Rock the Cradle opens the door to The State of the Art

Looking at a Spring Break Staycation? Maybe the State of the Art will cushion the blow – now showing at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

Earlier this month, my favorite 11 year old and I got a chance to check out the State of the Art as part of the Rock the Cradle event at Mia. Rock the Cradle is an annual event hosted by The Current and Mia. It’s a fun look at music and art. It includes a kid’s disco, chances to play instruments, do art projects and meet some radio personalities. It’s a fun event for younger kids but for us the big coup was being able to visit The State of the Art exhibit without a charge.

The State of the Art was curated by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. They traveled around the US to find ” artists whose work has not yet been fully recognized on a national level.” After tours and conversations with the artist they ended up with more than 100 artists in the collection. It sounds like a dream assignment to me – they traveled 100,000 miles in the process. One while it’s not exactly the same as getting on a train around the country, the exhibit it a fun taste of what contemporary artists are doing in different parts of the country today.

Chris Larson and Andy DuCett were the tastes of Minnesota. We missed DuCett’s Mom Booth, a kiosk-like kitchen with actual moms offering wisdom or at least answering questions. We loved DuCett’s installation at the Soap Factory a few years ago. We did catch Larson’s video. My 11 year old can watch him cut circles into floors for hours and has recently watched it at the Walker. But it was great to see some Minnesota connections.

soa Ghost of a Dream by Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was
Ghost of a Dream by Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was is a large collage of scratch off tickets. It’s gorgeous and draws you in magnetically in a scary way when you get close enough to realize the art is made from lottery tickets. You have to think about the number of people who are drawn in every day to buy tickets. But there’s a beauty in that sense of being drawn in too.

soa rainbow narcotics
Rainbow Narcotics is a video that was a big hit with all of the kids. There were a trio of young boys whooping it up while they watched the absurd transformations; their grown up person (dad?) was almost embarrassed except who doesn’t love kids loving art. My daughter was drawn in too with the surreal travel of a man, or a dog or a… I think video is a great way to reach the next generation of art lovers and patrons.

soa pigeon
My favorite was the yarn bomb birds by Laura Roth Hope. The tiny pigeon mannequins in crocheted suit of armor appealed to my sense of the absurd and the funny hipster connection between people and nature and art. I love a good yarn bombing as much as the next person but you do have to wonder about the impact on nature. They’re funny but thoughtful and very well done!

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