When the MIA opened, in 1915, James J. Hill used his time at the podium to admonish the museum not to “pitch the key too low”—to keep a high aesthetic standard.
Arguably it has. And recently that bar has extended to the redesigned Store at MIA, reflecting the virtuosity in the galleries with some of the best-designed and hard-to-find goods in the region.
After a hundred years, the MIA is now putting its art up for sale. Not the originals, but merchandise inspired by the collection, exclusive to the store.
Love the Ojibwe bandolier bag, Courbet’s Deer in the Forest, or Miró’s Head of a Woman? They’re yours, in the form of Minneapolis designer Renee Larson’s (Bow Tie Shoppe) one-of-a-kind bow ties riffing on their colors and patterns.
Always coveted the Rudrakshamala necklace, with its marvelously textured Rudraksha berry beads, a kind of portable shrine to Shiva? Get one designed by Helen Wang of Edina, whose line of birthday-year jewelry includes necklaces inspired by the Jade Mountain and, yes, the Rudrakshamala, made with the same kind of sacred berries.
Even the MIA birthday-year logo gets a riff in the colors of Richard Glass’s intricate glass work (above). The English glassblower is creating two pieces inspired by the museum each month of the birthday year, signed and numbered.
Other goods are simply store exclusives: the rough-and-ready shoulder bags from Minneapolis-based Marked Leather, which sport the cattle brands and other marks usually eschewed in leather accessories; the stationery from Brooklyn-based Public Supply that helps support creativity in the classroom; and of course the birthday-year candle made of glass blown by Michael Boyd of Minneapolis and scented with bamboo, white citrus, jasmine, and hyacinth.