Mia Third Thursday — Art of Rebellion

Mia Third Thursday — Art of Rebellion

A personal look at Third Thursday — Art of Rebellion at Mia as part of Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover Kickoff

I stopped by Minneapolis Institute of Arts last week for their Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover opening event, “Art of Rebellion.” Third Thursdays at Mia are always a good time, and I was particularly excited to jump into the Takeover festivities.

 
The lobby was a-hum when I arrived. Museum-goers in the crowded space chatted, sipped on cocktails and beer as they took in the Guerrilla Girls video installation, and towards the back, nodded heads to the sounds of Sarah White performing with MYK.
 

 
The video installation, dubbed “Guerrilla Girls Present: Mysteries of the Mia,” provided facts and figures about artists represented in Mia’s collections, and asked question of viewers:
 

 
Out of 90,000 total artworks in Mia’s collections, only 49 are by African American Artists. Of those 49, only 11 are currently on display.

 

Away from the hubbub, the Community Commons offered a Mia backdrop and a variety of Guerrilla Girls masks for any who wished to document their evening. Others worked on making activist posters of their own.

At 7:30 I was ready to join the Art of Rebellion Mini-Tour, but was told that the group had just headed to the galleries. I rushed upstairs and, seeing no promising group on the second floor, I took a guess and turned right. Wrong way! I wasn’t going to find them, so I decided I’d take myself on a mini-tour, and sought out some of the pieces mentioned in the video installation. I passed by the one-night only ‘Free Speech Machine” on my way.
 

 
Continuing on to another point raised by the installation: “More Somalis and Hmong live in Minnesota than anywhere in the US. How many of their artworks can be found in the museum?” The answer? Just one piece by a Hmong artist—Cy Thao—and one piece by an unnamed Somali artist.
 
As more frames explained, perhaps Mia’s largest assortment of pieces made by women can be found “in the Art of Africa and the Americas galleries, especially ceramics,” but “we don’t know many of their names because they didn’t sign their work.”
 
Cy Thao’s The Hmong Migration, a series of paintings depicting different moments in Hmong history, is an important and moving work.
 

 
The Somali piece is a traditional wedding basket, painstakingly embroidered with beads. Being half Somali, I found myself thinking how wonderful it would be for the entire Minneapolis community, and especially for school kids visiting Mia, if there were whole sections devoted to Hmong and Somali arts and artists.
 

 
I found my way to the MAEP Galleries, where two MN Artist Exhibition Program openings were being held: both Lindsay Rhyner’s “Material Worlds” and Emmett Ramstad’s “Touching Each Other.” The former fit in with the themes of the night, as Rhyner’s intricately crafted textile wall hangings reminded me of another frame from the GG video installation:
 

 
“Why don’t great quilts hang next to great paintings?" The Guerrilla Girls’ answer is that quilts are seen as craft, and craft is often dismissed as unimportant—woman’s hobby work—rather than being given credit as fine art. Rhyner’s fabric works were a gorgeous and evocative retort to that sort of thinking.
 

 
Ramstad’s conceptual installation (dealing with ideas about intimacy, domesticity, cleanliness vs. dirtiness and more) was a worthwhile pit stop, sure to provoke questions and conversation. Piles of socks were spread across a long table, waiting to be sorted and moved to shelves on one wall. A long row of toothbrushes lined another wall.
 

 
I found my way to a piece that felt like a fitting way to wrap up the evening: Strings by Mary Lee Bendolph (one of more than fifty women belonging to the Gee’s Bend Quilter’s Collective in Alabama). It was lovely to see a woman seated on the floor looking up in quiet contemplation at this striking, unique work of art.
 

 
As I left the museum, I heard Sarah White repeat the name “Sean Bell, Sean Bell, Sean Bell. And the list goes on and on and on.” It was good to be reminded at that moment of the Black Lives Matter movement and (by extension) the many struggles around race, gender, sexuality, justice and injustice that are being waged right now on the streets of the Twin Cities, across the nation and the world.
 
What’s your cause? What do you stand for, and how do you stand for it? Stay tuned and stay involved as the Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover continues. 

Wahida Omar

Related: Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover


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If you are making art or looking at art in the Twin Cities, use the hashtag to show it off.
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Thu Jun 29th 6PM CST Night 1
White Page Gallery
3400 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis
Thu Jun 29th 6PM - 9PM CST
Sabes Jewish Community Center
4330 S Cedar Lake Rd, Minneapolis
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The Soap Factory
514 2nd St. SE, Minneapolis
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AZ Gallery
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Highpoint Center for Printmaking
912 West Lake Street, Minneapolis
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Red Garage Studio
3640 Garfield Ave S, Minneapolis
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405 21st Ave S, Minneapolis
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Fulton Brewery
2540 2nd St NE, Minneapolis
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615 W Lake St, Minneapolis
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Form + Content Gallery
210 N 2nd St, Minneapolis
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Public Functionary
1400 12th Ave NE, Minneapolis
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Midway Contemporary Art
527 Second Avenue SE, Minneapolis
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25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis
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1801 Stevens Ave, Minneapolis
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1382 Willow St, Minneapolis
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Hennepin Ave and Lake St, Minneapolis
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Gamut Gallery
717 S 10th St, Minneapolis
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Powderhorn Park
3400 15th AVE E, Minneapolis
Thu Sep 7th 6PM - 7:30PM CST
Textile Center
3000 University Ave SE, Minneapolis
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Form + Content Gallery
210 N 2nd St, Minneapolis
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Traffic Zone
250 3rd Ave N, Minneapolis
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Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis
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357 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis
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801 Washington Lofts
801 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis
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400 1st Ave N #535, Minneapolis
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210 N First St, Minneapolis
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Midway Contemporary Art
527 Second Avenue SE, Minneapolis
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210 N 2nd St, Minneapolis
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1420 S Washington Ave, Minneapolis
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308 Prince Street, St. Paul
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615 W Lake St, Minneapolis
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2242 University Ave, St. Paul
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3306 Park Avenue, Minneapolis
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818 West Lake St, Minneapolis
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Light Grey Art Lab
118 East 26th St, Minneapolis
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Katherine E. Nash Gallery
405 21st Ave S, Minneapolis
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Soo Visual Arts Center
2909 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis
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Groveland Gallery
25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis
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25 Groveland Tr, Minneapolis
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Soo Visual Arts Center
2909 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis
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Groveland Gallery
25 Groveland Terrace, Minneapolis
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Soo Visual Arts Center
2909 Bryant Ave S, Minneapolis
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Minneapolis College of Art and Design
2501 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis
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Isles Studios
1311 W. 25th Street, Minneapolis
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Independent Filmmaker Project MN
550 Vandalia ST, St. Paul
May 25th - Jul 31st
Minnesota Museum of American Art
141 E 4th Street, St. Paul
May 20th - Jul 31st
Two Rivers Gallery
1530 E Franklin AVE, Minneapolis
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Christensen Center, Augsburg College
2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis
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Gage Family Gallery (Augsburg)
2211 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis
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Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Ave S, Minneapolis
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Sabes Jewish Community Center
4330 S Cedar Lake Rd, Minneapolis
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801 Washington Lofts
801 N Washington Ave, Minneapolis
Jun 17th - Sep 10th
Weisman Art Museum
333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis
Jun 1st - Sep 30th
Track 29 City Apartments
2841 Bryant AVE S, Minneapolis
Jun 10th - Apr 17th
The Soap Factory
514 2nd St. SE, Minneapolis