*First US solo museum exhibitions
March 17–July 29, 2018
Galleries 4, 5, 6, and 7/Medtronic Gallery
This major retrospective presents the work of Allen Ruppersberg (US, b. 1944), the artist’s first comprehensive US survey in more than 30 years. One of the most rigorous and inventive practitioners to emerge from the Conceptual art movement in the late 1960s, Ruppersberg has explored a wide range of media and approaches, rooted in language, images, and ideas filtered through the lens of mass culture. His projects consistently focus on the American vernacular—its books, music, popular images, and everyday ephemera—uncovering the visual details and unsung conventions that encourage a rediscovery of the past. Often participatory, Ruppersberg’s works invite a layered experience for the viewer through words and accumulated elements.
The exhibition offers an opportunity to experience the artist’s work with unprecedented breadth and depth. Many of the pieces—from private and public collections in Europe and elsewhere—have never before been exhibited in US museums. Featured artworks include early installations such as Al’s Cafe and Al’s Grand Hotel, his groundbreaking participatory projects of the late 1960s; photo-based narratives combining text and image; and more recent installations containing his commercial letterpress posters, ephemera, drawings, and films. The show will also include a selection of artist’s books. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue published by the Walker Art Center. Ruppersberg’s You & Me (2013), a public artwork first shown as a billboard at the High Line, New York, will be featured in the Target Project Space, adjacent to the Walker’s restaurant Esker Grove.
Curator: Siri Engberg, Senior Curator, Visual Arts; with Fabián Leyva-Barragán, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
April 26–August 26, 2018
Galleries A & B
Interdisciplinary artist Jason Moran (US, b. 1975) grounds his practice in musical composition and bridges the visual and performing arts through stagecraft. Moran draws from his personal experience to create dynamic compositions that challenge conventional forms. His experimental works embrace the intersection of objects and sound, pushing beyond the traditional staged concert or sculpture to amplify ways that both are inherently theatrical. This exhibition, the artist’s first museum show, features the full range of Moran’s work, from performance and collaborations with visual artists to his own sculptural pieces. In all aspects of his practice, Moran’s creative process is informed by one of the essential tenets of jazz: the “set” in which musicians come together to engage in a collaborative process of improvisation, riffing off of one another to create the musical experience. The exhibition will highlight his mixed-media set installations based on storied jazz venues from past eras, including STAGED: Savoy Ballroom 1 and STAGED: Three Deuces (both 2015), sculptural vignettes that were his acclaimed contributions to the 2015 Venice Biennale.
The exhibition will additionally premiere a new sculptural commission from this series that takes inspiration from the celebrated New York jazz venue Slugs’ Saloon, which was open from 1964 to the early 1970s. Also presented will be a selection of Moran’s most recent charcoal drawings and several projected media works from his long-standing collaborations, or sets, with artists including Lorna Simpson, Glenn Ligon, Joan Jonas, and Stan Douglas. In-gallery performances and a new commission for the stage will be orchestrated during the run of the show to complement the gallery presentation.
Curator: Adrienne Edwards, Curator at Large, Visual Arts; with Danielle Jackson, Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow, Performing Arts
June 26–October 8, 2018
Regatta: Lake Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), Minneapolis (Saturday, June 23)
Installation: Cowles Pavilion, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
This summer, the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board present Voile/Toile –Toile/Voile, the US premiere of a major public artwork by the conceptual artist Daniel Buren (France, b. 1938). For more than 50 years, Buren has been extending the possibilities of painting, placing brightly striped works in public spaces—on monuments, city squares, billboards, and train stations—around the world. Voile/Toile – Toile/Voile is a two-part artwork comprising a public performance and installation, marking the first presentation of the work outside a traditional museum gallery setting. The performance takes the form of a sailboat regatta on Lake Bde Maka Ska, featuring the artist’s custom-made, signature striped sails. An outdoor installation of the sails will be featured in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s Cowles Pavilion on the Walker’s campus. Conceived especially for Minneapolis, known also as the “City of Lakes,” Buren’s commission celebrates the area’s unique landscape and identity.
The title Voile/Toile – Toile/Voile translates to Sail/Canvas – Canvas/Sail, a play on words that emphasizes the dual nature of the striped canvases as both painting and sail, removing painting from its lofty tradition and inserting it into a discourse of utility. For this work, Buren considers the sail to be a painting and the water to be its exhibition space. When the sails are put on display, he states, “they are canvases that sail the wall, they expose and exhibit themselves as such, but if you go back to their source, they are and will be for a long time to come, painting setting sail.”
The regatta for Voile/Toile – Toile/Voile is presented in collaboration with the Lake Calhoun Sailing School.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a joint project of the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board.
