Tag Archives: art

An afternoon of art at MIA

We love the Minneapolis Institute of Art. I follow the museum on Facebook and saw that they were open but that you needed a timed entry ticket to get in. The museum is free and during pre-pandemic days one could just go on in. I’m glad they’re taking precautions and of course masks must be worn. 

We headed up the stairs to the third floor to check out the Prairie School architecture room. The style began in 1880s Chicago by Louis Sullivan and this room contains some of his pieces as well as those of his followers, Frank Lloyd Wright among them. Note the pair of elevator grills in the gallery below. They were in the Chicago Stock Exchange Building which was torn down in 1972. The building’s entrance archway and interior trading floor were salvaged and moved to the Art Institute of Chicago. And MIA has a pair of elevator grills.

There are several of Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses here in the upper midwest. In the middle of this room at MIA there is a model of a house built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1914 for Frances Little. The house was  in Deephaven, a suburb on the west side of the twin cities, and overlooked Lake Minnetonka. The house had many issues and was eventually taken down with many parts of it being sold. MIA purchased a hallway from this house and installed it in the museum. I always visit this room as it’s one of my favorites. 

On our way to view the Impressionism we peeked into a couple of period rooms. One is an empty room from Europe in the 1700s where there is audio and lighting effects displaying one day from sunrise to sunset. You hear the fire crackling and horses with carriages. I only caught a little of that this time so I didn’t listen to all of the audio. The first two photos are after the sun has set and then as the sun starts to rise the next day.

Whenever we see any painting by James Ensor one of us breaks into song(see video below):  “Meet James Ensor. Belgium’s famous painter” (by They Might Be Giants). We found two of Ensor’s paintings this time. I noticed that the second one, the one of the group of people, appears in the video:

I also always visit the Impressionism rooms and this trip was no different. However, I took a few photos of sculptures this go round so first I’ll share those:

And onto the other paintings that caught my eye. Some favorites as well as others I had not seen before:

Some general museum scenes:

I don’t recall ever seeing this room before and this car fascinated me. It’s a Tatra T87 four-door sedan from 1948 designed by Hans Ledwinka and manufactured by Ringhoffer-Tatra-Werke AG. From the museum’s gallery:

From the three-piece windshield to the fin at the back, the streamlined Tatra’s every feature is an example of well-crafted form reinforcing function. Ledwinka added the distinctive rear dorsal fin to stabilize the car at high speeds. One of the fastest cars of its day, the Tatra could go 100 miles per hour thanks to its rear-mounted 75-horsepower V8 engine, air-cooled with streamlined louvers. The windshield, skirted rear wheels, and recessed door handles contributed to the car’s speed. The innovative sliding sunroof brought in light, and the front center headlight improved visibility in fog. Only two thousand cars of the 1936 T87 design were produced, and none were commercially exported to North America.

In the hallway before you see the Tatra car there is another period room and the placard describes an interesting albeit a bit sad story. It’s the story of the museum’s first curator of modern art Barton Kestle. He began his job at MIA in 1950 and in 1954 there were several discreet inquiries about him by unidentified agents. Within days of the museum’s administrators being questioned behind closed doors, Kestle was summoned by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in Washington, D.C. On March 27,1954 Kestle boarded a train for Washington, D.C. and was never heard from again. The door to his office at MIA was sealed and painted over while the museum was organizing an exhibition. It remained just as he left it until it was rediscovered in 2011 and the curator suggested that it become another period room. Similar to other period rooms, it’s like stepping back in time. Note the old furniture as well as a telephone, which I assume is an antique. I’m attaching the photo of the placard that gives a few more details than what I’ve written here.

Another delight at MIA is Chihuly’s Sunburst that greets you when you walk in and it’s the last thing you see as you leave, as long as you look up. In previous visits we had lunch at the Agra Culture restaurant on the mezzanine level. The view of Sunburst is especially wonderful while you’re eating lunch. But Agra Culture is closed until further notice due to the pandemic.

Sunburst – Chihuly

Finally, I leave you with some autumn colors that I saw as we left the museum that day in October. There are still some colors even if we’ve already had snow(at publication we’re having a heat wave so all the first snow has melted).

I always leave MIA feeling like I just barely scratched the surface. I like to visit my favorites but this time I made it a point to check out some new things. I’m going to make it a point to see something new during each subsequent visit. Because of course there will be subsequent visits. I highly recommend a couple of hours at MIA. There is something for everyone.

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Roseville in Bloom

I saw the first rose on one of my walks through Central Park on a break from work and wondered why it was there, this bright and colorful enormous rose presenting itself to the world. There was a marker that said “Roseville in Bloom” so I googled that and found this website. There are 20 of them around my town of Roseville, Minnesota. It started in July and runs through October 2020. There is a write-up about each rose and their artist at the link as well as a time lapse video of all the roses being painted. Fun to watch!

