Tag Archives: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art – an out of the ordinary visit

We love MIA and go at least once year, sometimes more if there’s an interesting exhibit. For our most recent visit in October I decided I wanted to check out a couple of galleries that I’d never ventured into before. I studied the map and chose gallery 316 as one to visit this time. I took a Friday off so we were able to get there when they opened. We even found a spot on the street in front of the museum.

Gallery 316 happened to have a captivating display of psychedelic posters from the 60s. I chose a great gallery, score!! The rest of what we saw at the museum were bonuses. Click on any photo to open the photo galleries in this post to view larger images.

I chose the Parska/Shada exhibit as another gallery to explore. The exhibit opened in August 2021 and will run through April 2022. It was a room full of pueblo art from New Mexico and what sounded like a pow wow being played on overhead speakers. There were drawings, pottery, mantas and one bronze statue. It was so interesting and it made me want to explore New Mexico.

Here’s some information that I copied from MIA’s website that tells you a little about this exhibit:

Explore Mia’s collection of Pueblo art highlighting Keresan, Tewa, Towa, and Hopi voices and culture. Curated by Juan Lucero (Isleta Pueblo), Mia’s Mdewakanton Native Art Fellow, this exhibition transports visitors to the oldest villages in the United States for a parska (in Keresan) or shada (in Tewa) community dance. Over 40 works of art—watercolor paintings, bow guards, manta weavings, ceramics, and Hopi katsinam dolls—come together to create one ceremonial spirit. Through the breath of memory and longing, you can experience the emotions of distant drums and songs as you travel from Grandma’s house to the ceremonial plaza. There, sights and sounds create kinship, family, and tradition to be handed from generation to generation.

Some photos of the pueblo art:

We popped our heads into a couple of period rooms. I enjoy being transported to a different time when viewing these rooms. As we walked past the impressionists, which we always visit except this time, I caught sight of a Degas ballerina statue and just had to go look. I love these statues. There are more of them at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and I always see them when I’m there. I was curious if there were more of them and learned that after the death of Degas in 1917 his heirs found more than 150 figurative sculptures in his studio. His heirs authorized that copies be made in bronze to sell to museums. But I couldn’t find where all of these sculptures reside. I found this information on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website so click on the link for more information if you like. I knew of one other of these Little Dancer sculptures that resides at the Saint Louis Art Museum from my officemate at the University of Minnesota. She saw one of my photos on my computer’s desktop wallpaper one day at work and said she knew that the sculpture was at the Saint Louis Art Museum, except the one in my photo was from one of my trips to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. It seems one could write an entire post on this one statue! Instead I will link you to the Wikipedia page should you desire more information.

Across from the ballerina is another Degas, Woman in a Bathtub. While admiring this piece a security guard approached us and told a story of how he watched Bruce Dayton lift this piece out of his trunk many years ago and how amazed he was that he could do that! The piece was donated by Ruth and Bruce Dayton but the security guard wasn’t sure if that was the day it was donated. Such fascinating people you meet along the way and he shared his unique story with us. Cool!

We also stopped by the gallery called Judaica, a small section containing Jewish artifacts such as dreidels, menorahs and noise makers used for Purim. To view all of the items in MIA’s collection, click here.

I decided to take photos of the museum itself: the entrance, the long staircase between the first and second floors and other areas of the museum. Not only is there great art displayed throughout, the museum itself is a piece of art. Also included in this gallery are other pieces along the way that I found intriguing.

Lastly, a photo of Chihuly’s Sunburst. Always a joy to see at the entry. You get to see it both as you arrive and when you leave, as well as from the staircase. It is definitely prominently placed. I always recommend this museum so if you’re in the twin cities area, do pay it a visit.

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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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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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