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A trio of notable weekend shows: the Weisman, Thomas Barry and Midway

The Twin Cities exhibition season is in full swing, with noteworthy art shows popping up almost daily. Frankly, the glut is a bit overwhelming, even for the most dedicated gallery hound.

And this weekend is especially busy, what with all the arty Halloween fare available around town. But amidst the flurry of event announcements passing through my inbox, here are a few that especially caught my eye.

“To Have It About You: The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection” Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis; public opening reception today from 5 to 8 p.m.; exhibition through Jan. 10.

In their lifetimes, Herbert and Dorothy Vogel have amassed a significant collection by important 20th-century American artists. The couple has been recognized, primarily, as avid collectors of minimalist and conceptual art, but their extensive collection also includes a variety of post-minimalist, figurative, and expressionist work. And now, they’re giving it all away.

With the aid of the National Gallery of Art, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Vogels have divided their collection of 2,500 pieces, designating one museum in each state to receive a share — 50 works of art a piece.

Here in Minnesota, the couple chose to make their donation to the Weisman, because of its university setting and public accessibility, as well as the museum’s curatorial emphasis on contemporary American art. (You can see a list of all 50 recipient institutions around the country here.)

The Weisman’s new exhibition celebrates the Vogels’ gift, displaying the pieces the couple has added to the museum’s collection — work by such artists as Will Barnet, Robert Barry, Lisa Bradley, Charles Clough, Mark Kostabi, Michael Lucero, Lucio Pozzi, Barbara Schwartz and Richard Tuttle. (See a slide show and hear more about the Vogel collection here.)

“Thomas Allen: Afterword,” Thomas Barry Fine Arts, Minneapolis; public opening reception Oct. 24 from 5 to 8 p.m.; exhibition through Nov. 28.

Thomas Allen creates gorgeous photographs of cleverly repurposed, mid-century pulp novels, whose lurid cover images – hard-boiled private eyes, ne’er-do-well vixens, dime-store heroes and villains — he cuts up and recombines to create seductive, wry vignettes.

This University of Minnesota alum has exhibited work around the country, and his images have graced the pages of any number of glossy national magazines in recent years — among them “O Magazine,” “Harper’s,” “Zoetrope” and “New York Magazine.” His cunning photographs are made all the more so when you consider that there’s no digital trickery involved in their creation; instead of Photoshop, Allen uses X-acto knives, pins and tape to execute the his intricate scenes.

The final photographs reflect exactly what Allen sees through the lens of his camera when he shoots, and the resulting images are unfailingly ingenious and beautiful. Since he moved to Michigan a few years ago and hit the big time, Allen hasn’t shown terribly often around here anymore, but every year or two you can count on Thomas Barry to bring him back home. I just can’t wait to see the new stuff.

“800 Numbers” — Ned Vena; “Bingo, wait a minute…” — Alex Hubbard; “The Ground” — Felix Culpa, Todd Norsten, Conny Purtill, Josh Rickards; Midway Contemporary Art, Minneapolis; ongoing through Dec. 5.

It’s always worth stopping by to check out Midway’s exhibitions, and now you have three reasons to pay the gallery a visit.

The trio of shows on view highlight work by a number of American contemporary art’s up-and-comers, including a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York City-based artist Ned Vena, three video pieces by NYC artist Alex Hubbard and an installation of work by Felix Culpa, Todd Norsten, Conny Purtill and Josh Rickards.

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