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Fresh perspectives on art, life, and current events. From deep dives to quick takes to insightful interviews, it’s the museum in conversation. Beyond the walls. Outside the frame. Around the world.

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Shinique Smith and the fabric of life

The sculpture is hard to miss. A slender column more than eight and a half feet tall, made of tightly bundled fabrics, like a monument to clothing. Called Bale Variant #0024 (Everything), it’s a strong presence in Mia’s “Without Boundaries” exhibition, a showcase of paintings and fiber art by women artists in gallery G375. The artist behind it, 

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Documenting diversity: How should museums identify art and artists?

Mia has been collecting art for more than a century, from cultures around the world and across history. We now have more than 90,000 objects in our collection, and, like most museums, we have documented them in a computer database. We have noted what each item is, its history and characteristics, and what we believe 

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Mia’s hilarious, poignant role in the new memoir by Minneapolis rocker Mark Mallman

Mark Mallman once seemed indefatigable, invulnerable even. The musician’s four marathon performances include a non-stop, sleepless 78 hours in 2010 (a single song, essentially, with 576 pages of rhyming lyrics). He was like a machine, and then the machine broke. On March 19, Mallman released a memoir, The Happiness Playlist (Think Piece Publishing, $14.95), about 

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Of women, by women: Looking at femininity through the eyes of female artists

Walking around Mia, like most museums, you see a lot of women framed on the walls and formed out of marble. Most of these images of women, however, were made by men. It’s no surprise—the historic disparity between men and women in the arts is well-documented if not well-addressed. But it’s important to consider the ramifications: 

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Who’s that girl? Why so many Native women artists are unnamed in museums

In just a few months, “Hearts of our People” will open at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the first major exhibition of art by Native American women. In selecting the artworks for the show, we chose pieces by named makers as often as possible, rather than designate an item as anonymous from a particular culture. But 

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From Mia’s gallery to Stella McCartney’s runway—art that’s ready to wear

On the morning of March 4, when designer Stella McCartney showed her Fall 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection at Paris Fashion Week, several looks that walked the runway were draped with long, thick cords of fabric—“wrapped and twisted adornments,” according to the program notes. They were made by artist Sheila Hicks, and several of them looked like 

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Exit interview: Kaywin Feldman on memorable moments, museums’ seismic shift, and what snow is good for

After 11 years of directing the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Kaywin Feldman is leaving soon, to become the director of the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C. The staff and budget and scrutiny will be much greater, the snow much less. It’s the culmination of 27 years of leading art museums across the country, 

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Mia is diversifying its collection—so how does that work?

In 2016, when the Guerrilla Girls staged a self-described “intervention” at Mia, the advocates for artistic diversity found some things to lament: relatively few works by women artists in the galleries, few works by people of color. They styled their review as a kind of gotcha moment, as though they were holding up a mirror 

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Young artists make their Mia debut through the Creativity Academy

Last week, Mia’s Community Commons was buzzing with student artists eager to show their family and friends what they have spent the year creating. Now in its sixth year, Mia’s Creativity Academy program launched its annual exhibition, up through the middle of April. It features artwork from nearly 500 fourth-grade students, drawn from six different 

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Artist Junauda Petrus on Afrofuturism and remaking museums

Junauda Petrus has a film coming out this spring: Sweetness of Wild, a love letter to blackness in Minneapolis, produced with Erin Sharkey and their Free Black Dirt company. She has a novel coming out in the fall:  The Stars and the Blackness Between Them, about two black queer teenage girls in Minneapolis. And that’s just 

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