Waiting for the opening of Walktoberfest, the Walker Art Center’s 75th anniversary celebration, as an art-lover and a Walker intern was like waiting for Christmas morning. The anniversary is a celebration of the 75 years that the Walker Art Center has been challenging the way we perceive art, creating safe spaces for radical artists and ideas, and inspiring us as individuals, cultures, and communities. And with it, of course, comes a celebration of epic proportions, kicking off with a huge Target Free Thursday Night opening party. I did my best to capture some of the highlights of this day jam-packed with activities and people.
The day started rather quietly actually, inside, the Walker Cinema was screening The Gold Rush, a silent film directed by Charlie Chaplin. However, the room lit up with laughter watching the Little Tramp in one of his most famous comedies and the film for which he most wanted to be remembered. Each night of this weekend-long celebration there will be one or more free film screenings.
When the evening festivities kicked off, I decided that because we are celebrating Art at The Center at the Walker Art Center, my first stop was… the beer garden! How often will we be able to see the Walker turn into its very own beer garden? Offering local craft beer (and root beer) from favorites like Summit and Fulton, there is nearly as much to enjoy outside as there is inside. And who could enjoy their beer without a freshly cooked brat and/or sausage from the Butcher & The Boar. While enjoying their tasty treats, DJ Christy Hunt spun laid-back tunes and made the outdoor party an instant success.
Next, I headed over to the Selfie Station. Located in the Medtronic Gallery, the station was filled with people of all ages posing with props and taking pictures in front of the large photo murals from Walker history that line the walls.
I finally headed to the galleries, with plenty of time to take in the Walker’s greatest hits as the galleries stay open until 10 pm during Walktoberfest. It was truly an incredible experience to trace the path of the Walker’s evolution through decades of former curators and their all-star acquisitions. The art exhibited wowed everyone with visual theatrical scenes from the Walker’s history; including pieces such as Franz Marc’s The Large Blue Horses, Chuck Close’s Big Self-Portrait, and Sherrie Levine’s Fountain (After Marcel Duchamp: A.P.). One of the final pieces in the exhibit, Lost Forty (2011), by Polish artist Goshka Macuga brings the exhibit to a beautifully self-reflective close. The piece is a monumentally sized tapestry depicting a pristine forest in northern Minnesota. The undisturbed forest harkens to the roots of the museum, as the Walker family formerly owned a lumber company. Within the image are references not only to the Walker’s history, but also to the history of contemporary art, and current politics. Macuga’s piece links the history of the Walker and contemporary art to the past, present, and future.
I highly encourage you to visit Walktoberfest and the Art at Center exhibition. Who doesn’t want an early Christmas present?