MIA, SLAM Partner in Aitken Video

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Minneapolis Institute of Art, Saint Louis Art Museum Partner in Aitken Video
migration (empire)–linear version

June 23, 2009—The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) and the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) have collaborated to present Doug Aitken’s migration (empire)–linear version, a mesmerizing video work. The 24-minute film will open in St. Louis on June 27, 2009, before moving on to its home in Minneapolis for a February 19, 2010, opening.

Prior to the MIA’s presentation, the work will be on view, for free, at the Saint Louis Art Museum from June 27, 2009, to September 7, 2009, as part of its Century of Free Admission celebration. The museum is celebrating a Century of Free Admission with free exhibitions, programs, docent-led tours, gallery talks, and performances throughout the summer, and a month-long series of events in July.

Born in California in 1968, Aitken is known for creating exquisitely produced and engaging videos that utilize the visual richness of the medium to capture the complexity of American culture today. He is widely considered among the leading video artists of his generation. He is represented by 303 Gallery in New York.

The video, migration (empire)–linear version, was featured in the 2008 exhibition Life on Mars, the 55th Carnegie International, where it was projected onto the façade of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh. The piece explores the confrontation between nature and culture, past and present, the wild and the tamed, power and decline.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art, also a free-admission museum, will show Aitken’s video work as part of its Until Now: 50 Years, 50 Artists (1960—2010) exhibition, on view February 19 through June 6, 2010. The work was acquired by Elizabeth Armstrong, assistant director for exhibitions and programs and curator of contemporary art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and is on loan to the St. Louis museum for the summer.

In migration (empire)–linear version, Aitken advances a rich tradition of artists exploring the history of visual culture in America. His close studies of wild North American animals, such as the bison, deer, owl, mountain lion, raccoon, fox and jackrabbits, released within the artificial habitat of desolate hotel room, yield scenes of humor—a beaver in a bathtub—as well as moments of empathy—a bison struggling within a confined space. Like many great American artworks, migration (empire)–linear version captures America’s character and contradictions. It provides a meditation on America as it grows, changes, and finds its place in the 21st century.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is Celebrating a Century of Free Admission in 2009 with a month-long series of events in July. Founded in 1879 as a department of Washington University, the Saint Louis Art Museum moved into architect Cass Gilbert’s monumental central building from the Louisiana Purchase Centennial Exhibition’s Palace of Fine Arts in 1906, following the fair. In 1907, St. Louis voters approved a tax to support the Museum, and in 1909, thanks to this generous public support, the Museum became free to all. This fortunate circumstance continues to foster the broadest possible access to the Museum’s extraordinary collections, as well as a deep regard for the visual arts for generations of Museum visitors. For more details and a complete schedule of events, please visit www.slam.org.

The Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period. Areas of notable depth include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strength in 20th-century German art. The Museum offers a full range of exhibitions and educational programming generated independently and in collaboration with local, national and international partners.

Admission to both museums is free to all every day.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA), home to one of the finest encyclopedic art collections in the country, houses more than 80,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history. Highlights of the permanent collection include European masterworks by Rembrandt, Poussin, and van Gogh; modern and contemporary painting and sculpture by Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Stella, and Close; as well as internationally significant collections of prints and drawings, decorative arts, Modernist design, photographs, textiles, and Asian, African, and Native American art. For more information, call (612) 870-3131 or visit www.artsmia.org.
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Anne-Marie Wagener, 612.870.3171
Director of Press & Public Relations, Minneapolis Institute Arts

Leigh Hamer, 314.655.5493
Media Relations Officer, Saint Louis Art Museum