Dr. Thomas Marks to Speak at Fiterman Lecture: A Poet in the Museum

Dr. Thomas Marks
Dr. Thomas Marks

Join us on September 14, 2017, for the opening lecture of the 2017-2018 Friends Lecture Series, featuring Dr. Thomas Marks. This lecture is sponsored by the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Fund and is presented by the Friends and Mia.
Since 2013, Dr. Thomas Marks has been at the helm of Apollo as its editor. Any art aficionado will be aware of the art magazine Apollo, founded in 1925.  Apollo is recognized for its access to eminent art collectors, critical essays, and above all unprecedented reporting of prominent artists of our time.   Previous to this, Marks was the Deputy Editor at Apollo.
Mark’s education speaks highly of his ability to lead this historic publication. He holds degrees from Pembroke College, University of Cambridge with a Master of Studies in Romantic and Victorian Literature; and a DPhil on Victorian poetry and architecture from Magdalen College, Oxford.  His writings regarding art and literature have been published in Literary Supplement, Times, New Statesman, and The Telegraph. Dr. Marks currently teaches 19th and 20th century culture and literature at the University of Oxford.
While at Apollo, Marks has propelled the Apollo website into an influential forum for daily art comments, reviews and news. He has also established Apollo 40 Under 40, a publication acknowledging up and coming talented young artists.
Free tickets are available for this lecture starting August 15 to Friends members through or 612.870.6323. Tickets are available August 17 for the general public. Overflow seating is available in the Wells Fargo Room.

Join us for a Post-Lecture Luncheon

First Friends Luncheon to be held September 14, 2017 following the lecture. 
Please join the Friends following the lecture on September 14, 2017 in the Reception Hall, Target Wing for a delicious fall luncheon.
You may request a vegetarian option when you reserve. The menu will be available in the September Newsletter.
Reservations open on Tuesday, August 15.  To RSVP call 612.870.6323 . The 2017-18 Friends Luncheons cost is $30 inclusive of tax and gratuity.  All reservations must be received by 5PM Wednesday, September 6, 2017.

Meet Our Friends President

Q&A with Katie Remole

Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President
Katie Remole, Friends of the Institute President

Tell Mia Friends a little about you. Where are you from? Who’s in your family? 
I grew up in Mankato and met my husband Steve during college. We graduated from St. Ben’s and St. John’s.  My husband and I have two children.  Our daughter Kelley is married and lives in New York City, along with my precious two grandchildren, Elyse and Jacob. Our son Mike lives here in Minneapolis, so we get to see him more often.
How did you become so passionate about Mia? And, how did you become our latest president?
After becoming empty nesters, Steve and I moved into the city of Minneapolis from the suburbs.  While having lunch with some of my new neighborhood friends, one of them mentioned how much she enjoyed being an Art Adventure guide at Mia — and applications for the next class were due in two weeks!  This seemed like a great way to combine my love for art and experience working with children in elementary schools.
My passion toward Mia developed through relationships I had with my Art Adventure classmates and the art educators of Mia.  The last day of class, one of our classmates, Linda Goldenberg, announced to us that all of us should consider becoming members of Friends.  Upon joining, it soon became clear to me that Friends is a big part of why the guide program is so strong at Mia, and I wanted to be part of that.
My first Board position was co-chair of Plants and Flowers and after other Board positions, I co-chaired Art in Bloom 2014 with Julie Holland.  That experience showed me that I enjoy being a part of a big event, and seeing it through.  I also came to see that an event like Art in Bloom only happens through the hard work of many people – and it was fun!
What is your favorite work of art in the museum?
I was anticipating this question, and it is always a hard one for me to answer. There are so many lovely pieces at Mia, that my favorite tends to change often.  Today, I would say my favorite piece is Georgius Jacobus Johannes van Os An Arrangement with Flowers. It has flowers, colors, and although it is a still life, it has movement.
What is your favorite Mia event and why do you love it?
Art in Bloom, of course!  It brings the community into the museum and introduces spring to Minnesota every year.
What are five things you can’t live without?

  • Gatherings with friends
  • Time with my grandchildren
  • Summer gardens
  • Traveling to far away places
  • Good wine and good food–oops, that is six!

What are the three things you would want a newcomer to Mia to see or do in the museum?

  • First, watch children getting off their buses and gathering for their Art Adventure tours.  There is so much energy concentrated in these kids.  They are so excited to be at the museum.
  • Second, walk around the galleries on slow afternoons, spending time looking at art.
  • Third, attend a Friends lecture.  They never disappoint!


