The Walker Art Center’s Target Free Thursday Nights in November are highlighted by Vamos a celebrar el Día de los Muertos (November 1, 5–9 pm), a series of festivities for the Day of the Dead holiday, in conjunction with the new exhibition Frida Kahlo (opening October 27). Visitors can view Kahlo’s famed paintings in the galleries, make art with a local artist from Mexico, and see films that explore this festive tradition. Also featured in November are a screening of the film Born Without (Nacido Sin), directed by Eva Norvind, a documentary about the life and times of José Flores, a man born without arms, who supports his family by playing music on the street (November 15, 7:30 pm), part of the Cinemateca film series; Drawn Here design talks with prominent architects, including David Adjaye of Adjaye/Associates (November 8, 7 pm/ticketed event) and Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos, principals of VJAA (November 29, 6 pm); a preshow artist talk with dance-maker Jérôme Bel (November 15, 6:30 pm), prior to his performance later that evening with Thai dance master Pichet Klunchun; the All City Youth Film Showcase, featuring films made by young people ages 18 and under (November 29, 7 pm); and an art lab with members of Beatrix*JAR (November 29, 5–9 pm) and film screening of Coleman Miller’s film Uso Justo (November 29, 8 pm), both in conjunction with mnartists.org’s Festival of Appropriation, November 2–30, at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis, celebrating the artistic practice in which a previously existing form, image, or sound is reused..
Target Free Thursday Nights sponsored by Target.
Target Free Thursday Nights
November 1, 8, 15, 29
Galleries open 5–9; special events follow.
Thursday, November 1
Gallery Tour, 6 pm
Vamos a celebrar el Día de los Muertos
(Let’s Celebrate the Day of the Dead), 5–9 pm
View Kahlo’s famed paintings in the galleries, make art with a local artist from Mexico, and see films that explore this festive tradition.
Calavera Mask-Making Activity
Star Tribune Art Lab, 5–9 pm
Twin Cities artist Gustavo Lira and his students from El Colegio School in South Minneapolis guide visitors in making papier maché masks, traditionally worn during Mexican celebrations. This activity is intended for all ages.
Film: Down to the Bone (Hasta los Huesos) by Rene Castillo
US Bank Orientation Lounge, 5–9 pm
Enjoy this 10-minute animated short about a wary skeleton’s journey into the underworld.
Film: La Ofrenda: Día de los Muertos
Cinema, 7:30 pm
Directed by Lourdes Portillo and Susana Muñoz
This colorful documentary reveals the pre-Hispanic roots of El Día de los Muertos—the Day of the Dead—and invites us into present-day celebrations in Oaxaca and in the U.S. 1988, U.S./Mexico, video, in English and Spanish with English subtitles, 50 minutes.
Thursday, November 8
Brave New Worlds Tour, 6 pm
Drawn Here: David Adjaye, Adjaye/Associates, 7 pm
$8 ($5 Walker members)
David Adjaye formed Adjaye/Associates in 2000, a London-based architectural practice that has quickly garnered international acclaim for its inventive approaches to the design of a variety of private residences and public buildings. Exploring the dualities of “private retreat and public engagement” and responding to the urban complexities of diverse sites and cultures has been central to his growing body of work. His projects in the United States include a new five-star hotel and residences planned for downtown St. Paul.
Although Adjaye has gained acclaim with residential and studio designs for notable clients such as actor Ewan McGregor and artists Jake Chapman, Chris Ofili, and Lorna Simpson, his work occupies a more grounded realm. Rejecting a signature style, his designs are elegant and occasionally enigmatic objects that choreograph inventive spatial experiences, stage the interplay of light and shadow, and explore an innovative material palette. Elektra House (2000) juxtaposes its sober, windowless front façade with a glass-walled rear, thereby transforming the structure into a kind of giant light box. The exterior of Dirty House (2002) has been coated in dark anti-graffiti paint, a gesture that signals a material connection to its urban circumstance while providing its owners a retreat from the city. Lost House (2004) occupies a “silver lot”—a former delivery yard—between two existing buildings and uses a series of skylights, light wells, and courtyards to activate its chamberlike spaces.
