The new Walker Art Center will open to the public on Sunday, April 17, with a day-long celebration featuring special programs, screenings, and activities, including performances by Philip Glass, Bill Frisell, Meredith Monk, and other artists. The Walker expansion, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Herzog & de Meuron, doubles the size of its existing building, providing 260,000 square feet of space for programming and operations. The opening of the new Walker marks a deepening of the institution’s commitment to its distinctive mission, which includes commissioning and presenting pioneering contemporary art; fostering collaborative inspiration among visual, performing, and media artists; and engaging diverse audiences in the excitement of the creative process.
The new design actively supports and is driven by the Walker’s mission of linking ideas, viewpoints, and artistic disciplines by physically interweaving galleries, performance spaces, a cinema and screening areas, educational lounges, and public spaces. This integrative approach transcends the traditional divisions of space found in most museum architecture and is conceived specifically for presenting contemporary visual, performing, and media arts, as well as incubating new hybrid art forms.
The design also amplifies the Walker’s role as a gathering place for activities and conversation, and includes a special-events space open to the community. The expansion will create a new public park and garden entrance (to be completed in 2006) that extend and unify the Walker’s 17-acre urban campus, which includes the renowned Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Building construction is scheduled to be completed in January 2005, with installation in the new and renovated galleries to be completed for the public opening in April.
“At its essence, the Walker is dedicated to engaging diverse audiences in the excitement of the creative process and enabling visitors to interact with living artists developing new work,” said Walker Director Kathy Halbreich. “We seek to be a center for daring artistic experimentation, a place to experience something unexpected, an incubator for discussion and debate, a civic and social meeting point. The opening of the new Walker marks both a dramatic expansion of our facilities and our role as a laboratory for invention and exploration that stretch our collective sense of who we are.”
The Walker is the foremost contemporary arts center in the United States based on the depth, range, and vitality of its visual, performing, and media arts programs. Individually, these programs stand among the leading contemporary visual and performing arts centers in the nation and, collectively, they form an institution that is without peer. The Walker’s consistent emphasis on innovation and fostering new works in all artistic disciplines has made the Center a fulcrum for shifting conceptions of contemporary art and provides a new model for what a cultural institution can be.
The new Walker brings together artistic, educational, and social experiences, and will feature:
a suite of new galleries for the Walker’s collection and special exhibitions that increase total exhibition space by 33 percent;
a new 385-seat performance space for dance, music, and theater programs;
new education areas woven throughout the building interior where visitors can participate in making and learning about art;
a refurbished cinema for film and new media screenings;
expanded educational resources, including the Walker library, Art Lab, an Orientation Lounge for school and group tours, and an expanded space and programming for the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council;
street-level and roof-top public terraces, plazas, gardens, and lounges;
a newly commissioned outdoor skyspace work by James Turrell;
increased services and amenities for visitors, including two restaurants operated by internationally acclaimed chef Wolfgang Puck.
The Walker has raised more than $86 million toward its $92 million capital campaign, which includes $67.5 million for the expansion and $24.5 million in endowment and operating funds. More than 180 individuals, corporations, and foundations have already supported the Walker’s campaign.
Design for the New Walker
The design for the new Walker integrates its existing building with an expanded campus, both respecting the integrity of architect Edward Larrabee Barnes’ original design and engaging the surrounding neighborhood. The new Walker will link distinct areas of the city—natural, residential, and metropolitan—physically and metaphorically connecting the urban downtown with Minneapolis’ Uptown communities and neighborhoods. Along Hennepin Avenue, the city’s most active thoroughfare, the grade of the street is mirrored by the slope of the Walker’s new Hennepin Lounge, blurring the distinction between inside and out. The new Walker creates a civic and social gathering space, drawing visitors not only for presentations, educational events, and community activities, but also discussion and relaxation. Architects Herzog & de Meuron, and the Minneapolis-based architectural firm Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc., collaborated with the Walker Art Center on the site plan and design. Landscape architect Michel Desvigne, known for his innovative landscape designs throughout Europe, is designing a new four-acre public park that will link the Walker with the existing Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Noted lighting designer Arnold Chan, founder of Isometrix Lighting + Design, has been selected by the Walker as part of the project team.
