The Friends Lecture Series

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.
 

The Center of Everything: A New History of Chicago Art

On Thursday, March 8, Mia’s Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings, Robert Cozzolino will speak as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
Visiting the Art Institute of Chicago as a high school student affirmed his fascination with the field of art. When viewing great paintings this time, instead of dinosaurs, Cozzolino felt himself “lost inside the image, with reality quieted and faded at the edges.”  To this day, art retains that capacity for him to transform daily encounters in rather delightful, and yet harrowing terms.

Robert Cozzolino, Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings at Mia
Robert Cozzolino, Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings at Mia

Cozzolino states his family has been a bit baffled by what a curator actually does. Of course, they develop a sense of his accomplishments when viewing exhibitions he creates, but Cozzolino tries to clarify his job description with a list of 90 adjectives. For example, he sees a curator just to name a very few, as an accomplice, conductor, defender, diplomat, dismantler, educator, gatherer, instigator, juggler, magician, orator, strategist, tight-rope-walker, and weathervane.
Gaining his knowledge to be all of these indeed may have started when Cozzolino earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work on American art placed emphasis on alternative traditions, often being termed the “curator of the dispossessed” when championing the underrepresented artist as well as the uncommon perspectives of well-known artists.
Cozzolino has joined Mia as the Patrick and Aimee Butler Curator of Paintings. His extensive experience with American painters has been an exceptional asset for the museum. Previous to this appointment, Cozzolino was the senior curator of Modern Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There he enjoyed extraordinary success in gaining over 1000 objects as gifts, as well as a dedication to increasing representation of female artists for the Academy’s collection.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting Thursday, February 15 for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available February 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available.
 

Catch an insiders glimpse into the life of a Curator this January

On January 11, Ghenete Zelleke will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
As Mia’s James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture, and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture; 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. 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.

Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture
Ghenete Zelleke; James Ford Bell Curator of Decorative Arts and Sculpture and head of the department of Decorative Arts, Textiles, and Sculpture.

While at the Art Institute of Chicago, Zelleke curated “Eighteenth-Century French Vincennes-Sèvres Porcelain,” “Spiritual Expressions: Art for Private Contemplation and Public Celebration,” “Arts and Crafts in Vienna: Furniture Designed by Josef Hoffman,” and “Charles Rennie Mackintosh.”
Zelleke’s passion for these great time periods and artists fuels her interest in Mia’s vast collection. She has repeatedly said the Modernism collection is a great example of the community’s spirit in philanthropy and Mia is so fortunate to have all of these fine examples of such an important period of art. She exclaims it is so unusual to have a car like the Tatra T87 four-door sedan on exhibit and for all to enjoy. Zelleke comments that even though the car may to some seem so dominant and massive in a small gallery, its flowing and sleek lines wonderfully complement the French Art Deco pieces surrounding the car.
When asked if she could sit anywhere in the museum and have dinner with any historical guest she would like, Zelleke quickly responds she would love to dine beneath candlelight in the Grand Salon from the Hôtel de la Bouëxière with Madame de Pompadour, the official chief mistress to King Louis the XV.  She states this was a woman of exquisite taste and knowledge of the times. Perhaps she would have the table decorated with a dessert presentation surrounded by elegant 18th century Meissen porcelain pieces. Or perhaps, Zelleke exclaimed a meal with Nelson Mandela would be a dream come true, table similarly set.
Maybe Zelleke would end her meal in the Grand Salon by inviting her guest to view her favorite piece in the whole museum, the Yoruba Shrine Head, which Zelleke simply describes as “sublime.” It captures her soul every time she witnesses its majestic and noble presence.
Mia has provided Zelleke an opportunity to participate in one of her favorite pursuits, spontaneously conversing with museum visitors. Often she happens upon guests in the galleries, approaching them stating she works at the museum, and simply asks them what they are enjoying during their visit. She also loves to go into the Family Center engaging parents and children in conversation discovering the art they have witnessed.  As for future plans at Mia, Zelleke hopes to build on the strength of the elegant silver collection as well as 18th century lovely German and Italian porcelain pieces. Her love of worldly travel will aid in this pursuit no doubt, as she continues to explore and relish the beauty of each destination.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting December 15 for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available December 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

Friends Lecture Series December Speaker: Former Reporter Larry Millett

Former reporter and architecture critic Larry Millett to speak on “Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury” on December 14

Larry Millett, Photo Credit to Matt Schmitt

On December 14, Larry Millett will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art as part of the Friends Lecture Series sponsored by the Friends of the Institute.
If compared to Europe or Asia, Minnesota certainly does not hold the massive inventory of historic architecture, yet this state has a rich history all of its own to be explored through its bricks and mortar. Native Minnesotan Larry Millett is an expert on Minnesota’s architectural history and an expert at retelling tales of its time.
After graduating with a BA in English from St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and a subsequent MA in English from the University of Chicago, Millett returned to Minnesota. After working first as a general assignment reporter for the St. Cloud Times, he landed a job with the St. Paul Pioneer Press as a night-shift reporter with an emphasis on police and crime stories. After spending time within the paper covering a wide range of topics, Millett took some time off to complete a Knight fellowship at the University of Michigan to study architectural history. Upon completion, he returned to the Pioneer Press to begin the new position of architecture critic, a position he maintained until his retirement in 2002. Aside from his intriguing reporting, it should also be mentioned Millett was a clue writer for the annual Winter Carnival medallion hunt!
A prolific writer of mystery fiction as well as famed Minnesota nonfiction architecture and crime books, Millett continues to maintain his reputation as the expert on Minnesota history. He regularly acts as a tour guide leading visitors through the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota, with emphasis on architecture and Minnesota history. He has been awarded the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Honor Award, the American Institute of Architects International Book Award, as well as the St. Paul Chapter American Institute of Architects Award of Recognition Award.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting November 15 for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612-87-6323. Tickets are available November 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

November Friends Lecture Features East Asian Art Expert

Friends Lecture November Speaker Dr. Aaron Rio presents “A Sacred Conversation: Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva and the Poets in Medieval Japan” on November 9, 2017.

