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This week's must-see art shows

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There’s a pretty good chance that whatever it was that you were planning to do last weekend got swallowed up by the sudden mass mourning the Twin Cities, and the world, partook in following the death of the great artist Prince. Everything was suddenly not as important as finding a way to grieve Minneapolis’ patron saint’s passing, be it through dancing the night away, stopping by First Avenue or Paisley Park, or sharing stories and links.

Well, it’s a new week, and let’s be honest: Prince would want us to go out in the world and experience all the beauty and wonder around us. So here’s a list of four art events that offer some inspiration and light for your weekend.

"Downtown New York: 1970s and 1980s Art and Film"

Where it’s at: The Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: The Walker unearths rare films and footage of “no wave” performances from the 1970s and 1980s in this two-day excursion that’s connected to the Walker’s exhibition “Less than One.” The mini-festival includes a conversation with filmmakers Vera Dika and Ericka Beckman on Friday evening, which will include footage of short films by Cindy Sherman, Robert Longo, Jack Goldstein, and more. There will also be screenings of Born in Flames, a feminist science-fiction film by Lizzie Borden on Saturday afternoon and the 1983 hip-hop film Wild Style with Charlie Ahearn on Saturday evening. Both Saturday screenings include conversations with the filmmakers afterward.

Why you should go: Once upon a time, before Times Square got transformed into the Disney-fied neon tourist mecca it is today, the area was a throbbing, humming center of punk and avant culture. Crime was high, and the film scene was exploding with new forms. This weekend, the Walker takes us back to that time period with a lineup of revolutionary filmmakers, some of whom will stop by over the course of the two days to chat about the scene and how their work played into the ecosystem.

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When: 7:30 p.m. Friday (conversation with Vera Dika and Ericka Beckman), 2 p.m. Saturday (Born in Flames), 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Wild Style).  "Grave’s Bait Stick Snare"

Where it’s at: White Page Gallery, 3400 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Sculptors Naama Hadany and Jacob Raeder come together for a new collaborative exhibition that distorts traditional ways of thinking about materials and making art. After working in residency for two weeks, the artists will show the fruits of their labor this weekend.

Why you should go: The paths these two artists have been following aren’t directly related, but it makes a certain sense that they are working on this project together. On the one hand, you have Jerusalem-born Naama Hadany, who often employs a mix of organic and synthetic material, playing with the disruption that occurs between things like Burmese python snakeskin and cement, for example. On the other hand, Washington D.C.-born artist Jacob Raeder often works in clay, using the material in explorations of process, meaning, and perception. It should be a treat to see what they come up with for this show.

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. Exhibition runs through May 29.

"Untitled 12"

Where it’s at: Soo Visual Arts Center, 2909 S. Bryant, Ave. S., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Now in its 12th year, SooVAC’s open call brings together artists from all disciplines and stages of their career in a juried exhibition of work tailored to the unique perspective of the jurors. This year painter, curator, and art critic Enrico Gomez and visual artist Theo Sims have teamed up to select artists.

Why you should go: One of the great things about the Twin Cities art scene is also its biggest flaw. Because we have such a tight community, there’s a conversation and sharing of ideas and perspectives that happen, where local artists, curators, galleries, and writers are influenced by each other. By bringing in curators from outside of Minnesota, SooVAC allows for a dose of outside perspective, where the two jury panelists can come in and reflect back on what they see in the arts community, bringing in a fresh perspective.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Exhibition runs through June 4.

"A Man Who Fell to Earth: A Tribute in Art" 

Where it’s at: Gamut Gallery, 717 S. 10th St., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Twin Cities artists are still reeling over the sudden death of Prince, but Prince’s death was just the latest of several blows that have hit the Twin Cities community, what with the passing of the young artists Jaime Carrera and Kirk Washington Jr. before their time. And then there’s David Bowie, who, while not local, inspired many here in Minnesota with his fearless originality, his excellence, and his abundant creativity. This week, Louisa Greenstock and Erin Sayer have brought together over 20 artists to honor the late David Bowie with their art.

Why you should go: What’s especially weird/awesome about this show is that Greenstock and Sayer managed to obtain the cast of David Bowie’s face, which he made in the documentary Cracked Actor. Once they got the mold, they made 30 more masks, which they distributed to the participating artists to use as the basis for their tributes. It’s going to be uncanny valley city at Gamut Gallery, with sparkles and glitter to go around. So here’s a chance to remember Ziggy Stardust in style.

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Saturday ($5 suggested donation).