Minneapolis is home to a fantastic contemporary art museum. The Walker Art Center offers visitors some great visual art through paintings, exhibitions and sculptures. We were impressed with its offerings.
I am a fan of pop and contemporary art, so this museum is right up my alley. The pop artists featured include Andy Warhol. Say what you want about the man, but anyone who can paint a soup can and have people line up to see it is OK in my book.
Warhol – whose museum in Pittsburgh we’ve visited – has a couple of paintings of display. The first is 15 pictures of Jackie Kennedy.
Warhol’s second piece was a painting of an electric chair. It shows the isolation of the machine.
The Walker started in the home of TB Walker in the late 1800s. It became a public museum in 1927. However, it took off during the 1930s, when it became a public art center as part of a nationwide project to create art centers by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. It opened as a public art center in 1940.
Celebrating its 75th birthday, the Walker has seen its influence grow.
Now, it’s considered one of the top modern art centers in the United States, along the lines of the Guggenheim and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The art center has a nice flow to its design. Each gallery is fairly small, but one flows into another.
You can go from checking out a painting to a gallery with photos. The art on display is truly impressive.
“The Lost Forty” is a panoramic photo of trees more than 300 years old that were missed during lumbering days. A mapping mistake saved these trees. The artist provided his twist to the story by adding his own message.
Another exhibit highlights the use of visual media.
The seventh floor gallery consists of one exhibit, featuring the work of artist Liz Deschenes. She created a series of panels that use her distinctive silver-tone photogram style and some color. She used temperatures and humidity to create foggy, mirror image. Visitors can see themselves in the display if they want, or they can take in the view of the gallery that bounces off the panes.
After viewing the Deschenes’ work, we took a stroll outside the center on the seventh floor. The museum has exhibits set up outside. You can get a view of the side of the entrance to the Walker. It reflects a face, to us, at least.
The view of Minneapolis is amazing from the area. You can get a view of the downtown skyline. People were having their photos taken using the skyline as a backdrop. It’s funny how many people will ask you to take their picture when they see a camera hanging around your neck.
Minneapolis has some beautiful church buildings. The basilica, which we visited afterward, is a few blocks away. A church was about a block from the art center.
Back inside, we got a kick out of one exhibit – The Big Four Oh. A woman celebrated her birthday, so she did anything she wanted. She danced, and a video runs on loop showing her dance. The room has knight armor and 40 baseballs scattered about…just because that’s what she wanted to do. Art!
As we were strolling through a gallery, I noticed from behind a woman relaxing on a settee. I thought that was odd. As I approached, I heard a couple mentioning how lifelike it looked. It was an art piece featuring a mannequin dressed as a maid taking a break. The three of us joked on how real it looked when we first noticed it. The artist did an excellent job.
The Walker isn’t without its social or political messages. Art showcases the global changes that pop art brought about globally. From the Olympics to human rights, pop art can help tell the stories of oppression and freedom.
The Walker has a fantastic exhibit highlighting international pop art. It’s definitely worth checking out.
Outside the center, the Walker hosts one of the best sculpture gardens we’ve visited. Its centerpiece is the “Spoonbridge and Cherry.” The sculpture anchors the 11-acre park, and provides a fabulous view of the skyline. In the Fall, it’s beautiful, with colored leaves enhancing the view. More than 40 pieces are located throughout the park.“Goddess with the Golden Thighs” welcomes visitors to the park. We immediately recognized “The Walking Man” as a piece by George Segal. He has a couple of pieces displayed in Kansas City, as well as elsewhere. It’s funny that we have seen the same artists in multiple cities and can recognize them. That is far from where I was a few years ago. “Cavaliere (Horseman)” is based on Roman art. It represents the human condition, and the rider realizes he is losing control of his horse. The sculpture park has a small greenhouse. Its centerpiece is a glass fish. Very cool. The park has a nice botanical area with some pretty flowers and plants. In the end, the Walker Art Center and sculpture garden are definitely worth visiting. We recommend checking them out.
For more information on the Walker, please visit www.walkerart.org.