Tag Archives: Minneapolis

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.

7 Comments

Filed under Minnesota

Walker Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis – Autumn 2019

Back to a local treasure, the Walker Sculpture Garden. It’s been a long while since we’ve visited and I’ve been wanting to go since it reopened in June 2017 after a renovation. We went on a sunny, early October day a little over two years since its reopening. Hey, at least we finally got there!

I enjoyed our walk about but I’m not so sure I like the changes. It seems that it’s not laid out as well as it previously was and that’s hard to describe. Sculptures are mostly arranged in various squares with other sculptures surrounding the squares. So, you enter one side of the square to get a close up view of the sculpture in there.  When you exit you only get to see that side’s sculptures making it a long walk to see the other sculptures on the other two sides?  Yea, like I said, hard to describe.  There is one Alexander Calder mobile on the western edge that felt like it took a long time to walk to. There also used to be a green house and that is gone.  There are, however, nice gardens that probably looked better in spring and summer but I tried to capture some of those. There still was some beauty to behold gardenwise and several flowers still blooming.

The Walker Sculpture Garden opened in 1988 but the history actually goes back to 1906 when the land that would become the sculpture garden was donated to the Minneapolis park board by Thomas Lowry. Lowry was a real estate magnate and head of the Minneapolis Street Railway Co.  His home was where the Walker Art Center now stands, adjacent to the sculpture garden.  There is the Lowry tunnel as part of interstate 94 close by and now I know who that tunnel was named for. Interesting!  The gardens contain more than 40 works of art on 11 acres and is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country.  I learned most of this from the Minneapolis Parks website.  Check out more interesting stuff at this link.  At the Walker Art Center’s website is a page containing photos of all of the sculptures as well as the layout. I grabbed the names of the pieces and the artists’ names from this site.

I was also curious how the Walker Art Center got is name.  Instead of summarizing here I will direct you to this link for some interesting history of Thomas Barlow (T. B.) Walker, a Minneapolis lumber baron who loved art.

I hope you’ll enjoy this photo tour of our day in the sculpture garden. I didn’t capture all of the sculptures but I’m happy with my samples. And it was a perfect, sunny day with gorgeous blue skies.

5 Comments

Filed under Minnesota

Another review of Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis

It’s been a few years since I wrote my last review of this fine dining establishment so I thought I would create a new, birthday version this time.  When I made the reservation to celebrate my birthday at Hell’s Kitchen they asked if we would be celebrating something so I answered “birthday”.  When we checked in the hostess noted that we were celebrating a birthday and seated us with a little something with “happy birthday” on our table.  This was to alert the wait staff to offer a special gift.  I didn’t know they offered anything special but our waitress gave me several options of items that were on the house as their way of saying happy birthday.  Well, how nice! I decided on a house wine to have with dinner.  Perfect!

I always get the same thing when I come here because it is absolutely wonderful! At Hell’s Kitchen they offer breakfast items all day and the huevos rancheros are to die for!  Here is how they’re described on the menu: A crisp flour tortilla layered with buttery hashbrowns, spicy black beans, soft-scrambled eggs and a 3-cheese topping baked to a golden brown. Topped with hand-chopped salsa and a dollop of sour cream.  You can add all sorts of things like guacamole, bacon or avocado but I think it’s perfect without anything extra. Both Miss M and myself had the huevos rancheros while hubby had their French dip: This isn’t a standard deli-sliced French dip sandwich. At Hell’s Kitchen, we slow-roast a prime rib for hours until it’s so tender, it falls apart with a fork. We’ll serve yours piled with mounds of thin slices on a grilled ciabatta bun with plenty of roasted garlic au jus for dipping.  He doesn’t get the same thing every time like I do and he’s always enjoyed every meal we’ve had there.  I’m including a few photos from the great time we had last night.

After dinner we walked across the street where the famous music mural resides on the side of the building of what used to be Schmitt Music’s headquarters.  You might have seen the photo of Prince posing in front of it in the 70s, the same photo that is part of the place mats at Hell’s Kitchen in my gallery above.  The music is by Ravel and according to Miss M, it’s the hardest piece to play on piano.  I found another story online with more informaiton on the mural and it mentions this fact as well.

