Walker Wide Open, Part One

When the folks at Wikipedia came up with this definition of  “sculpture garden” – “several permanently sited works in durable materials in landscaped surroundings” – perhaps they had the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in mind. When it opened in 1988, it was one of the first urban sculpture parks of its kind. After almost 30 years of welcoming millions of visitors, the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the two organizations that operate the sculpture garden, decided it was time for an update.

Here are highlights from my recent visit.

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Those who know little else about the Minneapolis Landscape Garden as least recognize “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” the work of Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje van Bruggen. This timeless classic has been completely refurbished and is looking a brilliant as ever.

 

IMG_2986IMG_2998IMG_3008IMG_3074Mark Manders’ “September Room” is one of my favorite new additions to the garden. There are even a few chairs included in this piece so viewers can become part of the sculpture.

 

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My picture of this sculpture is a composite of sorts. The name of the piece is “Without Words.” True to the title, there are no words on the placard that accompanies this piece by Judith Shea. But the male and female figures with their backs to each other evoke memories of those times in broken relationships when there truly are no words. In the background is the imposing structure of the Walker, an institution which by its very definition as an art center, is dedicated to communicating without words.

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Detail: “Without Words”

 

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Thomas Schütte, “Bronze Woman IV.” One hardly ever sees flat surfaces in sculpture, much less on sculptures of women. But there is no comment from the artist on why he incorporated so much flatness into this sculpture.

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Detail: Thomas Schütte, “Bronze Woman IV”

 

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According to the placard that accompanies “Rapture” by Kiki Smith, there are images from mythology, folk tales and religion happening here. To me it looks like Princess Buttercup getting free from one of the ROUSes (rodents of unusual size) from the movie The Princess Bride!

 

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Wherever you stand looking at this piece by Tony Cragg, you can see silhouettes of human faces emerge. No wonder it is called “Level Head.”

 

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Apparently, if you want LOVE, go to Indiana, Robert Indiana, that is, the artist who created this piece.

 

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Henry Moore, “Reclining Mother and Child”

In my next post, I’ll share more sculpture photos and talk about the forward-thinking landscaping that has been incorporated into the refurbishing of this downtown Minneapolis treasure.

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