We’re all about interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, corporal-disciplinary art at the Walker, and that ethos stretches to the individual programming departments. When we crafted our Year of Trisha, folks in our visual arts and performing arts departments, otherwise separated by off-white walls, colored chiffon curtains and preferences in footwear, joined flavors in a melange of dance and charcoal — like a contemporary art Reese’s peanut butter cup.
The good will has continued. With Angus Fairhurst’s The Birth of Consistency (2004) insisting upon spending the summer outside — and really, who’s going to argue with a gorilla? — visual arts curators saw the empty space in the Dolly Fiterman Garden Gallery as a chance not only to clean up after our bronzed primate (don’t ask!), but also promote a performing arts program — by exhibiting a giant plaster seashell by Robert Gober (Untitled, 1982).
What, you may ask, does this sculpture have to do with the performing arts? Place your ear to the opening of a seashell — what do you hear? No, silly Lima bean — that’s actually the sound of the blood rushing through your brain. But much like your lingering, senseless faith in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Minnesota Vikings, you believe you’re listening to the ocean, its sonic waves embedded for the ages in this wayward remnant from the sea. I won’t rid you of that belief. Quite the contrary, we’re counting on it.
It just so happens the Walker is preparing to sail an Ocean of a different kind — of Merce Cunningham’s and John Cage’s creation — September 11-13 at the Rainbow granite quarry near St. Cloud. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime production and we want people to see it. Most of our marketing tells you just that — it’s unique, it’s cool, it’s an experience, etc. Leave it to our thoughtful curators for taking the highroad and crediting our visitors with the wits to make this connection. Of course, we don’t want you to actually place your ear to this seashell. If the foreboding rope in front of the piece doesn’t deter you, our judo-trained guards will. Just look at the seashell, let it rekindle your memories of the ocean, step back down to the box office, and buy a ticket.