After almost a year of construction in the historic Pioneer Endicott buildings, the Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) recently opened a brand new facility to the public on Sunday, December 2, 2018. This new, permanent home is a project that has been years in the making. Since 2013, the M has organized touring shows and presented nationally recognized exhibitions and programs in its Project Space gallery, also housed in the Pioneer-Endicott complex originally designed in large part by famed architect Cass Gilbert. Behind the scenes, civic leaders, community supporters, trustees, and M staff have also been fundraising, planning, and mobilizing city and state support to realize the dream of building a permanent home for the M in this historic location.
Like its smaller Project Space gallery, the new M is located in the Historic Pioneer Endicott, but its front entrance has moved. Note: the museum now has a new street address: 350 Robert Street North, St. Paul, 55101. Admission to the new M will remain free.
Patrick Desjarlait, Red Lake Fishermen, 1946. Watercolor on paper, 14 x 18 inches. Katherine G. Ordway Fund Purchase 95.01
100 Years and Counting: Selections from the Minnesota Museum of American Art features dozens of works from the M’s collection of American art, from 100 years ago to today. It invites viewers into the breadth and depth of this remarkable collection: sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography, mid-century studio craft, early 20th century paintings, works by Paul Manship and George Morrison, as well as recent acquisitions by outstanding artists like Wendy Red Star, Alec Soth, and Teo Nguyen.
Sheila Pepe inside her newly commissioned installation for the M. Photo: Ryan Stopera
The M also commissioned New York-based artist Sheila Pepe to create a site-responsive installation for the new Henrietta Schmoll Rauenhorst Court. Sheila Pepe: Softly…Before the Supreme Court refers to architect Cass Gilbert, who designed the Endicott building housing the new museum, as well as the Minnesota State Capitol and the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. Her crocheted shapes offer a soft, gestural rejoinder to two landmark buildings by one of America’s most famous architects.
The M will animate the streetscape with its new Window Gallery facing Robert Street. For the first installation in the Window Gallery, David Bowen: wave line, Duluth-based multimedia artist David Bowen is capturing real-time wave videos from locations all over the world, and then channeling the data into large screens lit by thousands of LEDs. Passersby can see the virtual undulation of water washing up on shorelines all over the globe – a view on distant shores, as seen through the M’s windows in St. Paul.
A NEW MAKING AND LEARNING SPACE
The museum’s Josephine Adele Ford Center for Creativity—named for the St. Paul woman who ran 3 to 7 Playways, a company that created play and teaching materials for preschoolers—also opens with the M in December. The M began as a school of art, and the museum is reviving that legacy with 4,000 square feet devoted to arts education. The new M will offer a variety of studio classes geared for adult learners including: drawing, oil painting, Hmong embroidery, rope-stitch jewelry, weaving, ceramic Mesoamerican flute-making, and more. Instructors include local artists at the top of their game: Xilam Balam, Leslie Barlow, Suzanne Thao, Maggie Thompson, Megan Vossler, and others. The M will also offer summer youth workshops in 2019.
In addition to studio art and craft classes for adults and youth, the Center for Creativity will be home to community convenings, drop-in art-making, family activities, and rotating Artist Takeovers. The M’s new Artist Takeover residency program empowers artists of all disciplines to shape the M’s learning spaces as makers, teachers, and creative catalysts. The M’s first Artist Takeover is being led by Rebekah Crisanta de Ybarra, a local artist and co-founder of Electric Machete Studios. She’ll be involved in both class instruction and her own art-making on-site, working in Latinx and Indigenous art forms. For the M’s March Artist Takeover, poet and multimedia artist Moheb Soliman will take up residence in the Center for Creativity.
About the Minnesota Museum of American Art
The Minnesota Museum of American Art is one of the oldest visual arts organizations in Minnesota, with roots stretching back to the 19th century. Based in St. Paul, the M currently holds more than 5,000 artworks that showcase the unique voices of American artists, guided by the belief that art should reflect the constantly shifting landscape that defines the American experience. The new M opened in December 2018 with16,000 square feet of exhibition, learning, and gathering spaces. In 2020, the museum will expand further with the opening of its permanent collection galleries. Upon completion of this second phase of construction, the new M will cover 36,000 square feet of space on the first floor of the Pioneer Endicott.
For details about the new M’s upcoming events, exhibitions, and classes, look for updates on mmaa.org, or follow @mnmuseum on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.