'Seeing the Big River: The Eco-Art of Peter L. Johnson' at the Mill City Museum

Immersion 1; Peter L. Johnson

Immersion 1; Peter L. Johnson

Minneapolis's Mill City Museum is just about as fascinating on the outside as its exhibits are on the inside. Formerly known as the Washburn A Mill, the rear of the building stands out among others along the Mississippi river as a surviving relic; a brick shell of its former self remains, melded to the museum's updated architectural elements. By this reasoning the location is perfect for photographer Peter L. Johnson's latest photo exhibit, "Seeing the Big River: The Eco-Art of Peter L. Johnson," which challenges people to see beauty in damaged places.


Included in Johnson's photos are disturbing images of the garbage in the Mississippi river. But take some solace in the fact that he removed those objects after photographing them, much of it will be on display alongside his work. Other images include self portraits in which Johnson submerged himself in the river. At first glance they appear to capture serene moments, but they are clearly documenting a much more daring act on his part: The waiver he had to sign before taking a swim will also be on display.

The exhibition also fits into a larger series of programs, called "Greening the Riverfront," which explore the interaction between humans and the natural world in the past, present, and future.

The opening reception for "Seeing the Big River: The Eco-Art of Peter L. Johnson" will be  January 13 from 6 to 8 p.m. The artist will give remarks at 7 p.m., and refreshments will be available. This exhibit is free and open to the public in the Mill City Museum's central Mill Commons through May 16 during regular museum hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.