It was such a nice evening with great food and company.  Once again, I highly recommend Hell’s Kitchen.  And if you’re celebrating something, do mention it and get your freebie.  They really treat you right here and I will continue to visit.  Thanks Hell’s Kitchen for a wonderful birthday dinner!

I’ll leave you with a photo of downtown Minneapolis.  Enjoy the weekend everyone!

8 Comments

Filed under Food, Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

Stella’s Fish Cafe – Minneapolis, MN

Hubby’s favorite place to eat in the twin cities.  And it is very fine.  Every time we go, it’s another great experience. And so it was again last weekend.  Hubby loves oysters and this place does them well, apparently.  I am not a fan of this seafood.  I do love their peel and eat shrimp and the champagne mussels however.  So we got those and hubby had his oysters.  I also had their beet and pear salad which is light and refreshing.

If you’re a fan of oysters, this is the place to get them. Hubby leaves happy every time.

Stella’s Fish Cafe & Prestige Oyster Bar
1400 West Lake Street
Uptown Minneapolis, MN 55408
612-824-8862

7 Comments

Filed under Food, Minnesota, Restaurant reviews

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Every first Saturday of the month is “free first Saturday” at the Walker so we took advantage and traveled across the river to Minneapolis today.  When we first arrived in Minnesota and before we started working, we did some touristy things and that was the last time I was inside this museum.  That was 1992 so the time was past due to pay another visit.  We opted to skip the outdoor Sculpture Garden.  Perhaps you’ve seen the famous spoon and cherry sculpture?  The Walker is across the street from the sculpture garden.

spoon_cherry

Of course this is not what it looked like today.  I took the above photo in 2007 when we last visited the sculpture garden.  Although today’s temp was amenable to viewing the sculptures, we didn’t feel like tromping through the snow.

We parked in their underground lot and that was new to us as we’ve always found parking on the street.  If you can manage to get in and out in an hour it’s only $2.  And that’s about as long as the three of us lasted.  Art is something to be viewed in small doses. At least for me and my art viewing companions today.  It becomes sensory overload after that.  It was all three of us today and what a treat.  Hubby and I were talking about it and it piqued Miss M’s interest so she joined us.  Please enjoy my photo display of our small peek into this fine museum.

I guess these are sculptures? I’m not quite sure.  But here are Portable Keeper_Agassi,  Keeper_Squall and Portable Keeper_Bridal Born by Minouk Lim:

I really liked this piece of art and how the shadows are displayed on the wall:

Hubby and daughter were fascinated with this room.  Four tables with three turntables each and all turntables were playing records? Yowsa. It was a bit much for me so I went on ahead. I must have gone back three times and they were still in that room! I don’t recall the exhibit’s name but it was all from the 60s.  Hubby and Miss M changed one of the LPs in favor of Petula Clark.

It’s interesting what is considered art:

Museum scenes:

Another interesting room.  Included is a photo of the placard on the wall by an artist that goes along with the theme of the art displayed here.  There many of these notes by artists in several places:

Another artist’s curious piece that made Miss M sad:

I saved my favorite for the end: Ben’s Window.  Included is the placard that describes it.  Basically, the artist lived in a display window of a gallery in London for 15 days and became a work of art.  He also labeled everything.  Perhaps he got too bored?  There were some funny notes including “stop looking, you are too curious” and “the human sculpture needs sleep. Don’t wake me before 10”.

We barely scratched the surface as I mentioned, our brains were full so it was time to go.  We all decided we needed to go back to view the galleries that we didn’t get to.  If you’re in Minneapolis and enjoy modern art, do visit the Walker.  I have a hunch you’ll enjoy it.