On Thursday, November 9, Dr. Aaron Rio will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as part of the Friends Lecture Series.

Aaron Rio; Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator of Japanese and Korean Art
Aaron Rio; Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Curator of Japanese and Korean Art

Originally intending to study bassoon performance at Indiana University, Dr. Aaron Rio soon realized he was to follow a very different path. Perhaps his earlier memory, at age 18, of a Chinese ink painting that “just blew me away” altered his course during his undergraduate studies. Perhaps it was the fact that he considers himself a bookworm, loves research, and fondly remembers hours upon hours pouring over his parents’ encyclopedia set, specifically the World Atlas, all of which satisfy his passion for learning about societies and cultural artifacts.
After completing his undergraduate degree in English/East Asian Languages and Culture, Rio spent the next three years in the mountains of Nara, Japan teaching English. Luckily, picking up the Japanese language was rather easy for Rio as no one in the small village spoke English. His spare time was spent hiking over the nearby mountains exploring the magical landscape so often depicted in Japanese art. This is where Rio fell in love with the images and of the country.  At the same time, deeply appreciating Chinese art, he found the art of Japan speaking to him in a different way.
Rio possesses an intense appreciation and knowledge of both Chinese and Japanese art, he thinks of himself as an East Asianist. In his studies he has determined that Chinese ink paintings, in particular, suggest more depth and emotion, often depicting fairly involved stories about people; yet Japanese art is more focused on details with accurate and heavenly brush strokes.
When asked what Rio would like visitors to his galleries to learn, he states there are many misconceptions about Japanese art. More often than not, viewers have preconceived ideas of a prevalence of samurai, prostitutes, or the Art of Imperfection (Wabi-sabi).  Rio would like visitors to go beyond those superficial imaginings and purposefully try to see the people behind these works of art; the human part of the art. Rio continues on to say that Japanese art is not always just decorative but often depicts a story there that should be told and imagined.
With an MA, MPhil, and a PhD in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University, and numerous publications and awards, Rio is definitely fulfilling his passion for research and scholarly pursuits.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting October 15 for Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available October 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Community Room.

Dr. Gabriel Ritter To Speak on October 12 at Friend Lecture Series

Dr. Gabriel Ritter to speak on portraying communities Thursday, October 12 at 11AM in Mia’s Pillsbury Auditorium.

Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016
Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016

As the Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at Mia, Ritter has organized an encyclopedic reinstallation of the Contemporary permanent collection galleries in collaboration with LA-based artist Dave Muller.
Ritter states, “It is my responsibility to expand the collection and the narrative of art history, to better reflect the diversity and inequity of the world in which we live.”
He intends to “look beyond the western canon to non-western artists and foregrounding underrepresented artists — female artists, artists of color, and those who openly identify as LGBTQ — through acquisitions, exhibitions, and research.” Also, the Contemporary Art Department looks forward to further “cultivating a regional identity,” placing focus on artists working and living in the Upper Midwest region.
Please call the Mia ticket office to reserve at 612.870.6323.

Friends Lecture Welcomes Mia Contemporary Art Curator

Dr. Gabriel Ritter to speak on “Portraying Communities: Aliza Nisenbaum and the Care of Representation”
On Thursday, October 12th, Dr. Gabriel Ritter will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, as part of the Friends Lecture Series.

Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016
Gabriel Ritter, Curator of Contemporary Art; June 2016

Ritter has been with the Minneapolis Institute of Art since May of 2016 but already has accomplished a great deal as the Curator and Head of Contemporary Art. He has organized an encyclopedic re-installation of the contemporary permanent collection galleries in collaboration with LA-based artist Dave Muller. The re-installation titled Now Where Were We?  has prompted conversations with visitors of all ages. The recently closed retrospective of famed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s “At Home with Monsters” drew enormous crowds largely due to Ritter’s close collaboration with del Toro. The summer of 2017 brought New York-based Aliza Nisenbaum as the artist-in-residence to Mia. Working under the guidance of Ritter, Nisenbaum created large-scale canvases representing individuals and community groups in the Mia neighborhood. Ritter, as a specialist in postwar and contemporary Japanese art, is currently working on the first United States museum survey of highly acclaimed Japanese artist Shinro Ohtake.
Ritter states, “it is my responsibility to expand the collection and the narrative of art history, to better reflect the diversity and inequity of the world in which we live.” He intends to “look beyond the western canon to non-western artists and foregrounding underrepresented artists—female artists, artists of color, and those who openly identify as LGBTQ-through acquisitions, exhibitions, and research.” Also, the Contemporary Art Department looks forward to further “cultivating a regional identity” placing focus on artists working and living in the Upper Midwest region.
From the University of California, Los Angeles, Ritter received his B.A. in Art History and Japanese, as well as his M.A. in Art History, and a Ph.D. in Art History. He has also completed a Japan Foundation Doctoral Fellowship at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. He comes to Mia from the Dallas Museum of Art where he was the Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting September 15th to Friends members through artsmia.org or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available September 17th for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Room.
Generous support for “Now Where Were We?” is provided by the Mary Ingebrad-Pohlad Charitable Foundation. 
 Guillermo del Toro’s At Home with Monsters:
This exhibition was organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Minneapolis Institute of Art, and Art Gallery of Ontario.
Major Sponsor:
msab-legacy
This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.
Additional generous support provided by Eric and Celita Levinson.