In June, the Walker Art Center’s
Target Free Thursday Nights
feature Contemporary Art in Conversation, a series of talks bringing together two visual artists, a photographer, and a poet in dialogue with thinkers, critics, and writers of their choice. Featured guests include Mike Kelley and John Welchman (June 2), Kara Walker and Hilton Als (June 16), and Paul Auster with Eric Lorberer (June 30). The series concludes with a conversation between photographer Alec Soth and writer Andrei Codrescu on Thursday, July 14. Witness their exploration of ideas that influence art and contemporary life. All events are free, but a ticket is required. Tickets are available at the lobby desk one hour before each program. On these evenings made possible by Target, the Walker’s galleries are free from 5-9 pm and are complemented by a range of other Walker programs.
Target Free Thursday Nights
June 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30
Galleries open 5-9 pm; special events follow.
Thursday, June 2
Mike Kelley and John Welchman, 7 pm
On the influence of Mike Kelley’s work, art historian and critic John Welchman writes “much contemporary art that trades in abjection and the pathetic, scatter art, neo-junk, bad-girl provocations, a thousand reformulations of ‘the body’, have all passed, here and there, through the viscerally abstruse filtration system of Kelley’s imagination.” For this conversation, the two discuss Kelley’s remarkable career, focusing on his large-scale video work the Extracurricular Activity Projective Reconstruction series, started in 2000. An ambitious project, the series is a group of 365 videotapes and video installations related to his 1995 sculptural work, Educational Complex. Through restaged photographs of activities found in high school yearbooks and newspapers, the videos address issues of repressed memory, abuse, and the culture of victimization.
Kelley’s work encompasses sculpture, performance, video, and installation. His piece Four Part Butter-Scene N’Ganga (1997) is on view in the Walker exhibition Urban Cocktail in the Medtronic Gallery. Welchman is a professor of modern and contemporary art history at the University of California, San Diego.
Thursday, June 16
Kara Walker and Hilton Als, 7 pm
William and Nadine McGuire Theater
In the sketches, paper murals, and projections of Kara Walker, precisely drawn figures interact in highly animated dramas that call into question the viewer’s relationship to the heavy-hitting issues of contemporary American social politics: race, gender, sexuality, and our national history of slavery. An interest in these players is shared by writer and critic Hilton Als, whose book The Women presents a meditation on the roles gender and race play in the forging of personal identity and relationships. Join Walker and Als for a conversation on Walker’s work and the contemporary portrayal of “the Negress,” a term they both employ to generate a discussion of these issues.
An installation of Kara Walker’s drawings, paper murals, and animation is on view in the Walker exhibition Quartet: Barney, Gober, Levine, Walker in the Friedman Gallery. Als is a staff writer at the The New Yorker as well as a theater critic, script writer, and editor.
Thursday, June 23
Paul Auster and Eric Lorberer, 7 pm
Paul Auster is internationally renowned as a writer of luminous and penetrating prose, yet he began his writing career as a poet, publishing several volumes of haunting, densely lyrical verse. In the 1970s, when Auster’s poetry was published in small press collections, he gave a reading at the Walker to literally a handful of listeners. In collaboration with Rain Taxi Review of Books, the Walker is delighted to bring him back to Minneapolis to share his verse, which poet John Ashbery describes as “magnificent poetry: dark, severe, even harsh—yet pulsating with life.” The reading is followed by an onstage discussion with Eric Lorberer, editor of Rain Taxi, about the poetic roots of Auster’s fiction.
Auster is the author of 11 acclaimed novels and several works of nonfiction. His volume _Collected Poem_s was published in 2004. Poet and editor Lorberer co-curates the Walker’s Free Verse readings.
Thursday, June 30
Better Looking: The Job of Curating, 7 pm
Meet in the Bazinet Garden Lobby
The Better Looking series of gallery talks offers an in-depth discussion of works in the Walker’s collection and special exhibitions. With 15,000 square feet of additional gallery space, there’s a lot to talk about. Join Walker Chief Curator Richard Flood for a walk through the galleries and a discussion about the philosophy that guides the Walker’s collecting and presentation practices.