February 11, 2013

It’s February. We all need something to do.

So, in the midst of this cold, boring month that seems to be never-ending if you’re from our part of the country, it is hard to keep from being lazy. We all need something to do. Because of this, WAM Collective has compiled a list of awesomely entertaining and free upcoming events to attend. Winter is the perfect time to take advantage of the many indoor spaces supplying creative and inspirational experience throughout the city.

Our Treasures: Highlights from the Minnesota Museum of American Art at the Weisman Art Museum Februrary 2 – May 12 2013. Curated by Kristin Makholm, executive director of the MMAA, this exhibition features more than thirty significant works from the collection of over four thousand works and includes painting, sculpture, craft, drawing, and photography. Regional themes, such as the Native American experience and the people and landscape of the Midwest, are explored in this exhibition. Artists include Thomas Hart Benton, Cameron Booth, Alexander Calder, Christo, Jasper Cropsey, Edward S. Curtis, Patrick DesJarlait, Frances Cranmer Greenman, Tim Harding, Childe Hassam, Robert Henri, Wing Young Huie, Frederick D. Jones, Jr., Gaston Lachaise, Mike Lynch, Warren MacKenzie, Paul Manship, Joseph Rusling Meeker, Joan Mitchell, George Morrison, Louise Nevelson, Ed Ruscha, Mark Tobey , Peter Voulkos, and Grant Wood.

Laylah Ali: The Greenheads Series at the Weisman Art Museum February 16 – May 12 2013. This is the first time the Greenheads series, created between 1996 and 2005, is being shown as a comprehensive body of work. Forty-three of the exquisitely rendered gouache paintings—from a total of more than eighty—have been gathered from collections here and abroad to chronicle the series’ development. The figures inhabiting Ali’s works—the Greenheads—are enigmatic, round-headed beings of indeterminate sex and race who inhabit a regimented, dystopian world where odd and menacing, though sometimes strangely humorous, encounters prevail. This exhibition will allow viewers to examine the evolution of Ali’s series. While the early paintings frequently focus on physically aggressive exchanges between groups of figures, these interactions are later replaced by individuals—alone or in small groups—who witness the prelude to, or aftermath of, a charged encounter. As the series continues, more and more of the figures’ anatomy is pruned away, as if the artist is examining how much can be taken out—such as arms, feet, skin color—while still communicating thought, emotion, and social status.

This exhibition was organized by the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts. It is co-sponsored by the University of Minnesota Department of Art.

Words @ WAM! at the Weisman Art Museum on February 27 at 6:00pm. Feeling like getting your creative kicks on through some original literature? We believe that fine art and creative writing go hand-in-hand. For the second year, the local online literary community of Hazel & Wren and WAM will host Words at WAM, a literary open mic. Social hour and open mic sign-up starts at 6:00 pm. Indulge in refreshments, stroll through WAM’s galleries, and participate in a community poem via Twitter. Musical entertainment will be provided by University of Minnesota student composers. Readers begin at 7:00 pm, in order of the sign-up sheet. The open mic is open to all interested wordsmiths of any genre: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, spoken word, and all literary mischief welcome. Each reader will have four minutes to read their work(s), with a 30-second grace period. Readers will be given warnings if they go over the time limit, and at 4 minutes, 30 seconds, will have trashy dimestore romance paperbacks thrown at them. The open mic will end at 8:00 pm, regardless of how many people are left on the sign-up sheet, so get there early to ensure your reading slot! Featured local rockstar readers will close the evening, starting with student fiction reader Matthew Ullery, chosen by the staff of U of M undergraduate literary magazine Ivory Tower, and ending with poet, activist, and emcee Tish Jones.

Artist Talk with Laylah Ali at the Weisman Art Museum on March 7 at 7:00pm. Laylah Ali: The Greenheads Series depicts physically aggressive exchanges between groups or figures and evolves into focusing on the time that preludes or the aftermath of these violent acts. Laylah Ali was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1968 and lives and works in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she is currently a professor of art at Williams College. Ali has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Contemporary Art Museum, St. Louis; and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; among others. Her work was exhibited at the Venice Biennale (2003) and the Whitney Biennial (2004), and she was featured in the award-winning PBS series Art 21.

Finally, look forward to spring in anticipation of another design competition and runway show hosted by WAM Collective in conjunction with the College of Design. Though we can’t spill the beans about the theme quite yet, we will work on threading together some hints to be shared over the next few weeks. Save the date for April 24, 2013!

Laylah Ali, Untitled, 2004, gouache and pencil on paper. Collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Laylah Ali, Untitled, 2004, gouache and pencil on paper. Collection of The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. Photo courtesy of the artist.