January 2018

Friends February Lecture Highlights Photography and New Media

Yasufumi Nakamori will speak on Exploring Humanity through the Family of Man (1955) as Traveled to Japan and Minneapolis on February 8.

Yasufumi Nakamori, PhD, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media at Mia, will speak on February 8 as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
Yasufumi Nakamori, PhD, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media 

Photography galleries in Mia are fascinating rooms to spend time in. From “old friends” often visited in many familiar photographs, to intriguing video installations, to very contemporary images, a visitor can count on art pieces stretching the imagination and demanding introspective thoughts.
Yasufumi Nakamori, Curator and Head of the Department of Photography and New Media at Mia is tasked with filling these galleries with the brilliant treasures of the museum’s collection as well as utilizing the tentacles he possesses throughout the world to obtain great loans for exhibition.
A vast knowledge of a relatively new form of art shown in world museums is definitely Nakamori’s expertise, but he is actually a native of Osaka, Japan who earned a law degree from the University of Wisconsin and practiced law in New York City. Perhaps it was the horrid shock of 9/11, but shortly after this dark time, Nakamori began a second career studying modern and contemporary art, obtaining his master’s degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and then his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He went on to become an associate curator of photography at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas. The collection greatly exploded in size with Nakamori’s acquisition of more than 700 images, also organizing very contemporary exhibitions emphasizing mainly modern and contemporary images.
Nakamori also was the curator in 2010 for the famed Singapore International Photography Festival and Singapore Biennale in 2006.  He has held curatorial posts at the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Whitney Museum of American Art, teaching posts at Rice University in Houston as well as The Museum of Modern Art in NYC. In addition, it should be noted, Nakamori wrote the 2010 award-winning catalog “Katsura: Picturing Modernism in Japanese Architecture.” This significant publication documents the collaboration between photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Kenzo Tange, the Pritzker Architecture Prize winner credited for the 1974 addition to Mia.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting January 15 for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available January 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in Wells Fargo Community Room.

Friends Valentine Luncheon

Following the February 8, 2018 lecture please join the Friends in the Reception Hall for our special Valentine Luncheon.  
Our menu will be sautéed salmon with peas, fingerling potatoes and charred tomato relish. This will be served along with freshly baked breads with sweet butter.  White cake with raspberry-studded mousse filling and vanilla buttercream icing and dark roast coffee & hot tea complete this delicious meal.  
You may request a vegetarian option when you reserve.  
To RSVP call 612.870.6363 or click here.  The luncheon cost is $30 inclusive of tax and gratuity.  All reservations must be received by 5PM, Monday, January 29, 2018.

Pint and Paint Kicks Off Art in Bloom

Save the Date for a Pint and Paint Kick-Off event for Art in Bloom!
Just when we need it most, the sunshine of Art in Bloom is just around the corner! So as you turn the pages on your calendar to 2018, make sure to Save the Date for the kick-off event for Art in Bloom (AIB).
“Becoming Delacroix: Pint & Paint” will be the kick-off event for AIB. Join us at the Fulton Brewing Taproom in the North Loop on Monday, March 12, 6-9PM. Tickets will be required.
This evening will be a night to break out your formal flannel for fun and frivolity, and to bring out your inner Delacroix!
Ooh, la la!  While you are savoring that event, you’ll want to join us for the Art in Bloom Preview Party, too. This will be the public debut of Mia’s new, never before seen French masterpiece! So mark your calendar again for Wednesday, April 25, 5:30-9PM for the start of events for Art in Bloom.
For more information, please ask at the Friends office and watch the newsletter for updates on events and times.

I Am Somali: Unique Tour includes Twin Cities Artists

Friends Members are invited for a Special Curator Led Tour of Mia’s African Art including the special exhibition, “I Am Somali”: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities on January 17, 2018.

African Art Curator, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, will lead a guided tour on Wednesday, January 17, from 11AM to 12 NOON. He will share insights about the African art galleries that were closed for a year, and underwent a complete overhaul reopening at the end of 2013.  He will explain the underlying philosophy of the reinstallation while commenting on recent acquisitions there.
The tour will conclude with “I Am Somali”: Three Visual Artists from the Twin Cities, which is the first exhibition of contemporary, US-based Somali artists, in any major art museum. All three of the featured artists share stories of exile, memory, identity, pride, and resiliency.
This special curator-led tour for Friends members only is free. Call the Friends office at 612.870.3045 to register. Participants will meet at the information desk in the General Mills lobby.

