The Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis, Minnesota
I was in Minnesota for only a moment – I’d been invited to speak at the Rain Taxi book festival on a panel with some delightful people, and despite the brevity of the trip, I still found myself with an afternoon free to roam the city.
I asked the internet how I should spend my time, and the recommendations were all the same: go to the Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden.
Endeavoring to write about art, I am met with the same hesitation that I always feel – it is, to paraphrase some brilliant uncredited soul, like dancing about architecture. I won’t dwell too much on the individual pieces at the Walker – by the time you visit, they will have changed, anyway. I will simply tell you to go, because the space is wonderful and the collection will make you feel alternately contemplative and sad and angry and joyous, and all sorts of permutations of those things.
I must have been in a romantic mood on the day I visited, because everything was heartbreakingly beautiful to me. When I showed this photo to Rand, I commented on how sweet and sad the sentiment was.
“You know it’s surrounded by butts, right?”
No. I did not.
If it is rainy or cold or snowing, then you might want to simply stay inside the Walker, but if the weather is slightly more amenable, then consider wandering around the sculpture garden.
The collection is a little more permanent, because it is much harder to move a giant blue chicken than it is to, say, move a painting.
Admission to the Walker is only $15, which feels modest compared to many galleries in the U.S., but the sculpture park is free, since it’s remarkably difficult to put giant things outside and then somehow demand that people pay to look at them.
There were a few pieces that didn’t entirely resonate with me, though I’d like to think that I understood their message. For example, this sphere clearly has a vagina.
(Right? I mean, that’s clearly what’s going on here.)
My favorite pieces were these paranoid stone benches. It’s like someone heard my thoughts and then engraved them onto a huge slab of granite.
Minneapolis is underrated; a few short hours there won’t feel like enough. But even if your time there is fleeting, the Walker is worth it, if only so you can return home and say to your beloved, “I found a bench that understood me more than most people do.”