, Mark S. Manke, and David Sebberson.
AOP XI will remain up until May 20 in the 1st and 3rd floor galleries, and it’s a perfect opportunity to brush up on the work of our region’s most exciting artists.
Special thanks to Dave “Bulldog” Arntson of Milestones Photography for the photos.
If you come to tomorrow night’s opening of Art on the Plains XI, be on the lookout for a tiny swarm of “vermin.” These little figures, each made by Jamie Burmeister, congregate in groups in the AOP galleries. They’re also hanging out by our stairs, gazing longingly out our 3rd floor windows, and spying on riders in our elevator. See how many you can find the next time you visit. These ceramic figures, which go by the name vermin.me, are part of a worldwide installation project of the same name.
Incidentally, Burmeister is also behind the interactive installation The Music Within My Head, a rocking chair that plays video and music as the viewer rocks back and forth. You can see a snippet of video here.
(With Art on the Plains XI, we’re examining the rich landscape of the artistic upper Midwest. The juror for AOP XI, Hesse McGraw, assembled an exciting exhibition that displays the complexities of visual art in our part of the world and, in turn, takes aim at preconceptions of the Midwest and reinforces its ingenuity.
McGraw is the curator at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha. He provided the following interpretation of AOP XI for our gallery guide. He will also deliver a gallery talk this Saturday night at the AOP opening reception.)
The 47 artists in the Art on the Plains XI live and work in the global Midwest. Although their work emerges fervently from the terrain, culture and ethic of the Plains, it resists and upends the quaint color of this exhibition’s title.
Far from the provincial assurance of American Gothic, this exhibition collectively asserts unease with the flat stereotypes of our home. The image of the Plains presented by their work is a both/and Place — exotic and xenophobic, nostalgic and adventurous, homespun yet rigorous, desaturated, but no less ecstatic.
Werner Herzog’s 1977 film Stroszek gave us a weird and painfully impossible Middle America. That is still here, but this middle ground is contested, its landscapes are more surreal than pastoral, and rural depopulation has prompted a hopeful gallows humor. Rather than sink under the weight of knowing too much — having global perspective but a provincial everyday — these artists create a space of openness, belief and ingenuity. They have rejected cynicism to celebrate the authentic absurdities of life in the Midwest.
The exhibition careens through the fault lines of Middle America: shrinking cities, corporate agriculture, race and class divisions, and meat and potatoes culture. Their works graciously reveal a place whose politics are more complex than stark red and blue and where taste is a battleground.
The last three years — since the last Art on the Plains exhibition — have been a singular and tumultuous period. In the wake of the global economic collapse of 2008, our political structures have become increasingly constipated with useless oppositions and brinksmanship. Yet within this landscape, and self-punishing extremes such as Kansas’ elimination of its state arts commission — artists continue to advance the frontiers of our culture.
Today it is artists who are asking the large, substantive questions of our world. Their training — in deep ingenuity, creative agility, learning to solve problems by asking a different question — is fundamental to locating new ways out of our extant ills. We are living through an ideal moment to recognize the transformative impacts of art and artists on our world. In contrast to the extremities of our political and media landscapes, one finds radical normality in artists. Theirs is a benevolent danger, intense pragmatism and hyper-rationality.
Art on the Plains XI works to defray caustic misconceptions, even as it opens new veins of thinking through our region. These artists explode our view, granting restlessly expansive perspectives of this specific world.
–Hesse McGraw, 12.21.2011