Monday, June 16, 2014

Minneapolis Art Seen: Northern Spark @ the Walker and a "Fantastic" Jack at Even Break

On a corner table at Even Break.
Saturday I made a flying trip to Minneapolis and had the good fortune of picking up a number of arts-related events. The day began with the delivery of Brutie, a German Shepherd that we were watching for a friend who had undergone open heart surgery. This was followed by the delivery of a Dylan painting I sold as a result of the Red Mug show I curated in May. After my lunch with "Magic Marc" Percansky, producer of the annual Salute to the Music of Bob Dylan events in the Twin Cities (and now this past month in Duluth) I met J.Z. Howard -- author of the novel All of Me Wants All of You -- for coffee at Dunn Bros. in Edina, doing some prep work for an upcoming interview.

I was told he's not Jack.
From here I found my way to Even Break Gallery near the corner of Penn and 50th Avenue South to hear John Geenen, a motivational speaker whose talk was titled "Change Your Way of Thinking. His business card says, "He's not Jack," but he looks so much like Jack (Nicholson) that it's only natural that the slogan for his motivational speaking is "Jack Up Your Thinking." If I get time I'll share my notes later this week.

Even Break Gallery brought to mind a number of other gallery experiences I've had in spaces back east. It's a second floor location so if you're accustomed to finding a place by its storefront or showroom window, you may have a problem. There are plenty of lofts and galleries of this kind in New York, and my most recent visit was to a gallery similarly located in Allentown. Co-owner of Even Break, Gretchen Seichrist, was a whirlwind as she prepared things for the event. My overly early arrival gave me time to take in the art which seemed to fill every space in every room, including the kitchen and bathroom.

Seichrist is similarly a singer/songwriter who in addition to painting also performs. I acquired her Patches & Gretchen CD titled Even Breaks to listen to and keep me awake later as I planned to return to Duluth late that night. (EdNote: This is original, thought provoking work by an original person who has chosen to not fit a mold.)

Sophronia at The Walker Art Center.
Alas, the original plan had been to spend the weekend, but as the day approached I had to crimp it, which was too bad because when you read about Northern Spark, you know going in that you can't grasp much on the fly.

Northern Spark is an annual art all-nighter in Minneapolis that takes place in 38 venues involving 250 artists sharing 125 projects. Since some of this was to take place outdoors, my guess is that a lot of people had to alter their plans when the weekend weather riled up the Twin Cities. Projects like Sophronia had contingency plans. Other may not have been so lucky.

Kathy McTavish at the Walker
Upon leaving Even Break I headed to the Walker, which gratefully has indoor parking as another torrential downpour was preparing to consume the city. In addition to seeking out a few fellow Duluth artists I did a quick walk-through of the museum's contemporary art collection and then a very slow walk through the Edward Hopper exhibit, which features the drawings that went into twenty of his most famous paintings. It was very generous of the Walker to share all its treasures for free like this.

Other exhibits included re-enactments of old school drawing classes (actual, real artists drawing a staged set-up with very skilled models who I half thought were art and not people.

By late evening it was time to head north. The torrential rains and lightning were very real reminders that Mother Nature can also create amazing 3-D effects. By 1:30 a.m. I was crashing... in my bed.

Old School Art School, "Office at Night"
Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it!

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