New Ideas Need Old Buildings

While renovations for the new Minnesota Museum of American Art (the M) are underway, Twin Cities-based printmaker and book artist Laura Brown has created a lively skyway window installation using distinctively colored vinyl films. The project’s title, New Ideas Need Old Buildings, is a quote from writer and activist Jane Jacobs’s influential book on urban planning and architectural design, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.

Brown’s work is inspired by the construction and wayfinding signage, day-glo colors, and layered narratives in building sites and urban structures in Lowertown. “Construction can be cumbersome, but it also brings an opportunity for renewal.” Her work touches on the layered narratives that cling to old urban structures like the one the M will call home. “I look forward to the ways the M will reflect the varied experiences and perspectives of St. Paul in the coming years.”

As you pass by the skyway, keep your eyes peeled for more to come. The artist will continue to add to her installation, with additional artwork on the temporary plywood walls surrounding the skyway construction zone in the coming few months.

Find more about plans for the new museum >>

New Ideas Need Old Buildings is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund. Additional support has been generously provided by Allegra/Image 360.

Thanks also to the City of St. Paul & Department of Safety and Inspections, Ward 2 Council Representative Rebecca Noecker, the Skyway Governance Committee, and the Pioneer Endicott and 1st National Bank building owners for their support.

Laura Brown holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Her work has been shown regionally and internationally and appears in collections at Yale University and the Library of Congress, among others. She teaches at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts and Augsburg University and is an active member of the print collective Proof Public.