May 17, 2021
This summer at WAM: “Just Yesterday,” an outdoor art installation highlighting racial injustice
Just Yesterday – an outdoor art installation
On View: May 17 – Oct. 1, 2021
Learn More: JustYesterday.org
This summer, Weisman Art Museum presents a new public art installation, Just Yesterday. The 60-foot wraparound mural will be on prominent display over the summer along the exterior façade of the museum at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. This outdoor installation will be on-site from May 17 and through October 1, 2021.
Just Yesterday was conceived by interning art director Mike Gaines and first-year copywriter Maggie Williams, as part of an initiative by Minneapolis advertising agency Solve during the protests that swept the world in 2020. The series uses iconic pop culture references to put systemic injustices from our recent past into context — injustices that continue to oppress communities of color to this day.
Gaines says of the series: “The posters are meant to evoke the feeling of nostalgia, like a BuzzFeed quiz or the print version of clickbait. The images and color draw you in, which is how the real message catches you unaware—a gut punch you aren’t expecting.”
Williams adds, “I think, for a lot of white Americans, there’s a disconnect between the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the present-day racial justice movement.” She goes on: “In some ways, since the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, and Fair Housing Act were passed, it’s gotten harder for our society to address racism head-on because white people feel like those pieces of legislation put it to rest, that our society is somehow ‘post-racial’. With this series, we used pop culture touchstones to show people just how recent all of this institutional progress is. And it isn’t over yet. How can it be? This all happened just yesterday.”
When approached to collaborate with Solve and the series creators to mount an exhibition of the eye-catching posters, the Weisman’s staff embraced the opportunity to cultivate deeper conversations on systemic racism, past and present.
“Minnesota has been at the center of a national reckoning on race and policing in the wake of the murders of Philando Castile, George Floyd, and, very recently, Daunte Wright,” says Katie Covey Spanier, Weisman’s Director of Programs and Student Engagement. “While many boast about the quality of living in our state, it must be acknowledged that Minnesota, and the Twin-Cities more specifically, has some of the greatest racial disparities—in policing, education, housing, income, and employment— in the nation.” Covey continues, “As a teaching museum for the University of Minnesota, the Weisman has a role to play in confronting and taking action against systemic racism.”
The Weisman’s website and social platforms (including Instagram, Facebook and TikTok) will amplify Just Yesterday’s important message, as well as offering additional content developed by commissioned writers, students, faculty, artists, and community members, including artist and student responses to the series, and educational resources to support continued dialogue. In addition to the installation, a screen-printed edition of each poster will be considered for Weisman’s permanent collection.
A limited run of individual posters will be sold exclusively through the WAM Shop. Prints are 10″ x 6.5″ and printed on high quality archival paper ($24.00 each). Proceeds go to supporting programs at the Weisman Art Museum. Pre-orders of these limited-edition posters are now available: https://z.umn.edu/
To see the Just Yesterday installation, visit the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus. To learn more about the project, the backstory behind each of the posters, and the series creators, see JustYesterday.org. Note: the interior spaces of the Weisman Art Museum building will be closed to the public for maintenance from May 17 until fall 2021.