Become an Art Adventure Picture Person at Whittier School

Bring the joys of art to schoolchildren with Mia’s unique program.
If you love art and kids, then come be an Art Adventure Picture Person in Mia’s own backyard, no prior experience needed. Mia brings this successful program to Whittier International Baccalaureate School, one of Mia’s neighbors and elementary school partners. The Friends are pleased to be part of this important outreach.
Here’s how easy it is to become involved in this fabulous program:
Late September/Early October: Attend a free, two-hour Art Adventure training at Mia, where you’ll learn about a themed set of six pieces of art and how to spark discussion about them with young children.
Over three consecutive weeks between October and November: You’ll be teamed with two or three other volunteers and assigned to a classroom. Teams will meet at Whittier School (a block away from Mia) where a Mia staff member will be waiting with your artwork and props. During each 1-hour visit, you’ll share two pieces of artwork from your set. Teachers will remain in the room to supervise the kids.
Between November and January: You’ll also have the option of meeting up with the kids from your classroom at Mia when they take a chaperoned field trip to visit the artwork you shared with them. All fun, no work!
All dates will be finalized by the end of August in coordination with Mia and Whittier, and we’ll communicate these with you before asking for your official commitment. If you’ve ever been an Art Adventure guide or Picture Person before, you already know how enriching this is for all involved. If you’ve never done it, please sign up to discover this for yourself. You can volunteer with a friend, or get paired with a new one.
Interested? Curious? To add your name to the list of prospective volunteers, receive final program dates, and for more information, please contact Nancy McRae at, or 612.240.3774.

The Art of Power/The Power of Art Series Begins

These events are open to everyone, so bring a friend, and meet up with Friends!
The Friends of the Institute are excited to introduce a brand new series, The Art of Power/The Power of Art.
 The Friends Outreach Committee, started this year and led by board members Molly Van Metre and Nancy McRae, is reaching out to organizations that share the values of the Friends. The goal of this group is to share information and grow membership.
The committee has begun to develop relationships with the American Swedish Institute, Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra and The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis, and we look forward to more associations in the coming year.
We’re excited about collaborating with these like-minded organizations to bring our respective members together to celebrate arts and culture. To that end, we plan to arrange a number of gatherings for the Friends, with varying venues and goals

Two events were already held this summer in partnership with The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. Lyndel King, Director of the Weisman Art Museum spoke on July 28, and Deb Pierce, retired Deputy Assistant Director of the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI spoke on August 10. Cocktails, appetizers and an optional dinner were served.
Watch for more information on the Friends website and by email. We encourage you to bring a friend to each event.

Start a New Chapter! Friends Only Book Club Meets September 15

Please Note: This is a Friends Only Book Club.

Fahrenheit 451 will be the first selection for the Mia Friends Only Book Club beginning in September.
Fahrenheit 451 will be the first selection for the Mia Friends Only Book Club beginning in September.

You’ve joined Mia and the Friends, but do you ever wish you had someone to share your perceptions of art with? Now you do! The Friends Only Book Club meets once a month (except December and May-August) for an Inspired by Books docent-led tour and discussion.
On Friday, September 15, we’ll meet for a docent-led tour at 10:30AM, then discuss Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, (paperback ed. 2013) at 11:30AM over coffee, tea, and treats in the Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation Studio, (114).
Fahrenheit 451 was first published in 1951 when Americans feared the advance of communism. It tells of a fireman whose job is to find and burn books, his wife who lives vicariously through the then-new television, and a young woman who reads and thinks independently. The 2013 introduction calls it “speculative fiction,” a still-relevant description of what might happen if we cease questioning and simply absorb information.
Won’t you join us?  Drop into The Curtis L. Carlson Family Foundation Studio (114). No RSVP is required for book club.
Future Friends Only book club dates and books are:

  • Friday, October 13 for art and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
  • Friday, November 10, we’ll consider Gunn’s Golden Rules: Life’s Little Lessons for Making It Work by Tim Gunn with Ada Calhoun.

Please contact the group leaders with any questions — they look forward to exploring with you:
Jeanne Scheiderer,
Ellen Archibald,
Co-Chairs, Friends Only Committee

Collection Connection: Preserving the Past: Thomas Hart Benton and The Wreck of the Ol' ’97

