The Weisman Art Museum exudes an aura of fresh minds and innovation: For starters, you’re surrounded by college students, a body of humans whose main purpose it is to learn something everyday in the environment they’re in. You can can feel this walking through the museum’s corridors. It’s smaller than one might think from the outside: You could spend all day reading every piece of information about the artists, and the art they’ve created, or pop in for a quick swing-through on a rainy afternoon lazing away gazing into the eyes of the portraits slowly passing you by.
The choice, always, is yours.
My favorite recent exhibit, “Dear Darwin,” centered on two Minnesota creators, Vesna Kittelson and Carolyn Halliday, along with New York-based artist Julia Randall. Lining the walls were colored pencil and paper drawings illustrating Darwin’s theories of evolution; I was filled with wonder and amazement at the level of detail that went into each. Carolyn Halliday contribution, a fort out of gut, steel, linen and maker that is graffitied with quotes from Darwin’s novel, On The Origin of Species, that reminds of old forts as a kid, with that touch of the dirt that comes with growing. It was one of the most colorful and organic exhibits I’ve seen in the Twin Cities.
These traveling exhibits help make the Weisman one of the most dynamic art museums in the Twin Cities.
But it doesn’t have to be fleeting: A collection that has been on display since 2011, and will continue through 2020, is “An Immigrants Tale: The Edward Reynolds Wright, Jr. Collection.” It’s a collection that is unmatched in quality in the United States, donated by Edward Reynolds Wright, Jr. in 1988 after his passing. After spending eleven years in South Korea, just 14 years after the Korean War ended, he collected furniture, screen prints. and accessories, some even coming from North Korea (which are no longer available). This rare, expansive collection gives insight into what a culture appreciates for both classic home goods and priceless heirlooms during time of war, and rebuilding.
After filling your mind with the art of the Weisman, take a stroll around the environment of growing minds on the museum grounds; get in touch with the impressive architecture that the surrounding University of Minnesota has to offer. The landscape is almost as striking as the museum itself.
Free of charge, a whole afternoon can be spent in a state of free bliss.