Spring Semester Preview

What happened to January? If you're a student on the University of Minnesota campus, welcome back and happy Spring semester. Winter break went by more quickly than usual here at the museum; but, we are excited to give you a peek at what we've been working on! Though we've been living through another Ice Age over the last couple of months, I hope you can look forward to celebrating spring fever with us by checking out these upcoming events around town:

WAM Warmer "Pops Up" on Northop's Plaza beginning Thursday, January 23 and lasting through Thursday, January 30, 2014 before it moves over to the Weisman Art Museum. The pop-up is inspired by WAM’s spring exhibition, Siberia: Imagined and Reimagined, a collection of photographs spanning over 130 years by 50 Russian photographers exploring the depths of Siberia, never before showcased in the United States. While researching Siberia, WAM Collective and the Weisman Art Museum have made connections between the characteristics of the Siberian terrain, weather, urban and rural environments, and folk culture with that of our own home, Minnesota. To celebrate the exhibition, as well as to celebrate Minnesota, WAM Collective will be building a pop-up inspired by a traditional chum (pronounced “choom”), a temporary dwelling used by the nomadic Yamal-Nenets and Khanty reindeer herders of northwestern Siberia, Russia. A space for students to stop and warm up on their trek through the snowy campus, the “WAM warmer” will also incorporate an interactive tour of the U of M campus, highlighting the many under-explored gems of the University. This tour, inspired by the vastness of Siberia and the many unexplored areas it contains, leads students on an adventure including secret sledding behind Coffman union, star-gazing at the Tate Physics Lab, and, of course, a trip to the Weisman Art Museum.

Exhibition Preview Party for Siberia: Imagined and Reimagined at the Weisman Art Museum on Friday, January 31, 2014. 7:00pm. FREESiberia: Imagined and Reimagined, organized by the Foundation for International Arts and Education, brings photographs of Siberia by Russian photographers to the American public for the first time. The photographs chronicle the reality and myths of Siberia and allow viewers to discover surprising parallels between the landscape, weather patterns and culture of Siberia and our own home, Minnesota. So, what exactly is Siberia? This collection of over 100 photographs spanning from the 1870s to the present engages viewers in answering this deceptively simple question. Come find out for yourself with an exhibition preview party! Grab your puffy coat and fur hat and celebrate your inner Siberian with an indoor/outdoor preview party. Outdoors, check out our Russian inspired specialty drinks at the ice bar, slip into the WAM warmer (traditional chum) to defrost your feet, and don't forget to Instagram that picture you take with the real, live reindeer that will be there! Back indoors, hang out with  DJ Jonathan Ackerman while you nosh on small bites from D’Amico in the Riverview Gallery and sip on a drink from the hot cocoa bar. WAM members get 2 free drink tickets at check in. After-party at Icehouse with music by Red Daughters and the James Apollo Five. $8 includes your cover charge + one specialty drink ticket (enter code: wamsiberia).

5 people in swimsuits in the snow

Siberia: Imagined and Reimagined Exhibition Preview Party takes place January 31, 2014

Made in Minnesota is a group exhibition taking place at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery and the Regis Center for Art at the University of Minnesota between January 21 and February15, 2014. Some say that even if you didn't grow up in Minnesota, you can still become a true "Minnesotan." This exhibition, curated by Wayne E. Potratz, Professor of Sculpture and Howard Oransky, Director of the Katherine E. Nash Gallery, features over 20 local artists all exploring and celebrating the diverse practices of sculpture across Minnesota. While we are disappointed to hear that the exhibition does not include an example of sculpture made in butter (first presented at the Minnesota State Fair in 1898), many other materials and methods are represented, including acrylic, bone, canvas, clay, concrete, diamonds, enamel, gelatin, gold, granite, motorcycle parts, mousetraps, nylon, plastic, silver, steel, stone, wood, etc. Find more information on the event and its artists here.

Study Night @ WAM begins its monthly residency at the museum beginning Wednesday, February 5, from 5:00-8:00pm. Sometimes all you need to focus is a little change of scenery. Get out of that dreary dorm room and come study in the most interesting building on campus - the Weisman Art Museum! Surrounded by art, and a perfectly curated playlist, you will feel inspired and enlivened by that once daunting textbook sitting in front of you. Necessary studying provisions will be provided, including coffee, tea, and all-natural snack bars from KIND. Feel like taking a study break? Take a tour with WAM's own student tour guides. Study Night @ WAM will be held once a month until the end of the school year, but the galleries are always open for your studying, writing, creative pleasures...

The Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can e used as new and challenging artistic environments. The project expands notions of what art can be and offers projects that both push the artist and engage the audience. These special projects take place once a year and add a bit of fun to winter in February (a time of year that can seem incredibly daunting). This year, the projects will take place on White Bear Lake, weekends only, from February 1-23, 2014. Read up on the artists and plan your visit by checking out the Art Shanty Project website.

Ice fishing huts

Art Shanty Projects on White Bear Lake

U Choose: Student Voting Party What does it mean to be a curator in the 21st century? The traditional notion of the term meant a specialist who had extensive training in a specific area - an expert on the quality of objects, who thoughtfully presented them with regard to their social, historical and material character. Today, the term isn’t so clear. We are living in an information and visual rich society with “iphone photography curators” and “pinterest curators” and “netflix queue curators”. But what is the difference between curating and choosing? Nothing? Everything? You decide. Join the conversation on February 19 with WAM Collective for U Choose: Students Night, an event that invites all University of Minnesota students to discuss and deconstruct the curatorial process. Students will have the opportunity to survey 60 pieces of art from the Weisman’s permanent collection and vote, in a variety of ways, for their top 20. As a part of the celebration of 20 years in our iconic home, students will be voting on pieces organized by the year of their accession into the museum. The highest ranked choices will be exhibited in a special section of the summer 2014 exhibit “WAM@20:MN”. The evening will include light refreshments, snacks, and music. U card required for admittance. Free. More information on the year-long celebration, WAM@20, can be found here.

Elements: a Design Competition & Runway Show This April, as the ice shrouding Minnesota thaws, WAM will host its third annual design competition, in collaboration with University of Minnesota’s College of Design. Participating designers are asked to create a ready-for-the-runway garment inspired by the Weisman’s exhibition of Siberia: Imagined and Reimagined, a collection of photographs that offers glimpses into Russia’s far eastern territories from the late nineteenth century up to present. Garments must include non-traditional materials, innovative textures, and/or structural shaping with an emphasis on sustainable best practices. The runway show will take place at the Weisman Art Museum on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. Think you’ve got what it takes? The most effective and compelling designs will draw upon the landscapes, materials, textures, and traditions of Siberia, while also responding to the environmental questions the region raises. Over the course of their design process, contestants should consider questions such as: What is sustainable design? What environmental, ecological, and laboring support structures have enabled my garment’s production? How might garment producers rely upon such systems of support without exploiting or depleting them? What elements, both ecological and emotional, can influence sustainable design? Reserve your tickets here. For more information, visit or email