Charged with illuminating ideas behind the art and artists we present as well as making connections to important ideas beyond our walls, the Walker website and blogs brought Walker ideas to life in a number of compelling ways this year. The homepage featured 95 top stories this year, and the Walker blogs shared more than 225 stories by Walker staff and guest writers alike.
Bringing context to our programming, the Walker’s online editorial team unlocked essays from our exhibition catalogues for sharing with virtual audiences everywhere. Commissioned essays from Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia and Ordinary Pictures elevated the voices of contributors including curators Andrew Blauvelt and Eva Respini, while Sasha Archibald’s contribution to the book Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong (2015), a collaboration between the Walker and Coffee House Press, offered an unexpected look at the use of cat iconography in art and literature.
The Counter Currents series on the Walker’s design blog invited 12 artists, designers, musicians, and authors working today—including Tomás Saraceno, Dread Scott, and Experimental Jetset—to discuss the influence of the 1960s thinkers featured in Hippie Modernism. And our annual best-of-the-year series of top-10 listsshared perspectives on the year 2015 from some of our favorite artists, including Black Futures (Kimberly Drew and Jenna Wortham), filmmaker Tala Hadid, experimental musician C. Spencer Yeh, painter Jack Whitten, and graphic designer Na Kim.
Looking beyond the galleries, the ongoing Artist Op-Ed series featured two new works: Jack Whitten touched on gun violence, police killings of black men, and the plight of refugees in a personal essay on art’s role in times of trauma, while sculptor Gordon Hall looked at North Carolina’s new transgender “bathroom bill,” positing that art could teach us new ways of seeing—about race and gender.
And the Superscript Reader, an online compendium of commissioned writings inspired by our May 2015 digital arts journalism and criticism conference, concluded publication with essays on the complicated issues surrounding museums as publishers and a consideration of the ways the Internet has sparked a reconsideration of the city as the sole center of American culture. The conference was the subject of a talk by Walker design director Emmet Byrne and web editor Paul Schmelzer at the annual Museum Computer Network conference in November 2015 about the Walker’s success in expanding Superscript from an in-person event in Minneapolis to an ongoing online discussion open to all.