It’s the place where John Philip Sousa conducted and where boxing matches and auto shows were held at the turn of the 20th century. Purchased by the City of Minneapolis in 1893, the grounds served as the U.S. Army Reserve drill team’s practice field and home to the local Armory and annual garden displays. This historic plot of land opened as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in 1988, and quickly evolved as both a popular destination and a model project of civic collaboration. Expanded to encompass 11 acres in 1992, the Garden is one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the United States and one of the most beloved public spaces in the Twin Cities. With Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s iconic fountain-sculpture Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988) at its heart, surrounded by more than 40 modern and contemporary sculptures, the Garden has drawn more than 6.5 million people since it opened and become a living stage for myriad performances and community events.
In celebration of the Garden’s 20th anniversary, the Walker Art Center presents a summerlong celebration featuring the return of the highly popular Artist-Designed Mini Golf and Rock the Garden; an outdoor exhibition, Design for the Other 90%, offering socially conscious design solutions for the poor and marginalized around the world; the remounting of important site-specific dance works from the 1970s by the Trisha Brown Dance Company; Australia’s celebrated Back to Back Theatre; the annual Summer Music and Movies series in Loring Park; film screenings; expanded Free First Saturday family days; and the inauguration of the Garden FlatPak House and Activity Center.
WALKER INSIDE OUT: ART GOES OUTDOORS
Design for the Other 90%
Tuesday–Sunday, May 24–September 7, 11 am–5 pm
(open Mondays Memorial Day and Labor Day)
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Of the world’s 6.5 billion people, 90 percent have little or no access to most of the products and services many of us take for granted; in fact, nearly half do not have reliable access to food, clean water, healthcare, education, affordable transportation, or shelter. Design for the Other 90% features a growing movement among designers, engineers, and social entrepreneurs to create low-cost solutions for everyday problems. Through local and global partnerships, individuals and organizations are finding unique ways to address the basic challenges of survival and progress faced by the world’s poor.
The exhibition showcases designs that use conventional and unorthodox methods, new and traditional materials, or ancient and innovative technologies to solve myriad problems—from cleaner-burning sugarcane charcoal to a solar-powered battery for a hearing aid, from a portable water purification straw to a $100 laptop computer. By actively understanding the available resources, tools, desires, and immediate needs of their potential users, these designers create simple and pragmatic objects and ingenious and adaptive systems that can help transform lives and communities.
Walker on the Green: Artist-Designed Mini Golf
Wednesday–Sunday, May 24–September 7, 10 am–8 pm
Greenspace adjacent to Vineland Place entrance
$8 adults ($6 students/seniors/members, $5 children 12 and under, $4 members 12 and under)
Two seven-hole courses feature green-themed mini-golf holes designed by artists, architects, and designers. Visitors will encounter a water hazard; a replica of the real life “island of plastic,” a heap of debris floating in the Pacific Ocean; a 12-foot-tall Paul Bunyon; a single-breaking wave covered with recycled glass; and a hole that plays like Pachinko, a Japanese version of pinball with a human-powered elevator for your golf ball.
Copresented with mnartists.org.
Back to Back Theatre
Small Metal Objects
Thursday–Friday, June 5–6, 7 pm
Saturday, June 7, 1 and 7 pm
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
$22 ($18 Walker members)
“Small Metal Objects turns the notion of theatre and the everyday inside out. It is a pure, open-hearted, complex and breathtaking production . . . a unique
meditation on human worth.” —Sydney Morning Herald
Back to Back Theatre creates locally devised, but globally relevant and significant theater. This ambition plays out in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in a show where two men who normally escape notice—mentally disabled and possibly homeless—play inadvertent but pivotal roles in the lives of two abled ambitious executives. The drama unfolds before an audience wired with headphones.
Back to Back Theatre, an ensemble of actors with mental disabilities, strives to nudge and subvert audiences into seeing beauty that is otherwise hidden. Here, the company explores how respect is withheld from the disabled, unemployed, and others society deems unproductive. Set against the backdrop of the Garden, Small Metal Objects expands the theatrical frame with the unpredictability of public space while bringing stark relief to the notion that everything has its price.
Rock the Garden
Andrew Bird, The New Pornographers, Cloud Cult, Bon Iver
Saturday, June 21, 4–11 pm
$35 ($30 Walker/Minnesota Public Radio members) in advance
$40 ($35) at the door
The Walker Art Center and 89.3 The Current present the music event of the season with this all-ages, rain-or-shine street party featuring both established and emerging acts. Rock the Garden includes live broadcasts from DJs of 89.3 The Current and an array of food vendors.
Bird’s mix of rock, folk, small-combo swing, gypsy, and New Orleans jazz has put fire under his fans’ feet for more than a decade, and his most recent album, Armchair Apocrypha, has garnered critical and popular praise. The New Pornographers, anchored in Vancouver, have been darlings of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork magazines, establishing themselves as a powerful force in contemporary, ethereal, thoughtful power pop. Many members of the band have put out acclaimed solo albums, including A.C. Newman (The Slow Wonder) and Dan Bejar, who performs as Destroyer (Trouble in Dreams, Destroyer’s Rubies). Cloud Cult has evolved into both a personal and global statement for Craig Minowa, whose songs can jump from distorted hip-hop to indie rock to chamber pop. Since 1995, Cloud Cult has crafted sprawling, cathartic albums that have won them the attention of the New York Times, MTV, Spin, Billboard, and a devoted following of fans. National and local critics have raved about Bon Iver (pronounced bohn eevair), the musical nom de plume of Justin Vernon, for his enigmatic and emotional debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. The CD was recently featured in Entertainment Weekly Magazine, as well as on numerous blogs and Web sites.