by Susan Arndt, Mia docent
Did you know that the regionalist artist Thomas Hart Benton was also a musician? He played the harmonica, collected, transcribed and cataloged folk music. Preserving the musical heritage of rural America was as important to Benton as capturing the fading images of American rural lifestyle. Folk music lyrics often became the subject matter of his work.
Set to a well known tune, The Wreck of the Ol’ ’97 was a ballad based on the true story that inspired a 1943 painting and a series of 1944 lithographs by Benton.  The story goes that on September 27, 1903 a mail train was running an hour behind schedule on the Southern line route from Washington DC, to Danville, Virginia. The engineer, Steve Brody, had been given instructions to make up time. Although he was unfamiliar with the route, the engineer pushed the engine. Witnesses claimed that the speed was ninety miles per hour when the train took a curve leading to the Stillhouse trestle. The train lost a flange on the wheel, jumped the track and fell 75 feet into the ravine below. Eleven people died including the engineer.
Benton’s print captures the dramatic action of the song although he changed the locale to reflect the midwest landscape of his native Missouri and replaced the trestle with broken track in front of the speeding engine. A horse and wagon are being violently controlled. The driver throws all of his weight to pull back on the reins shifting the momentum of the wagon and throwing a women to the ground. Drama and movement are depicted through the use of diagonals and the billowing smoke from the engine that curls around the action. Contrasting light and dark areas serve to focus the viewers attention and contribute to the feeling of impending disaster. Even the exaggerated sinewy foliage of the corn takes on a surreal element that heightens the mood of the print.
The prints were popular and marketed by the Associated American Artists through magazines, department stores, and mail order. The company’s philosophy of making fine art accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy, was in line with Benton’s thinking. A signed print sold for five dollars unframed and seven dollars for a framed print respectively. A fair price!
The Wreck of the Ol’ ’97 by Thomas Hart Benton is currently on view in G316 as part of the exhibition of prints, drawings, and artists’ books titled Horse Power. The exhibition celebrates the horses more than 500 years history as muse and inspiration for artists and their patrons.
To hear the song that inspired this piece, go to Vernon Dalhart’s  1924 recording – Wreck of the Old ’97 at:

Friends Members Discover Art and Architecture Gems in Seattle

Dale Chihuly’s glass objet seem to float in the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle on a recent Friends Art and Architecture trip.
Dale Chihuly’s glass objet seem to float in the shadow of the Seattle Space Needle on a recent Friends Art and Architecture trip.

The Art & Architecture trip to Seattle took place June 19 through June 22 when 21 Friends members traveled to the Pacific Northwest. Over the course of four days the group explored Smith Tower, an architectural structure and Seattle’s Original Skyscraper built in 1914, as well as the Frye Art Museum. The private tours at Seattle Art Museum, highlighting the Native American Collection and Chihuly’s Glass & Garden exhibit, were also immensely enjoyed by all.
The highpoint of the trip was the Frye Museum located near St. James Cathedral on what the locals call “Pill Hill.”  The title became clear when the tour’s fantastic docent explained that the museum is surrounded by all the major Medical Centers in Seattle. The afternoon at the Frye Museum tied in nicely to the focus of the trip.  From the personal collection of German and Austrian paintings, donated by founders Charles and Emma Frye, to the meaning behind every structural decision throughout the museum’s renovations in 1996-1997, the trip attendee’s were fortunate to have a docent showcase both art and architecture.
IMG_2878A ferry ride to Bainbridge Island to visit Bainbridge Museum of Art did not disappoint the group! In fact, the day was clear and Mount Rainer was beautiful in the sunshine for those traveling with the Friends to enjoy. Other fun things people did while in Seattle were shopping at Pike Place Market, exploring the Space Needle and visiting the Central Library. Everyone got their fill of seafood and Starbucks, guaranteed!!
The Friends encourages each of you to Google all these places and learn more! Watch your newsletter in the Fall for the announcement of the 2018  Art & Architecture tour.


On September 8, Shahzia Sikander will speak at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, launching the new season of the Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Series.

Self-Portrait by Shahzia Sikander, 2016
Self-Portrait by Shahzia Sikander, 2016

Sikander’s work throughout the 90’s launched a rigorous inquiry and deconstruction of miniature painting from within the canon of its historical representation, beginning with her breakthrough work, The Scroll (1990). By subsequently engaging the personal and the private and deftly subverting the patriarchal thematic and the non-personal historical representations within the Indo-Persian miniature painting tradition, Sikander’s work catalyzed a movement to upend gender-specific assumptions while contributing fresh feminist discourse from multiple perspectives including Muslim, South Asian and American. Sikander’s innovative conceptual and formal expansion on this traditional genre has helped launch a major resurgence of work with miniature at her alma mater, the National College of Arts in Lahore and throughout the international arena, inspiring transnational attention on the idiom as a form of contemporary expression. Her work includes digital animation, video, performance, large-scale mural, installation, projection, and works on paper.
Sikander has had numerous solo exhibitionsand her work is among the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Whitney Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Palazzo Grassi in Venice, the Kiran-Nader Museum in India, MAXXI National Museum of 21st-Century Arts, Rome, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, the Princeton Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art among others.
Sikander is the recipient of notable grants, fellowships and awards such as Asia Society’s award for significant contribution to contemporary art, the 2013 inaugural Medal of Art from the US State Department, the DAAD Berliner, the Medal of Excellence from Government and State of Pakistan, the Otis and Samuel Goldwyn Foundation’s Jennifer Howard Coleman award, the Louis Comfort Tiffany award, the Joan Mitchell award and the MacArthur “genius” grant.
The Mark and Mary Goff Fiterman Lecture Series is presented by the Friends of the Institute and Mia.