The architect’s civic buildings—which range from libraries to a performing arts center and multiresidential housing developments to marketplaces and community centers—actively explore the conditions of their public nature, providing answers to the architect’s own query, “What is a public building in the twenty-first century?” His designs for two neighborhood libraries in London (2004/2005), dubbed Idea Stores, acknowledge their immediate context as multipurpose spaces for diverse communities. While their name suggests a specific retail experience, the libraries in fact evoke the sociability of a local marketplace: their distinctive, alternating green and blue panes of glass are reminiscent of the striped awnings of vendors’ stalls that line the streets. The gray, etched-glass-clad Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, which opens in October, contains a series of distinct spaces whose arrangement Adjaye describes as “a mini city in itself, with galleries like houses entered from a street.”
Adjaye frequently collaborates with artists such as Olafur Eliasson, with whom he created a pavilion to house the light installation Your Black Horizon, which debuted in conjunction with the 2005 Venice Biennale, and Chris Ofili, who created a dazzling wall mural in different tones of green for a café located in the Adjaye-designed Nobel Peace Center (2005) in Olso, Norway. Adjaye’s work has been included in numerous exhibitions, including Gritty Brits: New London Architecture at the Carnegie Museum of Art and David Adjaye: Making Public Buildings, which opened at the Whitechapel Gallery in London and travels to the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, among other venues. Another exhibition, African Cities, at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he is a visiting professor, offers a complementary insight into his philosophy. Over the last several years, the Tanzanian-born Adjaye has been photographing Africa’s capitals, documenting both the “tropical modernism” of its colonial architectural legacies as well as the affinities of its more informal structures and inhabited spaces. What drives the project is a desire for architecture to perform its public engagement. Adjaye says, “What I am interested in is how they have a very strong public life: the markets, the way people use the spaces in front of their homes, the way life is lived as networks. The house is just a unit you sleep in. Even in Muslim countries that are very extreme, it still plays out. That is something we have lost in the West.”
Support for the Drawn Here lecture with David Adjaye is provided in part by WingField Corporation.
Thursday, November 15
Brave New Worlds Tour, 6 pm
Preshow Artist Talk with Jérôme Bel, 6:30 pm
Free tickets available at the Hennepin Lobby desk from 5:30 pm
Join Jérôme Bel and Henry Pillsbury (actor and co-director of King’s Fountain) for a discussion about Bel’s innovative process for creating conceptual dance works.
Film: Born Without (Nacido Sin), 7:30 pm
Directed by Eva Norvind
Renaissance woman Eva Norvind documents the life and times of José Flores, a man born without arms, who currently supports his wife and six children (plus one on the way) by playing music on the street. Flores’ character, equally flabbergasting and inspiring, draws together Mexican cinema’s icons, such as cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo), hard-scrabble rural folk, and traveling carnivals. 2007, video, in Spanish with English subtitles, 82 minutes.
Thursday, November 22
Thanksgiving – Walker closed
Thursday, November 29
Brave New Worlds Tour, 6 pm
Drawn Here: Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos, 7 pm
Free tickets available at the Hennepin Lobby desk from 6 pm
Vincent James and Jennifer Yoos, principals of VJAA, declare in their recently published monograph, “We believe that if the profession of architecture is to remain relevant, then the practice of architecture needs to become more plastic, not simply in terms of the appearance of buildings but in terms of how they are conceived, how they function, and how they respond to particular conditions.” It is the degree and type of response that ultimately shapes the range of projects undertaken by VJAA since its inception a decade ago.
Rejecting the expectation of a signature style, VJAA adopts instead a self-described “polyvalent” approach in which architectural form is not the incidental byproduct of various constraints but rather the careful result of responding to particular contexts—whether cultural, geographic, or social—and challenging programmatic assumptions as well as the performance of conventional building types. In this way, architectural form may be a response to a specific impetus, perhaps found in the client’s proclivities, borne out of prevailing climatic conditions, or the desire to reframe social interactions.
