Frida Kahlo

On the centenary of Frida Kahlo’s birth, a comprehensiveretrospective can go a long way to rescue this tough, rich artist from her ArtHeroine Poster Grrrl status. She deserves more. Kahlo was full ofcontradictions and had moments of heroism and weakness; she had blindness,insight, and a gift for telling a story with pictures. She also hadtalent-maybe […]

Alec Soth: Dog Days, Bogotá

One of these photos—a scruffy dog isolated in the center of theframe—appeared in passing on a web page and immediately snagged my eye.There was no attribution provided but I thought, that’s got to be Soth.And it was. Why was this goofy, tragic dog as good as a signature? Fora young guy, Soth seems to have […]

Art Market: Buying Futures

Graduates from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design have been changing the world you see since 1886. Names from its lengthy roster of notable alums include Wanda Gag, the brilliant children’s book illustrator who graduated in 1917, when the institution was known as the Minneapolis School of Fine Arts; the New York School painter […]

Window on the World

Brave New Worlds, up through February 17 at the Walker Art Center, considers "the present state of political consciousness, expressed through the questions of how to live, experience, and dream." The seventy works by twenty-four artists from seventeen countries were organized by Walker curators Doryun Chong and Yasmil Raymond; 10,000 arts spoke to Chong about […]

Point of Entry

  All artists come from a foreign country, in some sense. Where “originality” is essential, each artist becomes a world in him- or herself, with zealously guarded borders. But what’s it like to be an artist who makes a home in a distant land? The answers to this and a thousand other questions are different […]

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Another Green World: New Landscape Art in Minnesota

Landscape has always been one of the strongest currents in the Minnesota art world. Now, new ways of perceiving and portraying landscape tie artists here to a global groundswell of art about the complex relationship of nature and culture. Recently, I sat down with a group of artists from around the state to discuss their […]

Bruce Tapola: Paintings for Germans, Sculpture for Snobs

If you’re going to be in Rochester for your annual colonoscopy, brighten the occasion with a trip to the Rochester Art Center to see the always interesting work of Bruce Tapola, Minnesota’s most famous somewhat-obscure artist. Venues ranging from esteemed institutes of art (in Milwaukee and Minneapolis) to a rented U-Haul parked in front of […]

Bird x Bird

More fun than a flock of starlings! This improbably cool event is a snowballing phenomenon. Artists passionate about something besides art. A show that’s rife with feeling. The only unusual thing is—jeez, Minnesota!—the dearth of collectors in the mix. For God’s sake, people, this show brings together some wonderfully skilled artists. And it doubles as […]

Daniel Mason: New Paintings

By now, most of us have read Harry Potter. And there are differences between that parallel world and those of yore. Namely, in the ’60s, the parallel world was real, created through individual skill and grace. It was J. D. Salinger’s Upper West Side; or it was on the roads and streets of Kerouac and […]


This somewhat mysterious exhibition, curated by Elizabeth Grady of the Whitney Museum, seeks to use the Soap Factory itself as subject and object. The grandeur and melancholy of the Factory, not to mention the deeply ingrained scent of soap and labor with which the place is imbued, have long been the best aspect of shows […]