Minnesota Museum of American Art revives its statewide biennial with a group show by 36 Minnesota artists

Arts / Article

Marie Schrobilgen’s piece, “Self Portrait,” uses an industrial strength magnet to suspend a cast lump of steel in midair. Photo by Tom Dunn

Late last week, the Minnesota Museum of American Art (a Knight Arts grantee) revived its longstanding statewide biennial program with a diverse showing of work contributed by 36 Minnesota artists. This marks MMAA’s first exhibition of “the best art and craft being made throughout the state today” since it opened the Lowertown-based Project Space in 2013. The museum’s last biennial was held in 2008, just months before a combination of financial and property-related troubles compelled the MMAA to shutter for several years.

The MMAA biennial aims to offer a representative snapshot of the wide range of accomplished artists working in Minnesota at a given time – “young and old, emerging and established, urban and rural, and those who work in traditional and unconventional media, including but not limited to: painting, sculpture, printmaking, collage, clay, fabric, glass, wood, performance art, social practice, installation, video, and photography.”

Patricia Canelake, Unleashed with Two Goats. Courtesy of the artist's website.

Patricia Canelake, “Unleashed with Two Goats.” Photo via the artist’s website

Find a full list of this iteration’s selected artists on the MMAA website. (Sheila Regan’s written a nice piece on the show for “City Pages,” including some interesting background on the MMAA biennial’s history and where it fits with the region’s other biennial exhibition series, hosted by the Soap Factory in Minneapolis.)

Alison Hiltner, Mimicry, 2009-2011. Mixed Media: Artificial Flowers, Wax, Clay, Wire, Hamster Runabouts and a variety of other things found and made. Photo courtesy of the artist's website.

Alison Hiltner, “Mimicry,” mixed media (artificial flowers, wax, clay, wire, hamster runabouts and a variety of other things found and made), 2009-2011. Photo via the artist’s website

The work on view in the show resulted from an open call for art issued through regional arts councils all over Minnesota. Pieces were selected for exhibit by a panel of three jurors, two of whom hail from outside the Twin Cities metro: Mankato-based artist Brian Frink; Meredith Lynn of Moorhead, Minn.; and MMAA’s Curator of Engagement, Christina Chang. Upon submission, work samples were stripped of identifying information and evaluated by a blind adjudication process, primarily on the basis of artistic merit.

Selma Fernandez Richter (Minneapolis, MN), Kamilo Mohamud, Minneapolis, MN, 2011, 2011, photography, 34 x 34 inches. Courtesy of the MMAA website.

Selma Fernandez Richter, “Kamilo Mohamud, Minneapolis, MN, 2011,” 2011, photography, 34 x 34 inches. Courtesy of the MMAA

The “2014 MN Biennial” will be on view from June 12 through August 3 at the MMAA Project Space, 332 North Robert St., St. Paul. A limited selection of work from the biennial will then travel for exhibition at the Lanesboro Art Center from mid-August through October at 103 Parkway Ave. North, Lanesboro, Minn.