The News of The Blake School Since 1916

Museums Provide New Outlooks, Perspectives

Local art curation changes to include more diverse pieces

December 6, 2021

Home to some of the most prized pieces of art in the world, the backdrop of a multitude of movies and the Met Gala every May, museums traffic in hundreds of millions of tourists every year. D.C, Rome, Paris, New York; when reflecting on cities with exciting exhibits our parents attempt to entice us to visit on the next family trip or convince us of where we should spend a random summer day, Minneapolis may not come to mind. Yet, with its rich industrial history and diverse roots, its museums offer a look into some of the most unique and interesting experiences all within a short car trip or walk away.

Toby Weiland ‘23, a member of the Martha Bennett Gallery Curatorial Team, believes that museums have value because they bring differing groups of people together, tying together their differing perspectives. He notes, “Everybody ends up looking at the same art piece but you can get so many different stories, perspectives, and viewpoints from each different person and I really like that. Everyone can look at the same thing and have so many different ideas.” Bill Colburn ‘88, the curatorial team’s advisor, adds that “The beauty of the museum is that [they] force all of us to think about things in new ways. One of the things that I recently heard from, it’s actually the author of the book we’re reading in Art History… she said in humanity we [are] all swimming in a pool and doing our day-to-day getting through, and artists show us the wall… You’re forced to think about who you are and where you’re going and what you’re doing, if you slow down and take your time so I think it’s absolutely fantastic.”

Minneapolis offers a wide range of museums that provide these very experiences such as the Walker, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), the Weisman Museum, and the Mill City Museum. Specifically, Weiland states, “I’ve found I really like the Mia. I think they’ve got a lot of good shows, I spend a fair amount of time there. And it’s not necessarily a museum but I’ve found the Minnesota Historical Society has a lot of really really cool things so I like to spend my time there.”

Museum closures have been a challenge for business and the art world as with anything during the pandemic, but Colburn notes a surprisingly beneficial side, “Yes a lot of people stopped going, a lot of people started do- ing things online right away.” He furthers that now, many museums offer artist talks online, that he otherwise could not attend. Specific to Minneapolis he notes, “The Walker now is closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and it’s open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and I’m not sure when they’re going to open Tuesday and Wednesday they were never open on Monday… there are always a lot of people there and so I kind of feel right now for whatever reason, the museum is being used more so that’s good.”

Colburn notes another large shift within art museums and the broader art world: the art world has progressed to change their permanent galleries in order to expand the voices included, get broader perspectives and increase diversity. The term for this work is called “deaccessioning,” and it’s not only happening throughout the world but in the Twin Cities as well. Colburn states, “When you go to the sculpture garden right now it is like any where you look you can see a sculpture by a woman but if you do a count, because we do this in my Art History class, if you do a count it’s like one to three, one female sculpture for every three male sculptures. So, it’s like they’re not there yet but they’re working on it.”

Additionally he ex- plains that there are different ways to go about implementing more diversity into one’s gallery besides deaccessioning, the Walker and Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis have found a mutually beneficial way to do this. “If you go to the Guthrie, there’s that hill next to the Guthrie, it’s called Gold Medal Park… [which] now has three super cool sculptures; they used to be pivotal sculptures in the Sculpture Garden.”

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