The Walker Art Center has lost a lot of curators in a little over a year – in chronological order, Darsie Alexander (to the Katonah Museum of Art in suburban New York), Bart Ryan (Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh), Eric Crosby (Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh), Andrew Blauvelt (Cranbrook Museum, Detroit) and most recently Dean Otto (Speed Art Museum, Louisville).
Late last week, the door swung the other way when the Walker announced that Pavel Pys (“pish”) has been appointed curator of visual arts. The Warsaw-born, Australian-Polish curator and writer spent the past four years as exhibitions and displays curator at the Henry Moor Institute in Leeds, England.
Minnesota native Daniel Atkinson, who has been director of education and public programs at the Contemporary Art Museum, Houston, will be the Walker’s associate curator of education and public programs.
Two current staff have been given expanded roles. Emmett Byrne, currently the Walker’s design director, will become associate curator of design. Maya Weisinger, who previously served as tour coordinator, will be access and audiences coordinator in the education and public programs department, working closely with Atkinson.
On Monday night in New York City, Julie Schumacher joined the august and witty roster of Thurber Prize for American Humor honorees, which so far has included only men. The U of M professor and author of “Dear Committee Members” surged ahead of New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast (“Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”) and actor Annabelle Gurwitch (“I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities, and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50”) for the win. It was the first time in the 18-year history of the prize when all three finalists were women.
Schumacher received $5,000, a plaque, and an invitation to Thurber House in Columbus, Ohio, as a featured guest at a special event.
In more we-love-authors-who-live-here news, Marlon James’ “A Brief History of Seven Killings” has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards. (The other five finalists are Tom McCarthy, Chigozie Obioma, Sunjeev Sahota, Anne Tyler and Hanya Yanagihara.) The winner will be announced Tuesday, Oct. 13. On Monday, Oct. 19, James will be at Magers & Quinn for the paperback launch of “Killings.” On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 29-30, he’s the featured author at Pen Pals at the Hopkins Center for the Arts.
Who will be the next great screenwriter from Minnesota? IFP Minnesota has launched a three-year Minnesota Screenwriting Residency to support and nurture local talent.
Ten finalists will receive guided mentorships and dedicated classes; one winner will receive a staged reading, a $10,000 grant to continue developing the winning screenplay, and support from IFP MN in making connections with industry advisers and production companies.
The new residency is funded by a Knight Arts Challenge Grant. Applications are open now; the deadline is Nov. 6, 2015. FMI, guidelines and application.
Tonight (Wednesday, Sept. 30) at the Walker: Gallery Performances: Portraits of Jack. Art inspires art. In the Walker’s Target and Friedman galleries, home to the exhibit “Jack Whitten: Five Decades of Painting,” dancer Deja Stowers, poet Douglas Kearney and musicians Davu Seru and Pat O’Keefe will stage performances inspired by the surrounding pieces and Whitten’s broader body of work. You may be moved to go home and make some art of your own. 6-9 p.m. FMI. A free event on a Target Free Thursday, when gallery admission is free. Co-presented with Rain Taxi Review of Books.
Thursday from the Mississippi River to Lake Street: Minneapolis Gallery Crawl. Thirteen galleries will be open for your viewing pleasure: Art at 801 Gallery, Burnet Gallery, Circa, Douglas Flanders & Associates, Form + Content, Gallery One/Tractor/Works, Gallery 13, Gamut (in its new location in Elliot Park at 717 South 10th St.; this will be its grand opening night), Groveland Gallery, Instinct, Soo Visual Arts Center, Track 29, Traffic Zone and Veronique Wentz Gallery. Shuttle bus available. 5-8 p.m. FMI. Free.
Thursday at Galaxie Library in Apple Valley: Club Book presents Sara Paretsky. The New York Times bestselling author of the V.I. Warshawski series is a detective fiction superstar. Her peers think so, too; Mystery Writers of America named her a Grand Master in 2011. Paretsky is touring behind her latest, “Brush Back.” 7 p.m. Free.
Thursday through Sunday at Open Eye Figure Theatre: “Strange is the Heart: Scenes from the Life of John Berryman.” One of Minnesota’s best-known, most provocative and controversial poets, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for “The Dream Songs,” Berryman is a fascinating figure. Anyone with an interest in Minnesota poetry and our state’s literary scene probably knows that he committed suicide at age 57 by jumping off the Washington Avenue Bridge. Directed by Joel Sass, with musical direction by Joe Strachan, composer/sound designer Greg Brosofske’s chamber opera work-in-progress is a journey through Berryman’s life, language and imagery. With Bradley Greenwald as Berryman and Tara Loeper as his wife, Kate Berryman. The performance will be preceded by the short film “Rediscovering John Berryman” by Minnesota filmmaker Al Milgrom. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 4 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($15).
Saturday at the Cedar: Ben Weaver: Surrounding Water Welcome Home Show. In July 2015, singer/songwriter and troubadour Weaver rode his bike 1,400 miles counterclockwise around Lake Superior on a stewardship tour, raising awareness about the lake and the state of America’s freshwater supply. In a series of 13 unique performances, each hosted by a nonprofit environmental group, state or provincial park, he sang, read poems, shared stories and inspired conversations. At the Cedar, he’ll perform a one-night-only show that also includes photographs and a video from his trip. We’ve been listening to his latest album of original songs, “I Would Rather Be a Buffalo,” and we like it a lot. Weaver has performed and recorded with Greg Brown, Tony Glover and Bo Ramsey; his voice has been compared to Tom Waits’ and his songwriting to Leonard Cohen’s. This will be a gather-around-the-stage evening, with Weaver on banjo and guitar. Canadian hypno-folk duo TWIN opens. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. FMI and tickets ($12 advance, $15 day of show).
On Wednesday, Oct. 14, The Musical Offering hosts a Scandinavian “Schubertiade”-style concert in the American Swedish Institute’s Turnblad Mansion ballroom. A program of Scandinavian chamber music – yes, there is such a thing – will be presented in an intimate atmosphere with hors d’oeuvres, drinks and conversations between audience members and artists throughout the evening. This extraordinary event is supported by a $10,000 MRAC Arts Activities grant (a.k.a. Legacy funds). FMI. Tickets here ($35). A limited number of no-cost tickets are available; call 612-871-4907.