Curator: Pavel Pyś, Curator, Visual Arts; with Fabián Leyva-Barragán, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
September 8, 2018–December 30, 2018
Galleries 4, 5, 6, and 7/Medtronic
Siah Armajani: Follow This Line is the first comprehensive US retrospective 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 and American literature. He has lived and worked in the Twin Cities ever since, while exhibiting internationally.
Armajani is best known today for his works of public art—bridges, gazebos, reading rooms, gathering spaces—sited across the United States and Europe. Near the Walker, the artist’s landmark 375-foot Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge connects Loring Park to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. This groundbreaking exhibition spans six decades of the artist’s studio practice and engages a 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. Ultimately, visitors are encouraged to follow this figure across a shifting terrain, from prerevolution Iran to postwar and present-day America, as he confronts various publics and attempts to negotiate his position in space. The artist’s stake in dialogues about public space and, moreover, what the “public” in public art means, has rarely seemed as urgent as it does today.
Curators: Clare Davies, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art (Metropolitan Museum of Art) and Victoria Sung, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts (Walker Art Center); with Jadine Collingwood, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts (Walker Art Center)
October 25, 2018–February 17, 2019
Galleries A & B
Illusion Brought Me Here is the first US survey to focus on the work of the Mexico-based artist Mario García Torres (b. 1975). Working in a variety of media, including video, installation, photography, and sculpture, García Torres creates environments that explore obscure histories and personalities, particularly those associated with Conceptual art of the 1960s and 1970s. The artist juxtaposes facts with imagined scenes and dialogue to foreground the often blurred division between truth and fiction. Appropriation, narrative, repetition, reenactment, and the tropes of reportage are some of the strategies that he employs to uncover the limitations of memory and the subjectivity of historical records. This exhibition takes a radical approach to the traditional retrospective. A newly commissioned sound piece—a soundtrack compilation of all of García Torres’s media-based works to date—creates the framework for the exhibition, which features a selection of artworks and site-specific installations.
Illusion Brought Me Here is organized by the Walker Art Center and copresented with WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels. It will be accompanied by the first publication to survey the artist’s work, published by the two institutions.
Walker Art Center Curator: Vincenzo de Bellis, Curator, Visual Arts; with Fabián Leyva-Barragán, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
WIELS Curators: Dirk Snauwaert, Artistic Director and Zoë Gray, Senior Curator
November 15, 2018–September 15, 2019
Platforms: Collection and Commissions looks at key artists from the Walker’s Ruben/Bentson Moving Image Collection together with newly commissioned film and video works by nine international contemporary artists. Commissioned by the Walker between 2014 and 2017, the artists responded to the influence, inquiry, and inspiration of leading artists and filmmakers in the collection to create new works that premiered first as an online series. The Moving Image Commissions initiative weaves together production, scholarship, distribution, and archival work to highlight and grow the collection.
The first installment of the exhibition, Leslie Thornton’s commission They Were Just People (2016), was produced in direct response to the influence and inquiry of Bruce Conner. The piece is a chilling exploration of the purpose and repurposing of memory during wartime, combining Thornton’s manipulated footage of the La Brea Tar Pits in California with an oral account describing moments in the immediate aftermath of the 1945 US atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan. They Were Just People is a dark, personal response to Crossroads (1976), Conner’s iconic film of the 1946 Bikini Atoll nuclear test.
Future installations in Platforms will include James Richards and Moyra Davey’s piece inspired by British filmmaker Derek Jarman; Shahryar Nashat and Uri Aran’s work based on the work of Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers; and Yto Barrada, Renée Green, Marwa Arsanios, and the duo of Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz’s commissions influenced by German filmmaker Harun Farocki.
Curator: Sheryl Mousley, Senior Curator of Moving Image; with Ruth Hodgins, Bentson Archivist/Assistant Curator
December 8, 2018–June 30, 2019
London-based artist Elizabeth Price (UK, b. 1966) creates richly layered, narrative moving image works made specifically for gallery settings. Composed of a broad range of imagery sourced from analogue and digital photography, animation, and motion graphics, her works are often accompanied by scrolling text, narrated by a computerized voice and paired with music.
Conceived in response to the architecture and past history of the Walker’s Gallery D/Perlman Gallery, this solo exhibition includes two new moving image works, FELT TIPP and KOHL (both 2018), marking the artist’s first commission for a US museum. Projected floor to ceiling at more than 20 feet, FELT TIPP focuses on the design motifs of men’s neckties from the 1970s and 80s featuring patterns that evoke electronic networks and digital systems. In focusing on the tie as both a sign of professional distinction and a sexually charged object, the work weaves together narratives of early computer technologies in the workplace and the gendered distinctions of its workforce. In KOHL, four fictional characters tell stories related to coal: its link to ink, writing, and the archive as well as its uses as a source of fuel and a cosmetic. Seen together, Price’s new works take motifs of dress and body adornment to reflect upon the relationship between the material and digital, sites of labor, and markers of class.
