Welcome back, George Segal’s “The Diner.” How long has it been since we’ve seen you? Twenty years? And you, too, Kerry James Marshall’s “Gulf Stream,” with your big expanse of water and your glittery golden border. And Andy Warhol’s “Sixteen Jackies.” And Edward Hopper’s famous and much-loved “Office at Night.” And David Hockney’s “Hollywood Hills House.” And Joan Mitchell’s “Posted.” And more old friends, brought out of storage and back into the light.
All are part of “Five Ways In: Themes From the Collection,” the new exhibition that opens at the Walker Art Center on Thursday. Curated by Siri Engberg, senior curator for visual arts, it will remain on view through Sept. 19, 2021. Along the way, some pieces will be swapped out for others, so it won’t stay the same. You can visit several times and find something new, or a new way in.
At a press preview Tuesday, Mary Ceruti, the Walker’s new executive director (she started in late January), expressed her pleasure at having three thematic shows up and running simultaneously. Another is “Platforms,” which presents moving image works from the Walker’s collection alongside new commissions. The third, “I am you, you are too,” uses works from the Walker’s collection to explore national identity, citizenship, belonging, borders, and how everyday life shapes our understanding of ourselves.
If you want to see a larger-than-usual sampling from the Walker’s 13,000 artworks, now is a good time to visit. (By the way, 13,000 is a relatively small collection, compared to Mia’s nearly 90,000, the National Gallery’s more than 124,000 and the Louvre’s more than 380,000.)
“Five Ways In” is presented in five sections: Outside (landscapes, but not traditional landscapes); Inside (interiors); Self (portraits); Everyday (objects or scenes that are part of everyday life); and Everything (abstractions, or “anything goes,” in Engberg’s words). Cornerstone works are juxtaposed with newer acquisitions. Works that have never shared a gallery are displayed side-by-side, forming relationships and dialogues. Both Segal’s “The Diner” and Hopper’s “Office at Night” show people together yet isolated. Similar ideas, communicated very differently. For Engberg, the opportunity to present familiar works in new ways was part of the fun of curating the exhibition. “Bringing things together for the first time, the old with the new,” she said.
Engberg further drew connections between the galleries (Inside) and the Sculpture Garden (Outside). Several artists have work in both places, including Segal (“Walking Man” in bronze), Martin Puryear and Katharina Fritsch (“Hahn/Cock,” aka the Big Blue Rooster).
“Five Ways In” will also be a teaching show. The labels, which are refreshingly jargon-free, are being translated into Spanish and Somali. Starting next week, Walker educators will lead groups of students through.
Some Walker exhibitions can be challenging. They’re dense with information, complicated, and off-putting to some. “Five Ways In” isn’t that kind of show. Which is not to say it’s simplistic. The more than 100 works include art by many artists in a variety of media – paintings, prints, drawings, photography, sculpture, collage and video – spanning the years 1926 (Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Lake George Barns”) to 2015 (Caroline Kent’s “Further and Farther Than One Expects”). Filling three galleries, it’s a lot to look at, think about and respond to. But it’s also an open-arms invitation to come in and see what the Walker has and discover why it matters. In some ways, it’s similar to 2014’s “Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections,” the 75th-anniversary exhibition curated by Olga Viso and Joan Rothfuss. Even its title, “Five Ways In,” signals openness.
“Five Ways In” opens Thursday, Feb. 14. See it for free on Valentine’s Day starting at 5 p.m. On March 7, another free Thursday, artist JoAnn Verburg, whose powerful “WTC” is part of the show, will give an artist’s talk at 6:30 p.m.
Kacey Musgraves to headline Basilica Block Party
Last Sunday, Kacey Musgraves won four Grammy awards, including Album of the Year. In July, she’ll headline day one of the 2019 Basilica Block Party. Live Nation’s first year as booker of the annual summer music fest – taking over from longtime bookers Sue McLean and Associates – is already a hit.
Also in the lineup: Jason Mraz, who took home two Grammys in 2010. Other artists on the Great Clips and PreferredOne stages include Dawes, Hanson, Semisonic, the Jayhawks, and CHVRCHES. The artists on the Star Tribune stage are TBA.
This year’s Basilica Block Party will take place Friday and Saturday, July 12 and 13. Tickets go on sale this Friday, Feb. 15. Prices start at $60 for a single-day general admission and top out at a $400 single-day Hall of Fame VIP experience.
For 25 years, the Basilica Block Party has raised money to preserve, protect and restore the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, America’s first basilica and a national historic landmark. Any quibbles from the early years – should a historic Catholic Church reap benefit from rock music and beer sales? – have long been forgotten as the annual event has generated more than $9 million for the national historic landmark.
Mark your calendar for MSPIFF
Knowing that some people plan their annual vacations around the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, these are the dates for 2019: April 4 through 20. (Yes, a week earlier than 2018 or 2017.) The complete lineup will be announced on March 14. Festival passes and 6-packs are on sale now. Individual ticket sales open to MSPIFF members on March 14 and to the general public on March 21.
As always, MSPIFF will take over the St. Anthony Main Theatre, its main venue. Special events will be held at the renovated Parkway Theater, the Capri Theater, Film Space at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul and the Marcus Rochester Cinema in Rochester.