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  • Walker Art CenterWalker Art Center Minneapolis, Minnesota
    The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota is a contemporary art center that is considered to be one of the top five museums in the country for modern art, began in 1879 by lumberman Thomas Barlow Walker and he would formally establish in 1927 on its present locale. It would become the first public art gallery in the upper Midwest, right across from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden that opened in 1988 and the Cowles Conservatory; undergoing a renovation in April 2005. The museum concentrates on the modern artworks that began in the 1940s, when a gift from Mrs. Gilbert Walker would create a marvelous acquisition of works by modern day artists and include sculptures created by Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti and Henry Moore, with many others, too numerous to name here. As the years slowly passed, the museum would acquire many more important and significant works of art, with the latest expansion doubling the size of the exhibit space and includes indoors and outdoors installations. One of the more significant changes was the addition of a "town square" type of space that would encourage visitors to interact with others there for informal conversations, community programs and interactive learning. It has grown to be internationally recognized as a unique model of multidisciplinary arts and a national leader for its outstanding and innovative approaches to audience engagement. The center is located on 17 acres that contains both parks and buildings, with the north wing opening in 1971 and designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden would be a marvelous collaboration between the center and the city's parks and recreation board and is located on the west side of the campus. Their visual arts program is a wonderful blend of thematic, group, historical, contemporary, monographic and media-specific shows and has been the first major museum exposure for many budding artists that included, Kara Walker, Joseph Cornell, Mario Merz, Frank Gehry and Julie Mehretu, among others. Many of the artists showing here has made a splendid relationship with the center and these include; Robert Gober, Claes Oldenburg, Matthew Barney, Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and Sherrie Levine. The center has become such a magnificent venue for artists and modern art that they have begun to expand their horizons and started collecting Viennese Actionism, Italian Arte Povera, Fluxus and Japanese Gutai, that was started in the 1950s and 1960s, and have become popular since they aren't located in too many museums today. The center presents the performing arts, film and video venues, designs, new media and education and community programs to encourage the community to become more involved so they can gain a better understanding and appreciation of this outstanding facility.

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  • Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
    The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden occupies 11 acres in a park like area in Minneapolis, Minnesota that is close to the Walker Art Center that was mentioned above, and operates the sculpture garden in coordination with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. It has become one of the biggest urban sculpture gardens in the nation, with 40 permanent art installations and numerous other temporary works that are usually moved in and out regularly. It is also close to the Basilica of Saint Mary and Loring Park, and had been part of the park until I 94 was constructed in the 1960s and split it into two areas. The park had been purchased by the city around the turn of the century, when it had been known as the "Parade", since it had been used extensively for military drills. Then it would become known as the Armory Gardens when park superintendent Theodore Wirth would create a formal design that included the US National Guard armory, called Kenwood Armory, that was for the Spanish War volunteers. The park would continue to be used as a civic and cultural center, until 1913, when a floral convention would transform the park into floral gardens, and it would stay that way for the next half century. During 1929, when the Walker opened, it would be blasted because it had become so unstable, so they decided to construct a new one downtown, giving the armory gardens over to the Minneapolis Park Board. When it was divided by the highway, a lot of the land would be used for ball parks, until 1988, when it reopened as the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. The featured exhibit is the Spoonbridge and Cherry water sculpture that had been designed by husband and wife Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The Cowles Conservatory is also located on the grounds with quite a bit of flora and sculpture located inside, like Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish and other marvelous works.

February 11, 2011