You could say security guards at the Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum and Minneapolis Institute of Arts might know some things about art. Gross understatement. So why is their work so different from anything you see in a museum? Probably because the guards are jaded through constant exposure to the last millenium’s canon; they want to create something new and personal.
You can’t help but notice Steven Paul Hanson’s perverse treatment of women in masterful oil paintings: the women all appear to be on that newfangled steroids diet. What really throws you off is that these ghastly figures are bouncing in their pink undies like stereotypical middle school girls in a gleeful “Pillow Fight.” The whole thing feels like a commercial (“Get the figure you’ve always feared!”). I urge you to look closely at Hanson’s work for a few minutes, quietly, before making judgment calls. After that, feel free to call him a talented sick bastard, after which he will call you a hypocrite, and you will shake hands and maybe even talk about what he’s learned from working at the MIA since 1980.
Amazons not your favorite eye candy? Sitting in front of Walker guard Maryann Harder’s self-portrait “Little Round Mirror” can be one of the most meditative hours you ever spend. Her positioning of mirrors during the rendering wove a multitude of faces and brown eyes from her singular likeness. Try and locate the the unseen mirror as you get lost in the soft yellows and blues.
“Little Round Mirror” by Maryann Harder
Want something more conceptual? Doing a bit of Fluxus-like documented performance art is Jeff Weispfenning. He saved all the little tiny trinkets and buttons and children’s name tags he found on the floor of the MIA, collaging them into two pieces dubbed “Lost and Found Art” and “No Child Left Behind.”
And behold “Tomorrow Town,” a sort of post-apocalyptic Sesame Street, starring a skeleton schoolboy named Buddy, a pair of eyeballs named Patrick Smith, and a Sockfellow who argues in rhyme with the Pot he lives in. The installation by Chad Augustin and Samwell Rowan ought to get you grinning, especially if you read the lunch menu on Buddy’s school desk. (Extra credit: Patrick Smith is also the name of the Guard Art curator!)
Those are just a few. Colon Pipe Crew will rock the closing night party; wait’ll you feel what they can do with a Game Boy and a sound system.
Closing Night Party Feb. 28 @ 6 p.m. Free. Stevens Square Center for the Arts, 1905 Third Ave. S., Mpls. 612-879-0200.