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Under the Influence: Early Works by Frank Gaard

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MINNEAPOLIS—August 13, 2020— This fall, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) will present never-before-seen sketches and prints by Twin Cities–based painter Frank Gaard (b. 1944, Chicago). The exhibition “Under the Influence: Early Works by Frank Gaard” will examine how the artist—known for his brash personality, idiosyncratic art practice, and vibrant color palette—arrived at his iconic style. “Under the Influence” opens August 22 and is on view through November 29.

Comprised of 30 objects, “Under the Influence” will include sketchbooks, prints, and drawings c. 1964–75, a period of intense evolution for Gaard’s practice, during which the artist absorbed and responded to elements of pop culture, drugs, religion, psychiatry, and art history. To further illustrate the artist’s progression, this early work will be installed alongside Gaard’s 1975 large-scale painting Untitled (for John and Alice), which is part of Mia’s permanent collection.

“Frank Gaard has had an indelible influence on the Twin Cities arts community, and Mia is thrilled to have this opportunity to share a glimpse into the machinations of his mind,” said Nicole Soukup, Mia’s assistant curator of contemporary art, who organized this exhibition. “‘Under the Influence’ is one of the few shows to open his archive to observe his artistic style. Despite his experience as a curator, publisher, and artist, few know his earliest work. From childhood to mental health, this exhibition peels back the layers of creativity to expose Gaard’s observations of color, line, and the human figure.”

Born in 1944 in Chicago, Gaard earned a BFA in 1967 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1968. Gaard has received grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Exhibited internationally, his work is in the permanent collections of Mia, the Walker Art Center, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, among others. Gaard lives and works in Minneapolis.