With three concurrent political art shows, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has made itself the epicenter of political expression during the Republican National Convention. The shows all explore the endless ways in which artists past and present have shown support or disapproval for our country's leaders. "Hail to the Chief" is a mostly straight-laced collection of art depicting presidents. From a Hiram Powers marble bust (circa 1853) of George Washington, to a whimsically perfect Diana Walker color photo of Ronald Reagan laughing while Queen Elizabeth II gives a speech in 1983, the works examine the many ways Americans have thought about their leaders. On the less orthodox end of the spectrum, "Unconventional Wisdom" features harsher, more abstract takes on recent politics. Printmaker Ruthann Godollei places household items into foreign contexts by pairing them with military and news terms, as in her piece Surge, which depicts a bucket of blood being thrown against a wall with the piece's title printed above the splatter. Edina-based Mike Elko brings a strong sense of political humor to his prints, which include mock magazine covers ridiculing the fear-mongering and militaristic buzz words floating through our current political vernacular. Opening reception for "Unconventional Wisdom" is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday, August 28.
Aug. 29-Oct. 26, 2008