The University of Minnesota’s Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is impossible to miss with its metallic facade glimmering beside the Mississippi River. The Weisman is a free, educational museum located on the East side of the river on the outskirts of the University of Minnesota campus. Although the outside of the building is the most attention-grabbing, the museum contains a diverse and interesting, albeit relatively small, collection of artwork inside. Frank Gehry, the designer of the Weisman, has a connection to Blake through the late Jim Dayton ‘83, an architect who worked under Gehry for years.
Jim Dayton worked for Gehry in Santa Monica, California, working on some of his most famous projects such as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Museum. He also served on the Weisman board and championed its cause of making art an accessible, educational opportunity. Dayton passed away suddenly on February 13, a key member of the Blake community both in a personal and professional capacity. As a prominent architect in the Twin Cities, Dayton regularly spoke to the Upper School’s design class and lead several expansions and renovations across Blake’s campuses.
Currently, the Weisman has two traveling collections on view: Baggage Claim, on display until May 12, and the Wonderful World Before Disney, which will continue until July 7. Baggage Claim is a multimedia exhibit by an international group of artists that uses luggage as a metaphor for both moving in the literal sense and emotional baggage carried through a person’s life. This exhibit addresses current issues such as immigration and displacement through innovative, compelling art. Be sure to read the artist’s statements to understand the fascinating personal stories behind each piece. The latter exhibit features a vast selection of fairy-tale themed postcards from around the world that showcase many interpretations of the stories we all know so well. Both are a great opportunity to spark your creativity and expand your horizons, all while avoiding the cruel winter.
Internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry designed the original building in 1993 as well as the major expansion to the museum which finished construction in 2011. Like some of his most iconic work, the building is clad in stainless steel, contorted into unusual and striking shapes.