by Doc Pop
Those who frequent the halls of MCAD (students, teachers, janitors),
might take for granted the hundreds of excellent works they see around them
daily—in the halls, upon the walls, in portfolios and desktops.
I mean, when your career
is art-based, you’re going to school for design, and all your friends
are artists, you might get the impression that all buildings in Minneapolis
are adorned with really great stuff.
This sort of nonchalant art mentality could explain the laid-back
way MCAD displays one of its newest exhibits, Fifteen. Take for instance the
fact that there’s no mention of the exhibit on MCAD’s website, nor
does there seem to be any print for this show. It’s surprising because
frankly, this under-publicized show is one of my favorite exhibits I’ve
seen all year.
If perhaps Fifteen—featuring 15 artists who are all part
of MCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate program—is just another example of
the artwork housed on weekly intervals at MCAD, I should go more often.
Climbing the stairs, I was greeted with the sounds of shopping
carts and Cameron Ewing’s “Grocery War,” an installation piece
showing the disparaging gap between the haves and the have-nots. A grocery cart
with a projector on the front projects the piece upon a foggy plain of glass.
The film candidly captures consumers in the act of deciding which brand of orange
juice to buy or counting carbs on cans of soup. Then, just as someone reaches
out to grab a bag of Mozzarella cheese, the image is juxtaposed with images
of flies circling starving children. Ewing seems to be at ease twisting everyday
surroundings into uncomfortable situations. In “Uncomfortable Pillows”
he takes images of nefarious bad men such as O.J. Simpson and Charles Manson
and places them on very cozy looking denim pillows.
Robert Marbury’s installation “The Study”
brings the viewer into the world of a big game collector obsessed with stuffed
animals. Marbury first got interested in art with stuffed animals after a photo
shoot in which he was given 800 stuffed toys. Now he recreates the “natural”
urban environments in which these soft creatures would have been found. Using
taxidermy equipment such as barred teeth, eyes and tongues, the stuffed animals
are posed into their feral positions and are photographed on sidewalks and urban
environments. Along the wood-paneled wall are pictures of a lesser yeti, fighting
snow skunk and the mounted bright yellow head of a Chinese water deer. The installation
stresses the importance of preserving imagination within the structures of our
The strength of the Fifteen is its unpretentiousness.
The art is humbly presented to be seen by peers, as opposed to assuming appreciation
from the viewer simply because it is on display at a gallery showing.
Fifteen runs through March 19. Concourse Gallery on the
2nd floor at MCAD, 2709 Stevens Ave. S., Mpls. 612-874-3785