Big Ideas For a Small Planet
Screenings every half hour starting at 12 noon during gallery hours
This series of half-hour documentaries, created by the Sundance Channel, focuses on individuals at the forefront of innovative ideas and processes for transforming the planet’s future, offering creative green solutions for some of the world’s looming challenges. 2008, video, 30 minutes.
Free First Saturdays are for Families!
Saturday, June 7, 10 am–3 pm, Free
Savor an array of live music, dance, and art-making activities in this special birthday launch event, part of Minneapolis MOSAIC 2008, a citywide festival celebrating the breadth and diversity of the local arts and cultural scene.
Dance Performance: Ragamala Music and Dance Theater, 11 am
Discover Bharatanatyam, a classical dance form from southern India with Ragamala Music and Dance Theater. Blending dance, music, and poetry, Ragamala’s work provides a bridge between cultures both ancient and modern. After the show, learn some moves in a workshop led by members of the company.
Art-Making for the Entire Family: Catch a Cherry, 10 am–3 pm
Design a toy inspired by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain-sculpture.
Best Buy Digital Imaging Booth: A Minneapolis Portrait, 10 am–3 pm
Smile, it’s the 150th birthday of Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota! Get your snapshot taken and see it projected at the State Theater later that evening during the kick-off party of MOSAIC 2008.
A Moving Spectacle
Performance: Trisha Brown: Early Works
Saturday, July 5, 10 am–3pm, Free
Highlighting July’s Free First Saturday event and part of Year of Trisha festivities, Trisha Brown Dance Company members re-mount four important site-based dance works from the 1970s. In their exploration of space and gravity, these early movement experiments are now viewed as both highly influential and remarkably inventive. For the first time in the U.S. since its original performance in SoHo in 1970, the spectacular Man Walking Down the Side of a Building will be staged on the facade of the Walker’s seven-story Barnes building. Company members will also restage Spiral (1974) on trees in Loring Park and Group Primary Accumulation on Rafts on Loring Park Pond, the location of the original premiere during a Walker-sponsored Trisha Brown residency in 1974. Finally, five of the company’s leading female dancers will perform one of Brown’s most popular early works, the witty and sensual Spanish Dance (Line Up, 1979) in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Music and Movies
Summer Music and Movies: Elected!
Mondays, July 14–August 18, 7 pm
Loring Park, Free
The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s popular annual series of free concerts and film screenings in Loring Park returns with Elected! to mark the year of intense interest in political campaigns. For six nights enjoy bands under the summer sun, then watch classic films about Hollywood’s take on Washington’s internal and external affairs.
FlatPak House and Activity Center
In 2005, the Walker Art Center exhibition Some Assembly Required: Contemporary Prefabricated Houses featured FlatPak, one of today’s most innovative made-to-order homes. Created by Minneapolis-based Lazor Office, the FlatPak is a “kit of parts” that can be configured in a variety of ways to create a home.
The Walker acquired this full-scale exhibition model of FlatPak, which will be installed in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden as part of the 20th-anniversary celebration. The FlatPak’s glass walls and airy space, along with a new deck, will provide an inviting atmosphere for welcoming Garden visitors. A special “open house” will be hosted during the July Free First Saturday.
The FlatPak will be open to the public seasonally April though mid-October. Visitors will be able to pick up sculpture garden maps, check-out Garden WACPAKs (kid-sized backpacks filled with creative ideas for family activities), and learn more about the artworks in the Garden. The FlatPak will also host hands-on art-making activities during Target Free Thursday Nights, Free First Saturdays, Summer’s Cool classes, artist-in-residence workshops, teen classes, and Arty Pants: Your Tuesday Playdate—a program for toddlers and caregivers.
About the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, is an ideal setting for sculptures of various sizes, from human-scale bronzes to towering constructions in steel. Expanded in 1992, the 11-acre Garden offers visitors from around the world an unusual opportunity to view important 20th-century art out-of-doors.
The original 7.5-acre Garden, made up of four 100-foot-square tree-lined plazas inspired by Renaissance and 18th-century Italian garden models, was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, architect of the Walker’s 1971 building, in association with landscape architect Peter Rothschild, of Quennell Rothschild Associates, New York. The 1992 expansion, adding 3.7 acres less formally structured than the original acreage, was designed by the landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The sculptures on view along the Garden’s walkways and in its plazas date from the early 20th century to the present. Styles range from the archetypal organic abstraction of Henry Moore’s Reclining Mother and Child (1960–1961) to the social realism of George Segal’s Walking Man (1988).
A spectacular focal point in the Garden is the 29-foot-high Spoonbridge and Cherry (1987–1988) fountain-sculpture designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Spanning a free-form pond in the Garden’s middle sector is a gigantic gray spoon with a Bing-red cherry in its bowl. Visible from all points of the Garden, it has become a symbol for Minneapolis.
Amidst vine-covered arches and changing horticultural displays in the three-part Cowles Conservatory is Frank Gehry’s sculpture Standing Glass Fish (1986). Attracting visitors’ attention, the 25-foot-tall see-through leviathan rises from a lily pond surrounded by palm trees.
The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1988) reflects the vision of the Minneapolis-based artist Siah Armajani. This double-arched footbridge connects the Garden to Loring Park, representing a major link to the downtown area and, subsequently, to the central Minneapolis riverfront.
The section added in 1992 contrasts the geometric formality of the original Garden area. The 3.7-acre section features groves of deciduous trees, a rectangular, granite-paved sculpture plaza for rotating exhibitions, a 300-foot-long vine-covered arbor, and a perennial garden. Permanently sited in this area of the Garden are Scott Burton’s Seat-Leg Table (1986/refabricated 1991), Mark di Suvero’s Molecule (1977–1983), and Judith Shea’s Without Words (1988).
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.