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Perspectives from Mia on contemporary topics impacting the world: locally, nationally, and internationally.

Material girls: What a show of prehistoric female figurines says about us

On the first day of my first dig, in central France, I uncovered a dead man’s foot. It was the 1980s, the first of four seasons I spent digging a Late Iron Age/Early Roman site in the Auvergne during the hot summer months. The man had likely died in the first century CE and was . . . Keep reading »

The art of dissent: How Mia’s “Resistance, Protest, Resilience” photography exhibition came together

“Resistance, Protest, Resilience,” an exhibition of about 60 photographs connecting the protest movements of the 20th century to today’s political, social, and racial conflicts, opened at Mia on November 5. My interest in images of protesters can be traced to my three-year exploration of the avant-garde art and photography of 1960s and 1970s Japan for . . . Keep reading »

We traveled to Standing Rock to deliver aid and support. We returned home with something greater.

They claim this mother of ours, the Earth, for their own use, and fence their neighbors away from her, and deface her with their buildings and their refuse. —Sitting Bull, 1875 In the Hunkpapa land of Sitting Bull, history is always being made. On a warm, sunny day in August, I traveled with Dakota Hoska, . . . Keep reading »

Artist Andrea Carlson on the unspoken history, unseen stories, and awkward moments behind her Mia project “Let: an act of reverse incorporation”

Andrea Carlson wasn’t sure the museum would go for it. After all, as she puts it, the participants and collaborators in Let: an act of reverse incorporation are “kicking in the front door of historic institutional power.” Carlson, who grew up in Minnesota and now lives in Chicago, has long drawn on her Anishinaabe (Ojibwe), . . . Keep reading »

Next in line: An election-year look at power, succession, and chicanery in Mia’s collection

“Well, he’s never gonna be president now…that’s one less thing to worry about.” Thomas Jefferson’s taunting of his rival in the hit musical Hamilton has reverberated through the end of this never-ending election season, along with serious questions about the fitness of candidates and political traditions. And it’s prompted the Mia staffers in the museum’s . . . Keep reading »

The Mia connections behind one of this season’s most anticipated operas

On September 9, in a suburb of San Francisco, 119 people gathered at the Hong Kong Flower Lounge to dine on Peking duck, bird’s nest soup, and other classic Chinese dishes. Most of the diners were Minnesotans. Kevin Smith, the president of the Minnesota Orchestra, rose to speak. “Who would have thought that this little group from Minnesota . . . Keep reading »

Worker elves or trolls? The peculiar story of the Purcell-Cutts House windows

The story of the Purcell-Cutts House windows is kind of a race to the finish line. The house was supposed to be completed in time for architect William Gray Purcell and his family to move in by Christmas 1913. The exterior construction was just wrapping up in the fall, and the house had to be sealed up before Minnesota’s . . . Keep reading »

How a British painter became the father of America’s national parks

Thomas Moran came to the United States with his family when he was 7. They came from northwest England, the blackened heart of the Industrial Revolution, anchored by textile mills that employed Moran’s father and many relatives before him. Their town was among the bleakest spots: “ruinous and miserable,” according to one account, its main . . . Keep reading »

Summer vacation with Gustav Klimt, and a Hollywood-worthy mystery

Gustav Klimt liked to vacation along the Attersee, a picturesque lake east of Salzburg, near the Austrian Alps. For Klimt, who spent most of his time painting in Vienna, these forays into nature were restorative. He rose early and painted into the evening, stopping at intervals to eat, swim, nap, or row. The locals who saw him wandering the woods or . . . Keep reading »

Counting sheep: Helena Hernmarck and the revival of Sweden’s signature wool

If you haven’t been to the Fountain Court at Mia to see the Blue Wash tapestries by Helena Hernmarck, now is the time. The four, 20-foot-long tapestries are due to come down in late July, and it could be years before they are on view again. During the year that these works have been on . . . Keep reading »


Connecting the Collection to Current Events

January 19, 2017

Elephant in the room: Ivory: Coffee

Elephant in the room: Ivory I don’t know about you, but I take my daily dose of steaming hot coffee for granted. Of course there will be beans to grind each...

January 18, 2017

Elephant in the room: Ivory: Jerome

Elephant in the room: Ivory In the 1600s, a renewed interest in ivory carving emerged thanks to new maritime routes along the east and west coasts of Africa.  The baroque style, so...