Friends Only Book Club Starts a New Year

Friends Only Book Club Meets January 12.
Friends Only Book Club meets Friday, January 12, for a 10:30AM docent tour, and an 11:30AM discussion of News of the World: A Novel, by Paulette Jiles.  We will meet in the Curtis Carlson Family Foundation Studio (Rm 114) and the docent tour departs promptly at 10:30AM.  No reservation is required.
In News of the World, a National Book Award finalist for 2016, unlikely companions bond on a perilous journey.  Paulette Jiles describes the journey of an itinerant news reader accompanying a young girl from her captivity with the Kiowa Indians, to her aunt and uncle in Texas, durScreen Shot 2017-11-28 at 9.22.15 AMing the winter of 1870.
According to the New York Times, “Paulette Jiles was a poet before she became a novelist.  And it certainly shows.”  Janet Maslin also writes in her review, “Ms. Jiles seems to have backed up her book with substantial research.”
We cordially invite you to join us as we tour objects in the collection and discuss a multi-layered novel of historical fiction.
Future Friends Only Book Club dates are as follows:
Friday, February 16, for Perla, by Carolina De Robertis
Friday, March 16 for Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered, by Michele Raffin and Tamara Marston
Friday, April 13 for Homegoing: A Novel, by Yaa Gyasi
Please contact Ellen Archibald or Jeanne Scheiderer (friendsonlyevents@artsmia.org) with any questions.

Summon the Floral Artist in You

 Floral Artists enjoy the ability to create special pieces that reflect the joy and color of Mia's rich collection. Olive Trees, 1889 Vincent van Gogh Oil on canvas The William Hood Dunwoody Fund

Floral Artists enjoy the ability to create special pieces that reflect the joy and color of Mia’s rich collection.
Olive Trees, 1889
Vincent van Gogh
Oil on canvas
The William Hood Dunwoody Fund

Would you like to be Pedestal Floral Artist? Here’s how!
During Art in Bloom, as you’ve walked the galleries and admired the floral interpretations of artworks in Mia’s fabulous collection, have you ever wondered to yourself, “Hmm, I wonder if I should create an arrangement one day?” Why suppress your nascent creativity another year?  Consider becoming a Pedestal Floral Artist!
Art in Bloom 2018 will be held from April 26-29. If you are interested in participating in this spectacular spring event, please attend one of the AIB Art Work Selection Sessions: Thursday, January 25 from 5:30 to 8PM, or Friday, January 26 from 10AM until noon. These sessions will give you the information and encouragement you need to join the ranks of the Pedestal Floral Artists. To receive information on becoming a PFA, send your address to friends@artsmia.org.

Spend time in Washington, DC with Your Friends

June Art & Architecture trip to Washington, DC is filling up fast!
January is here and our June Art & Architecture trip to Washington,  DC will be soon upon us. Time is running out to register as we have already filled half of our specially priced spots.
If you want to see a more intimate and personal Washington, DC — one that most tourists don’t have the opportunity to see — sign up today and come with us!
Here is just a sample of the events planned:

  • A historical behind the scenes tour of the Willard InterContinental Hotel (every President since Abraham Lincoln has stayed there—oh, the stories these walls could tell!)
  • Private tours of the U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, and the National Cathedral.
  • Private tours of the Kreeger Museum and Gardens, the National Gallery of Art, The National Museum of African American History, and Hillwood Estate and Gardens.
  • Exclusive talk, behind the scenes tour, and reception at the Society of the Blue Shield in conjunction with the Smithsonian.

Click on this Mia 2018 Brochure DC to answer your questions and register for the trip.  If you have any further questions, please call Vanessa Blaisdell at Carrousel Travel 612.866.2503.  Call soon as it promises to be a great trip and there are only a few rooms left.

Nana's Christmas Bus

Katie Remole, Friends President, received a "yelloe bus" for Christmas as her children and grandchildren made a donation to the Friends buss fund in her name for Christmas in 2017.
Katie Remole, Friends President, received a “yellow bus” for Christmas as her children and grandchildren made a donation to the Friends bus fund in her name for Christmas in 2017.

