This week's must-see art events

See this piece and more at "Ordinary Pictures."

See this piece and more at "Ordinary Pictures."

We rely on artists to constantly push us in directions that sometimes feel uncomfortable or scary. Whether they are bringing up ideas that challenge our notions of normal, helping us to see the world in a new way, or asking us to be our better selves, artists are the ultimate innovators.

This week, dare yourself to go outside your comfort zone with exhibitions that delve into our current digital reality of consumerism and surveillance, provoking us to think of new, insightful ways to exist in our world. 

"Current Location": Gallery Talk and Book Launch

Where it’s at: Waiting Room, 1629 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: This week, Waiting Room Gallery will be hosting an artists' talk for its latest exhibit, “Current Location,” that will also serve as a launch for a publication about the show, which the gallery has co-produced with Mystery Spot Books. The talk features artists Isa Newby Gagarin, Jessica "Kuehn" Henderson, and Kathryn Miller. For the show, artists have created work that ponders our sense of place in the world. The publication, meanwhile, includes images from the exhibition as well as essays by curators Mary L. Coyne and Jehra Patrick.

Why you should go: In case you haven’t heard, zines, artist books, and self-published magazines are all the rage these days. In an era when most everything we read is digital, and print publications are controlled by just a few corporations, it’s refreshing to see artists, writers, and thinkers finding their own ways to put their voices out into the world in tangible, paper form. That’s why Mystery Spot Books is so cool: It’s a platform for artists to present their work, in publication format, at an affordable price. Get your copy, and hear about the content of the show in person.


When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday (7 p.m. program). The exhibition runs through February 28. 

"Ordinary Pictures"

Where it’s at: Target and Friedman Galleries at the Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: This group exhibition contemplates the role of stock photography in contemporary art and culture since the 1960s. Presenting the work of 45 artists in a variety of media — including photography, painting, moving image, sculpture, installation, sound, and prints — the show looks at the significance of the sanitized anonymous stock images used in advertising and the corporate world, and how they have been utilized by artists working in various movements and forms.

Why you should go: We have become a society saturated with images, and much of what we see every day is made up of generic photos that are created to be sold or licensed. Serene nature shots, smiling corporate scenes, anonymous buildings, and more are circulated and redistributed endlessly by consumer culture. Artists use these types of images as well, contributing to the overall economy of image production. This show, curated by Eric Crosby, offers food for thought about the role artists play in the way we see and use images.

When: There will be a preview party from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday, February 26 (tickets are $30). The opening day artist's talk with Morgan Fisher is at 2 p.m. Saturday February 27 (and is free). The exhibition runs through October 9. 

I AM Kindness Gallery Show

Where it’s at: Le Méridien Chambers, 901 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: This gallery show allows you to “purchase” works of art by pledging to do an act of kindness, chosen by the artist. If you like a piece, simply put your name in the hat. If you win, you agree to perform whatever act of kindness the artist has selected, be it volunteering for an animal shelter, helping out at a nursing home, or putting in hours at your local gallery.

Why you should go: If you’re like most people, you probably don’t have as many original works of art in your home as you would like — if you have any at all. And, like most people, you may want to give back to the world more than you actually do. The I AM Kindness Gallery Show lets you kill two birds with one stone, giving you a chance to own a piece of artwork from some of the Twin Cities’ best artists, while also providing an opportunity to do a good deed. The whole event is free, with a complimentary open bar, a coffee cart provided by Spyhouse, and an after-party on the rooftop.

When: 6 p.m. Saturday.