14 Comments

Filed under Minnesota

35W Bridge Remembrance Garden and Memorial

August 1, 2007 is one of those days that I will never forget.  The day the interstate bridge collapsed.  We sat agape in front of the TV watching all the coverage of this tragic event for the next several weeks.  I used to go over that bridge on my way to the office about once a week as I was working from home then.  And I had crossed the bridge that very day.  I remember that the head of my department at work sent out an email the next morning to those of us that travelled the bridge to ensure that we were alright.  I was alright physically but I wasn’t okay emotionally for quite some time after that.  I was stunned that this could happen. I read everything I could find about the people that died, others that were injured and the kind-hearted people who stopped to help.  And I cried and cried off and on for weeks afterwards.

I had heard about the memorial that was being erected but never saw it until recently.  My office is just down the street from the memorial and I have been taking photos of it on my not-so-daily walks for some exercise and a bit of fresh air (though today’s air was a bit “soggy” with all the humidity, but I digress again!).  It’s a very moving memorial positioned atop the bluff overlooking the Mississippi River where so many vehicles and victims ended up that day nearly 7 years ago.  A granite wall with names of the survivors stands behind 13 pillars, one for each of the people that died.  On each pillar is a brief description of those that died, some are in their native language.  On one of my walks I began to read the pillars……and I had to stop after the fifth or I would have burst into tears.  I will have to go back to read the rest but perhaps only a few at a time.  It’s a very nice memorial.  I hope you’ll enjoy the scenic tour I’ve put together.

I happened upon this marker and until putting together this post I had no idea what the MPR Sound Point was.  I googled and discovered that MPR and the city of Minneapolis put together a tour of public art in Minneapolis.  Here is how the tour works, from the link to the story at MPR: “Signs posted at each artwork location direct viewers to call or text a phone number or scan a bar code with their smart phone and listen to the artist describe the artwork in detail.” 

MPR Sound Point with the Stone Arch bridge in the background

MPR Sound Point with the Stone Arch bridge in the background

Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge

Just today I took this photo to capture the wording on the granite wall.  I love how the pillars are reflected on the wall.

Our lives are not only defined by what happens, but by how we act in the face of it, not only by what life brings us, but by what we bring to life.  Selfless efforts and compassion create enduring community out of tragic events.

I took this photo today as well in Gold Medal Park just across the street from the memorial.  It seems only fitting to end with a flower in memory of the victims of the 35W bridge collapse.  May this never happen again.  Click here for more information about the bridge before and after its collapse.

 

19 Comments

Filed under Minnesota

Downtown Minneapolis on a warm, late spring evening

We were meeting out of town friends for dinner at Hell’s Kitchen last night(I wrote a review of it last year so please do check it out at the link if you are so inclined. It’s a great place to eat!).  Since we had an 8:30 reservation, we decided to head downtown early and walk around, maybe get a drink before dinner.  Hell’s Kitchen is a block away from Nicollet Avenue, a popular pedestrianized street.  After we parked, we headed to Nicollet to see what we could find.  Both directions were filled with people enjoying the outdoor areas of all the restaurants.  We sat down at the first place we found that had open tables and that happened to be The News Room.  I don’t know much about it but it ended up being a great spot to watch the world go by as well as have a drink and an appetizer to tide us over until dinner.  Hubby had a beer and I had a very tasty Spanish red wine.  We also had their popcorn shrimp which hit the spot.

Of course I took a few photos and here are some that I liked.  I hope you do too :)

First, some downtown buildings:

Here’s our food and drinks:

Across the street was another restaurant full of people making merry:

Next door were two available bicycle carriages.  We didn’t do this and maybe should have but it looked like pedestrians could hire the bicycle carriages to take them from point A to point B.  I kept waiting for someone to hire one of these two alas, it didn’t happen. But we did see several going by with 2 or 3 people in them.  They are parked in front of another popular restaurant, The Local. We will have to return to try that one next.

Some more interesting things that I saw:

Then, check this out!!  An entire side of the Schmitt Music building painted with music.  This photo really doesn’t do it justice but you get the gist:

It seems appropriate to end with this photo.  The Foshay Tower on the right was once the tallest building downtown:

17 Comments

Filed under Food, Minnesota