Artist-designed mini golf returns to the Walker
Can You Handle This? By Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Sculpture Garden, which opened in 1988 as a joint project between the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, the Walker and mnartists.org are bringing back Artist-Designed Mini Golf. The set up is comprised of two eight-hole courses. It's pretty much just like regular mini golf, except, you know, arty.
University of Minnesota Student artists demonstrate the optical illusion of Ames Room
Part of the fun of mini golf is coming upon the hole and recognizing what the dilemma is so you can try to figure out your way around it. For example, in Can You Handle This?, by Tom Loftus and Robin Schwartzman, you can tell by looking that if you choose to try to aim your golf ball through the loop-di-loop chute (a difficult feat) it will spurt through the enormous yellow watering can right in the center of the green, where you're just one or two putts away from the hole. If you'd rather take the easier way and putt through a side chute that's not as difficult, you're going to add an additional putt to get to the main area.
Gopher Hole by Locus Architecture
In Garden Gnome Foosball, Nicola Carpenter, Bryan Carpenter, and Suzanne Dehnhard have created an obstacle where the ball must pass through a kind of foosball game where the pieces are actually garden gnomes. The one problem with this obstacle is that the handles for the foosball don't alternate, so you can't actually play against the person opposite you. It would be cooler if, after putting the ball, you go and match your opponent via foosball to get your ball in the hole.
Holey Lighted by Jeffrey Pauling and Tyler Whitehead
The Walker's mini-golf holes vary between those that strive to make a fun and interesting experience, and those that are really more about creating an aesthetically pleasing sculptural piece. Often the coolest looking ones from afar aren't that interesting to actually play. Holy Lighted, for example, by Jeffrey Pauling and Tyler Whitehead, is a lattice-textured arch made of fabricated steel. It's quite beautiful, but the obstacle-element is rather... meh.
Similarly, Ames Room, designed by a group of University of Minnesota students, makes a great photo op with its optical illusion, but it doesn't really make a lot of sense as a game. There are two holes, one at the bottom of a rake and one at the top. If you aim for the top one, which is nearly impossible, and there's another person at the bottom, the optical illusion will make you look like a giant. However, if you are actually playing to win, you would obviously choose to avoid the top hole altogether.
IF YOU GO:
Artist-Designer Mini Golf
10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays-Wednesdays.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for students, and $9 for Walker members and children ages 12 and under.
Every ticket includes free gallery admission.
For weather-related and course closure information, call 612.375.7697.
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