Xavier Tavera’s Borderlands at Somerset Public Library

Mike R. Curran writes about the exhibition touring libraries within the St. Croix Valley.

Mike R. Curran is an arts writer and curator living in Minneapolis. His essays and reviews have been featured in Art Papers, Public Parking, Mn Artists, MPLSART.COM, and St. Olaf College’s Flaten Art Museum. He has curated programming at artist-run galleries including Mirror Lab, Waiting Room, and Normal Residential Purposes. With his collaborator Tom Bierlein, he was awarded an Early-Career Artist Project Grant from Forecast Public Art, through which they organized Area of Concern—a public program at Crosby Farm Regional Park centered on ecological grief. He holds a B.A. in geography from Macalester College, and will begin a graduate program at the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College in fall 2024.


What If Less Were More: “Deathpower” at Law Warshaw Gallery

Christina Schmid discusses a group exhibition at the Macalester College gallery.

Christina Schmid is a writer who thinks with art and experiments with prose. She is interested in the materiality of text, haptic criticism, and the ways art generates ideas. Her essays and reviews have been published online and in print, in anthologies, journals, zines, artist books, and exhibition catalogs. She works at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Art in Minneapolis where she teaches contemporary art, critical practice, process, and theory. She is a recipient of a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant for Creative Prose.


Alexa Horochowski’s Under the Sea-Wind

Ryan Fontaine on the new show at Dreamsong.



Designs For Different Futures

Mike Curran writes about the new group show at the Walker Art Center.

Curatorial team: Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator of Design, Walker Art Center; Kathryn B. Hiesinger, the J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator and Michelle Millar Fisher, formerly the Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator in the department of European Decorative Arts after 1700, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, and Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago. Consulting curators: Andrew Blauvelt, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Curator-at-Large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, Independent Scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts (Emerging Design Practices), University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Paolo Ventura at Weinstein Hammons Gallery

Mike Curran on ‘Quarantine Diary’ at Weinsein Hammons.

Paolo Ventura studied at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in Milan in the early 1990s. His work has been exhibited internationally, including at the Forma International Center for Photography, Milan; Museum of Contemporary Art of Roma (MACRO), Rome; The Hague Museum of Photography, The Hague; Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome and during the Rencontres de la Photographie, Arles. In 2012, he was selected to create a series of works for the Italian national pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale; he also received a commission from the Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome. And recently Ventura was invited for a commission by the MART, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Trento and Rovereto, Italy. Four monographs of Paolo Ventura's work have been published: War Souvenir (Contrasto, 2006), Winter Stories (Aperture and Contrasto, 2009), The Automaton (Peliti Asociati, 2011) and Lo Zuavo Scomparso (Punctum Press, 2012). A retrospective show of Ventura’s work Carousel is scheduled to open at CAMERA Centro Italiano per la Fotografia in September 2020.

When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Part 1 & 2

Some thoughts on the Poetics of Home
by Brooks Turner.

By choice or by force. With great success or great struggle. People move or are uprooted, for many reasons. The world is currently witness to the highest levels of movement on record; the United Nations estimates that one out of every seven people is an international or internal migrant or refugee.

Borrowing its title from Somali-British poet Warsan Shire, “When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration” highlights the diverse artistic responses to migration, ranging from personal stories to poetic meditations in a range of mediums. See how the global movement of people today through migration, immigration, and displacement has mobilized artists from over a dozen countries to reimagine ideas of home and place. The exhibition includes more than 40 works by 21 artists, among them Kader Attia, Tania Bruguera, Mona Hatoum, Yinka Shonibare CBE, and Aliza Nisenbaum.

Harriet Bart: Matter, Mind, Death, and Time

Brooks Turner on Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection at the Weisman Art Museum.

A retrospective devoted to Harriet Bart; Curated by Laura Wertheim Joseph

Addressing urgent contemporary issues— the devastations of war, the complexities of memorialization, the emotional dimensions of space, the gendering of labor— this exhibition reflects on art’s ability to protect and transform, to expand our capacity for empathy, and to sensitize us to histories we might otherwise forget. 

Featuring approximately 75 objects, the exhibition includes fiber works, paintings, sculptures, prints, artists books, multimedia installations, and a newly commissioned work that evokes the ancient Jewish tradition of geniza, the practice of safeguarding written texts that might otherwise be discarded.

Sophia Chai: ​Sight Lines at Rochester Art Center

Ryan Fontaine on the exhibition on view at the Rochester Art Center thru April 11, 2020.

In our image craving world based around the photography centric social media woven into our daily lives, Sophia Chai’s art pauses to consider photography’s inner workings of light and space. By doing so she questions the normalized perception produced by the camera and therefore all normalized and calcified modes of perception.

Chai’s process is performative and reliant on the parameters of the space in which she produces her art, her studio. Painting directly onto the walls and floors of the space, the corners turn into folds, large shapes expand and retract, all depending on where she positions her camera. Taking photos of the painted space, multiple photographs of the exact same painted walls turn into entirely new compositions of color and shape. The viewer might feel tricked by their own eyes, question what it is that they are really seeing, questioning the space and the sense of what they know or take for granted. The intention is to look closely at the issues of perception: how we see, know, and how we come to believe.

Justin Quinn at Highpoint Center for Printmaking

Brooks Turner on the McKnight Printmaking Fellowship Exhibition.

Justin Quinn received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and his MFA in printmaking and MA in art history from the University of Iowa. Justin is Professor of Art at St. Cloud State University where he has taught for twelve years, following five years at the University of North Texas in Denton. He is represented by Conduit Gallery in Dallas and Satellite Berlin. Quinn’s work has been reviewed in Art in America, Art in Print, New American Paintings, The Minneapolis Star and Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and The San Francisco Chronicle, and he was included in the book Living and Sustaining a Creative Life edited by Sharon Louden. Recent exhibitions include the solo show King of Cardboard at the Conduit Gallery in Dallas and Word Dance: Selections from the Collection of Joann Gonzalez-Hickey at the Denver Art Museum.

Elizabeth Price at the Walker Art Center

Ryan Fontaine on Felt Tip at the Walker Art Center. 

Elizabeth Price’s films Kohl and Felt Tip are on display at the Walker Art Center through March 1, 2020.

The Walker Art Center’s presentation of Elizabeth Price is made possible by generous support from the Edward R. Bazinet Foundation, Linda and Larry Perlman, and RBC Wealth Management.

Elizabeth Price’s FELT TIP (2018) is commissioned by the Walker Art Center, Film and Video Umbrella, and Nottingham Contemporary with support from Arts Council England.

Making moving-image works by artists over three decades, Film and Video Umbrella has commissioned many of the foremost figures in the field, working with a diverse range of venues in the UK and internationally. To find out more, visit www.fvu.co.uk.

View of the exhibition Elizabeth Price, 2018. Photo: Bobby Rogers. © Walker Art Center.