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Perspectives from Mia on contemporary topics impacting the world: locally, nationally, and internationally.

NewsFlash: As flu season rages, a look back at epic pandemics of the past

The history of human existence is also the history of infectious disease. The plague killed 25 to 50 percent of Europe’s population in just a few years in the 1300s. The flu, which we contend with every winter, killed up to a fifth of the global population between 1918 and 1920. This year’s flu season . . . Keep reading »

Why I became a Super Bowl spy

I need to come clean: I am not a sports fan. That knock on art people being like cats around water on game day? Guilty as charged. I’m happier in the galleries at Mia any day. But when the Super Bowl announced an effort to recruit 10,000 volunteers to help greet and guide the one . . . Keep reading »

How Robert Wilson changed theater—and what that means for his show at Mia

Robert Wilson met Philip Glass, the avant-garde composer, in 1973, after Glass attended a show by Wilson—The Life and Times of Joseph Stalin—that was 12 hours long and almost completely silent. Glass loved it. And the two men, retreating to Wilson’s Manhattan studio after the performance, decided they would meet every week for lunch. Within a few months, as they . . . Keep reading »

Are museums safe from natural disasters?

Wildfires in Los Angeles. Hurricanes and flooding in Houston. Earthquakes in Mexico City. With the frequency of natural disasters seemingly on the rise, planning for them is increasingly important as well. So where does that leave museums, whose mission, in part, is to protect the world’s great treasures? Like other institutions, museums test their emergency plans and have close . . . Keep reading »

Think the holidays are too commercial? So did the Arts and Crafts movement—a century ago.

Is all the pressure to buy, buy, buy during the winter holidays—early in the morning, late at night, 24/7 on the internet—turning you into the Grinch? Would you rather craft your own gifts than touch the latest plastic gewgaws with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole? Would you rather just send a card? You would’ve made a fine Spug—a . . . Keep reading »

Between two worlds: Revisiting the life and work of Minnesota master George Morrison

George Morrison was born in 1919 in the now-vanished town of Chippewa City near the Grand Portage Reservation, along Lake Superior in northeastern Minnesota. He was Ojibwe in an era before Native Americans could vote or were even granted citizenship in the United States, one of 12 children in an impoverished family. He was isolated from almost everything but his . . . Keep reading »

The art of disguise: 2017 vs. 1746

On October 23, U.S. Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson held a meeting with the president of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani. Two official photos of the session were released the same day, one by Americans, the other by Afghans. At first glance, the photographs appear to capture the same scene; but, if you look more closely, differences . . . Keep reading »

Mia’s newest crazy quilt recalls a grandmother’s love—and talent

Late in 2016, Mia was given a crazy quilt, the kind comprised of many tiny pieces, usually unrelated and unmatched. It was made around 1882. As the registrar at Mia in charge of processing new art acquisitions, examining every object being considered for addition to our collection, it was my job to look over every detail of the quilt. My thoughts . . . Keep reading »

Why so many people claim to be Cherokee—who aren’t—and why that matters

“Rose is A Rose is A rose is A rose.” Gertrude Stein’s famous line illustrates our propensity for collapsing words and images into universal meanings, identities that need no interpretation. When we see the word “rose,” she suggests, we picture the rose in our mind’s eye. But a Cherokee rose is not just any rose. It is . . . Keep reading »

“Eyewitness Views” and the long, strange history of documenting disaster

I was a cub reporter at the Minneapolis bureau of the Associated Press when historic flooding inundated the Red River Valley between Minnesota and North Dakota in the spring of 1997. It followed a historically cold winter in Minnesota, full of blizzards and record-low temperatures, that left a massive amount of snow still on the ground in April—when it . . . Keep reading »

NewsFlashes

NewsFlashes connect current events and the art in the Mia collections. You’ll also find them throughout the museum, in print form, hanging beside the art they reference.

January 18, 2018

NewsFlash: Does Mia’s mummy contain secret writing?

Egypt’s mummies were intended to rest in peace for eternity, slumbering beneath the sand or high up in pyramids. But most were dug up almost immediately. Robbed of their valuables and their serenity. Dragged into darkened British parlors to be unwrapped for entertainment. Burned as train fuel. But they’ve been slow to give up their secrets, . . . Keep reading »

December 13, 2017

News Flash: Kevin Spacey and the race to erase uncomfortable art

In the late 1500s, an ancient pagan Roman sculpture of someone or something lost to memory—a philosopher, perhaps, or a god—was transformed into St. Peter, a more agreeable figure in Catholic Rome. To pull this off, the sculptor added a head, hands, and feet—quite obvious in gilt bronze—and a throne for St. Peter to sit on. For centuries, . . . Keep reading »

October 5, 2017

NewsFlash: Welcome to the body electric

Some of the first scientific instruments and experiments, like those shown in the “Science and Sociability” exhibition in Mia’s Georgian drawing room (seen above), attempted to understand the nature and origin of electricity. George Adams, Jr.’s friction machine, for instance, from 1780, rotated a glass cylinder against a silk flap to generate and store static electricity. Benjamin Franklin, . . . Keep reading »