A striking element of the new design is a 130,000-square-foot south wing, which houses the Walker’s new William and Nadine McGuire Theater, as well as a new Walker Shop, event space, and Wolfgang Puck-operated restaurant. The exterior of the south wing is covered with embossed aluminum mesh panels that reflect natural light, actively mirroring changing weather conditions and shifting appearance as visitors, pedestrians, and drivers travel past the building. Asymmetric windows punctuate the new building’s façade, revealing activity inside the Walker to passersby and connecting visitors to the life of the street. A 60-foot-long dynamic video projection on the etched-glass portion of the Hennepin façade heralds the Walker’s exhibitions and programs. A new entrance plaza to the east, along Hennepin Avenue, opens the Walker to the city and yields dramatic vistas onto the downtown skyline.
New Installations and Exhibitions
The Walker’s decades-long emphasis on commissioning and collecting innovative works by artists from around the world, along with its exceptional record of supporting and acquiring emerging and mid-career artists, distinguishes its collections from those of other institutions. The Walker’s collection has increased dramatically since it moved to its current site in 1971, and has grown 40 percent in the last decade alone.
The inaugural installations at the new Walker highlight this remarkable collection and include many pieces that have rarely or never been exhibited. Among the inaugural installations are exhibitions that provide a chronological perspective on the artistic developments of the last 60 years, as well as galleries that explore evolving ideas, themes, and practices in contemporary art.
Walker Collection – Inaugural Exhibitions
All inaugural exhibitions will be on view on April 17 when the new Walker opens to the public.
Quartet: Johns, Kelly, Mitchell, Motherwell
Through July 3, 2005
Four artists who share a long history with the Walker—Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Joan Mitchell, and Robert Motherwell—are featured in an exhibition of their paintings, sculptures, drawings, and editions from the Walker’s collection.
Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walker
Through November 13, 2005
Four artists with whom the Walker has developed long-term relationships—Matthew Barney, Robert Gober, Sherrie Levine, and Kara Walker—are working with the Center to design installations of their works drawn from the Walker’s collection.
Shadowland: An Exhibition as a Film
Through September 11, 2005
This installation of works from the Walker’s collection looks at how photographic and moving images have radically affected the nature of making art and exhibitions. Included are works by Doug Aitken, Chantal Akerman, Rineke Dijkstra, David Hammons, Bruce Nauman, Shirin Neshat, Cindy Sherman, Alex Soth, and Jeff Wall.
Through July 17, 2005
Focusing on an international and multigenerational roster of artists, including Sanford Biggers, Kay Hassan, Mike Kelley, Jac Leirner, and Kerry James Marshall, this exhibition features sculptures, collages, drawings, and photographs from the Walker’s collection that parallel the tension and the sensuality of street and urban culture.
The Shape of Time
Through August 3, 2008
A suite of three contiguous galleries unfolds a history of postwar modernism and its alternatives—among them Fluxus, Gutai, and Arte Povera—with works from the Walker’s collection. The Walker has been actively collecting artists that represent “alternatives” to classic modernism; many of these works will be displayed for the first time in this exhibition. Artists represented include Bruce Conner, Lucio Fontana, Robert Gober, Yves Klein, Mario Merz, Barnett Newman, Yoko Ono, Giulio Paolini, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Paul Thek, and Christopher Wool. The installation also includes a series of Andy Warhol paintings and examples of all of his handpainted grocery carton boxes.
Through February 10, 2008
Keynote paintings, sculptures, photographs, and drawings from the Walker’s collection reveal how works by such artists as Joseph Beuys, Katharina Fritsch, Anselm Kiefer, Sigmar Polke, and Charles Ray evoke and question historical and contemporary mythologies.
Through July 9, 2006
Minimalism, one of the strongest areas of the Walker’s collection, will be showcased in an installation of works spanning the movement’s very early antecedents to the purest examples of the genre. Artists represented include Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Richard Serra.
Special Exhibitions – Inaugural Year
Along with the collection installations, the Walker has planned an inaugural year of special exhibitions, all organized, or co-organized, by the Walker.
Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967-2005
July 24–October 16, 2005
This exhibition features works acquired by the Walker during its more than 30-year relationship with the artist, including the artist’s first self-portrait, as well as significant loans. Focusing exclusively on Close’s work in self-portraiture—including painting, drawing, photography, collage, and printmaking—the exhibition is co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Following its presentations in Minneapolis and San Francisco, the exhibition will tour nationally.
Huang Yong Ping: A Retrospective
October 16, 2005–January 15, 2006
In his first retrospective, the influential contemporary Chinese artist Huang Yong Ping works across diverse traditions and media to challenge the viewer to reconsider everything from the idea of art, to national identity, to recent history. After its premiere at the Walker, the exhibition will be shown at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and venues in Asia and Europe.
