Fall Arts Guide 2012


Cindy Sherman
November 10–February 17 • Walker Art Center

Emory Allen

Earlier this year in New York, the Cindy Sherman retrospective was the must-see show of the season at the Museum of Modern Art. Critics unabashedly gushed over the disciplined, innovative, influential, prolific, and always surprising Sherman and her ever-changing body of work. For 35 years the artist has turned the camera on herself in ever-provocative explorations of women's inner lives and the cultural images that shape them, with humor, intelligence, and ferocity. She has created legions of characters drawn from high society, the silver screen, horror stories and fairy tales, the circus, and art history. By burying her physical features beneath layers of wardrobe and wigs, makeup and props, masks and prostheses, Sherman lays bare the stereotype at hand. The naked truth can be, simultaneously, laughable and disgusting, shocking and affecting. The 170 photographs in the show come from Sherman's groundbreaking "Untitled Film Stills" (late 1970s to 1980), the rococo history portraits (1989 to 1990); the aging-socialite pictures (2008); and her recent series of photographic murals (2010). 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis; 612.375.7600. —Camille LeFevre

The Human Condition: A Survey of Humanity
Mpls Photo Center

From The Human Condition: A Survey of Humanity • Andy Richter

Annie Griffiths-Belt, one of the first women to photograph for National Geographic and among its most renowned contributors, curated "The Human Condition" from hundreds of international submissions. Could the theme have been any broader or more generic? Nonplussed but ever compassionate, Griffiths-Belt wrote in her curatorial statement that, "I love the theme of the show, which is both timely and universal. It allowed each artist tremendous freedom to explore everything from breaking news to self-examination, from moments captured to figure studies." Unsurprisingly her three winning selections are, respectively, filled with rapturous light, resonant with timeless emotion, and a riveting vision of life that embraces innocence and horror. We've long explored the far reaches of the world through Griffiths-Belt's lens. Through this show we see how the eminent photojournalist, with her devotion to the environment and to women's issues, looks at the work of others. Nov. 10-Jan. 4. 2400 N. Second St., Minneapolis; 612.643.3511. —Camille LeFevre

The Myth of Utopia
October 4–28 • Rosalux Gallery

Terrence Payne

Dictionary definitions of "utopia" inspire despair ("an imaginary and indefinitely remote place"), cynicism ("a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions") and hilarity ("an impractical scheme for social improvement"). In other words, pondering utopia — and the discord it produces — has long been rich fodder for intellectuals (Thomas Moore) and artists (Todd Rundgren). Utopia's mythical aspects get remarkable treatment in this exhibition, with work by John Diebel and Terrence Payne. Diebel's highly controlled, laser-sharp, color-block collages are largely devoid of humanity. Instead, the Lego-like buildings are an architectural foray into ideology and expectation. In his exuberant oil pastels, Payne uses pattern to humorously implode familiar iconography. Identity and the collective are the forces battling in his work. Together, Diebel and Payne invite viewers to examine their own notions of utopian ideals in this provocative exhibition. 1400 Van Buren Street NE #195, Minneapolis; rosaluxgallery.com. —Camille LeFevre

shadows traces undercurrents
October 16–November 17 • Katherine E. Nash Gallery

Wing Young Huie

Since taking the helm at the Nash Gallery as director, artist Howard Oransky has given a home to initiatives and collaborations that are fast putting the West Bank gallery on the map. Case in point: "shadows traces undercurrents," co-curated by art department faculty Christine Baeumler and Joyce Lyon, is occurring in conjunction with a sister symposium, "Mapping Spectral Traces VI," an international group of scholars, community leaders, and artists committed to socially engaged creativity. In the exhibition, more than 30 artists working in various media—including Jim Denomie, Jan Estep, Seitu Jones, and Rebecca Krinke—explore how undercurrents from the past inform the present. During the Mapping Spectral Traces symposium (October 18-19 in various locations), the focus is on "A Dakota Place," in honor of the 150th anniversary of the U.S.-Dakota War. Through these multiple events, participants will formulate creative ways to address the challenges of the Dakota's contested history and compromised sense of place. Regis Center for Art, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; 612.624.7530. —Camille LeFevre

We the Designers
September 28–December 30 • Goldstein Museum of Design

Timothy Goodman, Untitled (2008)

The Goldstein Museum of Design, an archival and exhibition gem nestled in the second level of McNeal Hall on the U's "cow campus," is fondly referred to as "the biggest little museum in the Twin Cities," and rightly so. With clarity and succinctness, the curators assemble revelatory shows that celebrate, explicate, and enlighten, whether the focus is feathers in fashion or the secretary in popular culture. This fall, the draw is the presidential election — or rather, the language used to persuade the electorate. For the exhibition, 23 graphic designers have added to the discourse — and maybe mudslinging — with work that analyzes the political language being used to uplift or dissemble issues facing the Obama administration. Contributors range from the iconic Milton Glaser to designers from the Winterhouse Institute and the young turks from Topos Graphics to the U's own Daniel Jasper and Steven McCarthy. 241 McNeal Hall, University of Minnesota, St. Paul; 612.624.7434. —Camille LeFevre


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