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Now more than ever, art brings us together. The M is about the people. About the art. About the programs. Most of all it’s about you.

In this time of crisis and isolation, the role of art becomes more central to our lives, whether we realize it or not. In one short year, the Minnesota Museum of American Art (“the M”), has become a site for outstanding exhibitions and creative explorations, provocative programs, and important community connections. We are proud that A Choice of Weapons, Honor and Dignity: The Visions of Gordon Parks and Jamal Shabazz was one of our most visited shows to date. The iconic photographs from two prolific Black photographers showcase hope and inspire new generations. Previous exhibitions such as History is Not Here: Art and the Arab Imaginary and Sherin Guirguis: Here I Have Returned showcase the well-rounded perspective the M seeks to represent with our exhibitions.

Today you are invited to be part of the momentum of this great St. Paul museum and SUPPORT the M nowMinnesota needs and deserves a community-centered art museum, we need your help to make sure the M is here for you after this crisis. Please become part of the community that will usher in a new era of art experience, enjoyment, and inspiration for all—here in downtown St. Paul.  Your investment is deeply appreciated and we look forward to seeing you at the M!

Support the Minnesota Museum of American Art as we maintain MOMENTUM and look toward the future. Each of these artworks from the M’s permanent collection will be on view in the new M, coming in 2022. Sponsor an artwork today!

Leslie Barlow (born 1989)
Stephen, Jeffery, and Twins, 2017
Oil, pastel, and collaged sewn fabric on canvas
72 x 48 inches
Minnesota State Fair Purchase Award

#1

Leslie Barlow

The M snagged this painting by Leslie Barlow in the Fine Arts Exhibition at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair where it was decorated with awards, including the White Bear Center for the Arts Award and Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Award. (Fun fact about the M, we are the only museum that purchases an artwork from the Minnesota State Fair’s competitive Fine Arts Exhibition for our permanent collection. The M is proud to be a strong supporter of local artists and craftspeople!) 

It’s no wonder Stephen, Jeffery, and Twins received such recognition. It’s a tender portrait Leslie created by painting on top of a patchwork of fabrics, suggesting that a family is like a beautiful quilt—something made whole from parts. This work is part of a series that commemorates the 50-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court case, Loving v. Virginia, which legalized interracial marriage.

Leslie herself is quite decorated. City Pages named her “Artist of the Year” in 2016. She’s received many commissions, including one from the Vikings team to create portraits of 6 iconic players. But perhaps what we appreciate most about Leslie is the work she does to support other artists of color through projects including Studio 400. She’s been a teaching artist at the M too!

Click here to check out how you can attend an exclusive Zoom conversation with Leslie Barlow talking about her creative and painting practice.

By giving a gift of $500 or more you’ll receive a museum membership and access to a private Zoom conversation with Leslie, where you can virtually explore her studio, discuss decolonizing art institutions, and get to know her practice. The conversation will take place on Tuesday, June 9, 4:30 pm CST.

Leslie Barlow

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Hazel Belvo (born 1934)
Spirit Tree Meditations, Torso, Wise One, 1994
Tobacco, vermillion, and graphite on paper
60 x 40 inches
Purchase, Katherine G. Ordway Fund

#2

Hazel Belvo

Hazel is best known for her ability to capture the dynamic and elusive energy of an ancient, knotted cedar tree sacred to the Ojibwe people of Grand Portage. Manido-Gree-Shi-Gance, or Little Cedar Spirit Tree, has stood watchfully perched on a rocky overhang above Lake Superior for more than 300 years. Since 1961, Hazel has returned year after year to this tree on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, where her former husband, artist George Morrison, was born and spent his later years. Hazel’s use of tobacco to make this drawing is significant, as it is customary to sprinkle tobacco at its base as an offering for safe passage across the big, sometimes treacherous lake. 

We are excited to explore the full range of Hazel’s artistic achievements in an exhibition that will open at the M in 2021. Her exquisite drawings and paintings have important stories to tell—about feminism, resilience, dedication, and the pleasures of artistic work.

Click here to check out how you can attend an exclusive Zoom conversation with Hazel Belvo talking about her creative and painting practice.

By giving a gift of $500 or more you’ll receive a museum membership and access to a private Zoom conversation with artist Hazel Belvo along with all $500 level donors. Here you can chat with Hazel about her work, take in the wisdom she can offer, and virtually explore her art practice. The conversation will take place on Thursday, June 1, 1:00 pm CST.

2017.04.01 Jim denomie Oz, The Emergence Frame (Print)

Jim Denomie (born 1955)
Oz, the Emergence, 2017
Oil on canvas
98 x 140 inches
Purchase, Acquisition Fund 

#3

Jim Denomie

“We’re not in Kansas anymore!” But the fantastical landscape we see also doesn’t quite look like The Wizard of Oz (the 1939 film which served as the inspiration for this artwork). This is a world of Jim Denomie’s making, where transformed versions of Dorothy and her pals must navigate a symbolic minefield. 

