June 13, 2019

Nova on “The Feminist Strip Club” (Post #3)

A photo from the perspective of a dancer with bare legs and large platform heels, hanging upside-down by their legs from a pole.

  I have personally always been interested in sex work. It is and has always been work. I think sex workers and erotic dancers specifically are very underappreciated. There are a lot of misconceptions about dancing that I would love to clarify for the public. One is the stereotypes about the kind of women who…

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May 28, 2019

Monica Sheets on “The Feminist Strip Club” (Post #2)

A diagram that lays out project goals and outcomes. The heading reads "Feminist Strip Club (Pilot Program)" and includes headings like "Participants," "Possible Activities," and "Outcomes" taking place over eight, two-hour workshops.

  When I am initiating participatory projects, I am engaged, of course, with the questions and issues specific to the context—in this case, the labor issues within and feminist potential of erotic dancing. But I am also thinking about overarching issues of participation and organizing. In my artist statement, I say that I am interested…

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May 28, 2019

Daniel McCarthy Clifford on the “Section of Disapproved Books”

The artist speaks into a microphone surrounded by audience members. Behind the artist is a shelf containing books banned in U.S. prisons.

  Over the last few years I have produced a body of work that focuses on social control. These conceptual art projects have been effective in teasing out and putting on display some of the unseen ways institutions exercise control. The zine project Inmate Activity Book is a perfect example: produced in collaboration with a…

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May 23, 2019

Why America Should Remember Rondo

Painting by artist Rose Smith. Mother and child sit on a bench with luggage at the mother's feet. Other figures wait in the transit hub in the background.

  Melvin R. and Rose J. Smith are proud Minnesota artists. Currently living in Eagan, Minnesota, they were residents of St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood for many years—Rose for most of her life and Melvin from 1963 to 1968. The Smiths’ art consists of urban scenes and portraits that present realist, expressionist, and at times allegorical…

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May 22, 2019

Assembling the Disapproved Books Database

A view of Daniel's installation in the Target Studio, with a number of small shelves on wheels containing color-coordinated disapproved books.

  The Section of Disapproved Books is an art project and data compilation by the artist Daniel McCarthy Clifford in collaboration with the Director of Data Management & Access at the University of Minnesota Libraries Besty Friesen, and multiple other actors. The installation consisted of over 600 publications banned in Department of Correction (DOC) facilities…

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May 20, 2019

From the Curator: State Your Intentions

A mechanical drawing from artist Alexa Horochowski

  This July in the Edith Carlson Gallery, WAM opens State Your Intentions: New Works in the WAM Collection. The exhibition showcases not only notable recent additions to the collection but also the intentionality of WAM’s collecting practice. In 1981 when Lyndel King became the director and chief curator, she openly asserted her resolve to…

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May 15, 2019

An aside. A meeting with the DaNCEBUMS.

  I’ve just spent a year sitting on the couch, in a deflated C shape, terribly still, feeding my mammal child. This is a posture I will very likely fill again at an older age, as so many older adults do. I had gotten comfortable, as a body-based artist, being a person who is looked…

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May 8, 2019

Songs with Baggage

A few weeks ago, we launched a new project. It’s called Songs with Baggage, and it’s all about the songs that make us feel a little something extra. It’s in conjunction with the exhibition Baggage Claims, which is at WAM for a precious few more days, until May 12th. The exhibition is all about baggage,…

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May 6, 2019

Goodbye WAM Grads!

They greet you at the door, they wave as you go, they lead tours, organize events, sweep the galleries, guard the art, and run the shop. They create, educate, question, consider, and challenge the museum to reach new heights. The heart of WAM, they are our student staff — many of whom will be leaving…

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April 25, 2019

Certain about uncertainty, enhancing medical education at WAM

  Often considered polar opposites, medical science and art share more common threads than you might think. In engaging with concepts of creation, experimentation, manipulation, and representations of life and humanity, both fields demand curiosity and a creative spirit from their practitioners. For four weeks, two worlds harmoniously collided as fourth-year UMN medical students partnered…

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