The Walker Art Center and The Metropolitan Museum of Art present Siah Armajani: Follow This Line , the first comprehensive retrospective in the United States devoted to the work of Minneapolis-based artist Siah Armajani. Born in Tehran in 1939, Armajani moved to Minnesota in 1960 to attend Macalester College in St. Paul, where he immersed himself in the study of philosophy. He has lived and worked in the Twin Cities ever since, while exhibiting nationally and internationally.
Armajani is best known today for his works of public art—bridges, gazebos, reading rooms, and other gathering spaces—sited across the United States and Europe. Near the Walker, the artist’s landmark 375-foot Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1988) connects Loring Park to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The groundbreaking exhibition Follow This Line spans six decades of the artist’s studio practice and resituates his work first within the context of prerevolutionary Tehran and, later, postwar and present-day America. Balancing a keen sense of abstraction with social and political content, Armajani has produced an ambitious and nuanced body of work that engages a wide range of references—from Persian calligraphy to the manifesto, letter, and talisman; from poetry to mathematical equations and computer programming; from the Abstract Expressionist canvas to the vernacular architecture of rural America, Bauhaus design, and Russian Constructivism.
Featuring more than 100 works made over the past 60 years, the exhibition brings together models from his Dictionary for Building series (1974-1975), nearly 150 small-scale maquettes representing the architectural elements of a house that have been combined into different permutations, as well as Fallujah (2004-05), a monumental antiwar sculpture created in response to the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The exhibition also includes collages and other works on paper the artist made in the late 1950s while in Tehran, and more recent sculptures and models from his Tombs series (1972-2016) and Seven Rooms of Hospitality series (2016-ongoing). Many of the pieces included, from private and public collections in Europe and elsewhere, have never before been exhibited in the United States; others will be shown in a public institution for the first time.
The exhibition is accompanied by a major catalogue published by the Walker Art Center.
Siah Armajani: Follow This Line will be presented at the Walker Art Center September 9 through December 30, 2018, and at The Met Breuer February 20 through June 2, 2019.
Curated by Clare Davies, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary Art, Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (Metropolitan Museum of Art); with Victoria Sung, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts (Walker Art Center); assisted by Jadine Collingwood, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts (Walker Art Center).
Siah Armajani: Follow This Line is organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Siah Armajani (US, b. Iran 1939) is best known for his large-scale, politically resonant works that merge sculpture with architecture. He has created bridges, gazebos, and reading rooms for outdoor public spaces. Some of his projects include the design of the Olympic Torch for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Lighthouse and Bridge on Staten Island in New York, and Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in Minneapolis at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Saturday, September 8, 6pm–12am
Walker Art Center
Join us for Avant Garden 2018, the Walker’s annual benefit event and a celebration of the new fall exhibition Siah Armajani: Follow This Line. The evening promises a signature Walker party experience, with gourmet food, craft cocktails, an art auction, live music, dancing, and special guests. Get tickets now online or by calling the box office at 612-375-7600.
Proceeds from Avant Garden support the Walker Art Center’s award-winning artistic and educational programs.
Drawing Workshop Series
Thursdays, September 6, October 4, November 1
Walker Art Center, Free, 5pm–8pm
Join us on the Walker terraces or in the galleries for drawing workshops led by Amber Sausen, AIA Architect and the President of Urban Sketchers – an international drawing collective.
The series begins Thursday, September 6, before the Siah Armajani exhibition opening, and the first workshop is centered around the artist’s Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge.
Thursday, September 20, 6:30pm
Walker Cinema, Free
Join artist Siah Armajani and Victoria Sung, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts for an insightful and inspiring conversation about the artist’s life and work.
Slavs and Tatars: Red Black Thread
Thursday, October 11, 7pm
Walker Cinema, Free
The internationally renowned art collective Slavs and Tatars creates exhibitions, books, and lecture-performances focusing on the art and politics of Eurasia. Their newest performance lecture Red-Black Thread addresses the “construction of race, namely blackness, from the perspective of Russia, the Soviet Union, and communism.”
Visit Armajani’s interactive installation Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3 (1988) in Gallery 7 to read a selection of publications from Slavs and Tatars’ Red-Black Thread reading list.
Silent Reading Party
Thursday, November 29, 5–8pm
Gallery 7, Free
Lose yourself in a book inside Siah Armajani’s interactive installation Sacco and Vanzetti Reading Room #3 (1988). Bring your own, check one out from Coffee House Press, or choose from the publications selected by art collective Slavs and Tatars.
Thursdays, September 20, October 11, November 8
Walker Art Center, 6pm
Dive deep into Siah Armajani: Follow This Line with specialized tours of the exhibition. Each tour expands up on the prolific career and life of this Minnesota-based artist. The tour on October 11 will be led by Siah Armajani exhibition curator Victoria Sung.