I made it my mission to find and photograph all of them and I’d love to share those with you. It was a small adventure trying to take photos of the roses. One was on the patio of Bent Brewstillery and we weren’t sure we were in the right place as it was at the far end of the back of a row of buildings. But we followed the google and finally saw it. Whew! To get a photo of the one entitled Color and Culture, I had to walk out to it as the rose was in the middle of the lawn of that park. Some had more detail than the others, especially the Value of Education and Flower Power. The one at the ice rink felt very personal as we spent many, many hours in that building as Miss M was a figure skater there for many years.  And some we had to wait in line to take photos. At the first one of these the couple thanked me for waiting until they were done. And then they asked me where more of them were and I directed them to the google because that’s how I discovered them. The passing of knowledge, it’s a great thing.

Here’s the one in Central Park entitled Discover. On the left side the artist drew the rocket ship just like the slide that Miss M went down numerous times in Central Park during her childhood:

Here’s a gallery of the rest of them with the exception of one. It’s in an industrial area right on the edge of Roseville and Minneapolis but we weren’t sure if we could take the private road to see it. We may try again and if we do, I’ll add that photo later.

I wonder if the website will still be active when the exhibit is gone.  In case the link gets deactivated, I am copying the words on the site here for future reference:

20 roses. 20 creators. 20 stories. See the work of Minnesota’s best artists on 6-foot flowers in the Twin Cities’ newest public art event, Roseville in Bloom. Each painted flower is sponsored by an area business and tells a story unique to the artist. Print the map, see more attractions, and put Roseville in Bloom at the top of your summer can’t-miss list. Stay tuned for rose-related events and social media contests happening throughout the summer

I am not sure what inspired this art project but it’s a bright spot in these otherwise not so great times. I am trying to focus my posts on positive things and share photos of things I come across in my travels.  I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed looking for the roses.

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The Art Institute of Chicago

We spent spring break week in Chicago looking at schools for my daughter and visiting family.  We also managed to do some other fun things and one of those was a visit to the Art Institute.

The Art Institute of Chicago is hands down one of my favorite museums on the planet.  It seems to have grown since the last time I was there in 1996.  There is absolutely no way to see the entire museum in one day.  Did I mention it’s immense?  Boy howdy.  We had only a few hours to see as much as we could before they closed, so we headed up the grand staircase and  we were greeted first with some Frank Lloyd Wright architectural remnants from torn down buildings.   There’s a nice Rodin sculpture just before you go in to see the Impressionists, the first of many rooms with impressionist paintings.  I think the Art Institute of Chicago may have the largest collection of impressionist art that I have seen.  There were full rooms of Monet and Renoir.  Heaven on earth for an impressionism fan.

We also visited the modern art wing and found more eye candy there.  Warhol and Picasso and Dali, oh my! And plenty of other interesting art that enriched me even more having seen them that day.  I was sad that we didn’t have time for the miniature rooms.  You just cannot see everything.  But we thoroughly enjoyed what we did see and I’m providing a snapshot in my gallery below for you to enjoy.  This museum is a must for art lovers. The collection is so vast and displays many types of art such that I think there is something for everyone here.  Click on any photo to start the gallery and enjoy!

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Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

The Walker has a “free first Saturday” which is a great deal because one adult ticket is $12.  Oh, interesting current update. I went to their website to make sure it’s actually $12 and they’re having free admission until February 7.  Come in from the cold and see some art, says their site.  We might have to go back soon!

I didn’t see a whole lot of art that I liked on this visit but it was still fun to go and look. Plus, we stopped in at the new bar/cafe/bistro Esker Grove and had a yummy snack that I forgot to take a picture of.  Duh. We both had a beer and our snack was hummus toast and then we called it a day.  The Walker changes their displays frequently so it’s always fun to go back and see what’s on display every so often. Check out the Walker’s website for more information.  Please enjoy some photos from our visit earlier this month.

 

 

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Seeing Nature, Minneapolis Institute of Art

I just went through my phone to remove a bunch of photos because I got the nastygram from my phone that it was running out of space.  I happened upon the photos for this exhibit and wondered why I hadn’t put together a post for them. Then I realized that we saw this exhibit the weekend after our darling cat Fritz died.  We needed to get out of the house and this was the perfect thing to do.  This exhibit was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for several months which included the day we went in August. I apologize up front for not having much information to share.  I have a brochure…..somewhere but I’m not sure where.  Instead of looking for it I thought I would just share the photos that I took.  We both enjoyed it immensely. We then had a nice lunch in the museum’s cafe, a perfect time to relax and chat about the art we had just seen. I hope you enjoy.

There was one painting by one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keefe along with a photo of her:

The view of downtown from inside the museum and the beautiful bright yellow glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly called Sunburst:

 

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My few hours in Washington D.C.