Friends President Katie Remole was on the receiving end of a memorable gift this Christmas. Daughter Kelly and her husband, Lucas, along with grandkids Elyse (5) and Jacob (3) presented her with a school bus for Mia. “Kelly’s family lives in New York but traveled to Minneapolis for Christmas with Nana and Papa. Long-distance gift-buying (and packing and shipping or carrying on the plane) can be a hassle so they came up with the perfect gift for me, my very own school bus!” said Katie.
As president of the Friends and an Art Adventure Guide, Katie is well aware of the wonderful impact a trip to Mia has for the 45 children on each bus sponsored by the Friends. “I love watching Elyse and Jacob play with my little yellow bus, but thinking about the smiles on the faces of those 45 school children truly brings a smile to my face, too,” she said.
It’s a long way until Christmas 2018, so file this idea away where you’ll remember it. And don’t forget about upcoming birthdays, memorials or special occasions. You can buy a bus for $175 and bring joy to more than just the receiver of your gift. Contact the Friends office for more information.

January Friends Lecture Features Mia Curator

Ghenete Zelleke will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on January 11, as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.

Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture

As Mia’s James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Ghenete Zelleke oversees a collection of well over 18,000 works of porcelain, glassware, textiles, furniture, sculpture, miscellaneous decorative art treasures, as well as the Purcell-Cutts House and Mia’s period rooms. She will speak about her extensive knowledge on this subject on Thursday, January 11 as part of the Friends lecture series.
Zelleke comes well prepared to curate this extensive collection with her recent experience as the curator of European decorative arts at the Art Institute of Chicago since 1998. Previous to working in Chicago, Zelleke received her MA in the History of European Decorative arts from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum/Parson School of Design and her BA in the History of Art from the University of Cambridge.
Free tickets are now available for this lecture for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

New Forms from an Ancient Craft: Exploring Hard Bodies

By Susan Arndt, Mia docent

Mount Bull, 2013 Someya Satoshi Lacquer, wood, rattan, horn, metal, mother of pearl, shell, leather, and pigment Gift of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture 2013.29.1313a
Mount Bull, 2013
Someya Satoshi
Lacquer, wood, rattan, horn, metal, mother of pearl, shell, leather, and pigment
Gift of the Clark Center for Japanese Art & Culture 2013.29.1313a

Nothing about the creation of a piece of lacquerware is easy. To start,  the viscous, slow-running sap is toxic and is collected from a tree that is a close relative of poison ivy. Contact dermatitis is a real possibility. The sap must be distilled carefully to remove impurities and improve its quality. Warmth and humidity are required in order for it to cure and set properly. By mixing lacquer with ground clay, artists are able to mold layers around a core, adding hemp cloth, coating and drying after each addition. Then one builds, dries, polishes, and repeats.
Inlays are created by gluing precious materials such as mother-of-pearl to an object. This is coated with more lacquer, dried, polished, and coated again and again. Painting adds another layer. The process of building up layers of lacquer requires time and could take months or years to complete an object. But the finished product’s durable surface is distinct, like liquid velvet.
Production of a single piece of lacquer is definitely not easy and this is why walking through the exhibition Hard Bodies: Contemporary Japanese Lacquer Sculpture is visually stunning. A jaw-dropping joy in my book. The “audacious eye “of Willard (Bill) Clark led Clark and his wife Elizabeth to explore and collect lacquer objects by contemporary artists who are in turn exploring the ancient utilitarian craft to push it in new sculptural directions. The Clark collection’s strength in the new form is unique 30 works by 16 artists, are included in the exhibition — and affords viewers a wonderful opportunity to witness a moment when art examines itself and pivots to take us somewhere we have never been before.
And so, I find it very appropriate that the biographical Mount Bull by Someya Satoshi was commissioned by Clark in 2013 at a time when the Clarks were making plans to move their collection to Mia from Hanford, California. Influenced by animation, Someya’s work combines pop culture with the ancient aesthetics of lacquer craft.  The tattoo-like motifs that cover the figure of a bull reference both Japanese and California culture. Why a bull? There are many works of art in the Clark collection that have the bull as subject matter. Mr. Clark built his family farm into a worldwide cattle breeding business. The success of the business-on the back of the bull-allowed the Clarks to appreciate, collect, and share their love of Japanese art.
Both Mount Fuji and Mount Whitney, highest peaks in Japan and California respectively, are represented on the bull. Both mountains are considered sacred to the indigenous peoples of Japan and California. They are sources of artistic inspiration. Other motifs represent the culture and landscape of both places. A Route 66 sign is synonymous with the great American road trip that explores the vast landscape of the country. It brushes up against Japanese pine trees. It was, after all, a photo of a Japanese garden in a geography book that peaked the interest of a 12-year old Clark, igniting his lifelong passion for this art. Indeed, turning a passion into an opportunity for cultural sharing and study is extraordinary.