Lets spend the night together: Walker closes for a year
Wednesday 18 February @ 13:57:22
by Jack Eden
On Valentine’s Day, the Walker Art Center romanced over 3,000 people to sell out its all-night closing bash. The slumber party was in celebration of its $64 million expansion and renovation that will close the Walker Art Center for a year.
Hipsters, Walker staff and local celebs, including Mayor R.T. Rybak and anchorwoman Robyne Robinson, rambled through the packed lobby and the dressed-down galleries. The longest lines and most packed crowds that this writer noticed were for handmade 16 mm film strips edited by Andrew Welken and the silk-screened T-shirts by the LIFESUCKSDIE crew. Others filled the auditorium enjoying the absurdly deadpan and humorous London-based performance troupe Forced Entertainment.
Many people ditched when the drinks stopped pouring at midnight but thankfully the performance piece “Operation Hardhat” by the Twin City Artist Front had engaged many patrons point blank so some people stuck around. The political artists didn’t sequester themselves in auditoriums but used the entire Walker to confront the thousands to write social or political questions on their tuxedo shirts of the artists. Patrons centered these questions on supplied words like Censure, WMD and Imminent. The words were printed on the front of their white hardhats. Patron Sandy Myers said, “This performance is what art is all about. Art is involvement, attraction and participation.”
Twin City Artist Front member Jane Powers remarked the performance was “an artful game to engage the audience and to encourage dialogue on issues outside of the Walker’s walls.”
If you’re dismayed that the museum is closing for a year, don’t be.
The Walker is hosting a year of programs outside its building called the “Walker Without Walls.” You can check its website walkerart.org for a calendar of events.
Walker visual arts curator Douglas Fogle called this time in the Walker’s history “totally awesome, exciting and a new beginning!” He said the staff will be working hard, building and programming through the next year to be ready when they reopen February of 2005.