Artist Talk: The Aesthetics of Fascism

This artist talk by Target Studio artist-in-residence Brooks Turner is a recording of the virtual event held on Oct. 28, 2020 and is available as part of WAM On Demand via the Weisman’s YouTube channel

With the Teamsters Strike of 1934 and the success of the Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota established itself in the 1930s as a U.S. center for progressive thinking and action across the political spectrum. At a distance, the Minnesota gubernatorial election of 1938 might appear as a simple synecdoche of national conversations around the war in Europe, the refugee crisis, economic depression, and labor rights. But, just beneath the surface, a tangled web of Fascist activity connected American Nazis to prominent businessmen, lawyers, and government officials. Over the last two years, Brooks Turner has traced these connections through documents archived in the Minnesota Historical Society, existing scholarship, and aesthetic analysis, focusing in particular on the Silver Legion of America, a national Fascist organization that found considerable support in Minnesota. Through drawing and collage, Turner has reassembled an aesthetic history of Fascism in Minnesota, the traces of which can still be seen throughout the Twin Cities and beyond.

Through January 3, 2021

The exhibition-in-print, Legends and Myths of Ancient Minnesota by Brooks Turner, was delivered to Twin Cities subscribers of the Star Tribune on October 25, 2020. Can’t make it to the museum in person? We’ll mail a copy to you, while stock lasts. SIGN UP TO REQUEST YOUR COPY >>

Learn more about the project >>

Visit the project website at BUNDLEOFSTICKS.ART >>

Brooks Turner is a fiscal year 2020 recipient of an Artist Initiative grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This project is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

This project is made possible in part with the support of Rimon: the Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation. 

Brooks Turner

Brooks Turner is an artist, writer, and educator. His recent work engages the history of fascism in Minnesota and has been supported through a 2020 Artist Residency in the Weisman's Target Studio Collaboration Incubator, a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant, a Minnesota Humanities Center Innovation Lab Grant, and a Rimon: Minnesota Jewish Arts Council Project Support Grant. Since 2014, he has taught sculpture, drawing, and painting at the University of California, Los Angeles, St. Cloud State University, Ridgewater College, and is currently Chair of Visual Arts at St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts. In 2017, he wrote A Guide to Charles Ray Sleeping Mime, published with Paperleaf Press, and continues to write essays for Hair and Nails Gallery and Temp/reviews. Turner holds an MFA in Sculpture from UCLA and a BA in Art and Art History from Amherst College.