Curator: Pavel Pyś, Curator, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
February 9, 2019–September 19, 2021
Galleries 4, 5, and 6
This exhibition, drawn from the Walker’s world-renowned collections, looks backward and forward at contemporary art in our time, showcasing both cornerstone works that have built the collection and works by a younger generation that point to new strengths and directions. One of the hallmarks of the Walker’s collection is its representation of multiple works by individual artists, affording the opportunity to examine an artist’s practice through time. In highlighting this depth, the exhibition will present groupings of works by artists with whom the Walker has had enduring relationships, such as Chuck Close, Robert Gober, Dan Graham, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly, Sherrie Levine, Glenn Ligon, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, Sigmar Polke, George Segal, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Kara Walker, and Andy Warhol. Laying an important foundation for the Walker’s focus on collecting artists who embrace a wide range of media and approaches in working across artistic disciplines, these works will be shown alongside examples by artists acquired in more recent years—including Nairy Baghramian, Theaster Gates, Leslie Hewitt, Lee Kit, Elad Lassry, Mark Manders, Julie Mehretu, Dianna Molzan, Gedi Sibony, and Haegue Yang–who are leading the collection forward in bold and exciting ways.
Curator: Siri Engberg, Senior Curator, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
March 28, 2019–July 28, 2019
Galleries A & B
In an age dominated by digital technology, The Body Electric explores themes of the real and virtual, the organic and artificial, moving from the world into the screen and back again. Today, computer and phone screens are fast becoming the primary places of encountering new information, effectively blurring the boundary between three-dimensional space and the two-dimensional image. The exhibition presents work by an international and intergenerational group of artists who examine ways that photographic, televisual, and digital media change our perceptions of the human body and everyday life.
With works ranging from the 1960s to today, The Body Electric brings together artists including Eleanor Antin, Trisha Baga, Nam June Paik, and Shigeko Kubota, whose work across performance, sculpture, and the moving image conflates the physical world and its life on screen. For many artists, such as Martine Syms, Andrea Crespo, and Lynn Hershman Leeson, the lens of the camera creates a space to rethink the representation of sociopolitical identity and to question the structures that govern our understanding of race, gender, and sexuality. For others, such as Mark Leckey, Pierre Huyghe, and Bruce Nauman, technology offers the opportunity to consider the malleable, fragmented, and impossible body. Charting the embrace and manipulation of technology across varying generations, The Body Electric examines how the screen has increasingly shifted the way we picture ourselves and understand our place in the world.
Curator: Pavel Pyś, Curator, Visual Arts; with Jadine Collingwood, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts
September 7, 2017–February 4, 2018
Galleries 4, 5, and 6
Nairy Baghramian: Déformation Professionnelle marks the artist’s first international museum presentation. Over the past two decades, Baghramian (b. 1971, Iran; lives and works in Berlin) has created sculptures and site-responsive installations that often address the human body and its gestures. Her works mark boundaries, transitions, and gaps in museum and urban sites, considering form and meaning through the conditions of interior and exterior space. Baghramian questions and challenges the boundaries of sculpture in artworks that juxtapose rubber with steel, wood with wax, or assembled elements with photography. Many of her works provocatively reference fashion, design, theater, and dance. The show presents a series of new pieces that mirror the artist’s previous bodies of work while responding directly to the gallery site, allowing the notion of the retrospective to evolve in real time and space.
The exhibition takes its title from a French phrase often translated as “professional distortion” or “job conditioning,” referring to ways that a person’s worldview can be altered by a chosen vocation. Baghramian uses the show as an opportunity to take apart her own profession. The word deformation can also be applied to form and relates to the basic actions involved in making sculpture, such as shaping, modeling, and casting. Through her playful yet critical take on the notion of a survey exhibition, Baghramian interrogates the conceptual, physical, and social aspects of sculpture-making today.
Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, Curator, Visual Arts; with Victoria Sung, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts
Nairy Baghramian: Déformation Professionnelle is coorganized by the Walker Art Center and the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst (S.M.A.K.), Ghent, Belgium.
September 7, 2017–January 19, 2020
Galleries 1, 2, 3, and D/Perlman
At a time of heightened uncertainty, social division, and geopolitical tension, I am you, you are too foregrounds works from the Walker’s collections that explore contemporary life through themes of citizenship and belonging, borders and barriers, and how these inform our understanding of ourselves. Bringing together a diverse, multigenerational, and international group of artists, the exhibition questions how we memorialize the past and understand the social, geographic, and political structures that shape us.
