Year in Review 2013: Visual Art

Categories: Art
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Dzine at Public Functionary, photo by Ben Ragsdale
This year was an awesome one for visual art in the Twin Cities. Almost every weekend brought a new event highlighting our wonderful local artists, or bringing in the best visual art from all over the world. While there were many more amazing things that happened beyond this list, here's just a sample of the art we just couldn't live without.

See also:
Year in Review 2013: Literature

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Zoe Beloff's model of Albert Grass's proposed Dreamland amusement park re-vamp

Inspired by Stephen Colbert's concept of "truthiness," which is defined as things that feel true even if they aren't, Minneapolis Institute of Arts' contemporary art curator Elizabeth Armstrong assembled an impressive line-up of artists exploring the line between fact and fiction. Some of the most powerful work in the show was the most political, such as Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle's Phantom Truck, which explored the so-called weapons of mass destruction that led the U.S. to seek war with Iraq, or Ai WeiWei's Colored Vases, where the Chinese artist dipped supposedly Neolithic clay vases in buckets of house paint. The exhibition was often funny and thought-provoking, and was a wonderful first big show for Armstrong, giving us hope that MIA will continue to invest in contemporary art. 

The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Philip Johnson Fund, 1962 ©Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg, Two Cheeseburgers, with Everything (Dual Hamburgers), 1962 
"Claes Oldenberg: The Sixties" at the Walker

"Claes Oldenberg: The Sixties," which is still open through January 12, gives an extensive look at the man behind Minneapolis's most iconic public art sculpture, Spoonbridge and Cherry. The exhibit, organized by the MUMOK (Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien), contains nearly 300 pieces showing the progression of Oldenberg's work, taking you back all the way to a fascinating period where Oldenberg was setting up crazy pop-up installations and underground exhibits. Filled with strange videos of impromptu performances, squishy large-scale food items, and much more, the show is a fantastic ride. 

Norman Akers, Distant Calling 

Tony Tiger, director of art at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, became the first guest curator at All My Relations Gallery this year. He chose to showcase a number of Oklahoma-based Native artists exploring Native identity and survival. Home to 39 federally recognized tribes, many of which were forced to re-locate to the area, Oklahoma has a brutal history that the artists in the show grapple with while also navigating what it means to be Native in the contemporary world. Taking on modern-day conflicts that stem from a violent history, the artwork in the show was powerful and reflective.
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Dzine, Club Gallistico
Dzine's "Victory" at Public Functionary

Public Functionary, a new gallery in northeast Minneapolis headed up by director Tricia Khutoretsky, made a splash this year with its first show featuring the work of Chicago-based artist Dzine (a.k.a. Carlos Rolon). The sparkly exhibition, complete with a gaudy chandelier made of cheap estate jewelry, trophy displays, and homages to cockfighting and custom-made cars, was completely over the top and awesome.  

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George Shea and Gordon Locksley, Andy Warhol 
Andy Warhol in Minneapolis at Aria

Minneapolis got a real treat this year when Aria hosted an exhibition and sale of photographs, paintings, prints, and works on paper by Andy Warhol presented by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Christie's. The week-long event, which included more than 50 pieces, featured a number of works that were originally shown here in Minneapolis at the Locksley Shea Gallery. 

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