From the grand opening of Viewpoint Gallery to the 50-year anniversary of Douglas Flanders & Associates, events celebrate both the new and the treasured here in the Twin Cities this weekend. There’s also a visual arts event that uses live painting by Sean Garrison to explore the historical roots of racialized violence. Meanwhile, the Through Our Eyes Festival, a program to support artists of color during the pandemic, highlights two plays to come out of the program; Gary Numan returns after a cancelled show last spring; and the desert rock band Tinariwen visits the Cedar.
Through Our Eyes Festival
Two plays born out of a new program initiated by Exposed Brick Theatre to support a coalition of playwrights who are Black, Indigenous and people of color during the pandemic opens this weekend. One of the plays, “Freeing Assata,” by Sterling Miller, brings to life the story of political activist and Black Liberation Army member Assata Shakur, who escaped prison. In Miller’s work, Assata receives help from her ancestors. Another play, “A Love Story in 8 Scenes,” by Siddeeqah Shabazz, explores interfaith love that goes beyond the binaries of gender. The festival will also host various workshops around storytelling, decolonizing theater, and using the senses to write about memory. Plus, there’s a bonus puppet show called “Patience & the Lion’s Whisker,” based on an East African folktale, by Speaking Out Collective. Sept. 9 to 17 at Open Eye Figure Theatre, ($0-$20 sliding scale). More information here.
Artist Suyao Tian’s breezy watercolors float with movement, color and airiness. The MCAD graduate, originally from China, is opening up a new gallery space in St. Paul, with the first exhibition featuring her work. The gallery will also have an homage to the former proprietor of the storefront, cobbler Gene Hartsock, who ran a shoe and repair business for 33 years. Art Buddies will be on hand with kids’ activities. Opening reception, Friday, Sept. 9, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., exhibition runs through Oct. 15 (free). More information here.
The Darkness in my Skin
Live painting artist Sean Garrison made waves for the abstract painting he created the day Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder for the death of George Floyd. His “Walking on Air” piece went viral, and was featured on MSNBC’s “All in with Chris Hayes.” Now, Garrison continues his work exploring not only Floyd’s murder, but the underlying history of violence against Black bodies that led up to it. On Friday, the Historic Mounds Theatre will have objects that look like human bodies hanging from the ceiling. As music by Julian Montgomery immerses the theater, Garrison will paint the “bodies” live, in a spectacle of unearthing truths and facing the continued legacies of white supremacy. The 1.5-hour event is followed by a community discussion. Fridays Sept. 9 and 16 at 6 p.m. and Saturdays Sept. 10 and 17 at 4 p.m. ($55). More information here.
Douglas Flanders anniversary
This weekend marks 50 years since Douglas Flanders, of Douglas Flanders & Associates Fine Arts Gallery (DF&A), opened his first storefront. That first space, Unicorn Galleries, located downtown Minneapolis on Harmon Place, where Buca is now, sold original art alongside gift items like candles, cards and batik fabrics. Since then, Flanders has occupied various spaces, including the storied Wyman building in the warehouse district, and now based at 50th and France in Edina. Throughout its history, DF&A has supported both local and national artists, currently holding over 15,000 works, in addition to running an art appraisal and consulting business. This week, the gallery celebrates 50 years with an exhibition of Flanders’ favorite artists. The list includes Hunt Slonem, Greg Gossel, Pablo Picasso, George Morrison, Donna Bruni, Leslie Holt, and more. The repeption takes place Saturday, Sept. 10, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the 50th and France location, with the exhibition running through Oct. 22 (free). More information here.
Tinariwen with special guest
Three-time Grammy-nominated group Tinariwen, whose sound mixes western rock music with the sounds of the Tuareg culture of the Sahara Desert, makes an appearance at the Cedar Cultural Center on Saturday, bringing their distinctive style with riveting guitar riffs. New Jersey-based Garcia Peoples opens the evening. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Cedar ($35 advance, $40 day of show). More information here.
When Gary Numan had to cancel his show as part of “The Intruder Tour” last March due to COVID, there were some around downtown Minneapolis who hadn’t gotten the memo. Thankfully, he’s coming back to First Avenue this week. Perhaps best known for his new wave synth pop song “Cars,” Numan’s work goes much deeper and wider than his greatest hit. Like “The Sleep Room,” which has great lines like, “I don’t even belong to fashion.” Numan is still kicking out new music, experimenting with industrial sounds and darker, dystopian aesthetics, all the while using his voice in sometimes strange, creative ways. See him with I Speak Machine and DJ Jake Rudh. Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. (7 p.m. doors), at First Avenue, ($25). More information here.