This approach can be seen in such early works as the Type/Variant House (1996). Paralleling the owners’ interests in serial collecting, the carefully modulated structures that comprise the house, which is located in the woods of northern Wisconsin, constitute a collection of similar yet different wood-lined, copper-clad volumes. Sometimes architectural form is a response to the subject at hand. For instance, the dynamic nature of rowing is reflected in the wavelike roofline and wood and steel trusses of the Minneapolis Rowing Club Boathouse (2001), which echo the rhythmic pattern of the oarsmen’s motion. For a proposed museum of natural history in Cable, Wisconsin (2000), VJAA designed the structure as a symbiotic unit within its woodlands setting. A series of hourglass-shaped columns have been transformed beyond their traditional role of structural support and function also as light wells and water collectors, an in essence become chambers that can both sustain and display natural growth processes. Additionally, the building collects and processes rain water and wastewater through remediation ponds. In this instance, the conventional modernist strategy of blurring inside and outside takes on new meaning. The firm’s design for a student union building at Tulane University in New Orleans (2006) examines issues of climatic regulation with a desire for enhanced social activity. At Tulane, VJAA employs a variety of innovative building systems and technologies that enhance both the social and thermal permeability of the building envelope, allowing greater fluidity of circulation between inside and outside and among dining, studying, and socializing zones when conditions permit, while providing protection during climatic extremes.
Although based in Minneapolis and known locally for its elegantly refined Dayton House (1997) and the aforementioned rowing boathouse, the firm’s work is geographically diverse and includes projects such as the recently opened Hostler Student Center at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon (2007); residential loft projects in New York and Chicago; and an upcoming gatehouse for the University of Cincinnati campus. VJAA is the recipient of 10 national design awards within the past eight years, including six Progressive Architecture awards and two National American Institute of Architects Honor Awards. The firm’s work has been published in Architecture, A+U, Architectural Record, the New York Times, Praxis, Architecture Review, and Perspecta, and most recently in VJAA, a monograph published by Princeton Architectural Press.
All City Youth Film Showcase, 7 pm
Join us for a statewide showcase of films made by young people ages 18 and under. Presented by the Twin Cities Youth Media Network (TCYMN), a collective of media organizations that promote and support youth filmmaking. For more information, call 612.375.7683 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chance Appropriations Art Activity, 5–9 pm
Star Tribune Foundation Art Lab
Join visionary sound-art duo Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske of Beatrix*JAR to produce a unique sonic hybrid of pop and experimental electronic music with circuit-bent machines, toys, and consumer electronics.
Festival of Appropriation Screening, 8 pm
Roughly translated as “fair use,” Minneapolis director Coleman Miller’s film Uso Justo (2005) is restructured completely from an obscure 1959 Mexican hospital drama. The program also includes new works by the Tape-beatles, Wobbly, Steev Hise, and Jon Nelson (Minneapolis Summit) and is part of mnartists.org’s Festival of Appropriation. Running time 40 minutes.
Related Event: The Festival of Appropriation, presented by mnartists.org
Opening Reception: Friday, November 2, 7 pm–12 midnight FREE
Exhibition: November 2–30
Soap Factory, 518 Second Street NE, Minneapolis
The Dadaists did it. Warhol did it. Artists from Negativland to Kanye West do it. Appropriation is an artistic practice in which a previously existing form, image, or sound is reused. The creative effort results in a strangely familiar, yet altogether new creation. The Festival of Appropriation, curated by Some Assembly Required’s Jonathan Nelson and l’etoile magazine’s Kate Iverson, features works drawn from mnartists.org and defined by the inspired selection and manipulation of found materials. For more information, call 612.375.7611.
mnartists.org is a project of the McKnight Foundation and the Walker Art Center.