So asks Tad Simons on Mpls.St.Paul magazine’s “Morning After” blog. While we would of course heartily affirm that notion – we love the f-word! – we also wonder why Mr. Simons believes the Walker was previously a no-fun zone. (Read his blog yourself for his take on that.) Suffice it to say that we are delighted by his delight.
Simons began his tour of the galleries with the retrospective of work from “prolific prankster” Dan Graham (shown here during the installation), noting how the artist says he was inspired by a Beyoncé poster to name his show Dan Graham: Beyond. “From this one can deduce that either Graham doesn’t care about looking cool, or he’s so cool it doesn’t matter.” (Both are probably true.)
“as I found myself being drawn into heavy philosophical questions about perception and analysis, I kept thinking about kids and how they react to these pieces. Children don’t think about these things, they experience these things, they participate, they experiment… and I encourage you to do the same thing.”
Indeed! You can do just that– experience, participate, experiment, all for free – at this Saturday’s Wall-to-Wall Walker open house.
There you will discover that “whole new levels of weird are also being explored,” as Simons puts it, in Event Horizon, an exhibition that he declares is “the boldest, most refreshing thing the Walker has done with its permanent collection in a long time.” The other new exhibition of works from the Walker collection, Benches & Binoculars, is “a fabulously overwhelming extravaganza of art, made all the more tantalizing because the Walker never does this kind of thing.”
Moving on (Simons is starting to make us blush), Star Tribune critic Mary Abbe also seemed to have fun with Benches & Binoculars. Homing in on a 1968 abstract work by Frank Stella and a 1978 figurative piece by Jim Dine, she observed: “The paintings don’t exactly glare at one another across the gallery, but the conceptual smack-down is obvious.”
Meanwhile, Jay Gabler noted in the Daily Planet that this cheek-by-jowl, salon-style painting installation “isn’t just novel, it’s tremendously illuminating. Not only do eras and artists get to intermingle, abstract art isn’t segregated from figurative art. In the windowless gallery, the eclectic warmth of the display feels like a giant hug by artists who typically are presented as ice cold.”
A giant hug from artists. Could it get more friendly—and, dare we way, fun—than that?