Minneapolis' Top 10 Contemporary Art Galleries You Should Visit
Midway Contemporary Art
Midway’s stark, white walls have exhibited some of the most challenging modern art of the past ten years. Its mission is to redefine what we think of as ‘art’, challenging artists to produce more experimental works. For them, the art is just one part of their work – they also fund educational programmes, host an art library and support emerging and underrepresented artists. Plaisance, a recent show featuring a range of modern artists, focused on ethnography and the ‘amnesiac gaps’ in cultural history and combined film screenings with contributions by visual artists. The galleryis located near the river, the historic mill district and the downtown area.
Walker Art Center
The Walker Center is a heavyweight on the national modern art scene, often ranked among the top five spaces in the US. It was established in 1927, the first large contemporary art museum in the Midwest, and has hosted major first shows by artists including Joseph Cornell, Frank Gehry and Mario Merz. Today, it’s housed in a striking glass and aluminium mesh structure and is just across the street from the Minneapolis sculpture garden, which is filled with striking, modern pieces (a giant bent spoon cupping a cherry, for example). Recent shows at the Walker have included an exhibition of Hopper drawings and a collection of Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’ sculptures commenting on life in Latin America.
Rosalux Gallery hosts around 20 artists at any one time, and is dedicated to promoting Minnesotan artists. The space is through an unassuming door at the side of the Van Buren building in Minneapolis’ Northeast Arts District, and is only open at weekends. It’s small, but influential – its in-house artists are regularly shown all over the world and are pioneers of new ideas. Shawn McNulty, an abstract painter, produces acrylic paintings shaped by a knife attached to his shoe, while Laura Stack’s mixed media work combines romantic clouds of paint and ink with angular, bolted structures.
The glass front of Todd Bockley’s gallery offers a glimpse at the plethora of native and folk art within. Tucked in a corner of Minneapolis’ residential Kenwood district, Bockley Gallery represents an impressively diverse roster of artists, including Jim Proctor, who works with plants in his 3D, wall-mounted pieces (his breakthrough moment came, he says, when he ‘literally stapled a gooseberry to a painting’) and Native American artists Frank Big Bear and Francis Yellow. The works here play into the state’s past and its large Native American community — as in Francis Yellow’s images Native Americans on horseback, painted onto copies of official colonial documents.
Bockley Gallery, 2123 W 21st St, Minneapolis, MN, United States, +1 612-3 77-4669
All My Relations Arts
This Native American gallery is located in the heart of Native American Minneapolis. It’s housed in the Native American Community Development Institute, located on Franklin Street, part of the recently named ‘American Indian Cultural Corridor’. Behind its butter-yellow storefront facade are thought-provoking exhibits by a range of local and nationally renowned Native American artists, which have included Jim Denomie, Tom Jones, and Carolyn Lee Anderson. The gallery was founded by Shirlee Stone in 1999 with a mission is to raise the visibility and value of Native American art in the arts community and represent the diversity of the group’s experience.
The soap factory building dates back to 1882, and has gone through many incarnations since. It became a gallery in the 1980s, but retains an air of the historical through its factory-style metal girders and exposed brick walls. On show are a variety of modern artists, including many who examine the intersect between art and technology, and the gallery also hosts performance art, artists’ talks, readings and tastings. There’s even a haunted basement downstairs, open throughout October. The Factory calls itself a ‘laboratory’ for artists’ ideas, and its does seem to encourage artists’ interactions and inspirations, while acting as a local arts and social hub.
Soap Factory, 514 SE 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN, United States, +1 612-623-9176