Stars, Deaths, and Disasters, 1962–1964_
November 13, 2005–February 26, 2006
Andy Warhol was one of the first artists to investigate America’s cultural obsession with celebrity and tragedy, and, looking back at this body of masterworks, this concern remains as relevant today as it was in 1964. This exhibition brings together more than 20 examples of Warhol’s early silkscreen paintings juxtaposing iconic images such as Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Elvis Presley with his disturbing appropriations of car crashes, electric chairs, and other “disasters.”
February 26–May 14, 2006
This exhibition presents a “gathering” (to use Smith’s word) of the broad variety of media which Smith has explored in her meditations on the human condition, the body, and the realms of myth, spirituality, and narrative. The exhibition features sculpture in plaster, bronze, paper, glass, porcelain, and other materials; installations; prints; drawings; photographs; multiples; artist’s books; and film and video works.
In the Sculpture Garden
The Walker has also commissioned a skyspace work, entitled Sky Pesher, by James Turrell located in its new four-acre garden. This 23-foot-square underground room features seating for 30 people, who will be able to view the changing sky through an 11-foot-square opening in the ceiling. Viewed from above ground, the piece will resemble a spare, minimalist cube resting on the landscape.
William and Nadine McGuire Theater
The Walker Art Center has one of the most active and influential contemporary performing arts programs in the country, presenting more than 70 events each year and commissioning works by pioneering artists in dance, music, theater, and performance art. The expanded Walker will feature the new 385-seat William and Nadine McGuire Theater with a 2,800-square-foot stage area and a soaring 48-foot-high fly space. This unusual design, normally found in a performance space more than twice its size, will enable performers to present ambitious and technically complex works in an intimate setting.
The McGuire Theater will also serve as a “research and development” space for new pieces, expanding the Walker’s ability to commission new works, support the development of groundbreaking performances, and foster mutual inspiration between film/video, new media, visual, and performing artists. Visitors will be able to attend the rehearsals of works in development, take master classes from visiting performers, and take part in workshops with artists, giving audiences the opportunity to step into the creative process. The Walker will continue to serve as the region’s premier performing arts presenter of artists from around the world.
A number of new commissions are in development for the opening months of the McGuire Theater, including:
Ornette Coleman/Bang on a Can All-Stars
– a new chamber work by Ornette Coleman receiving its world premiere as part of the weekend-long festival “The Festival Dancing in Your Head: Ornette at 75” (April 2005);
Jason Moran and The Bandwagon
– world premiere of Milestone, a new jazz theatrical suite inspired by works from the Walker’s visual art collection (May 2005);
Bill T. Jones
– world premiere of the new solo dance work Lord Buckley, set to music by the 1950s proto-hipster and presented as part of an evening of new solo works by Jones (June 2005);
– world premiere of Gold, Part 3, a work inspired by Herzog & de Meuron’s design for the new Walker. This “dance installation” will be presented in spaces throughout the Walker’s building. (September 2005);
The Builders Association/d-box
– this multimedia experimental theater ensemble presents the world premiere of Supervision, a work about our culture of surveillance (October 2005).
The Walker actively collaborates with major performing arts organizations such as the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center Festival, and the Wexner Center for the Arts in the commissioning of new pieces. Recent commissions that have been seen internationally after being developed at, or commissioned by, the Walker include: Shirin Neshat and Sussan Deyhim’s Logic of the Birds, performed at Lincoln Center Festival, in London with support from co-commissioner Artangel, and at multiple European venues; The Builders Association and motiroti’s Alladeen, presented at BAM’s Next Wave Festival and venues across the U.S., Europe, and Asia; Bill T. Jones’ The Table Project, danced at Aaron Davis Hall and across the U.S.; Rennie Harris’ Facing Mekka, shown at the Joyce Theater and other U.S. venues; 33 Fainting Spells’ Our Little Sunbeam, presented at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and additional U.S. venues; and Big Dance Theater’s Plan B, shown at Dance Theater Workshop and as part of the Biennale Bonn in Bonn, Germany.
Film and Video
The Walker’s film/video program is recognized for presenting moving-image artists that define and influence the field. Year-round screenings showcase contemporary and historical works. In addition to U.S. and world premieres, the 2005 season will feature:
Manifestos: Statements that Shape Cinema from Kuleshov to Lars von Trier
Films by Andy Warhol
– early films dealing with time, celebrity, and the early Factory years;
Cinemateca: Contemporary Film from Latin America
– each month a new film telling stories of contemporary life in countries south of the U.S.;
100 Years: The Films and Legacy of Jerome Hill (in collaboration with the Museum of Modern Art and Anthology Film Archives)
Global Lens: Films from the Global Film Initiative
Ericka Beckman’s Frame-Up
– this double-video projection, commissioned by the Walker, documents the construction site, which becomes the framework for a video/pinball/croquet game played by two players off-screen (through August 31, 2005).
