MINNEAPOLIS, January 13 2015—On the occasion of its 75th anniversary as a
public art center, the Walker Art Center will present 75 Gifts for 75 Years, an
exhibition on view February 5, 2015 through August 2, 2015 that showcases some
of the newest works of art gifted to the Walker’s collection and underscores the
tremendous impact that gifts of art have made on the institution’s collection
throughout its history. The Walker, like many institutions, is indebted to the
donors who have helped strengthen its holdings through significant gifts of art.
While the Walker has made prescient purchases of works of art over the years
through an endowment that supports acquisitions, often buying the work of artists
early in their careers, this activity alone could not have built the museum into the
preeminent repository of contemporary art that it is today.
The “75 Gifts” of the exhibition’s title refers to a selection of works that will
celebrate the culmination of the Walker’s three-year initiative to solicit 75 donors
to give generously from their personal or corporate collections on the occasion of
this anniversary year. As a result of the initiative, more than 250 works of art from
nearly 100 donors have been added through outright gift or promise, and 50
artists not previously in the Walker’s collection are now represented.
75 Gifts for 75 Years will be on view concurrently with another anniversary
exhibition, Art at the Center: 75 Years of Walker Collections, tracing the growth of the collection under the stewardship of Walker directors and curators since 1942.
Curated by the Walker’s Executive Director Olga Viso and guest curator Joan
Rothfuss, the exhibition looks at 75 years of collecting history distinguished not
only by bold and often risk-taking purchases but also acquisitions that have
consistently breached the boundaries of media or disciplines. Together, these
exhibitions celebrate a milestone moment for an institution that is now one of the
world’s leading centers for contemporary art.
“The 75th Anniversary Gifts Initiative has made a transformative difference to the
collection,” says Walker Executive Director Olga Viso. “It has brought to us a
number of works by artists active in the 1960s and early 70s who were not
previously represented in the collection, such as the African American painter Beauford Delaney, or early conceptual and minimal artists Joseph Kosuth and Barry Le Va, as well as more contemporary figures like Michaël Borremans, Marlene Dumas and Luc Tuymans whose works would be difficult to purchase given the prices of their works in the current art market.” Alongside the Art at the Center exhibition, 75 Gifts for 75 Years demonstrates the important relationship between gifts and purchases and how these different approaches to building the collection often work in tandem. As Viso points out, “Visitors who visit both shows can readily see how the institution’s more experimental risk-taking purchases in the Burnet gallery that often have a more decidedly global focus, are complemented by gifts of works by artists working nationally and locally.”
75 Gifts for 75 Years will include works across media, including gifts or promised gifts in the areas of painting, sculpture, drawing, photography, video, and prints made by artists active since the 1950s. This show will underscore the remarkable generosity of the Walker’s supporters from within the Twin Cities and around the globe, and will showcase the story of ongoing support that has helped the scope of the collection to broaden in important ways. Some of these more recent donations, including works by Robert Indiana, Joseph Kosuth, Claes Oldenburg, Ad Reinhardt, George Segal, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol help to build on the Walker’s existing areas of strength; others, such as works by Beauford Delaney, Philip Guston, Franz Klein, and Gordon Matta-Clark fill historical gaps; while a range of works by established artists including Marlene Dumas, Barry Le Va, Steve McQueen, Lari Pitman and Luc Tuymans, are by artists new to the collection. Still other gifts have introduced younger artists to the Walker’s holdings who have received significant attention in recent years, such as Dianna Molzan, Tauba Auerbach, Walead Beshty, Sarah Crowner, Zak Prekop and many others. The gifts also include work by numerous artists from Minnesota, including Siah Armajani, Harriet Bart, Jay Heikes, Philip Larson, Scott Nedrelow, Ruben Nusz, David Rathman, Elizabeth Simonson, Alec Soth, and JoAnn Verburg.
“We continue to be awed by the outpouring of support for the institution from donors committed to enhancing the depth and breadth of our holdings,” says Viso. “This effort has brought together individuals across generations, both within our community and around the globe who not only wish to gift us choice works they may have already collected but are also eager to help us acquire prospectively into the future to ensure that the Walker’s collection boldly reflects the art of our time. From artists and friends, to museum members, to new Board members and longtime trustees, the level of participation is unprecedented. It is truly a remarkable moment and indeed several individuals have promised significant bodies of work from their collections.”
Curator: Siri Engberg
Thursday–Sunday, February 5–8 FREE
Celebrate the Walker’s 75th anniversary as a public art center with an eventful community weekend of free gallery admission and activities for the whole family. The indoor/outdoor party kicks off on Thursday night with the grand opening of the exhibition 75 Gifts for 75 Years.
Vodka Ice Bar
Thursday, 5–9 pm
Toast the anniversary at the Ice Bar featuring Prairie Organic Vodka.
Thursday, 5–9 pm
Saturday, 11 am–2 pm
What makes an artist? What makes good art “good”? Hotline, a project by artist Kelsey Snook, is a phone bank that lets you connect to informed people of the art world who are on call to answer your burning questions.
Hang up your coat and stay a while! With free gallery admission all weekend, there’s plenty of time to explore the new exhibitions.
Glide through a frost winter weekend on a skating rink built for art-lovers. Bring your skates and join us for some winter fun on a temporary ice rink in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden near the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
Specialty Cocoa Bar
Need a break? Warm up with a variety of specialty hot cocoa and treats in the Garden Café. Walker members, your first drink is on us!
Walker People’s Archive
What is you most vivid Walker memory? Help us look back by adding your voice and pictures to the Walker People’s Archive (WPA). Take Walker history into your own hands! For details, visit walkerart.org/wpa. This project is made possible by the Prospect Creek Foundation.
Free Family Art-Making Activities
Saturday, 10 am–4 pm
Sunday, 11 am–4 pm
Where can art take you? Come in from the cold for a creative activity that lets you imagine far away (and possibly warmer) places.
Saturday–Sunday, 12–3 pm
Get the scoop from Walker tour guides as they share anecdotes about the works on view in 75 Gifts for 75 Years.