On October 25, 2020, about 36,000 Twin Cities subscribers of the Star Tribune newspaper received the Legends and Myths of Ancient Minnesota, an exhibition-in-print by Brooks Turner. The 32-page publication combines reproductions of original artworks with archival materials related to the Nazi following in Minnesota in the 1930s. A fringe movement imported from Europe, in the form of a group called “Silver Shirts,” remained active—openly promoting Hitlerism and suppressing opposition to it—in the US for just a few years…
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.
This virtual event, via Zoom, is FREE but registration is required to participate in the Q&A. Register at: Z.UMN.EDU/BrooksTurnerRegister
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.
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.