Poison & Candy or Why I Went to the Walker (2.20.2012)
This was my free weekend. No responsibilities except for making sure I put clothes on when I go out the door and putting gas in the car. I can have popcorn for dinner if I want to and can make popovers with impunity. Since I had all this free time and was sick and tired of saying "I've never been to the Walker..." when the subject came up, and equally sick and tired of watching re-runs of Real Housewives, I decided this was the weekend to expand my cultural horizons.
The Walker is the Walker Art Center, a super-cool destination for soaking up contemporary visual arts, dance, theatre and music in the Twin Cities. It seems amazing to me that I waited something like 17 years to go, but I was busy.
Birth of Venus
Going to museums used to be one of my favorite things to do in all the world. When I lived in New York, it was The Met and MOMA; when I was in college I spent half-a-year in Florence, and I used to regularly hang at the Uffizi Gallery on Saturday mornings. I would stand for hours in front of Botticelli's Birth of Venus, thinking that maybe if I stood there long enough it would somehow be infused into my being, so I could take it back home with me. Now that it's been 35 years since I've been to Italy, I understand why I stood there for so long.
Part of Poison & Candy Installation
So it was in search of a similar feeling but different experience that I went to see Frank Gaard's retrospective show, Poison & Candy, at the Walker. His work is just totally crazy and bright and personal. And to quote the Walker: "iconographic".Whatever you call it, it made me smile and made me feel happy to be there. And because of the nature of his work, I couldn't help but make a connection between his idiosyncratic work, his list of things he likes ("Eight Famous Female Artist's Panties") and writing a blog.
The Time Painting
Blogging (and writing in general) is such a private expression of things that come out of your brain that you choose to make public. And it's easy to look at this work and see that it is connected very specifically to a person. When I dialed into the audio tour, it was interesting to hear the artist tell you that if you see a sliding board in one of his paintings -- that's about going to the park with his son. No big symbolism here. He paints portraits of himself, his friends and of other artists. In some ways, it's like a highly evolved visual blog. Totally charming, totally memorable. A great way to spend a Saturday if you have the time (http://www.walkerart.org/calendar/2012/frank-gaard-poison-candy).
Here is a recent story by Minnesota Public Radio on Frank Gaard: