We’ve asked our Art Hounds to tell us about their Minnesota arts and culture highlights of 2011. Here are the music and visual art highlights that we didn’t have time to get to on air (see the first and second on-air installments — and the theater and dance wrap-up):
Mark Mallman’s performance of “Minneapolis” at the Ritz Theater
Mark Mallman’s upbeat 2011 anthem about coming home to his city/muse was a lot of fun, but this performance revealed that the song went deeper than civic boosterism. For his “Double Silhouette” album release party, he debuted a harrowing, never-before-heard preamble delving into the bitterness and betrayal that led the narrator to flee the Twin Cities in the first place, then triumphantly brought it all back home by launching into an especially exuberant rendition of “Minneapolis” that blew the room away. Mallman is always an intense, kinetic performer, but this performance was electrifying even for him.
-Ira Brooker, freelance writer and the editor of the Minnesota Playlist blog
International Novelty Gamelan performing their original score to Prince Achmed at the Square Lake Film And Music Festival
An absolutely captivated audience watched the 1926 shadow pupet animated film onder the stars surrounded by trees accompanied by the primitive ING orchestra. It was spellbinding to say the least.
-Mike Haeg, Mayor of Minnesota’s Smallest Small Town, Mt. Holly, MN (pop. 4), Artist
U of M Jazz Ensembles’ Gil Evans Centennial Celebration
A rare opportunity to experience live the music of one of the foremost comoser/arrangers of our time. Musicianship was superb and conductor/Evans Scholar Ryan Truesdell was very informative on his research into the archival treasures of Gil’s scores and recordings.
-John Devine, saxophonist and composer
Iyer played six sets over two nights — two solo sets and four with other musicians, including his great trio. It was a remarkable, probably once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear an important young pianist and composer play that much live music, much of it improvised. It was provocative and luxurious, exhilarating and immersive.
-Pamela Espeland, writer of MinnPost’s Artscape and the jazz blog, bebopified
Frank Gaard, vanguard of the Minneapolis avant-garde, had a much deserved retrospective at the Walker. His vibrant paintings and portraits mix Rock n Roll,drugs, sex, politics and the tenacity of the human spirit together to make art that truly enlightens and entertains.
-Paul D. Dickinson, host of the Riot Act Reading Series
Moritz Gotze at the Rourke Art Museum in Moorhead
Gotze creates intriguing Pop art that uses many of its devices (consumerism, logos, etc.) but also adds elements of history and, especially, art history. His exhibition also marked the first major exhibition mounted by the Rourke’s new director, Tania Blanich.
-Kris Kerzman, writer for ARTSpulse
Artists in Storefronts
Over 65 artists have been showcased as part of the Whittier Alliance program directed by Joan Vorderbruggen. By animating empty and underused storefront spaces in the Whittier neighborhood over seven short and long term leases were secured for landlords that had been sitting with empty space for three to seven years. This program touches every part of life in Minneapolis. This project is about art, artists, community, multi-cultures, multi-disciplines and commerce.
-Tim Carroll, artist
Andy DuCett’s “Why we do this” at the Soap Factory
The artist very cleverly wove together all of the little things that create our collective consciousness as Midwesterners, and recreated them all in one space. The pieces were almost all interactive, and that is what I loved about it. It has been said that dreams are not linear like a story–that they’re more like a sculpture; if so, that’s what this exhibition was–a living sculptural dream of the events and objects that make up our experiences living here in the Midwest.
-Billie Jo Konze, actor and singer
The Dubious Sum of Vaguely Discernable Parts by Nyeema Morgan at Bindery Projects
Bindery Projects, Nate Young & Caroline Kent’s new alternative St. Paul gallery, brought emerging artist Nyeema Morgan’s tripartite exhibit which included delicate prints, sublime photographs, and a simple newsprint publication. In “Forty-Seven Easy Poundcakes Like Grandma Used To Make,” Morgan created a print series of 47 drawings, each made up of different recipes on index cards. Morgan’s minimalist, grayish photographs of pound cake ingredients, along with actual pound cake served at the opening, set the standard for forthcoming high quality academically bent, sociopolitical exhibitions at Bindery Projects.
-Pete Driessen, artist, curator/director TuckUnder Projects
I can’t imagine the art moment of the year for me NOT being Northern Spark. I couldn’t get over just how crowded the city was at 4 a.m. with other inquisitive bikers. The culmination of the experience was laying on the fake grass under HOTTEA’s installation at the MIA. I was exhausted and art-ed out (if that’s possible) and that piece just spoke to everyone there. I already can’t wait for next year.
-Steph Guidera, painter