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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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The first gay art star supposedly succumbed to scandal—the truth is more complicated

By Tim Gihring

(An audio version of this story can be heard in season 2 of Mia’s The Object podcast, as Unspeakable Love: The Rebel Who Went Too Far.) On the night of February 11, 1873, Simeon Solomon is arrested. He’s 32 years old. He’s handsome, with dark red curly hair and a short wispy  ...

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Pride at Mia: Ollie Easter on museums, inclusion, and the art of fanny packs

By Kate Brenner-Adam

I began working at Mia in 2018, specifically because I felt its free admission made it an accessible museum, so that anyone who wants to visit can visit. Since then, I’ve realized that financial access is only one layer of accessibility, and what is represented inside also impacts the way visitors  ...

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Art and empathy: Four thought leaders explain the connection

By Stephanie Curry

In a fast-paced and divisive world, we can be quick to make judgments. In fact, we often make decisions based on biases or first impressions. At Mia, we believe that art has the power to open up our minds, introducing us to the stories of people across space and time. And  ...

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Harmony in motion: Celebrating Mia’s Shiva Nataraja sculpture with dance

By Tim Gihring

When Mia acquired its Shiva Nataraja sculpture, in 1929, there were only a couple others in American museums. The legendary art dealer C.T. Loo had loaned it to Mia with the idea that someone would step forward and make the arrangement permanent. Someone did: Sarah Belle Pillsbury Gale, who lived just  ...

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Making mud prints outside Mia to kick off Earth Day

By Tim Gihring

On the first day of class, last fall, Natasha Pestich had her students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design get their hands dirty. They made stencils out of Mylar or paper, cutting out letters or designs. Then they took the stencils outside and used paint rollers and sponges to  ...

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Flaws and all: Nicole Havekost’s chthonic sculptures

To all the mothers and the sisters and the wives and friends I wanna offer my love and respect till the end —Adam “MCA” Yauch, Sure Shot, 1994   Twice 10 years old, not fully told Since nature gave me breath My race is run, my thread is spun Lo here is fatal Death. —Anne  ...

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Radical collaboration: How the sonic landscape of “Rituals of Resilience” came together

By Chaka Mkali

Chaka Mkali, also known as I Self Devine, is a musician, MC, community organizer, racial-justice trainer, graffiti artist, muralist, and director of organizing and community building at Hope Community in Minneapolis. He is also the co-curator of “Rituals of Resilience,” an audio-visual experience at Mia featuring new music by Mkali and  ...

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A sense of blackness: A dialogue across time and space through art

By Anniessa Antar and Gretchen Halverson

Keegan Xavi is a visual artist, art historian, and producer in North Minneapolis, and when she recently visited “In the Presence of Our Ancestors: Southern Perspectives in African American Art,” a new exhibition at Mia featuring the work of Black artists from the Deep South, she felt something  ...

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Collecting the subcontinent: How South Asian art evolved under colonialism

By Tim Gihring

A couple years ago, Mia received 11 paintings from the series known as the Impey Album, a gift from the collection of Elizabeth and Willard Clark. Lady Mary Impey had moved from England to India in 1773, when Britain’s East India Company was cementing control of the Indian subcontinent through bureaucracy  ...

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A soft landing for hard truths: L’Merchie Frazier’s mesmerizing quilts and the questions they ask

By Gretchen Halverson

The new exhibition “Freedom Rising: I Am the Story,” now on view at Mia, features more than a dozen quilts made by the Massachusetts artist L’Merchie Frazier, including one depicting the Civil War heroics of Robert Smalls. Born into slavery in South Carolina, Smalls escaped by commandeering the Confederate steamer he  ...

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