MIA invites us in for a break from the pandemic

The key to a good visit to the art museum is only stay as long as you want and only see the things you want to see. I’ve been to loads of museums, for many years with a pack of three young daughters, and these two rules kept us going back. Today I went to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts with Aine and my mom (aka Grandma). We’re fancy museum goers and I got the tickets as soon as we could make it on the MIA opened. So folk folks who aren’t venturing out, I thought I’d just share a few things we enjoyed.

First, nothing is better than making ourselves part of the art. No explanation required here:

Second, things that are clearly cool and we wish we had in our homes:

Third, we love the things that we learned along the way. Like these creepy-cute twin monk looking statues that are actually stone figures of child attendants or tomb guardian figures. They are called dongja and placed in front of the graves of aristocrats in Korea between 1500s to 1700s. They were charged with watching over the souls of the dead.



We saw a very modern version of the Buddhist mandala. A mandala is an allegory and symbol of the totality of humanity and the cosmos. But the modern twist is rooted in basic, universal geometry with a circle, square and center. As opposed to the very ornate designs that we have seem before. Maybe a statement on the simplicity of modern life? <sarcasm>


We also enjoyed the very early iteration of the kid’s game, Operation. It comes from Mongolia in the 91th century. It’s a carpet with the design of a flayed man with his dismembered bones and skull scattered around his body. It is a literal representation of the meditation practice of visualizing bodily detachment and a release from suffering. TO be fair I’m not sure if we’re supposed to visualize dismembering of ourselves or others – although I know which one I’d do.

There’s art that I like more than the others – like Nicole Havekost’s Chthonic; she “explores the simultaneous joy, sublime embarrassment, and disorderly beauty of the human body through her anthropomorphic sculptures.” The figures are 10 feet tall. There’s something I like about them – especially the view I got from the doorway.

Finally, there are the pictures that take on a whole new meaning during a pandemic. And along that idea – I appreciate new pictures or new places for old pictures, new write-ups and lifting up artists of color and who celebrate people of color and a span of backgrounds and demographics that represents more of us. For example, fun to see Andrea Jenkins on the walls and really enjoyed the stories behind the Vision 2020 exhibit.



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