Art Hounds: Mount Eerie, Helena Hernmarck, and the smallest of libraries

helenahernmarck.JPG“Poppies,” 1978, by Helena Hernmarck. From the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. (Image courtesy of the American Swedish Institute)

This week’s hounds put their stamp of approval on a haunting singer-songwriter from the Northwest, a fiber artist whose oversized pieces are as detailed as photographs, and giant bird houses that books fly in and out of.

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ameliafoster.JPGMinneapolis poet Amelia Foster is drawn to the impressionistic lyrics and layered sounds of Mount Eerie. ‘Fuzz folk’ is how some people categorize it. Mount Eerie is the moniker of Washington singer-songwriter Phil Elverum, who’s making a stop at CO Exhibitions gallery in Minneapolis on Wednesday, Sept. 5. On this Twin Cities visit, “Mount Eerie” will be backed by a full band.

juliet.jpgThe Little Free Library has changed writer and poet Juliet Patterson’s life. Little Free Libraries look like purple martin birdhouses but they’re actually repositories designed to facilitate neighborhood book exchanges. Juliet put one in her front yard and is now on a first name basis with book loving neighbors from several blocks away.

linnelsonmayson.JPGLin Nelson-Mayson says you’re in for a visual feast if you go see the tapestries of Helena Hernmarck at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis. Lin, who’s director of the University of MInnesota’s Goldstein Museum of Design, calls Hernmarck one of the world’s most innovative fiber artists, whose enormous weavings are known for their eye popping photorealist detail. By the way, Lin says the American Swedish Institute’s brand new expansion is quite stunning, too. The exhibition, entitled “In Our Nature: The Tapestries of Helena Hernmarck,” is up through Oct. 14.

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  • So, Juliette et al…Let’s have more poetry in these Libraries! Chicago has QR code stickers that send people to short videos of people reading poetry, and it would be fun to have some Minnesota poets try it. And how about one or more super duper poetry Little Libraries, or a strategy to get more poetry into Little Libraries everywhere? Coffee House Press, Gray Wolf and Milkweed have set a beautiful example by donating their books.

    And finally, how about some “poetry slams for elders” inspired by the poems our parents and grandparents memorized in the 50s, 60s and 70s? AARP is supporting innovative ways to engage socially isolated older people living alone and Little Free Library may be part of the answer. Books on Wheels, like Meals on Wheels? Reading aloud to each other? Might be a good way to reconnect and stimulate the minds across generations. BTW, thanks for your comments on MPR. It helps to have such eloquent expressions of the value of even these little things.