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This week's 4 must-see art shows

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Artists frequently mine their own identities and lived experiences for their work. The artists sharing pieces this week are no exception. Must-see exhibitions and receptions coming up include art from Latina women, Native artist Aza Erdrich, winter hibernator Steven Lang, and Realist artists from the post-World War II Soviet Union.

Steven Lang, Artist in Residence

Where it’s at: Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd. E, St. Anthony.

What it’s about: Writer and photographer Steven Lang will be joined by staff from Silverwood Park and Coffee House Press for a conversation on arts and the environment.

Why you should go: Normally, the Rural Aesthetic Initiative’s Traveling Museum acts as a mobile project space for public art. Last February, however, curators Lisa Bergh and Andrew Nordin opened up the museum to Lang as a resident artist. Parked at Silverwood, the museum acted as a space for reflection on nature and winter. Wednesday’s event is a chance to see some of what Lang came up with during the course of his study, and to hear reflections on the artist's relationship with nature and the particular joys and perils of a Minnesota winter.

When: Wednesday at 7 p.m.  "Synthesis: Paintings by Aza Erdrich" 

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Where it’s at: All My Relations Gallery, 1414 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Aza Erdrich draws on her mixed heritage for a painting show that mingles Anishinaabe artistic traditions with personal and family stories.

Why you should go: Erdrich, the daughter of award-winning novelist Louise Erdrich, uses a fresh vibrancy in her work, with bright colors, intricate patterns, and biting narrative. With a background in

illustration and design, she has a knack for eye-popping shapes and perspectives, with keen insight into her own identity and problematic histories. This is Erdrich’s first solo show, and marks the return of former gallery director Dyani White Hawk, who guest-curated the exhibition.

When: There will be an opening reception this Friday from 7 to 10 p.m.

"Interventions: Art Reception and Happening" 

Where it’s at: Electric Machete Studio, 77 Smith Ave. S., St. Paul

What it’s about: Ladies from the arts collective Electric Machete Studios (Rebekah Crisanta, Tania Galaviz De Espinoza, and Jessica Lopez Lyman) and the podcast Latina Theory (Maria Isa and Arianna Genis), holed up for a 48-hour lock-in, where participants slept on the gallery floor and explored different artistic mediums. This show is the result of their experience.

Why you should go: Get ready for some gas masks, ritual herbs, and fierceness. After going deep into conversations about childhood, racial and gender identities, motherhood, sexuality, injustice, and power, these talented Latinas are ready to show what they came up with together. (The show is intended for mature audiences.) 

When: The reception is from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. There will be a performance at 6 p.m., at an artists' talk at 8 p.m.  "Masterpieces of the 20th Century: Russian Realist Tradition"

Where: The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Ave. S., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: The Museum of Russian Art brings together 60 works of art from Soviet artists from the post-WWII period, including Sergei Gerasimov, Konstantin Maksimov, Vladimir Stozharov, and Geli Korzhev.

Why you should go: Take a peek at a bygone time, when artists in the former Soviet Union used realism to educate, uplift, and indoctrinate. Despite the propaganda-ish tendencies, the show will explore the complexities of art from the era, and ways that artists not only showed their masterful execution and skill, but occasionally shared their own way of thinking of Soviet ideology (or aims to escape from it altogether).

When: The exhibit runs Saturday, March 19 through September 25, 2016.