Jim is a beloved artist who was honored in 2019 with the state’s most prestigious artistic honor, the McKnight Distinguished Artist Award. This spectacular (mural-sized) painting showcases his signature double punch of wit and satire to take aim at the ills of contemporary society. You also can’t mistake his unique figural style and saturated use of color. 

As a member of the Lac Courtes Oreilles band of Ojibwe, his satire often confronts stereotypes of Native Americans. The M is proud to call him a Trustee of the museum’s Board of Trustees, and a member of the Collections Committee.

Click here to check out how you can attend an exclusive Zoom conversation with Jim Denomie talking about his creative and painting practice.

By giving a gift of $500 or more you’ll receive a museum membership and access to a private Zoom conversation with artist Jim Denomie along with all $500 level donors. Here you can watch Jim paint, engage in a question and answer session, and virtually walk through his studio. The conversation will take place on Tuesday, June 2, 3:00 pm CST.

Maren Kloppmann (born 1962)
Wall Plates / Inverted Arch, 2010
Glazed stoneware
23 ¼ x 54 ¼ x 3 inches
Gift of Charlotte and Gene Frampton

#4

Maren Kloppmann

Maren Kloppmann is a magician with clay. Her porcelain ceramics–with their elegant shapes and serene palettes—create a sense of quietude and balance. She got her start making functional vessels—beautiful cups, plates, and bowls to be admired and used. When her practice shifted toward idea-driven installation, her interest in the process of transforming clay into form and drawing inspiration from the natural world remained. 

Maren was born in Germany in 1962 but came to Minnesota to continue her studies in ceramics with Mark Pharis at the University of Minnesota. Although the beloved ceramicist Warren MacKenzie had retired by that time, she has fond memories of exchanging stories with him and using one of his kilns.

Click here to check out how you can attend an exclusive Zoom conversation with Maren Kloppmann talking about her creative practice.

By giving a gift of $500 or more you’ll receive a museum membership and access to a private Zoom conversation with artist Maren Kloppmann, where you can discuss her practice, virtually tour her studio, and engage in a question and answer session. The conversation will take place on Friday, June 5, 12:00 pm CST.

Photo Credit: Mark LaFavor
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Alec Soth (born 1969)
Brian, Williston, North Dakota, 2012
Archival pigment print
50 x 40 inches
Purchased with funds given by Ruth and John Huss

#5

Alec Soth

In this portrait of Brian Coffey, an employee of Raven Drilling, Alec Soth shows us the hard work, determination, and isolation of laboring on a drilling rig. The subject of a major solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in 2010, Alec is one of the country’s leading photographers, who just happens to hail from Minneapolis. 

In 2013, The New York Times magazine did a cover story on the oil boom in North Dakota and asked the artist to spend a week photographing the locals and learning about their lives. The article, “The Luckiest Place on Earth,” explored some of the issues facing the region following the widespread use of fracking, a controversial technology used for extracting oil and natural gas.

Click here to check out how you can attend an exclusive Zoom conversation with Alec Soth talking about his creative and photography practice.

By giving a gift of $500 or more you’ll receive a museum membership and access to a private Zoom conversation with artist Alec Soth along with all $500 level donors. Here you can chat with Alec in his studio, engage in a question and answer session, and virtually walk through his photographic process. The conversation will take place on Monday, June 1, 4:30 pm CST.

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Amalia Amaki (born 1949)
Number 1 Fan, #2, 1995
Wood, cyanotype, cotton cloth, fabric, simulated pearl, and jewelry
48 x 30 inches
Gift of the artist

#6

Amalia Amaki

Billie Holidayone of the greatest American performers of all timebelts out a tune from the center of Amalia Amaki’s elaborately decorated sculpture. Playfully riffing on the two meanings of the word “fan,” Amaki creates a work of art in the shape of a fan that also shows her admiration for the celebrated singer. Amaki celebrates the strange beauty and glamour of Holiday’s voice and career by surrounding her portrait with shimmering buttons, pearls, and jewelrywhich make the object sparkle as it catches the light. 

While shaped like a fan used to cool you down in the summer, Number 1 Fan is four feet high! The larger-than-life size helps Amaki convey the important cultural contributions of African Americans to American lifea recurring theme in her work.

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Sonya Clark (born 1967)
Triangle Trade, 2011
Cotton thread on canvas
60 x 70 inches
Purchase, Acquisition Fund

#7

Sonya Clark

In this simple woven design, Sonya Clark confronts the legacy of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, sometimes called the “triangle trade” because it relied on three points of contact. First, Western traders kidnapped Africans from the Ivory Coast and transported them to the Caribbean to work on plantations. Second, the sugar and cotton slaves produced were shipped to the American East Coast. And third, profits from the sale of these products were used to purchase more slaves from Africa. This created a cycle that transformed people into commodities. 

