BEST MUSEUM Minneapolis 2006 - Walker Art Center
1750 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Despite its fastidious and cultivated image, the Walker Art Center isn't without flaws. First of all, there's the issue of the building: Not only does it look like the head of a sci-fi monster that's about to devour Loring Park with one chomp of its evil window incisor, but the sterile outside is the suicidal color of the dirt-slush substance that drowns our streets in late March. In 20 years from now, the snide comment on the seriousness of architecture (or an overlooked flaw in an abstract design by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron?) isn't going to be any more celebrated or understood. Yep: still ugly. Then there's the issue of the inside of the building. Sections of it are so poorly laid out it's as if the art is trying to hide. Is this part of the joke? Does it have something to do with monkeys? And then there's the little problem of budget: Construction at the Walker went $6 million over, putting the Sculpture Garden on hold. So what's so great about this place that it merits the award for Best Museum? Hands down, for contemporary art, film, and dance, the Walker is one of the best museums in the world. Its free Thursdays feature performances, talks, and workshops that anyone, including a Parisian art snob, could easily appreciate. The family events, lectures, and readings help to feed, support, and educate a growing Twin Cities arts community that's essential to the health of the cities. Plus, it helps fuel the passive-aggressiveness that Minnesotans are famous for: We can't fully embrace something new without pointing out that it's...a little different.