This week's must-see art shows

Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989.

Collection Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Walker Special Purchase Fund, 1989. George Brecht, Valoche/A Flux Travel Aid, 1975.

Every once in a while you just need to take stock and realize that your consciousness needs expanding. No, that doesn’t necessarily mean hallucinogenics; sometimes all it takes is a bit of interaction with the right art.

This week in the Twin Cities, there are opportunities to stretch your synapses this way and that as you contemplate the universe, re-think time and space, and open your mind to new ways of thinking about art, race, politics, science, and who knows what else. So open your mind this week and check out some of these shows. See where the artists take you.

"Unpacking the Box"

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

What it’s about: Curators Jordan Carter and Victoria Sung have assembled a display featuring artists who have created multiples of three-dimensional works, all in the form of boxes. There's Marcel Duchamp’s Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Valise), which is a suitcase filled with miniature productions of his famous artworks, and examples of experimental objects from the Walker’s extensive 1960's Fluxus movement collection. The containers act as mini-exhibitions, and were originally intended to be packed, unpacked, flipped, prodded, and otherwise handled by visitors. Nowadays, many of them are too fragile to be handled, so you’ll have to use your imagination.

Why you should go: A funny bit of art-world news happened last July at the Nuremberg museum when a 91-year-old woman took it upon herself to fill in the answers on a crossword puzzle that made up Fluxus artist Arthur Koepcke’s Reading-Work Piece. The artwork not only contained a crossword puzzle on newsprint, but also a sign with the instruction “insert words.” The museum filed a criminal complaint, though the woman and her attorney have since argued that by filling in the crossword, she “carried out the impulse of a Fluxus artist” (she also argued that she thus owns the copyright of the altered work). Indeed, the very spirit of the Fluxus movement had to do with interactivity, but as time goes on, many of the pieces are not only very valuable but also very delicate. The Walker’s “Unpacking the Box” explores this quandary. How do we interact with interactive artwork that we can no longer interact with?

When: The installation opened this Tuesday. See it for free Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.


"Contemporary Iconographies"

Where it’s at: Vine Arts Center, 2637 27th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: The cosmos descends onto the Vine Arts Center for this show, featuring artists Aribert Munzner and Mark D. Roberts. The two artists marry science and spirit. Munzner’s paintings and drawings, and Roberts’ photographic works, draw on everything from astronomy and biology to mythology, spirituality, and the nature of life.

Why you should go: If you’re looking to visit a few other planes of existence, this show might be your best bet. Munzner and Roberts, who both have esteemed careers traversing multiple decades, have got quite a collection for you, as they navigate aesthetics and science as interweaving life forces.

When: 6 to 10 p.m. Thursday.

Genrebeast 4: Qaanaaq, JJ &The Hunger, Courtney Yasmineh + Creative Combustion Finale

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

What it’s about: The photography series “Creative Combustion” closes out with a bang, inviting back the multi-genre project Genrebeast, featuring the band Qaanaaq, for its second to last performance on the Gamut stage. “Creative Combustion” features the work of Ilya Natarius and his team of photographers and journalists who capture the essence of creativity through a photo series of 18 different artists. Muses include photographers, musicians, aerial performers, master brewers, tattoo artists, curators, dancers, installation artists, and mixed media artists. The event also includes performances by the soul band Jaedyn James & the Hunger and rocker Courtney Yasmineh, plus live soundscapes between acts.

Why you should go: Your Friday evening exploration into the roots of creativity can happen on several different levels as you check out Natarius’ epic documentary photo series looking into the processes of how artists create while enjoying the live art-making of Genrebeast in real time.

When: 7 to 10 p.m. Friday. Admission is $8 (or $13 with a CD purchase) in advance, $10 ($15 with a CD) the day of the party.


"A Letter From the South: Paintings by Horace Imhotep"

Where it’s at: City Wide Artists, 1506 Nicollet Ave. S., Minneapolis.

What it’s about: Curator Teri Anvid first met Horace Imhotep through the world of fashion. It wasn’t until Anvid visited Imhotep in his Atlanta home that he discovered a collection of paintings the artist had created in college as a self-taught painter. In “A Letter from the South,” Anvid co-curates an exhibition of Imhotep’s works. The gallery is featuring its first out-of-town artist for the show, which comments on racial matters and the black experience.

Why you should go: City Wide Artists, which has been around for about a year-and-a-half, has been building a name for itself for its strong focus on emerging artists and artists of color unafraid to take on bold choices and viewpoints. (They also throw some hopping gallery openings.) Now they are taking things up a notch, bringing in a guest artist from out of town with a solo show that goes deep into the historical roots of the racial struggles our country faces today.

When: 7 p.m. to midnight Friday.