Thursday, September 11, 2014

Art Hopping Twin Ports Weekend Begins Tonight @ DAI

The Duluth Art Institute opening reception and fall kickoff will be the place to be tonight. Signs & Wonders, Ark of the Anthropocene, Sophronia and the Earl Austin Retrospective will be seen and heard in the various galleries and the Depot's Great Hall. This is the opening I told you to mark on your calendar. The Sophronia Project is a happening in and of itself. Sean Connaughty, who teaches at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, will be on hand if you wish to talk with him about his Ark, which sank in the harbor last week.

The event is slated for 5-7 p.m.

Friday night's opening at the PROVE Gallery is guest curated by Sean P. Connaughty, the artist who launched his Ark of the Anthropocene into Duluth Harbor last week, and made news when it sank. Featured artists are David Bowen (of Duluth), Terez Iacovino, Jim Proctor, Aaron Dysaart, Vaughn Bell, Chris Sicat, and Sean himself. The title of the show is Permafuture, and its subject matter includes a variety of approaches to the topic of our changing climate. Event runs from 7-11 p.m.

This past Sunday I went and spoke with Connaughty about his Ark as he was doing repairs on the 4,000-pound, 6-foot-wide concrete sphere which contains a terrarium with more than 50 plants. He pointed out the cause of the failed first mission. He also explained how to object was designed to work. To keep it from floating out in the the big lake, or into the path of an ore boat, it is maintained by two anchors. The intermediate anchor has three pick points that hold the Ark upright. The major anchor is down on the harbor floor. 

When I first saw photos of the Ark I was curious why the art object was a boring white. "The work focuses on functionality over form," Connaughty explained, unoffended by this line of inquiry.

The evening before I listened to a retired electrician express consternation that this kind of thing could be called art. The man had been to the Sistine Chapel, and seen great art in Europe and did not think this should be in the same category, so I asked Connaughty, "Why is this art?" He replied, "Science can be art & art science. Science can bring different point of view."

The Ark will be here I Duluth till Nov 2. Connaughty, who will be present both at tonight and tomorrow night's events, is very approachable. You can learn more about the project at his Kickstarter campaign which helped fund the transport of his creation to Duluth.

If you're doing the Friday night art crawl tomorrow you'll want to start at the Washington Galleries Thread opening, which runs from 6-9. It has been a wonderful space for showcasing local talent and tomorrow' show is another worth investigating, featuring the works of Adam McCauley, Christopher Selleck and Colin Wiita. Selleck is a photographer whose work I'd not seen before. McCauley and Wiita are painters who evolved into mixed media artists. The following are examples of McCauley's new work on display here this month.

On the theater front there is also a lot going on, but I'll just mention that Sealed For Freshness opened last week and has three more gigs tonight through Saturday. It's about a madcap Tupperware party, and a nice kickoff for the Twin Ports Stage.

If I'm lucky, I will see you on the scene.

Meantime, art goes on all around you. Engage it. 

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