The Walker will also continue its popular film series, including Regis Dialogues (which, in the past, have showcased the work of Chen Kaige, Gus Van Sant, and Agnes Varda, as well as Tom Hanks, Clint Eastwood, Jodie Foster, and Spike Lee), Women with Vision Film Festival, Summer Music and Movies, and the British Television Advertising Awards. In the new Walker, screenings in public spaces will feature ongoing presentations by contemporary artists and experimental filmmaker Benita Raphan, as well as films from the Edmond R. Ruben Film Study Collection.
Public Spaces and Resources
Visitors entering the new Walker from Hennepin Avenue will come into the General Mills Hennepin Lounge, an indoor plaza framed by 20-foot-high windows running parallel to the street. The plaza will greet visitors and serve as a lounge for informal gatherings. An Info Bay, an Audio Alcove, and a Video Bay feature presentations by Walker artists-in-residence. The new Walker Shop is also located in this space.
The Best Buy Info Lounge will feature a digital interactive media table, called Dialog, where visitors can learn more about artworks from the Walker collection through text, images, audio, and video clips. To overcome the isolating experience of sitting at a computer screen, Dialog uses state-of-the-art technology to recognize simple hand gestures, to allow users to manipulate information and images. Since several people can use Dialog at the same time, the experience is like surfing a social, rather than a personal, computer.
The new Arcade will feature changing interactive activities for discovering more about contemporary art and artists, making connections to the Walker’s collection, and seeing the evolution of different ideas and movements in the arts. In its inaugural installation, visitors can converse about contemporary art or other topics with Dolphin Oracle, a life-size virtual dolphin with an artificial intelligence capability designed by new media artists Piotr Szyhalski and Richard Shelton.
A remodeled and expanded Vineland Place lobby, renamed the Bazinet Garden Lobby, will open onto the new four-acre park and feature an orientation area for the general public and school groups, as well as Dan Graham’s New Space for Showing Videos and an installation on the Walker’s multidisciplinary history. In addition, the Cargill Lounge, also facing onto the expanded garden, allows visitors to watch the changing of the seasons. The new Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab doubles the size of the current art lab and enables visitors to learn more about the process by which artists create works through participatory art-making programs and experiences. The new Walker also features a center to house its model program for teenagers, the Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC), which is comprised of a diverse group of young artists and arts enthusiasts who meet weekly to identify opportunities for their peers to connect with contemporary art and artists.
A new full-service restaurant and event space are located above the McGuire Theater and the Walker has selected Wolfgang Puck as restaurateur for the new facility. Wolfgang Puck Catering and Events will operate the new restaurant and informal café, and will provide catering for special events held at the Walker.
Herzog & de Meuron
have attracted critical praise for their architectural work around the world and have designed a wide variety of public and private buildings, including museums, residences, apartment buildings, libraries, schools, a sports complex, and office buildings. Their projects include London’s Tate Modern Bankside, Dominus Winery in Northern California’s Napa Valley, and Prada Epicenter Store in Tokyo, Japan. They are the architects for the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, currently under construction. In 2001, Herzog & de Meuron were the winners of the Pritzker Prize, often called “the Nobel of architecture.”
Hammel, Green and Abrahamson, Inc.
, based in Minneapolis, have more than 35 years of experience in designing museum buildings throughout the United States and are the local architects for the creation of the new Walker. The firm has been associated with the Walker since 1978 and was involved in the Walker’s 1984 expansion.
is the recipient of the Medal of the French Academy of Architecture (2000) and has taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. His projects include the Millennium Park in London’s Greenwich Peninsula and large public parks surrounding the Centraal Museum of Utrecht, the Middelheim Museum in Antwerp, and Fort Thungen Museum of Modern Art in Kirchberg, Luxembourg.
founded his London-based firm Isometrix Lighting + Design in 1984. Trained as an architect at London’s Architectural Association, Chan is recognized for his innovative and versatile approach to lighting design. His projects include the Grand Opera de Lyon (Jean Nouvel, architect); Calvin Klein, Tokyo (John Pawson, architect); Kenzo, London (David Chipperfield, architect); Philippe Starck-designed Ian Schrager hotels in London, Miami, and Los Angeles; and numerous other projects.