The show’s title is taken from I M U U R 2 (2013), a room-scaled installation by artist Danh Vo that considers how collected objects, such as knickknacks and souvenirs, can communicate who we are. Monuments and shared public space play a key role for Francis Alÿs, Song Dong, and Robert Longo, whose works examine the relationship between the individual and the state. Chantal Akerman and Julie Mehretu reflect upon shifting geographical borders and changing political systems; while Postcommodity and Wolfgang Tillmans reference recent debates on the Mexico-US border and Brexit, respectively. While some artists invoke recognizable places and known stories, others, including Mark Bradford, Michael Dean, Lara Favaretto, and Guillermo Kuitca, turn to abstraction to elicit themes of home, the city, and national belonging. In the exhibition’s final gallery, an immersive installation of works from the collection hang against wallpapers by Yto Barrada, Yoko Ono, and Adam Pendleton, forming unexpected juxtapositions across generations, geographies, and media. Seen together, these pieces chart ways that artists have challenged prevailing systems, including gender, race, and sexual orientation. In presenting a broad range of artistic approaches, I am you, you are too draws out timely questions of national identity, shifting political borders, and international and intercultural dialogue.
Curators: Vincenzo de Bellis, Curator, Visual Arts; Adrienne Edwards, Curator at Large, Visual Arts; and Pavel Pyś, Curator, Visual Arts
October 12, 2017–February 11, 2018
Laure Prouvost (France, b. 1978; lives and works in Antwerp) produces absorbing moving image and sound installations in which she conflates reality with fiction and art with everyday life, reveling in moments of mistranslation that can open up new avenues for meaning. Prouvost’s environments often confound expectations through a rapid-fire succession of sound and image. Narrated in the artist’s soft, seductive voice, they are interspersed with spoken and written instructions that directly address the viewer. Combining painting, sculpture, and found objects alongside her projected images, Prouvost lures the viewer-turned-participant into an abstracted, preverbal state of consciousness from which to rediscover the joy of learning language, words, and meanings.
In conjunction with her new gallery installation, Prouvost will create a theatrical performance in the McGuire Theater that draws on similar thematic elements. Joining Prouvost on- and offstage will be choreographer Pierre Droulers and artist Sam Belinfante. The performance features live singing and recorded text, embodied performance and video projections, and percussive and electronic sound. Co-commissioned and coproduced by the Walker and the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, the performance will premiere at the Walker on February 8–9, 2018, followed by a presentation at EMPAC on February 16, 2018.
Exhibition curators: Victoria Sung, Assistant Curator, Visual Arts; with Gwyneth Shanks, Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow, Visual Arts
Performance curators: Philip Bither, McGuire Senior Curator, Performing Arts (Walker Art Center); Victoria Brooks, Curator, Time-Based Visual Arts (EMPAC); with Gwyneth Shanks, Mellon Interdisciplinary Fellow, Visual Arts (Walker Art Center)
November 11, 2017–March 18, 2018
Galleries A, B, and C/Target, Friedman, and Burnet Galleries
Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 looks at how Cuba’s revolutionary epoch shaped 65 years of Cuban art. The exhibition brings together some 100 important works of painting, graphic design, photography, video, installation, and performance created by more than 50 Cuban artists and designers.
Anchored by key moments of the 20th- and 21st-century Cuban history, Adiós Utopia is the most comprehensive and significant presentation of modern and contemporary Cuban art shown in the United States since 1944, when the Museum of Modern Art in New York presented Modern Cuban Painters.
Through a selection of pivotal artworks—created in each of six decades since 1950—the exhibition explores Cuba’s artistic production through the lens of utopia, both its construction and its deconstruction. Adiós Utopia introduces US audiences to key events in Cuba’s history and explores ways that this history has affected individual artists, shaped the character of art produced on the island, and conditioned the reception of Cuban art both there and abroad. A newly published, related publication accompanies the exhibition.
Adiós Utopia: Dreams and Deceptions in Cuban Art Since 1950 is a project conceived by the Cisneros Fontanals Fundación Para Las Artes (CIFO Europa) and the Cisneros Fontanals Arts Foundation, CIFO USA. The exhibition is organized in partnership with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis.
Curators: Cuban independent curators Gerardo Mosquera, René Francisco Rodríguez, and Elsa Vega with museum advisors Olga Viso and Mari Carmen Ramírez
Walker coordinating curator: Olga Viso, Walker Art Center; with Fabián Leyva-Barragán, Curatorial Fellow, Visual Arts