But Sonya poetically challenges this story of exploitation and oppression, creating her triangle by braiding thick black threads across the surface of the canvas–like cornrows. This reference to the Black fashion and self-styling stands in defiance to the brutality of slavery and its ongoing legacy.

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Paul Manship (1885-1966)
Indian Hunter and His Dog, 1926
Bronze with marble base
23 x 23 x 9 inches
Gift of Mrs. Arthur Savage

#8

Paul Manship

Created during the Jazz Age of the 1920s, this sculpture by Paul Manship attempts to join the sleek, modern look of Art Deco, with visions of an ideal past. A St. Paul native, Paul was heralded as one of American’s premier sculptors in the early twentieth century. His Indian Hunter suggests his interest in the elegance of classical traditions during a time of industry and change. 

It was commissioned by fellow St. Paul native Thomas Cochran, Jr. to be the focal point of Cochran Park in the affluent neighborhood of Ramsey Hill. The artist created this small bronze as a study for the larger commission, which was cast life-size at a foundry in Paris that also cast many sculptures by Auguste Rodin. You can see it up close and personal at the corner of Summit and Western Avenues in St. Paul.

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Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)
Strata, 1960
Oil on canvas
51 ¾ x 78 inches
Gift of Enrico Donati

#9

Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell is one of the most celebrated abstract painters to emerge in the US after World War II. One of the lesser-known facts about her is that her very first solo show was held at the Saint Paul Gallery (now known as the M). We have Minnesota-based ceramist Warren MacKenzie to thank. Warren and Joan were friends who studied together at the Art Institute of Chicago, and he was eager to bring the work of this “really juicy painter” to St. Paul. 

Looking at this colorful (and large) artwork, we can see why Warren described Joan’s work as “juicy.” She surrounds an interweaving of vertical and horizontal strokes in warm and cool tones with patchworks of white to create a dynamic sense of movement. She often drew on remembered landscapes for inspiration. Could Strata be a reflection of the lights and energy of New York City where she kept a studio for most of her life?

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George Morrison (1919-2000)
Spirit Path, New Day, Red Rock Variation: Lake Superior Landscape, 1990
Acrylic and pastel on paper
22 ½ x 30 ⅛ inches
Purchased with funds given by Mrs. Arthur Savage, Mr. John R. Savage, Mrs. Harold Searles, Mr. and Mrs. Walter H. Trenerry, and Mr. and Mrs. Louis N. Zelle

#10

George Morrison

What a jewel-like work on paper by the great George Morisson! With his characteristic sensitivity to color and shape, he captures the shifting, scattered light on the north shore of Lake Superior on the Grand Portage Indian Reservation, near where he was born and later returned to establish his studio. It features the Ojibwe artist’s signature horizon, an orienting line which creates a sense of a here (where we are present) and a there (out of reach). The M is proud to have the largest, and most comprehensive collection of George’s work anywhere.

Cara Romero_Coyote Tales

Cara Romero (born 1977)
Coyote Tales No. 1, 2017
Archival pigment print
40 ¾ x 40 ¾ inches
Purchase, with funds given by Russell Cowles

#11

Cara Romero

This mysterious photograph by Santa Fe-based artist Cara Romero is new to the M’s collection. It transports you to a parking lot outside Saints and Sinners, an iconic liquor store and bar in Espanõla, New Mexico, where you are gathered around a 1964 Impala lowrider, under the glow of neon lighting and a brilliant night sky. 

Raised on the Chemehuevi Valley Indian Reservation in California, Cara draws on Native American tales in this work, and conjures the beloved Coyote. A trickster, Coyote signals unpredictability and questionable choices to be made. What mischief does the night hold? We don’t know. But we can tell by the gazes of the women looking out at us, that they are in complete control.

Cara’s star continues to rise. One of her photos was featured in the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s 2019 acclaimed exhibition Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists, and, more recently, she had a solo exhibition at Bockley Gallery.

Aaron Spangler-3

Aaron Spangler (born 1971)
Hoarder, 2014
Woodcut
48 ½ x 34 inches
Edition of 8, published by Highpoint Editions
Gift of Mary and Bob Mersky

#12

Aaron Spangler

Part of a series titled Luddite, a term for a person who is against technology or new ways of working, this boldly patterned tangle of motifs expresses something forceful if enigmatic. Living in a forested area on the outskirts of Park Rapids in Northern Minnesota, Aaron makes work that draws on his observations of rural life. 

Hoarder is infused with tension, even a sense of anxiety. Primarily known for his sculpture, the artist is a virtuosic wood carver, as this piece—created in collaboration with Highpoint Center for Printmaking—attests. He works intuitively to create pieces layered with political and social meaning.