If you knew you would only have a few hours in our nation’s capital, how would you spend them?  I knew immediately what I wanted to do when I had that opportunity recently.  I lived in the D.C. area in the late 80s and I visited Washington D.C. several times during those years. The National Gallery of Art left such an impression on me that I knew I wanted to come back while I was in northern Virginia.  I was taking care of my elderly mother while my sister and her husband took a well deserved vacation. They are Mom’s usual care givers. My mother goes to an adult day care center during the day so I thought it would be best to keep her routine and that gave me the chance to have some fun while I was there. And it was a great day!  Even if it was just a few hours.

I had plans to meet Cathy of nomad, interrupted at the museum between 10:00 and 10:30. We met in the blogosphere and she had said to let her know if I was ever in town.  Traffic was awful that morning which caused me to be further delayed. I decided to park at the new Reston metro station because it was close to the day care center, about 10-15 minutes away.  The parking level I entered was full so I headed down to the next level and found many open spots but they all had this reserved sign above them: Reserved from 2 a.m. to 10 a.m. By this time it was 9:57 so I parked and waited and called my friend to let her know I wasn’t even on the train yet :( It was another 5 minutes to get to the train and about 8 more minutes before the train left.  I did finally arrive in D.C.!!!  I called Cathy when I entered the museum and she showed up minutes later.  Finally we meet!

I remember that this gallery had a nice French impressionism collection and I wanted to be sure to see at least these paintings.  It’s also fun to go to a museum with others because you get their perspective and learn new things. Cathy picked up a brochure of some special items in the museum, and one was near the 7th Street entrance where I came in,  Degas’s Little Dancer sculpture.  I love Degas so this was a treat I wasn’t expecting. Bonus!  There were two that looked nearly identical in stance, one was made of plaster, the other of bronze. Click on an image to see a larger view.

Other fabulous works of art that we saw:

I loved all the Monet that I saw but these were my particular favorites. Notice the artist at work making a copy of one of them.

I loved the placement of this Whistler painting:

Other beautiful paintings in the French Impressionism section:

Other scenes from the museum:

The last two paintings are ones we stumbled upon as we were leaving to go find lunch.  They are by Goya, one of my favorite Spanish artists.

We had a fabulous lunch at Oyamel Cocina Mexicana just a couple of blocks from the museum.  Check out my post at the link about that experience!  After lunch it was about time for me to head back to take care of Mom.  It was a fun way to spend a few hours in D.C. and it was great to meet another blogger and world traveler there. Wonderful art, food and company.  You really can’t go wrong with that combination. I highly recommend this museum for art lovers. There is something for everyone here.

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Art a whirl!!

If you live in the twin cities, you must do Art a Whirl.  It is a blast!!  It’s held every third weekend in May in Northeast Minneapolis, rain or shine.  I have been at least one other time but I had no idea how big this thing really was .  Until today.  Miss M wanted to go with some friends and hubby’s band was playing in the afternoon. So I drove three teenagers to the fair.  They went their own way and I had two hours to explore on my own!  Oh, the fun.  It really was fun!

I googled Art a Whirl before heading out to the fair and happened upon this website chock full of information.  Apparently this has been going on for 20 years, unbeknownst to me.  Until today!  From this website I learned there are two information booths with directories of all the artists and where to find them.  So I headed towards one of them and saw interesting things along the way. I also learned to look for the large red circles.  When you see one that means there’s art inside.  I saw several on my walk to the information booth.  When I got there I heard one volunteer telling an art a whirler that the building just across the parking lot is a good place to start. So I took that advice and headed into the Grain Belt Bottling Building, which is an individually designated historic structure, thus dubbed by the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Committee.  It’s a cool old building that is now being used for artists’ studios.  Wow, this place was incredible, both because of its size and the overwhelming amount of art contained within.  In the galleries below are just some of what I saw.  Click on any photo in any gallery to see larger images.

Since my head was full of art, I decided to take a break and headed back to the New City School where hubby’s band was going to play.  I sat on the steps of the school and checked out my artist directory a little more.  There were many venues all over Northeast Minneapolis, one of which was several blocks to the north.  After I had rested a bit,  I went off on another adventure.  This time it was through a residential neighborhood and I passed several nice gardens and plenty of things are blooming right now.  I did stop to smell the lilacs along the way.  My destination was the East Side Neighborhood Services building. They just happened to be celebrating 100 years of service in the area and there was a huge cake that visitors could enjoy.  Inside were 18 artists displaying their works.

Teenagers sitting on the climbing thing for smaller kids.  I also spotted several areas that had kids’ activities.  Fun for the whole family!

 

Finally, the band we came to see.  The Vorpel Swords sounded great and you could tell that they were really enjoying themselves. Makes for a fun show.

A really fun day and I barely scratched the surface!  And the weather cooperated too. It was about 75 degrees and mostly cloudy but it didn’t rain!  I realized at the end of the day that the free trolley takes you to just about all of the places that are displaying artworks.  Next year I’m taking the trolley to go see other buildings that I didn’t get to today.  What a great way to spend a nice, spring afternoon.  Highly recommended.  Just go. You’ll be glad you did.

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